Call to worship – general

Book resource: Prayers of Via De Cristo: Calls to Worship for Progressive Christians
This collection of 125 service prayers have been gathered by James Armstrong, specifically for an informal and introspective Progressive Christian congregation.

Call to worship
God of life, in your hand we find our lives. Be present with us in this time together. Let your Spirit mould us, shape us and remake us this morning and every day until we conform to the shape that you call us to take; the shape of love known and shown in Jesus the Christ. Amen.
(Source: Rev Jennie Gordon)

Words of Greeting/Call to Prayer
Be still and know that God is. God was, also, in the beginning.
And when all human striving has ceased, God will still be.
From everlasting to everlasting, God is God,
and alone is worthy to be worshipped.
(source: United Church of Christ)

Opening prayer Gracious God, we gather this morning in this house of worship which, thanks to your love, is our home away from home. We come to add our human voices to the chorus of praise raised by your creation! We come as we are – distracted and weary, hopeful and open – know that you accept us and are ever mindful of our cares and joys. Still in us now the many voices that clamor for attention, that we might centre ourselves upon you. Speak to us in word and melody and quiet, that we may be renewed in our faith and strengthened for your service. Amen.

Let us worship and adore God:
source, essence, and aim of all things,
spirit that enlivens all beings.
Let us follow the way of Jesus, who found God in himself
and shared a way for others to find God in themselves:
He was born through love,
He lived for love,
He suffered for love,
He died for love,
But love never dies.
Let us submit to the leadings of the love that is God:
to be compassionate to all beings,
to live and serve in community with others,
to ask for and offer forgiveness,
that we may praise and enjoy God forever.  Amen!
(Source: Jim Burklo, Worship Words)

Call to worship
We  are  God’s  people,  the  community  of  Christ,
living  compassion  and  hope.
In  this moment  and  in  this  place
we  gather  around  to  worship  our  God,
to  uphold  one  another  in  prayer
and  be  bound  to  each  other  in  friendship  and  concern.
We  come  as  a  community
bound  by  the  spirit  who  calls  us  to  be  vital,  vibrant  people,
living  out  our  redemption,  forward  looking,
alert  and  ready  to  bring  healing  and  wholeness  to  the  world.
God  of  life,  gather  us  in  and  hold  us  in  love.
We  come  for  we  have  heard  the  call
to  live  compassion’s  way,
to  welcome  the  stranger  and  break  down  barriers  of  exclusion,
to  reconcile  our  difference  and  set  aside  wrongs,
to  embrace  our  diversity and  know  the  blessing  and  harmony
that  is  found  when  we  open  our  hearts  and  minds  to  all.
God  of  justice,  gather  us  in  and  encircle  us  with  grace.
We  come  to  sing  hope’s  song,
to  ring  in  the  light  when  darkness  abounds,
to  be  a  beacon  of  joy  in  desperate  places,
to  respond  to  God’s  love  as  it  beckons  us  into  a  still  more  excellent  way.
God  who  makes  all  things  new,
gather  us  close  as  we  walk  a  resurrection  path.
Let  us  stand  and  sing  with  joy  together… (Prayer written by Neryl McCallum)

Words of Greeting/Call to Prayer (adapted from John Berringer)
Come, let us use our voices to praise the Lord.
Our mouths will shout forth praise.
Let us use our minds to ponder the wondrous deeds of God.
We will call to mind God’s mighty acts.
With all of our strength and being, let us worship the Lord of love.
We will worship from our depths.
Our souls exult in God!
God, our passionate life
God, our passionate life
we bless you for the infinite beauty of created things
sand, wind, wave, and the wings of the eagle
for the love of land and people
for the vine and the fruit and the good wine.
We bless you for the endurance of hope
for the promise of renewal
and for fleeting moments on the mountaintop.
Blessed are you, God our passionate life.
(Source: Iona community)

We gather as the faithful of God,
we come to listen to what God has to say to us.
God has invited us to this place;
may our faces reflect our hopes and our hearts.
We gather as the faithful of God,
people of the new covenant of hope and promise.
We boldly enter into the presence of God,
hoping to be transformed into new people.
We gather as the faithful of God,
our fears melting away in the heart of God.
We come to share in the freedom of the Spirit,
we come to praise God’s holy name.
(Thom Shuman)

