Genesis 22: 1-14
Abraham takes his son Isaac out to sacrifice him to the Lord, but God stops him and provides a ram for the offering instead.
Psalm 13
A psalm of lament in which the psalmist cries out to God, but also affirms his trust in God’s goodness and love.
Romans 6:12-23
Paul encourages the Roman Christians to turn from sinful living and to obey God in order to find life and righteousness, and he reminds them that, while sin leads to death, God’s gift in Christ is life.
Matthew 10:40-42
Jesus teaches that those who receive prophets and righteous people will be rewarded, as will those who care for the followers of Christ.
(Bible summaries by John van de Laar, Sacredise)

Singing from the Lectionary
Weekly Worship (Church of Scotland)

Hospitality is described in the New Testament as a spiritual gift. This may lead us to believe that it is only required of those to whom this particular gift has been given, but this would be a mistake. In the Old Testament hospitality was expected of all of God’s people, and, as with other spiritual gifts, the task of those who have received the gift of hospitality is to teach the whole church how to be hospitable. This means that the call to hospitality – to welcoming and receiving others in Jesus’ name – comes to all who seek to follow Jesus.
The Gospel is built on the fact that God has offered hospitality to us. God has welcomed us into God’s family and made us part of God’s new community of love and justice. We have done nothing to deserve this. It is simply a gift of grace. But, in response we should find ourselves unable to resist offering hospitality to others. As we have been welcomed and accepted so we desire others to know God’s grace and love, and so we seek to welcome and accept others in Jesus’ name, without requiring anything of them, or expecting anything in return. If we seek to understand what it means to be holy, we will discover that hospitality is a significant feature.
This week we seek to respond to God’s call to hospitality.
(Source: John van de Laar, Sacredise)

Preparation for worship
The smallest thing, under the influence of God,
is made infinitely precious and eternal.
If we come to worship focussing on our needs,
we will go away feeling let down.
If we come wanting a God made in our own likeness,
we will be disappointed.
If we come rigid in our ideas and set in our ways,
we will leave as barren as we arrived.
If we put God first,
we shall never worship in vain.
Listen to this, people of God:
The Lord your God is One:
love the Lord your God
with all your heart
with all your mind
and with all your strength. Amen.
(Source: Bruce Prewer)

Welcome: A place for us
We long to find a place to relax, O God,
to lean into the welcome and the love of real friends
who stay true no matter who we are or what we’ve done.
We want to be known – not just our names, but our selves,
our dreams and longings, our fears and failings
and be warmly, unrestrainedly welcomed.
We yearn to know the joy of opening our arms to others
and seeing them melt and grow soft in the safety
of our acceptance.
And you have created a place like this for us
a place of people, with failings and disagreements
who still look out for one another;
a place of difference and struggle
where we can all belong;
a place of faith and deep doubt,
a place of awkward stumbling toward Christlikeness;
a place of worship, of mystery and of rest.
And though we can’t always see it,
although sometimes it doesn’t feel like it;
this is the place – here.
Not the buildings and the furniture – no, these people
who gather each week in your name
and try so hard to remember each other’s
And for this place, and your being with us
we give our heartfelt gratitude and devotion. Amen.
(Source: John van de Laar, Sacredise)

(for other Gathering and welcome prayers on this site, click here)

Call to worship (based on Psalm 13)
Trust in the unfailing love of God
Let our hearts rejoice in God’s calling of us.
God does not abandon us
though we wrestle with doubt and sorrow.
God does not turn away and hide
instead God’s light shines in the darkness.
God shields us from all threat
and lifts us when we fall.
Trust in the unfailing love of God
Let our hearts rejoice in God’s calling of us.
Let us sing to God
for God is good.
(Source: Rev MaryAnn Rennie, Church of Scotland)

Call to worship (based on Psalm 13)
We’ve come to worship,
to sing and pray and hear God’s Word, because:
God’s love lasts forever!
Even when God seems far away, we know:
God’s love lasts forever!
Even when nothing is going right, and we’re ready to give up, we know:
God’s love lasts forever!
When people treat us badly, we know:
God’s love lasts forever!
When we’re all alone,
and we feel like no one loves us, we know:
God’s love lasts forever!
Let’s worship God together!
(Source: Christine Longhurst, re-worship)

(for other options for Call to Worship on this site, click here)

