Fire up the cooking pots!
Set a new place at the table . . .
Just in case she (he) comes home.
"I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God
over one sinner who repents" (Luke 15:10b, NRSV).
Responsive Reading Based on Psalm 32:7
Psalm 32:7: You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with glad cries of deliverance (NRSV).
One Voice: You are our hiding place, O Lord. You preserve us from trouble; you surround us with deliverance
Many Voices: From the mean and malicious
One Voice: Hide us!
Many Voices: In the presence of the unkind and the uncaring
One Voice: Preserve us!
Many Voices: From trouble and temptation
One Voice: Deliver us!
All: Hide us in your love and grant us peace!
Prayer of Confession
O God, just as there is a bit of the Prodigal in each person, the Elder Brother from the parable is too often present in the church.
It is no secret that some people hesitate to join church because of the ways that some of us have treated newcomers.
Forgive us, Lord, for our lack of hospitality toward strangers.
Forgive us, Lord, for any ways that we make it difficult for new people to find comfortable space in our congregation.
Forgive us, Lord, for jealously and infighting.
Teach us, Lord, how to receive people whose sins have been made public.
Teach us, Lord, how to make our circles large enough to include others
Teach us, Lord, how to love one another beyond any faults we may see.
(Silent prayer and meditation)
Leader: Hear the good news, while we were yet sinners, God loved us and longed for us.
If we but confess our sins, we are forgiven and our sins are remembered no more.
In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven!
People to one another: In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven!
Glory to God.