“And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing and joyful be, and through eternity, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on.…”
—American folk hymn, c. 1811
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 Exodus 36:26
The Lord God said: I will give you a new heart and a new mind.
I will take away your stubborn heart of stone
and give you an obedient heart.
Prayer Katy Stetna, 2021, katyandtheword.com
God sometimes we feel like the lost coin or the lost sheep or the lost son, wandering and lonely. We are on the journey, and then suddenly we get lost along the way. Other times we feel like the older brother doing all of the right things with little recognition and credit. However, you invite us to be the widow and the shepherd and the parent: ebullient with welcome! You celebrate with those who are celebrating, God for you are there for every step of the journey. Dancing in the streets and striving to include and find every single person who feels lost. You want us to be the living invitation of your love and belonging. Our job is not to judge—thank God—but instead to celebrate and welcome. Help us, grant us your Holy Spirit so we can be your open door of welcome today and everyday we pray. Amen.
Hymn of the Day
If I Be Lifted Up, by Emmylou Harris. Listen and pray.
Reading of the Day Isaiah 55: 1-5
1 Ho, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and you that have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
3 Incline your ear, and come to me;
listen, so that you may live.
I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure love for David.
4 See, I made him a witness to the peoples,
a leader and commander for the peoples.
5 See, you shall call nations that you do not know,
and nations that do not know you shall run to you,
because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel,
for he has glorified you.
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, and of course for all those who have been affected by the devastating winter storms. Please continue to pray for Marcy Szeliga and for Mark Sabala, both working as nurses with Covid patients. Pray for the millions of low-wage workers, who have been hit so hard by the economic problems associated with the virus, that they would have the resources to sustain themselves and their families. As we hear of more friends who are directly affected, or who are working in high risk places, we will list them here. Use this time to lift your joys, concerns, and hopes to God.
Walk before God in faithfulness
and humbleness of heart,
and may the Lord God, in steadfast love,
keep covenant with you forever.
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.