Oct 30, 2011

Gathering & Confession: Proper 28A

Here are words for the opening of worship—Gathering, Confession, and Words of Assurance—based on the scripture texts for November 13, 2011 (Proper 28A).  They were written by the Rev. Kaji R. Spellman, a United Church of Christ Pastor serving as a pastor of Saint Peter's Lutheran Church in New York City, and posted on the United Church of Christ website. Visit that site for other good prayers and resources for worship.

Gathering Prayer

There is a richness here –
a richness that greets and grows and holds and challenges and keeps.
There is a richness here –
a richness that surrounds and brings and delivers and gives.
The richness holds us in our weakness,
fills us in our hunger,
finds us when we’re lost.
So here, richly blessed, we have come, and we have been found.
Let this time together inspire us in richness and grace. Amen.

Confession

There is a richness here –
a gorgeous, flowing richness of unending abundance.
But that doesn’t mean that it guides us.
Our ways – within and beyond our control –
speak of something different:
of lack,
of fear,
of something other than
an acknowledgement of
God’s endless and beautiful
river of grace.
But how do we step into that river?
Do we step into it with trust?
Do we trust the current of God’s generous gifts?
Or do we run from the river?
For when we run,
when we turn away from God’s gifts in distrust,
We lose the refreshment and joy of that richness…
And something else reigns.
Then, what’s left?
Now is the time – now is the time to consider
     just how we distrust God’s abundance.
Now is the time – now is the time to begin something new.
Now is the time – now is them time to trust … differently.

Silence

Assurance of Pardon

Let us pray:
We haven’t always trusted, God.
But now we do.
We acknowledge the richness of your blessings
We see your flowing river of love
And we wade into your grace.
There is a richness – a richness that says “yes” – eternally –
even in the face of our behavioral “no”s.
There is a richness that penetrates distrust and offers so much more.
This richness forgives and gives even more.
We know this forgiveness.
And we thank you, God.

—from The Time of Richness: Service Prayers for the Twenty-Second Sunday after Pentecost was written by the Rev. Kaji R. Spellman, and posted on the United Church of Christ website.