29

May 2022

May

Disturbing the City

We Are Witnesses

Seventh Sunday of Easter, Year C

“Good trouble” is a phrase that has grown in the consciousness of the nation. Representative John Lewis, a towering figure for civil rights, coined the phrase; and more than that, he lived it. Our text for this week says there are wrongs that need righted. But maybe it isn’t quite that clear.

In the planning notes for this week, we invoke the memory of Rep. John Lewis and his phrase “good trouble.” This text is inviting us to consider how we as the church can challenge the status quo. What do we see around us that needs to be changed and how do we go about advocating for that change? This doesn’t have to be a contentious or political argument, but instead an envisioning of the kin-dom of God. If there are hungry in our neighborhood, if there are those who are suffering abuse, if there is fear and division, then God wants the church to be a part of the change. What do you see?

Worship can invoke a concern for the “least of these” in our midst. We often ask God to open our eyes to see the Spirit at work; we need also to have our eyes opened to that which opposes the Spirit’s work of reconciliation. We are called to pay attention, to see the needs around us and to begin to strategize how to meet those needs. And perhaps we need to consider what should change in our society so that oppression doesn’t keep happening, so that abuse doesn’t keep happening.

Maybe you already have some advocacy work taking place in your congregation. Now would be a time to promote that and invite others to join the good work. Or maybe you are feeling helpless and not sure how to respond to the obvious needs around you. This might be a good time to start with prayer and then seek out those who have knowledge. Are there other churches nearby who are doing good work with whom you can partner? Not every congregation has the resources to do every kind of mission, but you can come alongside those who are doing the work.

Here again worship doesn’t begin and end in the sanctuary. It is supposed to be carried out in our living and acting in our community. Our neighborhoods should be better because we are in them. What impact are you having on your local community? If you can identify that, then lift it up and celebrate it today. If you can’t, then ask God to lead you in ways that “help us help each other.”

Prayer of Confession

O Lord,
forgive us when we fail to respond to your call with faith.
Through your Spirit
we stand in the assurance of your acceptance.
Forgive us when we are shackled
by our narrow understandings of discipleship
and our clouded sense of purpose.
Through your Spirit
we are drawn into the illumination of your empowering love.
Forgive us when we are frightened of the future
or pull back from the demand of your calling.
Forgive us when we fail to sense your presence in our past,
to acknowledge your grace in the present moment,
and to trust you for our future.
Through your Spirit we offer ourselves in discipleship.
We stand together as your disciples.
We seek renewed and renewing faith.
Touch us now with your Spirit, Lord.
Touch us now with your Spirit.

From Prayers and Readings for Worship, Volume 2, Peter Judd, ed. (Herald Publishing House, 1996, ISBN 9780830907199), 22. Posted on the Community of Christ website. http://www.cofchrist.org/worship12-13/13-05-12.asp Reposted: https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2013/04/confession-responding-to-gods-call.html.

Prayer

God of freedom,

Paul and Silas worshiped you, even when they were flogged and imprisoned. Transform our hearts so that we may also rejoice in you at all times and in all situations. Amen.

O Wesley Allen, Commentary on Acts 16:16-34, WorkingPreacher.com, https://www.workingpreacher.org/commentaries/narrative-lectionary/paul-and-silas-2/commentary-on-acts-1616-34.

Prayers of the People

In this Easter season, we celebrate the many gifts you bestow upon your people. We also reflect upon the challenging call to live as a new creation in Christ. Recognizing both the blessing and call to service in Christ's resurrection, we pray saying, "Christ is risen" and respond, "Christ is risen indeed.”

God of the church, your apostles were persecuted for the sake of the gospel. Such suffering continues today in the face of human cruelty and intolerance. We pray for all who are persecuted for the sake of their faith and political beliefs. Strengthen the work of organizations such as Amnesty International that seek to disclose and put an end to these great injustices.

Christ is risen!
Christ is risen indeed!

God of righteousness, empower us weak-willed human beings to be faithful to the promises made in affirming our baptisms: to reject Satan and all his empty promises. Help us to discern your will from our own selfish desires.

Christ is risen!
Christ is risen indeed!

God of justice, your Son began his ministry proclaiming the arrival of the Kingdom of God, in which the blind are given sight and the oppressed released from bondage. Give us grace to enact the vision of that kingdom, by living lives of service that are dedicated to justice.

Christ is risen!
Christ is risen indeed!

God of the weak, be with those who suffer and their friends and families who keep vigil with them. We remember_____ in our prayers.

Christ is risen!
Christ is risen indeed!

God of all people, it is both a gift and a responsibility to have Christ dwelling in us. Let us be truly grateful and willing to live as one with the Lord.

Christ is risen!
Christ is risen indeed!

Hear our prayers, Heavenly Father, considering all things spoken and unspoken. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

From the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada’s “Lift Up Your Hearts” archive. http://www.worship.ca/.

Disturb the City! -- A Prayer of Confession

(Inspired by Acts 16:16-34 )

May we hang our heads in prayer
for little boys who are given live ammunition
and forced to fight wars that someone else started.
For little girls who are dressed up and painted up as women of pleasure
for children who work their way through childhood without play

(Silence)

May we hang our heads in prayer
For released ex-offenders with no safe place to go -- not even the local church
For every person who suffers in silence
with an addiction,
or an HIV diagnosis,
or a heart-wounding secret that can never be told

(Silence)

Lord, have mercy,

upon the exploited and suffering peoples of the world

Lord, have mercy,

upon all who have lost hope

Forgive us, Lord,

for turning our heads and pretending not to notice

Forgive us, Lord,

for the complicity of silence

Forgive us, Lord, for neglecting to disturb the city on behalf of children in harm's way.

(Silence)

https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/disturb-the-city-21st-century-worship-resources-for-the-seventh-sunday-of-e

In This Series...


Easter Sunday, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Second Sunday of Easter, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Third Sunday of Easter, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Seventh Sunday of Easter, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes

Colors


  • Gold
  • White

In This Series...


Easter Sunday, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Second Sunday of Easter, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Third Sunday of Easter, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Seventh Sunday of Easter, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes