The Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost
Mosaic of Perpetua, Martyr of Carthage. Church of Saint Euphrasius,
Porec, Croatia, ca. 1280. Public domain.
NRSV texts, artwork and Revised Common Lectionary Prayers for this service are available at the Vanderbilt Divinity Library.
Leccionario en Español, Leccionario Común Revisado: Consulta Sobre Textos Comunes.
Para obtener más recursos basados en el leccionario, Estudios Exegético: Homiléticos.
The only reading from Joel in Year C. The previous verses describe with graphic detail the destruction of Jerusalem and Judah. These verses speak of a restoration to come and later a time when God's Spirit would be poured out on ALL flesh with simultaneous portents in heaven and earth -- while the sky is dark and the moon blood red, people of all ages and stations will prophesy, see visions, and dream dreams.
Psalm 65 (UMH 789).
A psalm of thanksgiving for fruitful times, especially for a successful harvest. To offer this psalm in response to Joel is to participate in the promise of abundance to come. Response: "Now thank we all our God with hearts and hands and voices."
2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18 (4th week of 4).
"The time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race."
A religious leader: "God, I thank you that I am not like other people ... " A tax collector: "God, be merciful to me, a sinner."
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This is the twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost, and the fourth Sunday in A Season of Saints. There are no other programmatic emphases planned for this day, unless you wish to add Reformation Day as part of today’s service. (See more below). The global Christian saint featured this week is Vibia Perpetua, a third-century Christian martyr in Northern Africa (Carthage). The United Methodist heritage saint for this week is Kanichi Miyama, Japanese Methodist missionary to Japan. While the selection from Martyrs Prayers for this Sunday is a setting of a prayer by another Christian martyr, Carpus, a second-century bishop from Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey), the text of this prayer resonates strongly with the witness we have of Perpetua and her martyrdom.
Reformation Day is October 31. You may wish to find some way to observe this in your congregation today if has a German heritage or a particular relationship with Lutheran or other denominations for which Martin Luther’s alleged “nailing of the 95 Theses” is an important distinctive. This day is not generally kept in the Anglican circles from which Wesley’s Methodism emerged, nor by many other Methodist bodies. Methodism was not, after all, a product of the sixteenth-century Reformations (Lutheran in Germany and Scandinavia, a variety of Reformed/Calvinist movements primarily in Switzerland and the Netherlands, Anabaptist movements in Germany, Switzerland, Bohemia and the Netherlands, and Anglicanism in England), nor a movement to establish a different kind of theology or church as the official religion of a nation or region. It was rather a movement within and alongside the Church of England to proclaim the gospel of entire sanctification to support people in living out the Christian faith.
November is Native American Heritage Month on the UMC Program Calendar.
The time changes for many in the U.S. on November 3.
November 3 is also All Saints Sunday. Remember you may choose either the readings for All Saints Day (November 1) or the “regular” readings for the Sunday. A “mix and match” approach is unlikely to be helpful.
All Saints can be celebrated well using the normal readings (for November 3, rather than All Saints Day). This way, your congregation will not miss a beat in the normal course of the lectionary readings. November 3 kicks off a new stream of epistle texts (2 Thessalonians begins) and a selection of Old Testament readings from the prophets that pick up Advent themes of the second coming of Christ. So if you are thinking about spending time in 2 Thessalonians, or starting Advent themes, if not the season, a bit early, you may wish not to use the All Saints readings for this Sunday, but allow other elements of worship (prayers, sermon, Great Thanksgiving, hymnody) to support the All Saints theme.
The International Day of Prayer for Persecuted Christians is observed November 10. If you have not followed A Season of Saints this year, you may still find its resources helpful should your congregation decide to observe this day.
Veterans Day (U.S., Civil Holiday) is November 11.
Reign of Christ/Christ the King Sunday, marking the final Sunday in Ordinary Time in Year C, is November 24.
November 24 is also observed in the U.S. as Bible Sunday.
