This week concludes the first half of the series and the letter to the Ephesians. The passage ends with a prayer that is more like a hope or an inspiration for the community of faith to embrace. At the core of the prayer is the reminder that we can do nothing without being “rooted and grounded in love.” That is the source of our strength and the directing impetus for all of our acting in the world, as well as the ongoing discipleship process. We are works in progress, and it is love that shapes us. So, let’s worship today inviting the love of God to continue that transforming work within us and through us into the world around us.
We have Often Perpetuated the Divisions Christ Came to Destroy
(Based on Ephesians 3:14-21)
Merciful God, we have not loved you with all our being. In your kindness, you formed the world as one glorious, diverse, many-colored place; in our stubbornness and sinful pride, we have distorted your intention for humanity and for all creation. As your church, we have often perpetuated the divisions Christ came to destroy. In your grace, forgive us and free us from the grip of sin. Help us to worship and serve you joyfully for the sake of the salvation of the entire world through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.
Valerie Bridgeman Davis, The Africana Worship Book for Year B, Discipleship Resources, 2007, 159.
Sunday Prayer: God in Unexpected Ways
“May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love . . .”
Holy God, bless our lives, sanctify us,
and in your way, grant us our hearts desire.
Anoint us with your grace, that what we desire is also what you desire.
Help us to understand that our hearts’ true desire is the love of you.
May the love of Christ urge us on, may we walk by faith.
Thank you God, for all our blessings.
Holy God, bless those who govern –
Bless the leaders of nations, countries, towns, and cities.
And those who lead in all manner – social, political, and religious –
Bless us all. Fill the hearts of all with your wisdom.
Guide us in the way of justice and integrity for all.
Guide us to walk by faith.
Holy God, tend to those who suffer in mind, body, and spirit.
Tend to the tired, the dying, the poor and the hungry.
Help us to follow the love of Christ, a love which urges us on.
Help us to seek and serve Christ in others, bringing forth a new creation.
Holy God, we ask all this in the name of Christ, our redeemer.
Holy God, we ask all this by the Holy Spirit who activates your love in us.
Holy God we ask all this that your love may be like seed scattered—
manifesting in small and unexpected ways—the greatness of You.
May your love may take root in our lives, and we may walk by faith. Amen.
Written by Rev. Terri C. Pilarski, on the Words Matter.Episcopal site, http://expansivelanguage.blogspot.ca/.
Call to Reconciliation
God looks at us, to see if we are wise enough
to offer confession, to receive forgiveness,
to seek to know the healing love of Christ.
Let us prove our wisdom, and set aside our
foolish pride, as we pray together,
Unison Prayer of Confession
Wisdom's Heart: deep within, we know how we
have failed to be your people. Our hardened hearts
are closed to the love of Christ; our lust for more
and more blocks the fullness of your grace from
transforming our lives; our trust in the powers of
the world reveals our foolish nature.
Have mercy, God of every generation. Pour out
the rich blessing of forgiveness on our parched
souls. Feed us with Heaven's Bread, so we might
be nourished by your gentleness. Shape us as
your people, and restore us to faithful living,
as we seek to follow our Lord and Savior,
Jesus Christ, in service to everyone we meet.
Silent prayers may be offered.
Assurance of Pardon
The wideness of God's mercy, the range of
God's forgiveness, the infinite love of God,
the Heart of hope which is never empty: all
these gifts are ours, as God restores us to
the fullness of life meant for us.
Grounded in love, rooted in discipleship,
we offer ourselves in service to others,
recognizing the limitless grace which
is ours to share in Christ. Thanks be to
Written by Thom Shuman, and posted on Lectionary Liturgies. Reposted: https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2012/07/confession-proper-12-b_15.html.
A Summer Prayer for Grace
God of gentle rains and warm sun, God who encourages growth;
we are creatures who sometimes grow quickly,
and sometimes get stuck.
God of freedom, of liberation, of binding ropes being cut;
we are bound in ways we don't always understand or recognize.
God of exodus and exile and homecoming,
God who calls us to leave where we are and come home;
help us to have the courage to make the journey
and to trust in the path.
God of health and healing,
God who wants us to be made whole;
we come as people who are wounded in body and in spirit,
people who seek healing.
God who has laid out a way for us to live,
who has given us rules for living in community;
we come as people who sometimes go astray,
people who stretch the rules.
God of Grace,
we come as people who live through that Grace.
And so we praise you for the growth,
we rejoice in being set free,
we dance along the path that leads us home,
we give thanks for the healing we have received,
we relax in the knowledge that we are forgiven
and we live as people of Grace. Amen.
Written by Rev Gord and posted on Worship Offerings, https://worshipofferings.blogspot.com/2013/06/a-summer-prayer-for-grace.html.
A Kiss from Mercy
A Liturgy on God's Mercy
I've been kissed by the lips of mercy.
Such words, how do I express?
How could I say, "thank you"?
And how could I say "yes"?
Mercy’s kiss erased the scars.
Mercy’s kiss eased the pain.
Mercy’s kiss cleared my day.
Mercy’s kiss dried up all the rain.
Mercy, I am so glad that you've given me another chance. Into to window of my future, I've had the opportunity to glance.
Mercy’s kiss has lasted a lifetime.
The imprint has never left my face.
Thank you, God, for your kiss
of mercy -- so much easier have you made this race.
Mercy’s kiss is still felt, as if it were given today.
The price that once indebted me, no longer shall I pay.
It reminds me that I am favored.
It reminds me that I am blessed.
Lord, how can I say, "thank you"?
And how can I say "yes"?
Kaleb A. Oates, Africana Liturgical Resources, Pentecost Package 1, ed. Safiyah Fosua.
More than We Could Ever Dream
Based on Ephesians 3:14-21
One: Since you are being rooted and grounded in love, we pray Christ will live in your hearts through faith.
Many: We pray you will have strength by the power of Christ’s Spirit according to his glorious riches.
One: We pray that you will have power to know and understand with all the saints of God, just how wide, how long, how high, and how deep the love of God really is.
Many: We pray the fullness of God will fill you through and through.
All: Now to God, our Creator; Jesus Christ, our Redeemer; and the Holy Spirit, our sustainer, who is able to do far more than we could ever dream of according to the power that works in us; be glory in the church from now to the end of the age. Amen.
Bryan K. Fleet, The Africana Worship Book for Year B, Discipleship Resources, 2007, p. 219.
(based on Ephesians 3:16-21, The Message)
I ask God to strengthen you by the power of the Spirit—
not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—
that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in.
And I ask God that
with both feet planted firmly on love
you’ll be able to take in with all Christians
the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love.
Reach out and experience the breadth!
Test its length!
Plumb the depths!
Rise to the heights!
Live full lives—full in the fullness of God.
God can do anything, you know—
far more than you could ever imagine or guess
or request in your wildest dreams!
Not by pushing us around
but by working within us,
through the power of God’s Spirit.
All glory to the God of Creation!
All glory to the Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ!
And all glory to the Spirit of God, at work among us and within us!
Go in the love of God!