A brief note on addressing the congregation:
As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I say “dear ones” a lot. That works for who I am and the feminine hospitality I try to impart, but it is not by any means necessary. I used to like saying “friends,” but years ago that’s how a political candidate kept addressing crowds during his campaign [bonus points if anyone remembers who], so I switched to avoid that reference. So find what works for you. And in other ways feel free to change the liturgy as fits your needs. These are living words, and at every step of their use I pray that the Spirit guides them ever more effectively home.
CALL TO WORSHIP
One: We sing aloud to God our strength.
All: We sing of all the times God has helped us.
One: We praise the Lord of the least.
All: We praise the Lord who helps us be a faithful community.
One: Glory be to the God with us.
All: Glory be to the God of all creation. Let us faithfully worship the Lord.
O Holy One, we again gather to get more clarity on how to be in relationship with you and your creation. We again hear how your priorities are different than ours. Help us learn to be more true to you today. Help us sit in the right place, let go of our own stubbornness and self-importance and instead engage in mutual love as you have taught us. Amen.
CALL TO CONFESSION
In our Psalm today God laments, “But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels. O that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways!” Let us today get out of our own way. Let us confess our sins, get over our stubbornness, and provide ears and hearts and minds to listen. Let us together pray:
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Gracious God, we have not been your people. We have not extended your hospitality. We have not cared for those in prisons of the state or the mind or in relationships. We have not cared for those tortured in their own selves, or those caught in war, or those running away from it. We love money and power, and flee from finding contentment and peace in life and in you. Forgive us our fickle and destructive ways, please. Help us come to a fuller understanding of this life in you. Forgive us our sins and wash us anew. Amen.
ASSURANCE OF PARDON
Dear ones, Paul said “through Jesus Christ, then, let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name.” We know that Christ is ready to forgive so much so that I can declare to you that in his name your sins are forgiven. Now go and sin no more.
CALL FOR THE OFFERING
Paul said, “Keep your lives free from the love of money!” and “do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” Let us remember that money is just that -not our worth, and that it comes by chance and not according to what we deserve. So let us share it freely with others that they may be cared for as well. Let us bring forth our tithes and our offerings.
PRAYER OF DEDICATION
Holy God, please take this paper and these coins that we bring before you and transform them into something new. May they show your hospitality, your love and your justice as they push us towards your righteousness in this world. Amen.