Thanksgiving Day is November 28.
Advent begins December 1.
If you have not already done so, consider starting your planning for Advent and Christmastide, Year A. A wealth of resources is available in the weekly planning helps (see our 2010 archive; 2013 resources coming soon) and in the Advent and Christmas sections. However you choose to observe these seasons, do you best to allow your congregation to experience and express the uniqueness and fullness of each, not shortchanging one for the other. Several models for doing just this are available. See “Celebrate Advent and Christmas Season Fully in 2013/2014” on the United Methodist Worship blog.
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Atmospherics -- Old Testament Stream: Prophetic Ministry—Calling and Working for Justice, Righteousness and Peace
After the Aftermath: Week 1, Joel—Promises for After the Aftermath
We’ve completed a long series of readings from Jeremiah and now move into a four week mini-series of “singleton” readings from three minor prophets (Joel, Habbakkuk, Haggai and Isaiah—add in Daniel if you use the readings for All Saints Day). One common theme that unites these disparate readings is “After the Aftermath.” If you wanted to develop these into a four-week series on this theme, it might be “Joel: Promises for After the Aftermath” (today), “Habakkuk: Questions After the Aftermath” (Nov. 3), “Courage After the Aftermath” (Nov. 10), and “Isaiah: All Things New After the Aftermath” (Nov. 17). Christ the King (Nov. 24) is its own day, culminating Ordinary Time and Year C, and transitioning to Advent, which begins December 1.
Such a series in these weeks may be particularly suited for folks living in the aftermath of regional or national upheavals, whether caused by natural disasters (floods, hurricanes, fires, earthquakes) or human violence (wars, coups, political unrest, or government oppression). Perhaps your local community may have faced other forms of devastation from plant closings, unemployment, bankruptcies, drought, a rise in violent crime or episodes of misconduct that have left deep scars. Whatever it was, though the worst may be over, there remains much work to do requiring much hope to move forward.
Today, from Joel, we have “Promises for After the Aftermath.”
Though Joel himself may well have been a pre-exilic prophet, what we read from him in today’s reading speaks forward (prophesies!) to a time when the future Babylonian invasion and exile would be over. He foresees a time when some would have begun to return to Judea to rebuild.
The promise of God through Joel for such a new day was threefold. First, there would be an abundance of crops. Second, the people’s honor would be restored. Third, the Spirit would be poured out on all of them, female and male alike, from the youngest to the oldest and across every stratum of the society, from the wealthiest to the bondservants.
How would these promises inspire a people who have gone through disaster and still had a long way to go to experience full recovery?
Consider the specifics of the folks returning from exile and those left behind. The exiles had grown up or left captivity no doubt hearing stories of the beauty of Jerusalem and other towns and the rich farmlands that could feed everyone. But when they would arrive, they would find none of that. Major cities, including Jerusalem, were in ruins. What had been a growing system of stable farmlands capable of feeding a growing population base in cities had reverted to individual subsistence farms. Many had to be asking, “Is this all there is?” To steady them against the onslaught of that question, there remained the ancient promise from Joel, “The threshing floors shall be full of grain, the vats overflowing with wine and oil” (verse 24). With this as a firm promise from God, the disappointments of the present realities could be set aside while they worked for the hope to be realized.
The people who had not been exiled and so still occupied the land when the exiles returned were there because they were deemed not worthy of carrying into exile. Shameful as exile was, not being considered worthy to be exiled may have been even worse! Meanwhile, the returning exiles, for the most part, had been born in Babylon (no point of pride, that!) or were very young when they were violently dishonored by being forcibly taken from their lands. Shame, in short, was an issue for every person and family there, those left behind and those returning, alike. But such shame, promised Joel, would now be at an end (verse 27). God had promised them they could all live beyond that now into the promised new day.