An Australian prayer of praise
We praise you God,
for your beauty that surrounds us in
the contrasts of the outback:
for rain that replenishes the earth
causes rivers to rise and fish to breed,
for lightning, storms and the crack of thunder
for the sun in the dry season, the moon
and the brilliance of the stars on clear nights.
We praise you God,
for your beauty alongside us:
for lives shaped by the Spirit of Jesus,
in prayer, in song, in service;
for ordinary people from varied backgrounds,
sharing the gospel of grace and mercy,
for locals and people from far off,
united in humble witness to the truth
that is bigger than us all.
We praise you God,
for your beauty that is far beyond us,
and yet draws us to you:
for the uncreated light of your Word,
that brooded over creation, and watches over us still;
for the light of the knowledge of God
shining in the face of Jesus Christ;
for the light of the love that dances
between Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
spilling over to embrace all things.
(Source: Frontier Services Sunday 2013)

(these words were found on the wall of a cellar in Cologne, Germany, where Jews hid from the Nazis)

I believe, I believe in the sun, even when it is not shining.
I believe in love, even when feeling it not.
I believe in God, even when God is silent.
– Let us celebrate life in the presence we name God.

Call to worship
Be still!
We come to quiet ourselves in this haven of holiness.
Be still and know . . .
we come to discern the Word which can set us free.
Be still and know that God is
our Hope, our Help, our Refuge, and our Redeemer.
Thom Shuman

Call to Worship(based on Psalm 98, John 15:9-17) by Bruce Prewer
Here today there is love, freely available to all.
Not our human loving, fragile and intermittent,
but God’s supreme love.
May a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth,
break forth into joyous songs of praise.

Here today is love, higher than our loftiest hopes,
deeper than the immensities of time and space,
God’s inclusive love.
Let the seas roar their praise,
and everything in them.
Let the rivers clap their hands
and the hills sing together their happiness.

The joy of the living Christ Jesus be with you all.
And also with you.

GATHERING
Let there be joy in our coming together this morning.
Let there be truth heard in the words we speak and the songs we sing. Let there be help and healing for our disharmony and despair.
Let there be silence for the voice within us and beyond us.
Let there be joy in our coming together.
Let us be nurtured in the presence of God

Call to worship (Janet Morley, based on Mark 16:1-8)
When we are despairing; when the world is full of grief;
when we see no way ahead, and hope has gone away.
Roll back the stone.
Although we fear change; although we are not ready;
although we’d rather weep and run away.
Roll back the stone.
because we hope where hope is in vain;
because you call us from the grave
and show they way.
Roll back the stone.

Come to hear the Word
Come to hear the Word.
Come to do the Word.
Come to experience Comfort.
Come to experience Challenge.
Come to find Cost.
Come to find Joy.
Come to find Humanity.
Come to find Community.
Come to find Church.
Come to find God.            (c) Katherine Hawker, 2001

The Word of God is planted in our hearts
The Word of God is planted in our hearts.
May our hearts be receptive to the Word.
The Love of God rains down on us.
May our souls soak in the wonder of God’s love.
The Breathe of God blows softly within us.
May our minds be stirred by the power of God’s spirit{Copyright Katherine Hawker, 2001.}

To you, O people, Wisdom calls
To you, O people, Wisdom calls…
Wisdom was at the beginning, with God.
To you, O people, Wisdom calls…
Wisdom called throughout the ages, calling to all creation.
To you, O people, Wisdom calls…
Wisdom beckons even now.
To you, O people, Wisdom calls… {Copyright Katherine Hawker, 1995.}

Holy God of wind and fire
Holy God of wind and fire;
Dance through this room today.
Holy God of earthquakes and illness;
Share our tears of sadness and pain.
Holy God of creation and new beginnings;
Show us again your vision of healing and wholeness.
(Copyright Katherine Hawker, 1995)

For God so loved the world
For God so loved the world;
The sparrows, the mountain lions,
the fish and the people.
For God so loved the world;
In success and failure,
in sickness and health,
in mediocrity and extraordinary.
For God so loved the world;
Enough to become one of us,
enough to suffer along with us,
enough to offer new life for us.
For God so loved the world;
Let us worship God!

From God comes the wonder of creation
From God comes the wonder of creation.
We will worship God the Creator.

From God comes healing for the brokenness we see.
We will worship God revealed in Jesus

From God comes the strength to face the new day.
We worship God our Sustainer.

Copyright Katherine Hawker, 1997.

