22

May 2022

May

Opened the Heart

We Are Witnesses

Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year C

If the Third Sunday of Easter was about hearing God’s call for the first time, then this week is about carrying on that conversation. God doesn’t tap us on the shoulder and then leave us alone to figure it out from there. God is a constant presence, guiding, advising, hinting, strengthening us for the journey into discipleship.

On the third Sunday of Easter, we remembered and perhaps issued that initial invitation that comes from God. We reflected on that saving moment and the choice to put ourselves on the discipleship path. This week, we acknowledge that God is not done calling; that the voice of God has not gone silent since we said yes.

Are we open to hearing the ongoing calling of the Spirit in our lives? What if it meant making a significant change in direction? How do we open our hearts to hear that voice? Worship can be an experience in listening. Find space for silence, perhaps directed, perhaps just open. Maybe silence is difficult for those who aren’t used to it, so you need to sing as a way of emptying the mind. Taizé is one style of singing that leads to meditation and reflection, to opening ears and heart and mind and sensing God stirring within. Other choruses can do that as well. Something simple and repetitive can help us find our way to a deeper listening.

Another way is share testimonies from those who have heard and followed the directing of the Spirit. Who in your congregation has a story to tell of a new start, a new direction in their lives that brought them closer to God? What can they share about how the Spirit worked on them, spoke to them in a persistent manner until they couldn’t help but hear? This is what the community of faith is about, learning from the experience of another, sharing what we have learned, building up the body. There are those within your congregation who are gifted in hearing God’s voice. Listen to them; learn from them; give them space to share so that all can better open their hearts to the ongoing prompting of the Spirit.

Call to Worship

One: We come this morning full of ourselves:

All: Our concerns, our plans, our opinions, our schedules.

One: In this moment, help us empty our minds of the relentless ‘I’ and make space for you.

All: Enable us to put down our priorities; to set aside our assumptions and schemes.

One: Open our hearts to recognize your love in action in our lives.

All: Reassure us of your divine vision, and let us rest in your unending care.

Gil Le Fevre, Sunday Prayers, https://gill-lefevre.medium.com/sunday-prayers-acts-16-6-15-a2d6e9c488fc.

Prevail Upon Us – A Litany

Leader: Prevail upon us today, O God!

People: As children of the continent where the seed of your creation dreamed dreams and saw visions, prevail upon us today, O God, to dream new dreams and see fresh visions.

Leader: Prevail upon us today, O God!

People: As people of faith who have taken steps of faith because we sensed you were leading us; lead us, O Lord, to take new steps of faith that will carry us to paths of liberation and transformation.

Leader: Prevail upon us today, O God!

People: As praying people, who gather today, because we know the power of assembling to worship you, may our prayers be heard, and may our desires for your will to be done be fulfilled.

Leader: Prevail upon us today, O God!

People: May our hearts be open to your grace. May the hearts of our families, friends, strangers and all assembled here be receptive to your presence. Stay with us to make us different than we were before encountering you today.

Leader: Prevail upon us today, O God!

All: Let us worship, God!

Joseph W. Daniels Jr., The Africana Worship Book, For Year C, Valerie Bridgeman Davis, PhD and Safiyah Fosua, eds., (Discipleship Resources, 2008), 92.

Prayer: For Eyes to See and Ears to Hear

(inspired by Acts 16:9-15)

God of dreams and Lord of visions,
We pray for eyes to see and ears to hear
For hearts and minds that will respond
To all that you reveal to us:

'Come,' said the man who spoke through the night,
'Come to Macedonia and help us.'
And his plea echoes others offered down through the centuries

'Come,' they chorus,
'Help,' they implore
In places of famine and desert they cry:
'Bring to our nations the waters of life'

In places of pain and brokenness they cry:
'Bring to our nations leaves for healing, from the tree of life'

In places of conflict and betrayal they cry:
'Bring to this world the peace that was given by Jesus himself'

And of course, today,
we’ll endeavor to bring justice and peace,
freedom and healing and love.

But in our ambition to build heaven on earth,
Remind us, good God of vision and dreams,
With eyes to see and ears to hear,
And hearts and minds to understand,
That those we seek to help today,
May be the very ones anointed
To reveal the paths of salvation
That we are yet to walk. Amen.

Originally posted on the Monthly Prayers page (now Weekly Worship) of the Christian Aid website, https://www.christianaid.org.uk/churches/weekly-worship. Reposted: https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2019/05/prayer-acts-16.html.

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
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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