Call to Worship (Breathe in) I am here (Breathe Out) I will be present
Prayer of the Day Holy Spirit, Be with us as we unentangle the sources of our exhaustion and try to find life giving practices to do more than sustain–so that we might thrive and be in community with one another In Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.
Call to Confession: Jesus says my yoke is light, come to me all those who are heavy burdened, and lay your yokes at the feet of Jesus today through Confession.
Confession: God, we confess that we are so weary, that we do not know what it is like to be fully rested. We see children pass us by and say “I wish I had that energy.” However we confess, that we are also envious of their joy and freedom from responsibilities. Help us to find true soul-sustaining, life giving rest, the peace beyond understanding the Jesus promises, so that we can find that new way of being we pray. Amen.
Assurance of Pardon: Jesus Christ promises to make all things new, hold fast to that promise and know the Good News: In Jesus Christ we renewed and forgiven.
Can you encourage your congregation to rest? What is the culmination of this season? Is it going to be less committees? A period of prayer only? A shift to retiring/merging congregations? A decision to take every 4th or 5th Worship off to just rest? How can you be more sanctuary?
How are you going to model this in your Worship? Will you encourage pillows and blankets? Put moments for stretches in worship? Hopefully at least time to close your eyes and do nothing, to listen to the birds, music, to do nothing.
Cultivate rest–do what you can to encourage sleep, encourage Sabbath, sanctuary.
Who would come to Church if it was a place of Rest?
Less is more.
These Questions might help your preaching* But may be “too much” for your congregation, that’s ok, meet them where they are at. The political issues are real, try to address them as much as you can. Tricia Hersey talks a lot of being in the world but not of the world, this language works well in the church.
Week 1 “What would it feel like to be consistently rested?”p. 56 Come & Rest with Me Genesis 1:27-2:3 So God created humankind* in his/their image, in the image of God he created them;* male and female he created them. God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.’ God said, ‘See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.’ And it was so. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude.And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation. Psalm 146:10 Be still, and know that I am God Notes
Week 2“What does exhaustion look like for me?” p. 56 Broken Humanity: Scarcity & Hate Hosea 5:15-6:6 I will return again to my place until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face. In their distress they will beg my favor: “Come, let us return to the Lord; for it is he who has torn, and he will heal us; he has struck down, and he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him. Let us know, let us press on to know the Lord; his appearing is as sure as the dawn; he will come to us like the showers, like the spring rains that water the earth.”What shall I do with you, O Ephraim? What shall I do with you, O Judah? Your love is like a morning cloud, like the dew that goes away early.Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets, I have killed them by the words of my mouth, and my judgment goes forth as the light. For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. Psalm 3:1-6 1 O LORD, I have so many enemies; so many are against me. 3 But you, O LORD, are a shield around me; you are my glory, the one who holds my head high. 5 I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety, for the LORD was watching over me. 6 I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies who surround me on every side. Notes
Week 3“What would it feel like to be consistently rested?” p. 56 Bounty Psalm 34:8-10 Taste and see how good YHWH is! Happiness comes to those who take refuge in YHWH. Fear the Lord, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. Ecclesiastes 4:6 Better is a handful with quiet than two handfuls with toil, and a chasing after wind. Notes
Week 4 “Who was I before the terror of the toxic systems? p. 56 (w)holistic Self Psalm 127:7 In vain you get up early and stay up late, sweating to make a living, because God loves us and provides for us even while we sleep. Isaiah 40:31 But those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Mark 4:36-41 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side.’ And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. A great gale arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?’ And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?’
Week 5 “What have you been told about your worth and existence?” p. 56 Worth and Blessedness Isaiah 14:3-4 When the Lord has given you rest from your pain and turmoil and the hard service with which you were made to serve, you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon: How the oppressor has ceased! How his insolence has ceased! Psalm 62:1 In God alone my soul finds rest, for my deliverance comes from God, who alone is my rock, my salvation, my fortress: I will never be shaken.
Week 6 How do you make space to transcend the confines of a system that prays to the call of ‘profit over people’? p. 56 Sabbath Practice Psalm 127:2 Surely Goodness and Mercy John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.
