Acts 16: 16-34
Paul and Silas are imprisoned after they cast out a demon from the fortune-telling slave girl. Even in jail they continue to worship, and Paul leads the prison jailer to faith in Christ.
Psalm 97
God’s greatness and power extends over all, even gods and idols. The earth itself trembles. God’s protection extends towards God’s people.
Rev 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21
Christ is the one who will come to set things right. The Holy City will be home to all those who respond to God’s invitation to life in Christ.
John 17:20-26
Jesus prays for those who believe in him, that they may find unity, and that their love will be a witness to the world, that others may believe in Jesus.

RCLReadings.COCU38C.Easter7C.NN (Nathan Nettleton paraphrase)

Sacredise (John van de Laar)
Singing from the Lectionary (Natalie Sims)
re-Worship (Christine Longhurst)
Reflection on the Epistle reading on the UCC website

Call to Worship (based on Revelation 22)
The Spirit of God bids us, “Come.”
Let everyone who hears within their hearts “Come.”
Hear the whole earth rejoice and
the coastlands sing of our God’s steadfast love.

We come to rejoice in the Holy One, our God.
We give thanks for God sets us free!

Let everyone who is thirsty for the Spirit “Come.”
Let anyone who wishes “Come,”
and receive the water of life as a gift.

We come to rejoice in the Holy One, our God.
We give thanks for God’s steadfast love
that brings joy to our hearts in the night,
lights our lives like the dawn,
and sets us free. Amen.
(Source: Free Indeed, by Rev. Dr. Cari Jackson, posted on UCC’s Worship Ways Archive)

Call to Worship (based on Psalm 97)
God rules the Earth with justice:
Earth and Earth’s people rejoice!
All nature serves God:
Fire clears the way and lightening lights God’s path:
Earth and Earth’s people rejoice!
The heavens proclaim God’s righteousness;
All peoples behold God’s glory:
Earth and Earth’s people rejoice!
Delight in God, O coastlands and heartlands;
Give thanks to God, O faithful ones:
Earth and Earth’s people rejoice!
(One in Love and Mission, by Rev. Susan A. Blain, on UCC’s Worship Ways archive)

Call to worship (based on Rev 22.17)
The Spirit says come.
Let those who are thirsty come.
Let those who desire take the water of life without price.
We gather, something draws us here. 
Perhaps a need to say ‘thank you’,
a longing for community;
to seek comfort in our grief;
to find a deeper meaning in it all.
We may seek a presence, 
an awareness, something more than we can describe in words. 
The Spirit says come.
Let those who are thirsty come.
Let those who desire take the water of life without price.
(Carol Young, Pilgrim UC, May 2016)

Prayers of Thankfulness and Who we are
Mysterious One, the Ground of our Being,
we do not know what to call you,
Father, Mother, Parent.
We have no words to contain you;
you contain the cosmos,
you know ultimately every atom, every rock, leaf, animal
and human being
and you hold us all in your love.
We are thankful for life in all its wonderful diversity. 
A silence is kept
We forget sometimes that you love the whole creation
and act as if we humans
are the only valuable part.
We are sorry. 
A silence is kept
We forget that like an ideal parent
you love us as we are,
whoever we are.
For the times we have refused to love,
We are sorry. 
A silence is kept. 
The good news is that you will go on nurturing us
like a loving parent with your all-embracing love.
(Carol Young, Pilgrim UC, May 2016)

Prayers of who we are (prayers of confession)
(inspired by Revelation 22 and John 17)
Merciful God, we say that we want you to come and be among us.
And yet we acknowledge that you already are among us, fully and completely at all times.
We say that we want Jesus to return and we pray, “Come, Lord Jesus.”
And yet, we confess our fears and uncertainty about the return of Christ
and what it will mean for us and for the world.
Jesus prayed that we might be one with you and with each other.
And yet, so often, if we are honest, we wish to remain separate from you,
maintaining our independence and control.
We resist the burden of being unified with those around us,
especially when those around us want different things than we do
or pull us in directions we do not wish to go.
Soften our resistance, gracious Lord,
and draw us into an authentic relationship with you
and true community with one another.
We pray this in the name of Jesus, who prayed and still prays for us. Amen.
(Presbyterian Church in Canada website)

Prayers of the People (see also Prayers for others)
Loving God, made known to us in the life, death and new again Jesus,
be our inspiration and our hope
and turn our anxieties and uncertainties into praise,
a doxology of thanksgiving as we pray for others.
We pray for people caught up in war,
and the millions of refugees fleeing war and persecution.
We give thanks for the selfless and dedicated aid agencies
working in these areas without regard for their own safety or health.
May our prayer turn us and others to loving and giving. 
On this Mothers’ Day
we pray for the many families struggling
with the challenges of unemployment, domestic violence,
mental health problems and poverty.
We pray in particular for mothers and caregivers
as they try to do their best for children,
and for the agencies striving to support them.
May our prayer turn us and others to express compassion and caring. 
We pray for our politicians,
that they may make wise and compassionate decisions
for the benefit of all the people of this land,
and for those who are seeking refuge and shelter from other places.
We pray also for a renewed commitment to develop social policies and
courses of action that care for our fragile earth and environment.
May our prayer turn us and others to work for justice and be free from fear.
We pray for each other today and all those who meet here. 
As we fall and then lift each other up for the journey ahead
help us to embrace each other in love
and discover your glory at work in our world. 
May we continue to find inspiration 
in what others give of themselves through compassion and service. Amen.
(Pilgrim UC, May 2016)

Words of commission and blessing
May grace and peace uphold us
in times of loss and pain.
May grace and peace restore us
to hope and life again.
May grace and peace go with us
and be a light to guide
May grace and peace now bless us
and in our hearts abide.
(Helen Wiltshire)
As you go today, may you discover awe and wonder in the One who is Creator.
May you find new ways to embrace life again through Jesus the freedom worker.
And may the inspiration of the empowering Spirit accompany us this day and always. Amen.

Go now in peace,
for Christ has called you to live in peace
among your brothers and sisters in Christ.
Go now in courage,
for Christ has called you from the places of your life
to be agents of redemption and partners in healing.
Go now in joy and thanksgiving,
for Christ is our light!
Go now as one body,
to love and serve God as you love and serve the world!
(Elizabeth Dilley, posted on the UCC’s Worship Ways website)

(inspired by John 17:21, 1 Corinthians 1:10-18)
My fellow servants, we are one.
The bread we share makes us one.
The cup we pour makes us one.
Even as our dearest sisters and brothers
come and go from us, we are one.
Even as we scatter from this place
to so many diverse pursuits
throughout this city, this state, this globe,
we are one.
With gratitude we share the Table.
With gratitude we depart.
With gratitude we release one another,
trusting in the One
Who makes us one.
Go in peace.
(Paul Randall, and posted on Ecclesia)

Pilgrim UC midweek service (PDF) COCU38C.Easter7C.Midweek.P

About admin

Rev Sandy Boyce is a Uniting Church in Australia Minister (Deacon). This blog may be a help to people planning worship services.
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