“From all that dwells below the skies let the Creator’s praise arise: Alleluia! Alleluia!”
—-Isaac Watts, 1719
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 117:2
Great is God’s steadfast love toward us,
and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.
Prayer Nadia Bolz-Weber, 2020
If comparison is the thief of joy, then Lord, help me to not compare my life today to my life 6 months ago. Help me find the joy in THIS life, and in THIS day and to know that it is from you, and it is enough. Amen.
Hymn of the Day
“Amazing Grace,” by Jotta A, from Brazil. Listen to this remarkable, gifted child, and pray with him. This song was requested by Sarah Jang.
Reading of the Day Joshua 2: 1-14
Then Joshua son of Nun sent two men secretly from Shittim as spies, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” So they went, and entered the house of a prostitute whose name was Rahab, and spent the night there. 2 The king of Jericho was told, “Some Israelites have come here tonight to search out the land.” 3 Then the king of Jericho sent orders to Rahab, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who entered your house, for they have come only to search out the whole land.” 4 But the woman took the two men and hid them. Then she said, “True, the men came to me, but I did not know where they came from. 5 And when it was time to close the gate at dark, the men went out. Where the men went I do not know. Pursue them quickly, for you can overtake them.” 6 She had, however, brought them up to the roof and hidden them with the stalks of flax that she had laid out on the roof. 7 So the men pursued them on the way to the Jordan as far as the fords. As soon as the pursuers had gone out, the gate was shut.
8 Before they went to sleep, she came up to them on the roof 9 and said to the men: “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that dread of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt in fear before you. 10 For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites that were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. 11 As soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no courage left in any of us because of you. The Lord your God is indeed God in heaven above and on earth below. 12 Now then, since I have dealt kindly with you, swear to me by the Lord that you in turn will deal kindly with my family. Give me a sign of good faith 13 that you will spare my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.” 14 The men said to her, “Our life for yours! If you do not tell this business of ours, then we will deal kindly and faithfully with you when the Lord gives us the land.”
Prayers for self and others
Please pray today for those who are being affected by COVID 19. Please pray for Mark Sabala, working with Covid patients as a nurse, Marcy Szeliga, quarantined in a hotel and working as a case investigator and contact tracer, for the Howell family, the Pena family, Mario’s friend Leah and her daughter, Carolyn Feigh, and for all others who have been recently diagnosed with- or are recovering from- the virus. Today pray for Jennifer Blaine, Ken Gregorski, and Mark Henry, superintendents of Spring Branch, Katy, and Cy Fair ISDs, as they lead their districts in making decisions about the coming school year. 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.
May God in endless mercy
bring the whole church,
the living and the departed,
to a joyful resurrection
in the fulfillment of the eternal kingdom. Amen.
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.