October 2020


On These Two Commandments

Pressing On

Reformation Sunday, Year A

Reformation Sunday is an interesting event. In one sense, it has become an opportunity for all non-Catholic churches to celebrate their history that Luther and then others led in a break from the Roman influence in Europe. Some historians claim that it was on October 31 that Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the Wittenberg church door. So, this is the Sunday closest to that event.

Reformation Sunday (see Planning Worship for further information on this) might not be a United Methodist observance, but it could be an opportunity to celebrate our unique relationship with Protestant history and tradition. The theme this week does provide, however, an opportunity to reclaim the fundamentals of the faith, the greatest commandments as Jesus presented them. We are able to press on toward God’s future only by standing firm on the core of the faith— that as disciples of Jesus Christ we are to love God with all our heart and mind and soul and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Call to Worship

[Using THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2168, “Love the Lord Your God,” offer the following call to worship as directed.]

L: They asked Jesus, “What is the greatest commandment?”
P: He said that each one should love the Lord their God with all their hearts and with all their souls and with all their minds.

Soloist: singing “Love the Lord Your God” one time through

L: Jesus has given all of us the key to faithful discipleship.
P: Yet he added something that they had counted as unimportant.
L: That’s right! He said that they should also love their neighbors as they loved themselves.
P: That’s not always easy, but it is vitally important.

Soloist: singing “Love the Lord Your God” one time through

L: Thanks be to Jesus who gives us the total picture of faithful discipleship.
P: Open our hearts, Lord, today that we might truly follow these commandments. AMEN

Nancy Townley, Ministry Matters, Classic Worship Connection, Oct 29, 2017.

Litany of Commitment to God's Word (for Reformation Day)

Leader: Let us pray. Almighty God, by your holy word, all that we know has come into existence: our universe, our world, our lives, our loved ones, and all that we have and hold so dear. By your holy word, you sent forth your Son to bring us salvation through the cross of death and resurrection. By your holy word, you have called us together to be a Church of love and service in the world. By your holy word, we know that we live in grace and hope. Keep us ever close to your word, that it might be written upon our hearts.
People: We commit our lives to your word, O God.
Leader: Help us to grow in faith and love toward you, so that we might always live in trust and hope.
People: We commit our lives to your word, O God.
Leader: Center us in routines that keep us close to you, O Lord. Center us in weekly worship.
People: We commit our lives to your word, O God.
Leader: Center us in daily prayer.
People: We commit our lives to your word, O God.
Leader: Center us in knowledge of holy scripture.
People: We commit our lives to your word, O God.
Leader: Center us in the mission of the church.
People: We commit our lives to your word, O God.
Leader: Center us in lives of thankful giving and loving for all the blessings which you have bestowed upon us.
People: We commit our lives to your word, O God.
Leader: By your word, O Lord, guide our lives, forgive our sins, inspire our thoughts, shape our attitudes, lighten our darkness, give us eternal hope, and fill our hearts with joy, assuring us of your constant presence, until you bring us at last into the glories of your heavenly kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
People: Amen

by The Rev. Thomas L. Weitzel, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, https://www.liturgybytlw.com/Pentecost/Reforma.html

Prayer for Reformation Sunday

Here we stand, Lord,
The people you have redeemed.
Here we stand, Lord,
giving thanks to you for you are good.
We give thanks that your love lasts forever.
We thank you that you free those who are oppressed.

Here we stand knowing that it is you
We all can cry out to for help in times of trouble.
We know that you will not only deliver us but
That you will lead our way to where we need to go.

Here we stand by the living water
That you set flowing for all.
We drink freely from your waters
That gratifies everyone who is thirsty.
And we thank you that you also
Give plenty to eat for those who are hungry.

Here we stand with those who reformed the church so long ago
And with those who still are reforming the church today.
Here we stand witnesses to your good news for all.
Here we stand your servants, your followers, your children.

By Rev. Abi, http://revgalblogpals.blogspot.com/2011/10/prayer-for-reformation-sunday.html

Unison Prayer


May I speak each day according to Thy justice,
Each day may I show Thy chastening, O God,
May I speak each day according to Thy Wisdom,
Each day and night may I be at peace with Thee.

Each day may I count the causes of Thy mercy,
May I each day give heed to Thy laws;
Each day may I compose to Thee a song,
May I harp each day Thy praise, O God.

May I each day give love to Thee, Jesu,
Each night may I do the same,
Each day and night, dark and light,
May I laud Thy goodness to me, O God.

Alexander Carmichael, Celtic Invocations, Vineyard Book, p.71.

Personal Prayer for Power to Love

“I Am Tempted to Hate”

Eternal God,
I can identify hatred by its mean little eyes
and its clinched fists.
Make me big enough to love, love, love.
I know injury when I have suffered it.
Help me to be magnanimous as our Lord Jesus was.
I know about doubt.
I have felt it threaten to shake my security to pieces.
Give me the kind of faith
that hangs on and hangs in there.
Deliver me from incapacitating despair;
wander with me
in whatever my particular kind of darkness may be.
And when I am sad,
let not my sadness so overwhelm me
that I forget the rumble of joy
at the heart of the universe.
I know I ask a lot, O God,
when I ask for these gifts of the Spirit.

So I rest back for these moments of prayer
on my faith that you are.
I breathe deeply and relax the tense will,
the rigid self-control,
the taut fixed features
of the image I maintain before my fellow human beings.
I just am who I am with you,
O God of Life.

Make me an instrument of your peace,
so that where there is hatred, I can love,
where there is injury, I can pardon.
In the spirit of him
Who was the great instrument of your salvation,
Even Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Kenneth G. Phifer, A Book of Uncommon Prayer, The Upper Room, p.48.

In This Series...

Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Reformation Sunday, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes