Come, thou Fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing Thy grace…
—-Robert Robinson, 1758
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 Isaiah 12: 2
Surely God is our salvation;
trust in the Lord and do not be afraid.
Prayer Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179)
Most strong God,
who is able to fight against you?
I want you to help me fight against
the flaming dragon of sin within me,
that eats away my very soul.
I want to have the strongest sword in my hand,
fashioned by you, with the sharpest blade
that will cut through the dragon’s scales.
And when I have slayed the dragon within myself,
I want to offer a safe refuge for all
who, like me, are frail and vulnerable.
I will give them a sword to slay their own dragons,
so that together we may live in joy and peace. Amen.
Hymn of the Day
Amazing Grace, by Ralph Stanley. This form of singing is called “lining out,” and was done in the early Scottish churches. It is still common in Old Regular Baptist churches and other churches in Appalachia. You can almost imagine yourself out in a small mountain church as you listen and pray.
Reading of the Day: Romans 1: 1-15
1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures, 3 the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 4 and was declared to be Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness by resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, 5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for the sake of his name, 6 including yourselves who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,
7 To all God’s beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed throughout the world. 9 For God, whom I serve with my spirit by announcing the gospel of his Son, is my witness that without ceasing I remember you always in my prayers, 10 asking that by God’s will I may somehow at last succeed in coming to you. 11 For I am longing to see you so that I may share with you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— 12 or rather so that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. 13 I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as I have among the rest of the Gentiles. 14 I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish 15 —hence my eagerness to proclaim the gospel to you also who are in Rome.
Prayers for self and others
Please pray today for those who are being affected by COVID 19. Today please pray for churches who are cautiously opening their doors to worshippers this week, that all who gather would stay well. 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.
stand firm in your faith,
be courageous and strong.
Let all that you do be done in love.
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.