Strike the Rock

Through the Wilderness

Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A

What if the theme for the week, “Strike the Rock,” becomes a call for deeper living? “Strike the rock” means lean on God, trust in Jesus. Strike the rock means find the joy even in difficult moments, even in the wilderness. Striking the rock is trusting that there is a way forward even when it seems like there is no way. Striking the rock is a declaration of faith, even when it seems like giving up makes more sense.

Following God’s direction may seem odd at times. Standing apart from the crowd, speaking against the casual hate, clinging to hope in difficult times is the narrow path. But we’re called to strike the rock and bring forth the refreshing water for the whole community. What actions of holy boldness can you feature in worship today? What seemingly fruitless action actually sustains and strengthens those around you? What source of living water can the church be so that the surrounding community can have their thirst quenched?

Call to Worship Litany

(based on Psalm 78: 1-4, 12-16)

We come to worship and praise our God,
and to learn more about the wonders of our God.
How great and wonderful is our Compassionate God.

We come, with ears and hearts open to God,
ready to discover more of God’s mysteries and miracles.
How generous and caring is our Unchanging God.

We gather to share together in our common history,
and to experience the enrichment which that brings us.
All praise and honour to God for past and present
blessings, and for God’s merciful love and grace. Amen.

(Copyright © 2011 Joan Stott – "The Timeless Psalms" RCL Psalm Year A. Used with permission.

Opening Prayer

(inspired by Psalm 42, Psalm 78, Psalm 104)

God, you split rocks in the wilderness,
and gave your people abundant drink, as from the deep.
Come to us, Lord.
Give us that abundant water.

You made streams come out of the rock,
and caused waters to flow down like rivers.
Come to us, Lord.
Send the waters down upon us.

You turned the desert into pools of water,
the parched land into springs of water.
Come to us, Lord.
Create springs in the parched desert of our hearts.

As a deer longs for flowing streams,
so my soul longs for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
Come to us, Lord, and fill our longing.

(posted on Living Waters for the World,

Litany of Praise

“Tell Us a Story”
(Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16)

One: Listen up people, open your ears to what I have to say.
Many: Open your mouth and tell us a story, just like the parables of old.

One: Well, you want me to tell you what you have heard and known, what the old folks have already told you?
Many: Yes, tell us again.

One: Do not hide the love and the law of the Lord from your children.
Many: We must tell them of the praises, power, and might of the Lord.

One: We must tell them of the wonderful strength of the Lord and the great things God has done for us.
Many: Yes, we must tell the children of the marvelous works God did in the sight of the old folks in the old days.

One: God rescued us from slavery; God was a bridge over troubled waters; God led us by day and night.
Many: God gave water when we were thirsty, food when we were hungry, our shepherd by day and night.

One: Listen up people, open your ears to what I have to say.
Many: We must be storytellers and story listeners too! For our children must know the great deeds of the Lord.

(Eugene Blair, The Africana Worship Book: Year A, Discipleship Resources, 2006, p. 121.)

A Statement of Faith

We are the people of God.
We are a sign of the New World.
We are the sisters and brothers of Jesus.
We believe in God. We believe in the goodness of God, the presence of God in human history, and the nearness of God’s love.
We believe in Christ. We believe that God was and is revealed in human life, that out of human suffering may come rescue and healing, that out of death comes new life.
We believe in the Eternal Spirit, who moves among God’s people and invited the world into God’s reign. We believe that the world can change, that peace and wholeness can come, that the New World can arrive.
We are the people of God.
We are the sign of the New World.
We are the brothers and sisters of Jesus.

(David Beebe, Flames of the Spirit, edited by Ruth Duck, Pilgrim Press, p. 92)


Faithful God of love,
you blessed us with your servant Son
so that we might know how to serve your people
with justice and with mercy.
We gather the needs of ourselves and others,
and offer them to you in faith and love,
seeking to be strengthened to meet them.

Prayers of the People, concluding with:

Shape us and transform us by your grace,
that we may grow in wisdom and in confidence,
never faltering until we have done all that you desire
to bring your realm of shalom to fulfillment. Amen.

Scripture Prayer

Enduring Presence,
goal and guide,
you go before and await our coming.
Only our thirst compels us
beyond complaint to conversation,
beyond rejection to relationship.
Pour your love into our hearts,
that, refreshed and renewed,
we may invite others to the living water
given to us in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

(from Vanderbilt Divinity School,

Prayer of Confession (Philippians 2, Exodus 17, Matthew 21)

God of patience,
your people grow weary.
We complain and question.
We put you to the test.
Our mouths say yes,
but our deeds say no.
When we wander off your path,
when we fail to follow through on our good intentions, when we give our attention to trivial things;
gently call us back to you.
Empty our hearts of anger and pride.
Empty our souls of greed and selfishness.
Empty our minds of envy, doubt, and mistrust.
As you poured out your very self
through your beloved Son,
pour your Spirit into our hearts today.
Forgive us our wrongdoing.
Reclaim us with your love.

Words of Assurance (Exodus 17)

Friends in Christ,
our God is patient, steadfast, and understanding.
Christ hears our cries of repentance.
The Lord knows our hearts, inside and out.
The One who created us promises to care for us,
even when we turn away.
Hear these words of forgiveness.
Be strengthened to walk as disciples.
Trust in God's mercy. Amen.

(Shelley Cunningham, Ministry Matters,

In This Series...

Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes