“One in love, Your truth confessing, one in hope of heaven’s blessing, may we see in love’s possessing, love’s endless light!”
—-James Quinn, 1969
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 1: 1, 14
In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
Prayer Paraphrased by Rev. Sarah Dylan Breuer
This week we will pray alternative versions of the Lord’s Prayer, to get yet another sense of what those words might mean. This is not meant to supplant the traditional version, but to add to its meaning.
we honor you,
and we honor all that you have made.
Renew the whole world
in the image of your love.
Give us what we need for today,
and a hunger to see the whole world fed.
Strengthen us for what lies ahead;
heal us from the hurts of the past;
give us courage to follow your call in this moment.
For your love is the only power,
the only home,
the only honor we need,
in this world and in the world to come. Amen.
Hymn of the Day
“Look at the World,” by John Rutter. Listen and pray!
Reading of the Day: Romans 9: 1-18
1 I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience confirms it by the Holy Spirit— 2 I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people, my kindred according to the flesh. 4 They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; 5 to them belong the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, comes the Messiah, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.
6 It is not as though the word of God had failed. For not all Israelites truly belong to Israel, 7 and not all of Abraham’s children are his true descendants; but “It is through Isaac that descendants shall be named for you.” 8 This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as descendants. 9 For this is what the promise said, “About this time I will return and Sarah shall have a son.” 10 Nor is that all; something similar happened to Rebecca when she had conceived children by one husband, our ancestor Isaac. 11 Even before they had been born or had done anything good or bad (so that God’s purpose of election might continue, 12 not by works but by his call) she was told, “The elder shall serve the younger.” 13 As it is written,
“I have loved Jacob,
but I have hated Esau.”
14 What then are we to say? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses,
“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”
16 So it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God who shows mercy. 17 For the scripture says to Pharaoh, “I have raised you up for the very purpose of showing my power in you, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he chooses, and he hardens the heart of whomever he chooses.
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 60 hour weeks as a case investigator and contact tracer, for the Howell family, the Pena family, Debbi’s son-in-law’s friend Leah and her daughter, and for all others who have been recently diagnosed with- or are recovering from- the virus. Today pray for people suffering domestic violence—dramatically increased during this time— that God would be with both them and their abusers, and would bring them to real safety. 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 the Lamb upon the throne
be your shepherd,
guiding you to the water of life,
and wiping away every tear.
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.