Consume Us

Hear Me, God!
Listen to Me! 
Respond to my challenge and my suffering!

We gather with ears, with eyes, and with hearts to listen, to perceive, and to experience Divine wisdom. 
May she fill us and consume us. Amen.

Posted in Call to Worship, Job, Job 38:1-11, Old Testament

Sprouting Hope

In his despair, Job envies a tree.
For when a tree is cut down, new sprouts mean resurrection and hope.

Job yearns to be hidden away in a place where devastation cannot touch him.
Hidden from harshness, Job anticipates vindication. 

Before God and before Job’s friends, Job anticipates vindication to come.
But I know that my redeemer is alive and afterward he’ll rise upon the dust. (Job 19:25 CEB)

We gather together in this time in which a fallen tree, begins to sprout anew.
Praise God for this time of Holy Transformation! 

Posted in Call to Worship, Job, Job 14, Job 14:7-15, Job 19, Job 19:23-27, narrative lectionary, Old Testament

Despair, Weariness, Anger…and Trust.

Job was a faithful man. A man of integrity, he was loyal to the God of love, justice, and mercy. His life was blessed. Job’s faithfulness was blessed with a life without strife and challenge.
Or so he thought.

It all fell apart in one afternoon. The institutions, the norms, the wealth, and the people Job counted on were ripped from him.
He grieved deeply but remained faithful.

But the hardship didn’t stop.
Not for Job and not for us.

Our politics becomes more and more polarized by the day. The pandemic prevents us from being physically present with one another in the normal struggles and challenges of living. And the killing of black and brown peoples rises in our awareness.
Like it was for Job, it is easy for us to fall into discouragement.

In our discouragement and struggles, the miserable comforters offer us free advice and judgment. “It’s all God’s will,” they say. “You just need to keep a stiff upper lip,” they advise. Implying God wants us to suffer, they say, “God’s ways are mysterious” and shut down our lament.
It makes us want to slam the door closed and shout, “Leave Me Alone!”

Job cried out in anguish and anger to God:

Perish the day I was born…because it didn’t close the doors of my mother’s womb, didn’t hide trouble from my eyes. But I won’t keep quiet; I will speak in the adversity of my spirit, groan in the bitterness of my life…for my days are empty. Leave me alone! (Job (3:3, 10; 7:11, 22 CEB)

Come and worship! If you’re just done with it all, shout your angry words to God! If you’re weary, rest in Christ’s arms, and if you’re joyful, dance. Created in God’s image, God feels with you. God loves you and is ready to listen and be present with you.

We come to worship with our whole, authentic selves assured God loves us. Amen.

Posted in Call to Worship, Job, Job 3:1-10, Job 3:1-10, Job 4:1-9, Job 7:11-22, lamentation, Old Testament

Living in VUCA Times (An Invocation)

We live in volatile times.
It seems as if things are changing rapidly and often for the worse. We feel hope only to have it dashed by another action or event.

We live in uncertain times.
We aren’t sure of the right thing. Do we return to everything that is open or take it slow and easy?

We live in complex times.
Nothing seems simple. Our heads spin as we face challenges.

We live in ambiguous times.
Everything seems inexact, one path seems right but then again maybe another path is the better way.

We yearn for times gone by, times when the answers seemed simple and solutions to problems were clear. Give us clarity. Give us hope and certainty. Focus us on what matters, on your way. 

Posted in Call to Worship, Invocation

Ours is a faith

Ours is a faith focused on love.
The one we call God is
the very definition of love.

Ours is a faith of spiritual growth.
The one we call God is
an ever-creating, ever-evolving breath of love. 

Ours is a faith of action. 
The one we call God provokes us to
speak, demand, & create justice for all peoples especially the poor, oppressed, & marginalized.

We are the imperfect who gather to learn and grow into a people more in-tune with the one we call God.
We gather to love, grow, & act. Amen.

Posted in 1 Corinthians, 1 Corinthians 13, Call to Worship, New Testament

Severed But Not

The world is not as we want it to be.

Our relationships are severed:
by virus and disease
by political discord
by phobias and isms and hatred.
by our fears and insecurities.

And still, we choose to worship.
Come. Be one together through technology and the divine spirit that sparkles and twinkles its unending love between and within us. Amen.

Posted in Call to Worship

Lead Us and Give Us Patience

Come, Holy Spirit. Empower us. Show us the way. Lead us out of this time of uncertainty, anxiety, and fear. Be with us as we worship. Move us to patience. Move us forward in our sense of call as followers of the One who stood with the poor, outcast, and brokenhearted. Give us peace in this time of waiting for what will be. In the name of the One, Jesus the Christ, we pray. Amen.

Posted in Acts, Acts 1, Acts 1:1-14, Invocation, narrative lectionary, New Testament

Waiting to Be Empowered

After the drama, we wait.
We wait in a time of uncertainty.

Is this the time when the vaccination for the coronavirus will come?
Wait, the scientists are working. 

When is the time when we can get back to normal?
Wait, it will come. In its time it will come.

Jesus, is now the time when the kin_dom of God comes to fruition?
Wait, it is not for you to know.

Wait. You will be empowered by the Holy Spirit when the time comes. And you will take the Good News to those near and far. 
Though it is hard, trusting in God, we wait.

Posted in Acts, Acts 1, Acts 1:1-14, Call to Worship, narrative lectionary, New Testament

Christ is Risen!

It feels like a pre-celebration. 
Christ is Risen!

It doesn’t feel right when we are apart. 
Christ is Risen!

It feels like a meaningless ritual. 
Christ is Risen!

It feels too soon. Our worries are great and we’re still sheltering in place.
Christ is Risen!

[A moment of silence.]

And yet…our hope is assured. Life and love have survived the vilest torture and hate. 
Christ is Risen!

Though the struggles of living are real, God’s love overcomes. God’s love has overcome! Christ is Risen!
Christ is Risen indeed! Alleluia!

Posted in Call to Worship, Easter, Mark, Mark 16, Mark 16:1-10, Mark 16:12-15, New Testament

Hope. Injustice. Compassion. The Promise Remains.

L: Their hope rose to a crescendo on that day.
1: The people waved branches and cheered as Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a colt.
2: May we always place our hope in the One who is worthy of our trust.

L: Jesus grew angry at the greed and power-seeking.
1: Entering the Temple, he overturned the tables of disregard and greed.
2: May we be passionate when we encounter injustice.

L: She sensed what was to come and offered salve and preparation.
1: She gave human comfort to Jesus.
2: May we provide comfort to one another in the times when our path is rocky and steep, and the skies are dark.

L: Though the injustice continues, though the path is treacherous, hope remains. 
1: Though our path leads through Good Friday, hope remains. 
2: The promise of Easter remains.
1: Alleluia! Praise be to God!

Posted in Call to Worship, Mark, Mark 11, Mark 11:1-11, Mark 11:1-21, Mark 14, Mark 14:3-9, narrative lectionary, New Testament
Creative Commons License BY-NC-ND 3.0

All materials by Tim Graves unless otherwise noted. Creative Commons License BY-NC-ND 3.0

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