The temple in Jerusalem, the seat of these people’s religion and connection with God, had been reduced to rubble and continued to fall into greater ruin as the exile progressed for the next 39 years. This was more than merely demoralizing. Even though the exiles had formed other ways to connect with their God via the synagogues they created in Babylon and the Scriptures they were urgently recompiling and reading, they still had longed for the majesty and glory of God they had known or heard about when they or their ancestors had held worship in the temple. God’s promise through Joel was poignant. I will pour out my Spirit directly on all of you. All of you will prophesy, see visions, and dream dreams.
God promised through the prophet, centuries before it would occur, the physical, social and spiritual abundance to see them through when “that day” and “those days” came. These promises of ample food supplies, the removal of the shame from the past, and spiritual sustenance directly from God were exactly what returning exiles would need not only to survive the shock of the devastation to which they were returning, but to rebuild and thrive there again.
A Season of Saints: Kanichi Miyama
Kanichi Miyama’s capacity to offer Christian ministry was deeply marked by aftermath, both in Hawaii and in Japan.One of the first Japanese American converts to Christianity, Miyama was sent to Hawaii to serve among Japanese immigrant workers who were suffering under exploitive working conditions. These people were in their own condition of aftermath, one his patient work among them helped to stabilize and reverse, forming some of these people into the very first Japanese Christian Church in Hawaii. Harris UMC is the United Methodist heir of this congregation today. Nu’uanu Congregational Church, UCC, also traces its legacy to Miyama’s pioneering missionary work.
Having completed his work as an organizer, evangelist, and church planter in Hawaii, Miyama was sent to return to his homeland of Japan in 1890, to serve in Nagoya, but found it a very difficult appointment. He was perceived as too Americanized for his native Japanese congregation and the wider community. When an earthquake struck in 1891, however, killing his nephew and injuring both him and his wife, he stayed behind to help rescue the survivors. By coming into solidarity with those suffering in the midst of their suffering, he found his ministry suddenly accepted. Word of his actions spread, giving him a place of welcome among the Japanese Methodists and the many others he evangelized wherever he would serve after that.
In Your Planning Team
As you come to the beginning of a new series, it’s always good for your team to think through the “story arc” for the whole series, develop common elements (not just a title!) that will tie the weeks together, and then, after that, start working on the plans for each individual service. The common elements may include images (images of a recognizable local aftermath, for example), music (a hymn or song you may sing every week), or a repeated collect, prayer, call to worship, or benediction, perhaps with some slight variation to reflect the nuance of the subtheme for each week.
The story arc for this series is suggested by both the overarching theme (After the Aftermath) and the flow of the subtitles for each week (Promises, Questions, Courage, All Things New). The overarching theme is most appropriate for congregations, communities, or groups of people within a congregation or community who may have “gone through” a difficult time in the recent or memorable past. If this doesn’t describe your congregation or at least some significant group within it, you may not want to pursue this as a series at this time. It may come off more as an exercise in pious platitudes than the truly valuable and good news it has been and can be for those who do endure such painful life-changing events.
These four readings over these four weeks also describe where folks may be at different stages of dealing with what happens After the Aftermath. The returning exiles had the promises of the prophet Joel as they made their way home. These may have been needed, at least at first, just to ward off the initial shock of what they found when they arrived. After the shock wears off, probing questions may follow (Habakkuk, week 2). The book of the prophet Haggai, prophesying and writing after the exiles had returned and fallen into a bit of a “funk,” we might say, is all about re-instilling a sense of courage and purpose to a people still living in ruins (week 3). And the promise of what we commonly refer to as “Third Isaiah,” also spoken and then written to exiles after their return, points them and us toward the hope of an entirely new beginning (week 4). For Christian, it also points toward our final hope, shared with many of our Jewish siblings, of resurrection and new creation, complete with new heavens and a new earth.
Promises, questions, courage, hope: This is the flow over these four weeks.
