Invitation to Community by Rev. Dr. Robyn Provis
Feel free to use/edit. Credit to the original author (i.e. based on prayer/prayers written by Rev. Dr. Robyn Provis) appreciated.
Call to Worship
Good and merciful God, you call us to gather along the road we know as community,
With our neighbors all around, speak to us in these complicated times.
We are people of the covenant, called to care for one another without exception.
Within and beyond our walls, our neighbors are struggling. Within and beyond these walls, we may be the one who is struggling.
Just as Jesus lived a commitment of coming near, abide in with and through us. Send us. Encourage us to come near in your name.
We are ready to open our hearts to receive new strength and to open our lives to new understanding. Gather us near.
Holy God, as we come together in this house of prayer, we open ourselves to your spirit. Who is our neighbor and who was this Samaritan called good? Bring fresh understanding to why he alone drew near to danger, unafraid, giving compassion, and bringing hope. Guide us in being open to helping the stranger, the outcast, and the one without community. Amen.
Call to Confession
God calls us to relationships of trust and hope. As your children we are drawn to the good and the holy. We come now to confess that we sometimes have too narrow a view of what is good, missing the holy even when we are in its midst.
Prayer of Confession
God we pray, inspire courage and compassion and open us beyond the usual boundaries that come with fear and privilege. We name that we have failed to see our neighbors unless it is convenient and scheduled. We know that the Good Samaritan comes near as one who knows the Kin(g)dom is near. And the Kin(g)dom of God comes near when we do the same. But Creator God, coming near is not easy. It’s easier to withdraw and to hide in our homes. The division that plagues our nation will require a new kind of coming together in understanding and love. Forgive our hesitation and make bold our faith. Make bold our witness. Amen.
Assurance of Pardon
Be at peace as the people of God who daily find strength in hope. Be at peace knowing that God draws near; that God is omnipresent and walking with us in our struggle to follow boldly. May we be bold ambassadors of courage and Christ.
From these simple gifts of grape and grain, you have consecrated us as your children, called and sent to share your extravagant love with others. Open our eyes that we might see you near. Open our lives that we might be agents of hope and love for our world. When we forget our holy calling, speak anew to our hearts and draw us back. This is our prayer in the name of all that is holy. Amen.
Offering Prayer/Prayer of Dedication Gathered we have given in your name– blessed to be a blessing. Generous God, bless and consecrate these gifts and use them to bring hope and healing to our community and beyond. Enliven us to share even ourselves with the world you love. Amen.
Prayers of Intercession
God of love, give us a deep love for you, so that we can see the world as you see it, feel the compassion you feel, and be a people whose lives mediate your love to others. God in your mercy. Hear our prayer
Open our eyes that we might see what the Good Samaritan saw. Grant us the insight to see the need in others, the wisdom to know what to do, and the will to do it. God in your mercy. Hear our prayer
We pray for all those people, who in many and various ways, have been stripped, beaten and left for dead. We pray for children who are growing up in the most awful of circumstances, especially for those starved of love or food, shelter or security. May they receive the future you have planned for them. God in your mercy. Hear our prayer
We pray for those we might cross the road to avoid, those who have been excluded socially because of their race, financial status, or history. May the dignity that is theirs be restored to them. God in your mercy. Hear our prayer
God give us a deep love for you, that we might see your love at work in this world, and that we might go and do likewise. God in your mercy. Hear our prayer
1 Lord, who may be a guest in your home?
Who may live on your holy hill?
2 Whoever lives a blameless life,
does what is right,
and speaks honestly.
3 They do not slander,
or do harm to others,
or insult their neighbor.
4 They despise a reprobate,
but honor the Lord’s loyal followers.
They make firm commitments and do not renege on their promise.
5 They do not charge interest when they lends their money.
They do not take bribes to testify against the innocent.
The one who lives like this will never be upended.
Read the psalm once, and ponder it for a moment.
Using one of the tools in the sandbox, or your own hands, create a shape in the sand which signifies the Lord’s home.
Read the psalm a second time, this time looking for a single phrase which speaks especially to you.
Select a rock. Allow the rock to represent you. Hold it in your hand as you contemplate the phrase you found.
Place the rock inside the Lord’s home. God has welcomed you home.
Read the psalm a third time as a prayer of thanksgiving.