Prayer of thanks
That there is a planet circling the sun, which we call earth, our first, wonderful home.
Give thanks to the Lord who is good, whose mercies last forever.
That the earth is full of loving gifts, beautiful scenes, and complex creatures.
Give thanks to the Lord who is good, whose mercies last forever.
That from earliest days God spoke to people and called them into faith and service.
Give thanks to the Lord who is good, whose mercies last forever.
That God’s people are called to be friends of the earth and stewards of its bounty.
Give thanks to the Lord who is good, whose mercies last forever.
That God came uniquely to us in Christ Jesus, bearing our sins and healing our diseases.
Give thanks to the Lord who is good, whose mercies last forever.
That we belong to a community called the church, where Christ lives on in love.
Give thanks to the Lord who is good, whose mercies last forever.
That no evil can finally win out against God, and that complete reconciliation is assured.
Give thanks to the Lord who is good, whose mercies last forever.
That through Christ’s ministry even death has lost its sting and the grave its victory.
Give thanks to the Lord who is good, whose mercies last forever.
That we are surrounded by a crowd of heavenly friends, whose lives are hid with Christ.
Give thanks to the Lord who is good, whose mercies last forever.
(Source: Bruce Prewer)

(for other Prayers of Thanksgiving on this site, click here)

Comforter draw near,
for You have waited and watched, as we have stumbled
through the tasks of life.
Our ears have not been open
to the sound of Your gentleness, and so with frustration and anger we have turned on those
we love and cherish,
and brought hurt and division to life.
Our eyes have not noticed
the beauty of our surroundings,
and in resentment of being restrained from living, we have played our part
in the changing pattern of creation,
forgetting to steward all You have made.
In prayer
we remember You invite us
to choose between the path of darkness
and the path of light,
and laying our sorrow and failure on the ground we long for Your forgiveness to call us
towards life with You.
We wait to be reshaped
by the fire of Your Holy Spirit, as new vigour spurs us
to walk with You.
God’s gift of eternal life has been given in Jesus Christ, who offers us forgiveness from our sins,
and welcomes us to the way of holiness. Amen.
(Source: Rev MaryAnn Rennie, Church of Scotland)

(For other prayers of confession on this site, click here)

Prayers for others: Jesus in disguise
It’s a tough thing for us to learn, Jesus,
how you hide in the most unlikely places;
how you beckon us into life and compassion
by disguising yourself in broken humanity.
But, when our eyes are opened,
we discover that we are never far from your heart,
from your kingdom.
And so we ask you to show yourself to us again,
and lead us into prayerful action;
Help us to share your grief when lives are needlessly lost
simply because they have no money for food or shelter,
because they have no access to medicine and care,
because they have no choice but to live
where war and violence constantly threaten;
Help us to feel your offense when the least are exploited
by the lust of those who are physically stronger,
by the greed of those who are financially richer,
by the disregard of those who are politically more powerful.
Help us to know your pain when what you have created is destroyed
by the carelessness of expediency,
by the short-sightedness of progress at all costs,
by the sense of entitlement of proud humanity.
Teach us to welcome you, Jesus,
by welcoming those in whom your image is hidden,
and by working, in our small worlds,
to make visible your kingdom where all are welcomed. Amen.
(Source: John van de Laar, Sacredise)

Prayers for others (for two voices)
Most loving God, you have put it in our hearts to pray for one another.
Please hear our prayers, correct their errors, and bless all that is wise and loving.
We pray for the young and the strong, and all who are full of joy and high hopes today.
We pray for the elderly and the weak, and all who are utterly weary and disheartened today.
We pray for the wise and the generous, and those who are looking for new challenges today.
We pray for the foolish and the selfish, and those who evading their responsibilities today.
We pray for peace-keepers and peacemakers, and all who work for justice and peace today.
We pray for the hostile and the treacherous, and all who will resort to violence today.
We pray for the well housed and well fed, and those who share their good fortune today.
We pray for the homeless and the hungry, and all whose plight is ignored today.
We pray for the patient and the merciful, and all who will make new friends today.
We pray for the hasty and the judgmental, and all who will create some misery today.
We pray for the healthy and the buoyant, and those who will share much happiness today.
We pray for the dying and the sad, and those who will weep inconsolably today.
We pray for the faithful and the loving, and all who will worship with delight today.
We pray for the faithless and the cynical, and all who will find life a drag today.
We pray for our loved ones and our friends, and those whom we will meet casually today.
We pray for strangers and enemies, and those who will think evil of us today.
Loving God, please bring the day nearer when our prayers and our deeds will work in perfect harmony,
and we will be a blessing to all those whose lives touch ours.
Through Christ Jesus our Saviour. Amen!
(Source: Bruce Prewer)