So now, to today’s service. As a kickoff to the whole series, plan to use all of the common elements you will weave throughout the series. And think of this service, too, as a kind of “overture” to the series. Find some appropriate way to introduce the flow the themes for the coming weeks and the flow between them as well. You don’t have to do any more than introduce them today. Let the elaborations come as you journey week by week.
Today’s theme: Promises for After the Aftermath
Again this service, and the others in the series, will be more valuable the more concretely you apply them to actual situations in the lives of your people. So as you begin your work on this service and this series, discuss as a team, “What is the specific aftermath or what are the specific aftermaths our people have gone through or are going through?” If there is more than one, decide which one or ones to focus on, either across the series, or in each service.
For this service in particular, talk together as a worship planning team about ways in which your identified aftermath or aftermaths connect or do not connect with Judah’s experience of exile and restoration. Then ask how the promises through Joel to the returning exiles connect (or do not connect) with your selected aftermath/s. Still plan to address all of Joel’s promises. But also discern together how you may have received other promises, before that fact, that helped you get through the aftermath/s you have faced.
But don’t stop with your team. Send out team members to talk with individuals they know who have “gone through and come through.” Ask them about how some of Joel’s promises for ample physical sustenance, emotional support and greater connection with God may have helped them get through as they were beginning to face their aftermath. Ask them, also, if there were other promises they held onto as they began their lives in the aftermath. Consider recording these interviews (with permission, of course), and consider, too, whether one or more of the folks you interview may be willing to make a brief live testimony about what it was like to “Stand on the Promises of God” as part of worship today.
Epistle Stream: Mission in the World but not of It
II Timothy, Week 4: A Living Libation
Today’s reading from II Timothy can almost sound like a resignation speech ("I've done all I can do here, so I'm moving on"). Or maybe even worse, more like the depressed speech of someone who has lost all hope of things ever getting better.
But from what we know about Paul, and from the “go get ‘em Timothy; I’ve got your back” rhetoric that has characterized this whole letter, and from the specific technical language he uses here, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
The key word is "libation." The libation was the drink offering, an offering of wine poured over the sacrifice being cooked/burnt on the altar. The wine has two effects, one theological and one physical. The theological effect is a generous and joyous offering, an outpouring, to God. The physical effect is that the wine hits the flame and "poof" -- bigger flame, lots of smoke, and the aroma spreads everywhere. There is nothing of resignation in the drink offering at all, but rather of joyous abandon.
So Paul is not telling Timothy he is giving up. Rather, he is saying that he is "giving over" himself fully to God, even more fully, as the time of his "departure" draws near.
And in so doing, he is giving Timothy the encouragement to do likewise. Give it your all. Pour out your best. Offer it all to God with joyous abandon. Let the fragrance of the gospel spread everywhere through you even if it does mean Timothy may also “depart” in the process.
Season of Saints: Vibia Perpetua and Kanichi Miyama
The journal of Vibia Perpetua, early third-century martyr in Carthage (modern-day Libya), records the story of the imprisonment and death of a young mother who was ready, joyfully, to pour out her life, if needed, for the sake of her faith in Jesus Christ. The story as we have it is deeply human. She is a new mother, still nursing her only child. She talks frankly about dealing with the pain in her chest when she is kept away from her baby for long periods of time, unable to nurse, as well as the cessation of this pain and swelling not long before the time of her execution. She speaks with great compassion of the tears of her father, who was not a Christian, and his tireless efforts to persuade her to recant. And she speaks of visions that strengthen and encourage her during her imprisonment and leading up to her death. The conclusion of her story, written by another hand, records she and the other Christians executed with her first offered one another the kiss of peace in the arena, and then went to their deaths by sword. The first blow missed and hit her shoulder or back instead. She is reported to have helped the young executioner not miss the second time by guiding the sword to her neck.
In all of this, she understood herself to be pouring herself out as a libation to God. Death was certainly not the only way Christians in Carthage could have done so. But having been arrested and sentenced to the arena, it would be her way. And she did it with courage, humility, and grace.