I am (a call to worship)
We would call you Father
First Person of the Trinity
Creator, Holy God, Abba.
Your name is mystery
We sometimes call you Jesus
Embodiment of the Kingdom
Wise One, Teacher, Friend
Your name is mystery,
and must remain a mystery
We know some call you Allah
Source of all Life
Sovereign, Mighty God, Everlasting
Your name is mystery,
and must remain a mystery
lest we imagine even for a moment
that we can control your beauty and your power.
We could call you Compassion
Moving beyond the temptation to Name
Pointing Simply to Presence.
When we plead to know your name,
you say simply, I AM.
May we rest in the mystery. Amen.
(c) Katherine Hawker 2003, using “Meditation on the Names of God” by Pamela Darling

Come as you are (could be used with song Come as you are, or Here in this place)
Come burdened
Come savvy
Come aging
Come discouraged
Come wanting
Come full
Come longing
Come drifting
Come
Children of God, Come (c) Katherine Hawker, 1998

Are any among you suffering? (based on James 5)
Are any among you suffering?
Then let us pray.
Are any cheerful?
Then let us sing songs of praise.
Are any among you sick?
Then let us turn to each other for God’s healing touch.
The prayer of faith will save us
And God will lift us up.(c)  Katherine Hawker, 1997

Treasure is (based on Mark 10)
Treasure is…
Gold and silver,
Frankincense and myrrh.
Treasure is…
To have and to hold,
‘Til death us do part.
Treasure is…
Family heirlooms
Offering precious memories.
Come…
bringing treasure, seeking treasure.
Come…
treasured, treasuring. (c)  Katherine Hawker, 2000

The spirit of God calls us
The spirit of God calls us from many places;
some of us come from busy homes with many people
some of us live alone
We are a part of the family.
This week has been different for each of us;
some of us have had happy news we want to celebrate
some of us have faced grief and need to cry
We are members of God’s family.
Yet we all come to this same place;
all of us seeking God’s presence in our lives
all of us seeking God’s presence with each other.
Together we become God’s family. (c) Katherine Hawker, 1994

We will love
God is alive in the squirmy children in our midst.
We will love them.
God is alive in
the beloved face lined with wisdom’s folds.
We will love them.
God is alive in
the persons with whom we often quarrell.
We will love them.
God is alive in the family whose values run counter to our own.
We will love them.
God is alive in the homeless ones who sleep under our verandah and in the dark corners of our city.
We will love them.
God is alive in the disfigured woman who finally finds a job in telemarketing.
We will love them.
God is alive in the corporate executive who cannot fathom the value of “enough”.
We will love them
God is alive in those who believe that militancy fosters peace.
We will love them.
God is alive in all that breathes.
May our love nurture the Spirit poised for flight.
God is alive. Amen.
Based upon God’s inclusive call of love. (c) Katherine Hawker, 2002

Children of God, do you love God?
(structured as in the words of Jesus to Peter: do you love me? then feed my sheep)
Children of God, do you love the God
who hovered over the face of the deep and called the worlds into being?
Yes, you know that we do.

Then feed God’s children.
Children of God, do you love the God
who was revealed in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus the Christ?
Yes, you know that we do.

Then take care of God’s children.
Children of God, do you the God
who breathes new life into us even as we gather this day?
Yes, you know that we do.

Then feed God’s children.
Based upon God’s inclusive call of love. (c) Katherine Hawker, 2002

God calls us to a ministry of love (based on 1 John 4.7)
God calls us to a ministry of love.
Beloved, let us love one another.

We are called to love our parents and our children,
our friends and our neighbors.
Love is from God.

We are called to love the neighbor that hurt our feelings,
the parent who was cruel, and the co-worker who is selfish.
Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

We are called to love even the people we cannot see….
in homes long neglected, in war torn countries, in places of poverty
Those who love God must love their sisters and brothers also.

May we accept God’s call to this mysterious ministry. Amen.
(c) Copyright Katherine Hawker, 1994

We come with thanksgiving (could be used at the start of spring or summer)
We come with thanksgiving for the wonders of this warm and sunny season.
Let us praise the God of the harvest.

We come with anticipation for all that lies ahead at home, at church, and in our community.
Let us praise the God of the banquet.

We come with joy in the knowledge that the Spirit remains constant through the seasons of life.
Let us praise the God of the seasons.

Let us sing our praise to God! (c)  Katherine Hawker

Summer rains and floods/Water
Soft summer rain falling on parched earth
Waters of God, flow down upon us.
Torrential floods ripping lives into pieces
Waters of God, have mercy upon us.
Soaking waters which nourish the seed
Waters of God, replenish us.{Copyright Katherine Hawker, 1998.}

The Word of God
The Word of God is planted in our hearts.
May our hearts be receptive to the Word.
The Love of God rains down on us.
May our souls soak in the wonder of God’s love.
The Breathe of God blows softly within us.
May our minds be stirred by the power of God’s spirit.
(c) Katherine Hawker, 2001

Coming with Petitions

From fears that paralyze us;
Heal us, O Lord.
From illness that strangles us;
Heal us, O Lord.
From sorrows that weigh us down;
Heal us, O Lord.
From aimlessness that plagues our visions;
Heal us, O Lord.
(c) Katherine Hawker, 1995

