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, or if you have a concern about any aspect of our liturgy, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Call to Worship
we have gathered to worship the Living God
to direct our attention to the One in whom we live
and move and have our being
to step into God’s story
and find our own stories reimagined
and to seek the Spirit of God
to form us in the way of Christ
and awaken us to the Kingdom of God in our midst
Exodus 12:1-4, 5-10, 11-14
The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: This month shall mark for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you. Tell the whole congregation of Israel that on the tenth of this month they are to take a lamb for each family, a lamb for each household. If a household is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join its closest neighbor in obtaining one; the lamb shall be divided in proportion to the number of people who eat of it.
Your lamb shall be without blemish, a year-old male; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; then the whole assembled congregation of Israel shall slaughter it at twilight.
They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. They shall eat the lamb that same night; they shall eat it roasted over the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted over the fire, with its head, legs, and inner organs. You shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn.
This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly. It is the passover of the Lord. For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both human beings and animals; on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live: when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.
This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord; throughout your generations you shall observe it as a perpetual ordinance.
Jesus said, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink.
Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.”
This week's prayer was for teachers and students as they enter another year of education, and it was written by Allison Figley:
A prayer for education in the current broken state of society seems an overwhelming task. The statistics that label schools as a direct pipeline to prisons are simultaneously undeniable and heartbreaking. Students who are homeless, hungry, abused, or parentless enter classrooms seeking respite from the hand they have been dealt, and we expect them to focus on such seemingly trivial matters as grammar, algebra, and standardized tests. For teachers, administrators, counselors, parents, and students alike, the reality is daunting and seemingly insurmountable. It is unfortunately no surprise that over 1.2 million high school students drop out each year in the US alone, equating to 1 student every 26 seconds.
However discouraging the statistics may be, Lord, help those of us who serve as educators to remember 2 Corinthians 4:16-18:
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
On those days that that “one kid” in our class is disruptive and refuses to participate, remind us that the same student might not know where he is sleeping that night, and give us patience and gentleness.
When a student talks back and is sent to the office on a daily basis, remind us of the student from the past just like her who apologized three years later for the way she behaved, and give us peace and understanding.
When the student who struggles daily but works so hard finally experiences a “light bulb” moment, give us the sense of mind to celebrate with him in the moment, sharing our joy with love and kindness rather than quickly moving on for lack of time.
As Galatians 6:9 charges us,
9 Let us not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.
Father, we pray that all who have been called to the mission of education, no matter their title, would remember these words. Though we may not always glimpse the harvest from the seeds we have sown in the moment, the blessing will come if we don’t give up and do everything in love as 1st Corinthians 16:14 implores us. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
As a church, Father, remind us to pray often for both educators and students, to build them up and encourage them on their respective journeys. And as a new school year begins, let us all remember what Nelson Mandela claimed: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” In a world that needs a drastic change for the better, we as educators pray for the courage, faith, hope, and love to be the catalyst for this change. To be the light in the darkness that so many students desperately seek. And we pray, as in Ephesians 3:16-19, “...that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
We love you, Lord, and praise you for the gift and privilege of education. May we all be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God both this school year and always.
In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.