What else needs to be said about the most famous chapter in all the Epistles? Probably a lot. Have we really listened to the words here? It might be good this week to chop up the text and deal with it in pieces throughout the whole service. Read and contemplate, for example, or read and pray, read and sing, read and preach. There are lots of different ways to approach this over-familiar text. But one of the keys this week is to hear these words as instructions, not really for couples about to be married, but for communities of faith in how they live together day by day. Also, they are words for how to interact with the world around them. What a difference it might make if we understood these words to define how we respond on social media, or how we interact with the news, or how we respond to what might feel like an attack on our beliefs. Paul was seeking to heal a broken church with these words. Let’s listen to them again.
(based on 1 Corinthians 13:1-13)
And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three;
and the greatest of these is love. I Cor.13:13
God of Gods:
We come to worship today to hear your good news,
to hear of faith, hope and love
ringing out from your kingdom.
We know that doubt, fear and hatred
can shake even the strongest.
Shape us into faithful hopeful people,
fill us with your love that passes all understanding.
We pray this together in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Written by Carol Penner and Posted on Leading in Worship. http://carolpenner.typepad.com/leadinginworship. Reposted: https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2013/01/opening-prayer-faith-hope-and-love.html.
Prayer: We Are Selfish
Gracious God, how often does selfishness wash through our good intentions? How often do we speak bold, sophisticated words to impress others? How often do we forget that we are what we are because of you? Remind us that our abilities are your gifts to us. Remind us that that you loaned us some possessions in hopes that we would help others with them. If we are guilty of living only to impress others – forgive us. If we gain status only by putting someone else down – forgive us. If we do things only for applause – forgive us. If all we do sounds like clanging cymbals and noisy gongs to you – call us to repent. Humble us enough to serve. Humble us enough to pray. Humble us enough to love you and people who may never say thank you to us.
Kwasi Kena, The Africana Worship Book for Year C, (Discipleship Resources, 2008), 144.
Prayer of Intercession: Your Love
(inspired by 1 Corinthians 13: 1-13)
Your love is patient;
we give you thanks for all those who have been patient with us
and have taught and cared for us;
and we pray for the patience to love others
as you have loved us.
Your love is kind;
give us the courage to be kind to others
and to serve those with patience
who are so often unkind, rude, difficult to love, or our enemies.
They are your children and our sisters and brothers
and they were made in your image.
Your love is not pompous;
give us insight to speak the truth in love
and for the sake of your kingdom
and not out of a need to appear clever or right
and in all our relationships
give us the wisdom to listen far more than we speak.
Your love does not seek its own interests;
we thank you and pray for those who serve the poor and those in need,
who give tirelessly of themselves and who have much to do
and little time for themselves.
Your love is not quick-tempered;
we pray for those who are angry
and for the violent and their victims;
for children who fear, elders who are abused,
and people trapped in relationships that injure and harm.
Your love bears all things;
we remember before you those with heavy burdens,
many cares, much stress, and too little comfort and help.
Open our eyes to those around us and their needs
and give us the wisdom to offer help
without any prying or sense of superiority.
Your love never fails;
even death does not trespass on the breadth and depth of your love.
We thank you for those we have loved in this life
and who now dwell in the peace and joy of your presence
and let your comfort settle on those who are bereaved
or who are lonely this day.
In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen
Posted on The Presbyterian Church in Canada website, http://presbyterian.ca. Reposted: https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2016/01/prayer-for-others-your-love.html.