“Love divine, all loves excelling, joy of heaven, to earth come down…”
Charles Wesley, 1747
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 John 8:12
Jesus said: I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness
but will have the light of life.
Prayer Clement of Rome, c. 96
O God, you are the bottomless well of peace,
the heavenly sea of love,
the fountain of blessings,
and the giver of affection,
and you send peace to those who receive it.
Open to us this day the sea of your love,
and water us with the flowing streams of your grace.
Make us children of quietness, and heirs of peace.
Enkindle the fire of your love in us;
plant holy reverence for you in us;
strengthen our weakness by your power;
bind us closely to you and to each other
in one firm bond of unity;
for the sake of Jesus Christ.
Hymn of the Day
The Lord Bless You and Keep You, by the Westminster College Choir. Listen and pray.
Reading of the Day Numbers 21:4—9
4 From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; but the people became impatient on the way. 5 The people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we detest this miserable food.” 6 Then the Lord sent poisonous serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many Israelites died. 7 The people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord to take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. 8 And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a poisonous serpent, and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten shall look at it and live.” 9 So Moses made a serpent of bronze, and put it upon a pole; and whenever a serpent bit someone, that person would look at the serpent of bronze and live.
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 a prayer of thanksgiving to God today for your own well-being and that of your family. Pray for those close to you, that they would also be 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.
The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you,
and be gracious unto you,
and give you peace.
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.