The story of Kanichi Miyama’s conversion reflected a similar commitment to pour out his whole life for Christ. When he “came forward” after a sermon at the Chinese Christian Mission in San Francisco, either in 1875 or 1876, he expected simply to confess his sin and accept the invitation to receive Christ. But the preacher, Otis Gibson, required more. Specifically, Gibson asked him, “Will you give you whole life to Christ?” In other words, “Will you pour yourself out for him?” Kanichi Miyama said, “Yes.” Gibson baptized him in 1877. The rest of Miyama’s story found him true to his pledge.
In Your Planning Team
Today marks the end of this “tough love” series of readings in II Timothy. Next week, we begin II Thessalonians, with an very different tone (congratulations for their perseverance in the face of persecutions) and overall a very different theme (assurance of and how to prepare for the second coming of Christ).
In any series, it’s most important to pay attention to endings and beginnings. So as you plan for the final service of this series, talk about what will make it a “strong ending” for your congregation. How will this service put a memorable capstone on all you’ve built and focused on through these four weeks? In terms of the theme of today’s reading, how will you connect Paul’s description of pouring himself out as a libation with his admonitions about being a faithful teacher and evangelist, being true to God’s word no matter what, from the previous weeks? And more specifically, as II Timothy is written from one leader to another, how will you particularly challenge your leaders AND create or connect your leaders to ways they can grow in “pouring themselves out as a libation?”
Consider seriously that perhaps the vast majority of the folks whom you lead in worship will not understand the role of the libation offering, and so are likely to misunderstand Paul’s words today almost completely—as “resigning” or “retiring” or giving up rather than pouring himself out completely. What songs does your congregation know that speak of pouring yourselves out for God. “I Surrender All” might be one example many would know, but the word “surrender” often does not read as “I pour myself out” either. So if you use this, or other songs that speak of surrender, plan to do so after you have explained what is actually at stake here—joyous total commitment.
There may well be persons in your congregation or community who can share a testimony about being a libation themselves, or stories others might share about them. Send team members to interview these persons. See what images come from the stories they share with you, and consider ways to incorporate these images, and their stories, in worship today.
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Gospel Stream: Learning from the Master
Learning to Pray for Righteousness
Last week we saw Jesus teaching his disciples (and us!) to pray for justice with confidence and perseverance.
This week we see Jesus teaching others (including disciples) to pray for a closely related term (in Greek, different in Hebrew): Righteousness. Justice, we might say, is about right relationship with others. Righteousness is about right relationship with God, so that God’s character shines through us undimmed.
Luke tells us the story Jesus tells is occasioned by some who are convinced they are righteous, and who thus despise others. Luke gives no additional “labels” to these people, such as Pharisee, or Judean, or Galilean. So the issue has nothing to do with “party” or “region” or even “religion” per se. It has to do with the way people, whoever they are, see themselves and others, how that relates to their praying for righteousness, and how their praying is received by God.
The parable Jesus tells contrasts the praying of a Pharisee to that of a tax collector. In so doing it is not “picking on” Pharisees, or even the prayer the Pharisee in the story prays (more on that in a bit!). Rather, it is contrasting an “insider” way of praying to an “outsider” way of praying for righteousness.
The Pharisee offers what was likely a prescribed prayer all Jewish men were expected to know and to pray daily. It was not a prayer that was about seeking righteousness at all. It was a prayer of thanksgiving, not a prayer of petition. It was a prayer thanking God for making him not like others who were not righteous, for the righteousness he has been blessed to reflect, and for the blessing of being a Jewish male. The intention of the prayer was not primarily to elevate the person praying above others, nor to despise others, but rather to give God thanks for deliverance from a sinful way of life. The embodiment of this prayer, standing, hands lifted, was the expected way and appropriate way to offer such a prayer of thanksgiving.
