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
the One in whom we live and move and have our being
to enter into God’s story
and find our own stories transformed
and to invite the Spirit to shape our hearts and minds
into the way of Christ,
that we might come alongside the work of God in the world
with our whole lives.
Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14; 2:18-23
Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
I, the Teacher, when king over Israel in Jerusalem, applied my mind to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven; it is an unhappy business that God has given to human beings to be busy with. I saw all the deeds that are done under the sun; and see, all is vanity and a chasing after wind.
I hated all my toil in which I had toiled under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to those who come after me --and who knows whether they will be wise or foolish? Yet they will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity.
So I turned and gave my heart up to despair concerning all the toil of my labors under the sun, because sometimes one who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave all to be enjoyed by another who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil.
What do mortals get from all the toil and strain with which they toil under the sun? For all their days are full of pain, and their work is a vexation; even at night their minds do not rest. This also is vanity.
Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me." But he said to him, "Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?"
And he said to them, "Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one's life does not consist in the abundance of possessions." Then he told them a parable: "The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, `What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?'
Then he said, `I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, `Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.'
But God said to him, `You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?' So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God."
God, we come to you bearing the grief of yesterday’s act of terror in El Paso.
We come to you grieving the loss of life—the stopped hearts and the scarred hearts.
We grieve the anti-Christ poison of white nationalism, and that those who harbor it within themselves feel emboldened by our public discourse about immigration in general, and the rhetoric of the president in particular.
We grieve that black and brown bodies are sacrificed at the altar of inaction as this hate perpetuates itself.
We bear also the grief of this morning’s shooting in Ohio. We grieve the stopped hearts and the scarred hearts.
And we grieve that something so unthinkable has become so commonplace.
We grieve that a country so self confident in its own power is seemingly impotent to deal meaningfully with gun violence.
We grieve that so many lives have been sacrificed at the altar of inaction as this violence perpetuates itself.
We ask that you would continue to be present in both of these newly grieving communities, that you would bring comfort, peace, and healing to all those who are learning what it’s like to live in a world without some of the people they love in it.
And we ask that you would bring this same comfort, peace, and healing to all those who are learning what it’s like to live in a world where someone they love has done a terrible thing.
We ask also that you would be with the countless hospital workers and neighbors who are becoming the agents of that comfort, peace, and healing, that you would give them strength.
We confess that the scope of this evil in our culture is overwhelming, and there are days where we feel helpless. But we cling to the hope that you are emphatically not helpless. And so, we ask that you would bless us with the foolishness to think we can make a difference in the world, and that your Spirit would drive us to do just that.
And so in these next few moments of silence, we ask that the Spirit would intercede for us with groans too deep for words, as we grieve with our brothers and sisters. And that the Spirit would begin to shape our imaginations to build a world where the unthinkable isn’t a daily or weekly occurrence.