Holy God of wind and fire;
Dance through this room today.
Holy God of earthquakes and illness;
Share our tears of sadness and pain.
Holy God of creation and new beginnings;
Show us again your vision of healing and wholeness.
(c) Katherine Hawker, 1995

Your people come from many places with different stories to tell;
Show us your steadfast love, O Lord.
Your people come weighed down with their unique bundle of burdens;
Restore us again, O God.
Your people come ready to hear your word proclaimed anew;
Revive us again, so that we may rejoice in You.
Copyright Katherine Hawker, 1995

We come with our fears about our jobs, our families, our community.
“Come now, let us talk this over,” says Yahweh.
We come with our weariness from trying to be all things to all people.
“Come now, let us talk this over,” says Yahweh.
We come with our doubts that God even listens to our problems anymore.
“Come now, let us talk this over,” says Yahweh.
And so we come.
(c) Katherine Hawker, 1995

In a world ravaged by war;
In a city undermined by racism;
In homes tormented with apathy, anger, and frenetic pace;
We cry:
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from helping me,
from the words of my groaning?
Our schedules offer testimony
To our frantic search for meaning;
Getting ahead, getting healthy, getting religion.
O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer;
And by night, but you do not answer.
Slow us down, loving God.
Let us be still in your presence.
Yet you are holy.
In you our ancestors trusted, and you delivered them.
To you they cried, and were saved
In you they trusted, and were not put to shame.
Based upon Psalm 22:1-5. (c) Katherine Hawker, 1997

From God comes the wonder of creation.
We will worship God the Creator.
From God comes healing for the brokenness we see.
We will worship God our Redeemer.
From God comes the strength to face the new day.
We worship God our Sustainer.
Based upon 1 John 4:7. (c) Katherine Hawker, 1994

Abide in me,
We pray for God to abide in us.
Abide in me,
We yearn to feel God’s presence,
hoping that God will find and protect us.
As I abide in you,
Jesus offers an invitation for us to do the abiding.
As I abide in you,
We can choose life in the Spirit’s presence,
bearing the fruit of the Spirit’s love.
Abide in me as I abide in you.
Based on John 15:1-8. (c) Katherine Hawker. 1997

Images from Familiar Scriptures

Vine and Branches (c)  Katherine Hawker, 1995.
Called to be branches in Christ’s body,
We yearn to be connected to the vine.
Called to be mustard bushes offering shade to God’s creatures,
We search for places to plant the seeds of faith.
Called to be growing with God in the midst of this world’s painful questions,
We seek God’s nurturing presence.

Call Narratives (c)  Katherine Hawker.
Jeremiah was just a young inexperienced boy when he heard God’s call to preach.
All are welcome here.
Jesus shared supper with the undesireables in his community.
All are welcome here.
Paul was attacking Christians when God spoke to him and changed his life.
All are welcome here.

Turning a Cheek (c) Katherine Hawker, 1997

Strength is commanding the wind and sea to obey,
Strength is wielding a slingshot in the face of a raging giant.
Strength is accepting vulnerability from inside the boat,
Strength is standing in solidarity with the powerless.
Strength is turning a cheek,
Strength is loving an enemy.
We come to worship a God who redefines our vision of strength.

Cost and Joy Based on James 2. (c) Katherine Hawker, 1997
Come to hear the Word.
Come to do the Word.
Come to experience Comfort.
Come to experience Challenge.
Come to find Cost.
Come to find Joy.
Come to find Humanity.
Come to find Community.
Come to find Church.
Come to find God.

Kingdom of God Based upon Matthew 13:31ff. (c) Katherine Hawker, 1999

The kingdom of God is here, and coming.
A mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field;
it is the smallest of all the seeds,
but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree,
so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.
The kingdom of God is here, and coming.
Yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour
until all was leavened.
The kingdom of God is here, and coming.
Treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid;
then joyfully sells all he has and buys the field.
The kingdom of God is here, and coming.
A merchant in search of fine pearls;
on finding one of great value,
sells all of his possessions and buys the pearl.
The kingdom of God is here, and coming.
Let all who have ears, hear.

Greatest Commandment Based on Matthew 22:34-40. (c) Katherine Hawker, 2002.
Once upon a time a wise man offered a challenge;
“What is the greatest commandment?”
The calendars on our desks share a vision of greatness;
bills to pay, phone calls to return, appointments to keep.
Love the Lord your God.
The cameras of our memories share what commands us;
children to bathe and partners to help
parents calling and grandchildren hopeful.
Love the Lord your God
with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.
Still the Spirit lures us to new priorities;
open spaces to experience wonder,
strangers becoming friends,
devotion to that which transcends.
Love the Lord your God
with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.
Love your neighbor as yourself.

