“When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur, and hear the brook, and feel the gentle breeze…”
—Carl Gustav Boberg, 1885
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 Matthew 2:11
Come and adore the Savior of the nations.
We offer the gifts of our lives to the Lord.
Prayer Mozarbic Breviary, c. 1502
The heavens are shining with the clear beauty of the stars, O Lord,
and the very earth is made beautiful by a shining light,
because you appeared to the world
from your holy dwelling place.
Remove from our hearts all sadness,
for you came for this,
to make all things new.
Enlighten our eyes to purify us
that we may behold you forever,
that we who preach to the nations the glad joys of your appearing
may be made glad with you in infinite joy. Amen.
Hymn of the Day
Amazing Grace, by Rosemary Siemens. Listen and pray.
Reading of the Day Jeremiah 31:15-20
15 Thus says the Lord:
A voice is heard in Ramah,
lamentation and bitter weeping.
Rachel is weeping for her children;
she refuses to be comforted for her children,
because they are no more.
16 Thus says the Lord:
Keep your voice from weeping,
and your eyes from tears;
for there is a reward for your work,
says the Lord:
they shall come back from the land of the enemy;
17 there is hope for your future,
says the Lord:
your children shall come back to their own country.
18 Indeed I heard Ephraim pleading:
“You disciplined me, and I took the discipline;
I was like a calf untrained.
Bring me back, let me come back,
for you are the Lord my God.
19 For after I had turned away I repented;
and after I was discovered, I struck my thigh;
I was ashamed, and I was dismayed
because I bore the disgrace of my youth.”
20 Is Ephraim my dear son?
Is he the child I delight in?
As often as I speak against him,
I still remember him.
Therefore I am deeply moved for him;
I will surely have mercy on him,
says the Lord.
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. Pray for the thousands who are still being diagnosed positive in the U.S. each day. Please pray especially for Susan Smith's brother-in-law John Krueger, and his family. John has been in the hospital for six weeks, has suffered organ damage, and is currently intubated. In addition, his wife and daughter have also recently tested positive for the virus and are unable to visit at all. Pray today for folks in areas like California where hospital space is unavailable; pray that our high hospitalization rates in Houston would decrease as 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.
Proclaim the good news,
be persistent in prayer,
do the work of the gospel,
and carry out the ministry
of Jesus Christ our Lord. 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.