“America! America! God shed His grace on thee!”
—Katharine Lee Bates, 1893
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 Samuel 3:10-11
The Lord is about to do a new thing.
Speak, O God, for your servants are listening.
Prayer Worship Sourcebook (CRC), 2013
you have given us this good land as our heritage.
Help us always to remember your generosity
and constantly do your will.
Bless our land with honest industry, sound learning,
and an honorable way of life.
Save us from violence, discord, and confusion,
from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way.
Defend our liberties and give those whom we have entrusted
with the authority of government the spirit of wisdom,
that there might be justice and peace in our land.
When times are prosperous, let our hearts be thankful;
in troubled times, do not let our trust in you fail.
We ask all this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Hymn of the Day
America the Beautiful, by Ray Charles. Listen and pray.
Reading of the Day 1 Corinthians 12:1-11
1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were pagans, you were enticed and led astray to idols that could not speak. 3 Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says “Let Jesus be cursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit.
4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. 7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.
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. Please pray for President Biden as he takes office today, that his administration would address the needs of the people with wisdom and courage. 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.
Brothers and sisters, your dreams should not go unnoticed.
God knows your dreams.
Now dare to dream out loud
So the world may discover what you and God can do.
Release every God-given dream,
So that others may be inspired to do likewise.
To the author of every good and noble dream, we give all honor and praise. Amen.
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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.