From Despair to Rejoicing Service Prayers for the 17th Sunday after Pentecost September 11, 2016

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From Despair to Rejoicing

Service Prayers for the 17th Sunday after Pentecost

September 11, 2016
Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28 Psalm 14 1 Timothy 1:12-17 Luke 15:1-10

Reflection on the Passages
Today’s passages are a study in contrasts.
Jeremiah’s famous passage of creation undone because of the faithlessness of God’s people is full of despair, hopelessness and nothingness. We see God peering out from heaven trying to find at least one soul who is seeking God – one soul that knows God. While the vision is of a desolate land, God offers one sign of hope: part of the land will be spared for a future. Psalm 14 speaks about God’s care and concern for the victims of those who do not seek, nor know, God.
The New Testament passages are more hopeful. A merciful God actively seeks those who have made the commitment to follow God but who have lost their way. We can sense in the passages the love God has for creation by the determination to keep looking for those who are lost. God rejoices over us once we are found. We are reminded that we are precious to God.

Hymn Suggestion

  • Come, My People” Sing! Prayer and Praise 12

Call to Worship
Leader: Come! Come, all you who are seeking God.

Come! Enter in to this place of protection and comfort

And discover that God is seeking us!

People: We rejoice to have God find us here,

as we come seeking God!

Come! Come in and experience God’s joy when we come together.

ALL: Here in this sanctuary we worship, and meet God!
Thank you, O Holy One

for this opportunity to meet you

in this place of worship.

We come to this new day after a long week,

carrying all kinds of feelings, emotions and expectations.

But here, in your presence

let your Holy Spirit move us

to a place of rejoicing in which new hopes abound.

We will celebrate the gift of your caring Spirit. Amen.

Leader: O Most Patient God, we recognize how much we need you for life itself.

People: But how often have we behaved

as if we did not know or even care about you?
How often have we become the ones who do not carry out justice?
How often have we tried to dominate others

even as you stand with them?
How often have we participated in the desolation of your creation

by our treatment of the heavens, the earth and its waters?

Forgive us for these times when we have lost our way.
Know, All Loving God, that we want to be among those whom you seek.
Shower your mercy upon us.

Find us, and lead us safely home to faithfulness.
Hymn Suggestions (after the Prayer of Confession)
Come, O Fount of Every Blessing (verse 2) NCH 459
There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy NCH 23
Assurance of Pardon

My friends, when we are lost, all is not lost.

God is seeking us, ready to turn our lives around,

Gathering us in to the people of God.

Let us rejoice in God’s mercy! Amen.
Call To Offering
Like Paul, who was showered with an abundance of mercy from God,

we too have been blessed.

Like Paul, we are called to go forth and tell our story of Christ in our lives

so that others may also be inspired.

One of the ways in which we tell the story is through the giving of gifts to God.

In our gift-giving we participate with God in providing for the needs of God’s people.

May our gifts become symbols of our intention

to minister with God to

satisfy the needs of those whom God loves.
Go forth from this place rejoicing

knowing that your relationship with God is secure.

You are loved, sought after and cared for

in the name of God the Creator, Christ and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

From Despair to Rejoicing: Service Prayers for the 17th Sunday after Pentecost was written by Henrietta Stith Andrews, a retired UCC Pastor who served as Associate Conference Minister in Michigan. Rev. Andrews is a certified Spiritual Director, currently residing in Powder Springs, GA.

Copyright 2016 Local Church Ministries, Faith Formation Ministry Team, United Church of Christ, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115-1100. Permission granted to reproduce or adapt this material for use in services of worship or church education. All publishing rights reserved.


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