Sweet the rain’s new fall, sunlit from heaven, like the first dewfall on the first grass. —-Eleanor Farjeon, 1931
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 28: 6-7
Do not be afraid: Jesus is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!
Prayer Book of Common Worship, PC(USA)
O Holy God, creator of all,
the risen Christ taught from scripture
of his death, resurrection,
and ascension into your glorious presence.
May the living Lord
breathe on us his peace,
that our eyes may be opened
to recognize him in breaking bread,
and to follow wherever he leads,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen.
Hymn of the Day
Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee (Ode to Joy), #464, Presbyterian Hymnal. This is one you can listen to and rejoice, but for full effect you need to watch it. Witness the power of music to bring delight into our lives, and joy into hearts. Thanks be to God. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxLbmnvMWM0&pbjreload=10
Watch, listen and pray.
Reading of the Day: Colossians 1: 15-23
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; 16 for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.
21 And you who were once estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through death, so as to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him— 23 provided that you continue securely established and steadfast in the faith, without shifting from the hope promised by the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven. I, Paul, became a servant of this gospel.
Prayers for self and others
Please pray today for those who are being affected by COVID 19, including Mark Sabala and Marcy Szeliga in their work as nurses, Debbi’s daughter Linda’s neighbors, Star Sims and her sister, brother-in-law, and nephew, all hospitalized with the virus, and the family of Lynn Thygessen, Donna Ardell’s cousin, who has died of the virus. Pray for those who are homeless during this time, as they are particularly vulnerable to illness. 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 go forth in Jesus name,
remembering his new commandment
to love one another,
just as he has loved us. Amen.
Bonus reading— I read this in a resource that I receive each week-- the SALT Project-- and it nourished my soul. Maybe it will lift you up too.
[I THANK YOU GOD FOR MOST THIS AMAZING]
by e.e. cummings
i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today
and this is the sun's birthday;this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings;and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any—lifted from the no
of all nothing—human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
+ e e cummings
e e cummings was the son of a Harvard professor who left the academy to become the ordained minister of South Congregational Church in Boston. In this poem, cumming’s own theology comes through - influenced by both traditional Christianity and the transcendentalism of Ralph Waldo Emerson - in a playful, modernist take on an Elizabethan sonnet (fourteen lines, closing couplet, and a rhyme scheme of ABAB CDCD EFEF GG).
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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.