The tax collector in the story prayed a very different kind of prayer. He was seeking mercy, seeking to become righteous when he knew he was not. Everything about his embodiment in praying reflected this. He stood far away from those offering the “expected” prayer of thanksgiving. He did not raise his eyes or hands. He was beating his chest as a sign of penitence. Even the verb used to describe what he was doing was different. The Pharisee “prayed.” The tax collector “said.”
The tax collector left that place justified, having received the righteousness he sought from God.
The Pharisee did not. But of course, the Pharisee was not in his prayer seeking righteousness in the first place, nor even “trusting” in his own righteousness per se. He was instead giving thanks, exactly as he and all Jewish men were supposed to do—including Jesus himself!
The deal is, it is quite possible to give thanks for righteousness in one’s own life without taking the next step and presuming either (a) I am righteous enough and do not also need to ask for mercy, or (b) I am sure I am righteous and anyone not as righteous as I am is not even worthy of consideration.
Remember, this story is told to folks who were embracing the second position, people so convinced of their own righteousness that they despised everyone else. Jesus most likely uses the “standard prayer” not to dismiss it, nor even to reject the Pharisee in his story who prayed it, but rather to remind what the purpose of the prayer actually was—to give thanks, not to seek mercy or righteousness, much less to presume it in a self-congratulatory way. Surely it is a good thing to thank God for not being caught in sin and for sustaining us in those ways of life that do help us reflect God’s righteousness.
The real contrast here, then, is not about the form or the content of the prayer, but about the attitude of the hearers. The hearers, self-righteous people who despised sinners, were ignoring the fact that God actually does forgive sinners and restores sinners to righteousness, freeing sinners who seek it from both the penalty and the power of sin. To despise sinners is to do something God does not do, and therefore, by definition, to be unrighteous. It is instead to be haughty. It is to arrogate ourselves, to exalt ourselves above the very God who is pleased to forgive all who come in humble honesty and repent. God will humiliate those who exalt themselves. And God will exalt those who seek righteousness with an honest, humble heart.
In Your Planning Team
As you reflect on this week’s reading, you may discover you and perhaps some in your congregation may have some baggage to let go of. Sometimes this text is preached as a rejection of “written” or “memorized” prayers (“prayers of the head”) in favor of spontaneous praying (“the prayers of the heart”). The opening line of this week’s reading makes clear what is at stake here: Jesus is correcting people overconfident in their own righteousness and despising everyone else. There is nothing here at all rejecting “memorized prayers.” Jesus himself gave his disciples a particular prayer (the Lord’s prayer) to memorize and pray.
Others may come to the contrast between the Pharisee and the tax collector with anti-Jewish or at least anti-Pharisee biases, and so reject everything about the prayer the Pharisee offers. Many may be unaware that this prayer, or something closely akin to it, was a standard prayer Jewish males were taught to pray—to give thanks, not to bask in their own righteousness or despise others. Jesus was Jewish, and his theology and religious practice on many points was close if not nearly identical with that of the Pharisees. He is not saying here, “Pharisees (in general) are all about self-righteousness.” You as a team will be in the best stead to know what assumptions you and your congregation bring to this text, and so how to plan and lead worship around it in ways that help your congregation let go of any baggage and grasp what is actually at stake here.
What is at stake here is the need for an attitude adjustment that certainly not all Pharisees, and not just Pharisees, may need to make in their own approach to God and other sinners. Many Christians, and perhaps some of your team members, have had similar attitudes to those Jesus here corrects. Everyone—tax collectors, Pharisees, Jewish people, Gentiles—everyone needs to hear and respond to the correction Jesus offers.
Start in your team. Pastor, you may want to get the ball rolling. Share ways in which you have acted as if you were righteous (whether you were or not does not matter) and have at the same time despised those you deemed not as righteous as yourself. Then invite others in the team to share examples from their own lives. If team members are willing (and only if each gives individual consent!), consider how you might share these “real life” examples with your congregation as part of worship today. Perhaps they may be used as sermon illustrations, not naming names, of course. Or perhaps they may give you clues for creating a litany of confession and pardon as part of or a response to the sermon today.