Week 7 “Who do I want to be?” p. 56 Restoration 1 King 19:4-7 But [Elijah] himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a solitary broom tree. He asked that he might die: “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the broom tree and fell asleep. Suddenly an angel touched him and said to him, “Get up and eat.” He looked, and there at his head was a cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. He ate and drank, and lay down again. The angel of the Lord came a second time, touched him, and said, “Get up and eat, otherwise the journey will be too much for you.”
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Prayer of Confession: God, I know sometimes that goodness and mercy are chasing me because I’m distracted, or too hurried. I know too that it is hard to feel goodness and mercy when I am overwhelmed or in survival mode. Help me. Help me to see and understanding and feel the goodness and mercy that are already in my life. Teach me ways to cultivate these: with rest, nourishment and a practice of living out of abundance instead of scarcity. Teach me to be a Psalm 23 sheep I pray. (Silent Confession) Amen.
Assurance of Pardon: God loves you, you are forgiven. Let us tell one another this truth: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.
Prayer of Dedication: Thank you for chasing me God. As I go into the world, remind me to stop for a couple of minutes, so that I can feel your goodness and mercy wash over me. Remind me I pray. Amen.
Hymns: Amazing Grace, Savior Like a Shepherd Lead Us, Jesus Loves Me, If I but Trust in God to Guide Thee, Lord of Our Growing Years, Here I am Lord, God of the Sparrow, As a Deer Longs for the Stream, My Soul in Silence Waits for God, Any Psalm 23, Morning has Broken, Breathe on Me Breath of God
You set your feast before us, full of grace and mercy
You show my enemies even, what it is like to live in the bounty of God
Come Let us bless God’s Holy Name
Prayer of Confession: God, we confess that sometimes we hoard your blessings. We think there is not enough, and yet you feed us in the presence of our enemies. Giving an unspoken invitation to join us. Remind us that if there is enough for them, there is surely enough for us and encourage us to be as abundant in grace and goods, as generous in our invitations and meals, as loving in our relationships as you are. It is a tall order, which is why you offer us nourishment along the way. Nourish us to do all of these things we pray. (Silent Confession) Amen.
Assurance of Pardon: God will always have the light on for us, and welcomes us back with open arms whenever we need forgiveness and nourishment. Let us share the good news with one anther: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.
Prayer of Confession: (unison) God I confess, I am scared. Especially when evil surrounds me, even though I know your rod and staff are supporting me, I am afraid. I do not know whether to speak up or stay quiet in the midst of evil. I am uncertain at times if I should be standing firm or running away. And sometimes I find death to be very scary. Support me as I wrestle with these very real fears, I pray your Holy Shepherding Name. (Silent Confession) Amen
Assurance of Pardon: Hear the good news, God’s love is from everlasting to everlasting, ever available to support us even when our steps falter. Let us proclaim the good news: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.
Prayer of Dedication: God help me to remember that you walk with us in the shadow of the valley of death, for you have been there before and know what it entails. When I am afraid, remind me that you do not fear evil. Help us to be brave and comforted as we walk in the world today and everyday, we pray. Amen.
Hymns: It is Well with My Soul, Jesus Walked This Lonesome Valley, O Love How Deep How Broad How High, What Wondrous Love Is This, I love the Lord Who Heard My Cry
For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture
We are the sheep of God’s hand, come Let us Praise God!
Prayer of Confession: (unison) God I confess that sometimes I do not want to be a sheep. Sometimes it is hard for me to take direction, and I do not know if it is unwillingness, or ignorance or simply weariness that stands in my way. And yet you walk beside me, to comfort and protect me. Help me to accept you as my shepherd I pray. Amen (Silent Confession) Amen
Assurance of Pardon: Hear the good news, God promises to restore us, know the truth in your hearts: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.
Prayer of Dedication: God you know we entered here thirsty. Send the Holy Spirit out with us, to shepherd us, comfort us, and to quench us. Send us into the world refreshed by your Word and Holy Spirit we pray. Amen.
Hymns: Create in me a Clean Heart, There is a a Balm in Gilead, Spirit of the Living God, Any version of Psalm 23