“God be with you till we meet again; when life’s perils thick confound you, put unfailing arms around you…”
—Jeremiah Eames Ranken, 1880
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 1 Corinthians 13:13
Now faith, hope, and love abide;
and the greatest of these is love.
Prayer Toyohiko Kagawa (1888-1960)
O God, show us clearly the heart of your kingdom.
We do not protest
even if our life is destined to lead to the cross,
or if the way leads to losing our lives.
We will march in the face of distress and contrary winds.
Teach us how to dispense with unnecessary things.
Let us go forward without fear of death
in order to fulfill our mission simply, surely, and steadily.
Reveal to us our station clearly,
and strengthen us to teach and guide, by our example, all persons,
even those who are ruled by evil.
We pray that you may find us worthy to work through us. Amen.
Hymn of the Day
Welcome Table, from A Southern Gospel Revival- Courtney Patton. Listen and pray.
Reading of the Day 1 Corinthians 8: 1-13
1 Now concerning food sacrificed to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. 2 Anyone who claims to know something does not yet have the necessary knowledge; 3 but anyone who loves God is known by him.
4 Hence, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “no idol in the world really exists,” and that “there is no God but one.” 5 Indeed, even though there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as in fact there are many gods and many lords— 6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.
7 It is not everyone, however, who has this knowledge. Since some have become so accustomed to idols until now, they still think of the food they eat as food offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. 8 “Food will not bring us close to God.” We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. 9 But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if others see you, who possess knowledge, eating in the temple of an idol, might they not, since their conscience is weak, be encouraged to the point of eating food sacrificed to idols? 11 So by your knowledge those weak believers for whom Christ died are destroyed. 12 But when you thus sin against members of your family, and wound their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if food is a cause of their falling, I will never eat meat, so that I may not cause one of them to fall.
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, and for the thousands who are dying. Please continue to pray for Marcy Szeliga, working as a nurse in a COVID ICU unit; for Frances Gutierrez and her daughters, all recovering from the virus at home; and for Brandon Jantzen and his family— Brandon is experiencing continuing health problems after having Covid. Pray for children who have struggled in school this year due to the pandemic— whether on campus or learning from home. 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.
Now may the Lord of peace
give you peace at all times
and in all ways.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ
be with all of you.
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.