“…bid envy, strife, and discord cease; fill the whole world with heaven’s peace.”
—-Latin, 12th C.
Preparation for worship
Sit in a relaxed position. Take a slow, deep breath (or 2 or 3 or as many as needed) until you feel your body, mind, and soul begin to relax and rest in the Spirit. Take time to reflect as you move through this time of worship…
Opening Sentences Psalm 4:8
I will both lie down and sleep in peace;
for you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety.
Prayer Gelasian Sacramentary, 8th C.
you make us glad
with the yearly expectation
of the birthday of Christ,
your only Son.
Grant that we,
who hail him with joy
as our Redeemer,
may also behold him without fear
when he comes to be our Judge;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Hymn of the Day
Silent Night, sung by Willie Nelson. Listen and pray.
Reading of the Day Isaiah 43: 1-7
1 But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
3 For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you.
4 Because you are precious in my sight,
and honored, and I love you,
I give people in return for you,
nations in exchange for your life.
5 Do not fear, for I am with you;
I will bring your offspring from the east,
and from the west I will gather you;
6 I will say to the north, “Give them up,”
and to the south, “Do not withhold;
bring my sons from far away
and my daughters from the end of the earth--
7 everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.”
Prayers for self and others
Please pray today for those who are being affected by COVID-19 and by its side effects in our world. Pray for the thousands who are still being diagnosed positive in the U.S. each day, for Becky’s sister’s coworker Denie, who has returned to the ICU at Memorial Hermann Hospital with the virus; for Susan Smith’s brother-in-law John, hospitalized with the virus. As we hear of more friends who are directly affected, or who are working in high risk places, we will list them here. Pray today for all those who are sick and unable to afford health care. Use this time to lift your joys, concerns, and hopes to God.
May the love of the Father enfold us,
the wisdom of the Son enlighten us,
the fire of the Spirit inflame us;
and may the blessing of the triune God rest on us,
and abide with us,
now and evermore.
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Becky Downs, pastor of John Knox, started writing daily prayers for the congregation at the beginning of the COVID pandemic, to encourage the congregation in their faith during their time of separation from each other. The daily prayers were posted throughout the year. You might want to choose one a day to read, and modify the specific prayers for self and others to fit your life today.