Ten Commandments

Based upon Exodus 20 and Matthew 22. Copyright Katherine Hawker, 2002.

Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, your mind and your soul.We will love God with an intensitysuch that no substitute will suffice,the very mention of God’s name will be preciousas we cleave to our time of communion with the sacred.Love your neighbor as yourself.We will respect the wisdom of our elders.We will protect the lives and the reputations of those around us.We will cherish the relationships entrusted to us.We will not take what is not ours.We will learn the value of enough.Love the Lord your God.Amen.

 

Losing One’s Life

Based upon Matthew 16:25. Also Mark 8:35. Copyright Katherine Hawker, 2002.

Those who want to save their liveshave good health insurance,pay their bills on time,exercise and eat right…Those who want to save their liveswill lose them.Those who lose their livesin pursuit of Godwho abandon the world’s values,who live generously and faithfully,who listen to a voice beyond…Those who lose their livesin pursuit of Godwill find life.May we learn the value of loss.May we know the value of life.Amen.

 

Transfiguration

Copyright Katherine Hawker, 1997.

We have seen the light of God;on high mountains of celebrationand in the ecstacy of a lover’s embrace.We have seen the light of God;through the bitter scorn of betrayaland the searing chasm of grief.We have seen the light of God;with eyes that have been shaded,with eyes that have been opened,with eyes that have been blinded.We have seen the light of God.

 

Then feed my Sheep

Based on John 21:15-19. Copyright Katherine Hawker, 1998.

Children of God, do you love the Godwho hovered over the face of the deep and called the worlds into being?Yes, you know that we do.Then feed God’s children.
Children of God, do you love the Godwho was revealed in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus the Christ?Yes, you know that we do.Then take care of God’s children.
Children of God, do you the Godwho breathes new life into us even as we gather this day?Yes, you know that we do.Then feed God’s children.

 

We are the Vines

Based on John 15:1-8. Copyright Katherine Hawker, 2000.

The vine emerges from the earth,nourishedand nourishing.Rises without visible connection;roots hidden,promise unknown.Strong to withstand storms,fragile when plucked too soon.So it is that we grow…nourished by invisible connections to the living God,called to nourish that which is seen and that which is yet buried within.

 

Called to be Salt

Juxtaposing biblical references to “salt”. Copyright Katherine Hawker, 2002.

You shall not omit from your grain offerings the salt of the covenant with your God; with all your offerings you shall offer salt. (Leviticus 2:13)

We are a people of the salted covenant.

We are the salt of the earth.

Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven; and he overthrew those cities, and all the Plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. (Genesis 19:24-26)

We are a people who cannot help but look back.

We are the salt of the earth.

Abimelech fought against the city all that day; he took the city, and killed the people that were in it; and he razed the city and sowed it with salt. (Judges 9:45)

We are a people tempted to sow destruction.

We are the salt of the earth.

Now the people of the city said to Elisha, “The location of this city is good, as my lord sees; but the water is bad, and the land is unfruitful.” He said, “Bring me a new bowl, and put salt in it.” So they brought it to him. Then he went to the spring of water and threw the salt into it, and said, “Thus says the Lord, I have made this water wholesome; from now on neither death nor miscarriage shall come from it.” So the water has been wholesome to this day, according to the word that Elisha spoke. (II Kings 2:19-22)

We are a people who discover the miracle of ‘enough’ in the presence of God.

We are the salt of the earth.

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone. (Colossians 4:6)

We are a people with a mission.

We are the salt of the earth.

You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. (Matthew 5:13)

We are the salt of the earth;

offering flavor and preserving the corpse,

symbolic of faithlessness and offering life.

We are the salt of the earth.

Opening Prayer (for winter)
Opening Prayer
Holy One,
today the cold wind
chased us from our homes
across the car park
and into the warmth
of this church, the warmth
of your welcoming love, and
the warmth of our community.
As we gather together today,
let us not forget those who are homeless,
and have no warmth awaiting them:
keep us aware and compassionate.
May the fire we kindle here
fill our hearts with your love,
and may we carry it away within us
and warm the hearts of others. Amen.

 

About admin

Rev Sandy Boyce is a Uniting Church in Australia Minister (Deacon) in placement at Pilgrim Uniting Church, in Adelaide CBD (12 Flinders St). This blog is mainly to resource worship planners for our services, but of course may be useful for others. We have some great writers of music, words for hymns and liturgy at Pilgrim, so this blog also includes their words.
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