What may be most important to emphasize in singing, prayers, sermon and Great Thanksgiving today may be that God is in the business of forgiving sins, breaking sin’s power in all of our lives, and enabling us to live in righteousness. God is righteous. God does not despise sinners, but forgives them and sets them free. God’s righteousness is not displayed by those who despise sinners.
In the significant survey work conducted as part of David Kinnaman’s books unchristian and You Lost Me, the number one concern raised by younger non-Christians about Christians was that Christians were overly judgmental. Way too many Christians, according to these non-Christians, some of whom were formerly part of churches, are just like the people Jesus is seeking to correct in today’s reading. Even if your congregation or its members think of yourselves as “tolerant” or “diverse,” Kinnaman’s findings may challenge your self-perception, as the concerns raised about “judgmental” Christians went across all theological spectra.
While Kinnaman may have been focusing especially on younger adults (“millennials”) in his work, it is likely people of all generations in your congregation need to hear, become convicted, and repent. And in repenting, find the God who forgives and sets them free. As you plan worship this day, think about how music, preaching, and prayers may lead every sinner present to repentance.
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Embodying the Word: Prayers of Thanksgiving After Holy Communion
The prayer of thanksgiving following Holy Communion in our official ritual (UMH 11) is a wonderful and simple prayer, easily memorized if you pray it often enough. It says exactly what needs to be said in these moments with brevity, eloquence, and grace. We thank God for feeding us in this holy mystery, and we ask the Spirit to send us forth to be what we have prayed and received: the body of Christ active in the world. In general, I would commend that congregations learn this prayer so they can pray it from the heart and let it begin to pray them!
However, for some of our congregations, a process of formation through repetition may be unfamiliar (as commendable as it may be) or even problematic. It is for such settings that the following prayers, connected with the themes of the lectionary texts, are offered through the weeks of October.
In the face of all that devastates our lives
you abundantly feed us
in the body and blood of Jesus Christ.
Praise to you, Eternal God!
Empower us with your Spirit
that all our sons and daughters,
old and young, employed and jobless,
may prophesy, dream dreams,
and declare your vision of salvation to all. Amen.
Jesus, once and for all
you poured out your life for us.
Again and again we thank you
And receive your body and blood.
Send us out to pour ourselves out
with such joyous abandon
that your love is always known,
the Spirit's power always felt,
and the Almighty's will to save never in doubt. Amen.
We have cried for mercy,
for ourselves and others,
and you have answered,
offering us your body and blood.
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ!
Now send us from this place
to every place where cries for mercy are raised,
that we may offer ourselves, body and soul,
in the name of God,
One in Three and Three in One.
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- BOW 406 (Joel)
- BOW 458 (Joel)
- BOW 268 (Joel, Luke) Use or adapt the prayer that begins, "God all-powerful ..."
- BOW 314 (2 Timothy)
Response to the Gospel reading: One of the Kyries from The United Methodist Hymnal (482-484) or The Faith We Sing (2127; stanza 2, 2275, or 2277) or Worship and Song (3133). The same might be used as a part of the confession and pardon sequence.
Prayer of Confession (preceded by the Invitation [UMH 7] and followed by Pardon [UMH 8])
- UMH 7-8, Invitation, Confession, and Pardon sequence
- BOW 490 (Luke)
- BOW 494 (Joel, Psalm)
- BOW 352 (Luke) Use or adapt this prayer of confession.
Prayers of Intercession
- BOW 315 (Joel)
- BOW 507 (Joel, Psalm)
- BOW 166-168 (2 Timothy) If there are persons in the congregation or their acquaintances who are dying, remember them. These prayers may be used or adapted.
- Ecumenical Cycle of Prayer: The Indian Ocean islands: Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Maldives
- BOW 70-71
Dismissal with Blessing
BOW 218 "Benediction for Pentecost" (Joel)
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