This blog is a record of the call to worship, Scripture readings, and prayers from our Sunday liturgies. If you are interested in writing something for the liturgy, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Call to Worship
Create clean hearts in us, and renew our spirits,
You who are quick to forgive
and slow to anger.
Make us into new creatures
With eyes calibrated with compassion
And tongues tuned to Your song.
Shine Your love on us
teach us to reflect it
toward one another
and back to You,
until nothing is the same.
The Lord said to Moses, "Go down at once! Your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have acted perversely; they have been quick to turn aside from the way that I commanded them; they have cast for themselves an image of a calf, and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, `These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!'" The Lord said to Moses, "I have seen this people, how stiff-necked they are. Now let me alone, so that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them; and of you I will make a great nation."
But Moses implored the Lord his God, and said, "O Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, `It was with evil intent that he brought them out to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth'? Turn from your fierce wrath; change your mind and do not bring disaster on your people.
Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, how you swore to them by your own self, saying to them, `I will multiply your descendants like the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.'" And the Lord changed his mind about the disaster that he planned to bring on his people.
All the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to Jesus. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, "This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them."
So he told them this parable: "Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, `Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.' Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
"Or what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, `Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.' Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."
This week's prayer was written by Mike Robinson:
Lord, on this 15th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks, we pause to remember, mourn, and plead. We pause to remember those thousands of innocents who died on this day so long ago (as well as those not so innocent); we pause to remember that they were more than names or even faces on computer screens, or televisions, or printed pages; like us, they were living, breathing, laughing, hoping, seeking human beings—women and men, girls and boys, who died because of tainted ideologies and disregard for human life. We also remember the thousands upon thousands who have died since that time for similar reasons, in the Middle East and beyond—and for those who have been and continue to be injured, displaced, disenfranchised, ignored, and hated. Lord, we remember them this day. Forgive us when we forget.
We also pause to mourn—to mourn for those who died or who continue to suffer. Lord, at UBC, we seek to love you, to embrace beauty, and to live life to the fullest; yet we lament our own failure and the failure of others to love; we grieve over the ugliness that often scars your world; and we cry out against the brokenness that interrupts abundant living—the hatred, selfishness, obsessions, and violence within ourselves and others. Lord, help us grieve as you grieve for this world you love.
God, we also plead; we plead for your salvation, your healing, your forgiveness, your peace, your righteousness, your justice. We petition you for our own redemption, and the redemption of our communities, our nation, our world. We even pray for our enemies—the perpetrators of these crimes in the past and in the present. (God, these words are not easy to say and even harder to mean; but we say them and seek to mean them for your glory). Redeem our enemies from their own violence, their selfishness, fear, poverty, and hopelessness—even as you are redeeming us from these sins and their consequences. May our enemies come to love you (and others), embrace beauty, and live life to the fullest! And may we do the same. Amen!