“Lord let me never, never outlive my love for Thee.”
Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153)
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 31:6
Into thy hands I commend my spirit:
for Thou hast redeemed me, O Lord, thou God of truth.
Prayer written by an unknown prisoner in Ravensbruck concentration camp, and left by the body of a dead child. Perhaps we can pray about our experience of the pandemic in this way.
O Lord, remember not only the men and women of good will, but also those of ill will. But do not remember all the suffering they have inflicted on us; remember the fruits we have bought, thanks to this suffering— our comradeship, our loyalty, our humility, our courage, our generosity, the greatness of heart which has grown out of all this, and when they come to judgement let all the fruits which we have borne be their forgiveness.
Hymn of the Day
Amen, Amen, by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Listen and pray.
Reading of the Day Luke 23:32—46
32 Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. 33 When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots to divide his clothing. 35 And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!” 36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, 37 and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38 There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.”
39 One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
44 It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, 45 while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last.
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 winter storms. Please continue to pray for Mark Sabala, working as a nurse with Covid patients, and for Amanda Jantzen, diagnosed with the virus. Pray for yourself today as well— pray that you would be so unified with Christ, through the Holy Spirit, that you would come to true understanding of God’s reign here on earth. Use this time to lift your joys, concerns, and hopes to God.
May God guide you through the desert places,
may Christ lead you into knowing him more deeply,
and the Holy Spirit fill you with faith overflowing:
that as you share in Christ’s suffering,
you will also trust the power of his resurrection.
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.