Liturgical Lights for Sunday April 26, 2015

J A S M I N EThe Narrative Lectionary on April 26, 2015 is Acts 13:1-3; 14:8-18. There is something that transpires here between Paul and the man who could not use his feet. The man listens — intensely, it seems — to all that Paul has to say. But, Paul does not seem to be preaching at him.

It is not one of those finger-wagging sermons but seems instead to be about listening as much as it is about speaking. For when Paul is done, it is said that Paul looked at him intently and saw that he had the faith to be healed (verse 9).

Eric Barreto imagines that this illustrates a different kind of healing.  It is not filling a void but an act of hope. It is the hope for this healing and a trust that God and God alone could provide it. Not something to be imposed or even claimed, but something to embrace. Something to believe. Something to feel. And so, the prayers I’ve written this morning play with this hope.

Call to Worship (inspired by 1 Corinthians 12)

Now at the church in Antioch
there were prophets and teachers.
There are a varieties of gifts.
Here at the church in {insert town name}
there are a variety of activities.
It is the same God who brings us together.
Every word, every action, every hope
is activated by the one and same Spirit.
Now and then, then and now,
we gather in worship and praise
seeking the more excellent way.
Let us become the body of Christ.

Call to Confession

We are quick to point out the weaknesses of others.
We can see what cripples them in fear.
It is so obvious what will not allow them to embrace the hope of healing.
Now and then, it is important to stand before God — and God alone — and admit that it’s not just their crippling weaknesses but our own. We come to confess so that we might stand firm in that hope of healing God has made. Let us pray:

Prayer of Confession (Unison)

Now and then, we can see what we have done wrong.
Every once in a while, we can admit that we are weak.
We make mistakes. We err. We sin.
We mess up more than we want to admit.
Living God, who made the heaven and the earth
and the sea and all that is in them, we need your help.
Because we’re so eager to point out who is not using their feet.
We know who isn’t using their hands or even their heart.
We can name their disabilities, but we dare not name our own. Living God, help us.
Help us to admit that we haven’t put our whole bodies in your hope.
Help us from not holding back anymore as we meet you in this silence:

Shared Silent Confession and Personal Prayer

Sung Words of Assurance 
There are plenty of words that might be offered here to remind us of God’s love — but it is music that we remember most. So, instead of words, move from this shared silence into a time of singing of God’s amazing love. A few possibilities may include:

Great is Thy Faithfulness, refrain only
We, Your People, God, Confessing, verse 4
There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy
Your Love, O God, verse 4

If you use the prayers I’ve written in your worship, and I hope you will, please do offer me credit with as follows:

The prayers in our worship this morning were written by/adapted from Liturgical Lights for Sunday April 26, 2015 by the Rev. Elsa Anders Peters. Elsa is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ who blogs at revelsaanderspeters.com.

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