Prayers for others: Good news by degrees
It’s Good News this Gospel of yours, Jesus,
and we easily get so excited and full of expectation,
that we can be disappointed when goodness takes longer
than we had hoped.
but sometimes the most powerful changes, the most complete healings
come not in one startling moment,
but slowly, by degrees.
And so we pray for your Good News to capture our world,
in the comfort of loving shoulders
offered for the grieving to cry on;
in the shared laughter and hopefulness
found in the midst of pain and suffering;
in the vulnerable welcome of hospitality
given to both strangers and friends;
in the unconditional love and challenging confrontation
received from trusted partners;
in the simple responsibility
accepted by those who are conscientious and faithful;
in the generous good
done by grateful followers of your ways;
In these small, but significant actions,
we pray that we and our world may recognise
the signs of your reign among us;
and that your Good News may be proclaimed by degrees,
in the daily rhythms of our lives. Amen.
(Source: John van de Laar, Sacredise)

Repenting and Lamenting in Times Like These
You are the God who hears:
hear our prayer today for all who lament or repent.
For those among us who face discrimination every day
because of their skin colour,
we lament.
For those among us with white skin who benefit
from racist systems sometimes even without realizing it,
we repent.
For those among us who have struggled and waited so long
for the promised land of freedom and equality,
we lament.
For those among us who have acted in racist ways
and have hurt people of colour,
we repent.
For those protesting injustice who face police brutality
and a justice system rigged against them,
we lament.
For those who think racism is someone else’s problem,
and not a problem for humanity,
we repent.
God of hope, show us how to work for justice together,
standing up for what is right,
stepping in when something’s wrong,
shouldering each other’s burdens,
holding each other accountable,
righting the wrongs we’ve done,
speaking truth to power.
We pray for change, lasting change,
for protection for protesters,
for a de-escalation of violence
and for government leaders who listen.
Deliver us from evil, within and without,
in Jesus’ name we pray, Amen
(Source: Carol Penner, Leading in Worship)

Prayers for others: Extending the invitation
Lord Jesus, it’s a shameful thing
when you’ve set invitations to all who will come
and we stand at the door and turn people away
it’s shameful how we find ways to justify, in Your Name,
the lines we draw between us,
the exclusions and suspicions,
the greeds and power-plays,
that harm the least,
and protect our special interests.
And so we pray:
Lift us above our pettiness and self-protection,
and use us as Your agents of justice and mercy;
May Your grace open our doors, stretch out our arms
and turn our attention
to the excluded, rejected and neglected ones.
May Your wisdom teach our minds, open our hearts
and challenge our apathy
to find solutions to the conflicts and self-created threats in our world.
May Your love release our energies, ignite our abilities
and inspire our action
to heal those who carry the scars of abuse, war and disease,
to comfort those who grieve the loss of loved ones or opportunities,
to restore the ones who have failed or fallen,
to nurture the life that breaks out in every person
and every part of our planet.
And make us heralds of Your kingdom
who extend Your invitation to all who will listen. Amen.
(Source: John van de Laar, Sacredise)

Prayer inspired by Matthew 10:40–42
a sort of confession,
a sort of intercession,
a commitment to offer
what I have, in welcome

I have but a cup,
cold water to quench
a moment’s thirst.
It is not a bucket or
a well; no stream
or lake or river.
I have a cup, I have
cold water to quench
your thirst this moment:
drink, well met; drink,
refresh; drink, and may you
find your way to the source.
(Source: Sarah Agnew, Pray the Story)

(for other Prayers for others on this site, click here)

(inspired by Matthew 10:40-42)
Whoever welcomes you welcomes me.
Quench our thirst for love,
Satisfy our need to be known,
Assure us that we are indeed prophets of welcome.
Let us go to proclaim this peace in God’s name.
(Source: Rev. Elsa A. Cook, United Church of Christ, Cooking with Elsa).

Go out with the Gospel ringing in your ears
with joy flooding your heart
and a spring energising your step
and with love flowing through your hands.
Yes, with love in our hands.
joy in our hearts,
and a spring in our step
The Lover of the universe will uphold you,
the Saviour of the lost will enfold you,
the Spirit of truth will mould you,
now and evermore,
Yes, now and evermore. Amen!
(Source: Bruce Prewer)

(for other Benedictions and Blessings on this site, click here)


Where cross the crowded ways of life
Where cross the crowded ways of life,
where sound the cries of race and clan,
above the noise of selfish strife,
we hear your voice, O Son of Man.

In haunts of wretchedness and need,
on shadowed thresholds fraught with fears,
from paths where hide the lures of greed,
we catch the vision of your tears.

From tender childhood’s helplessness,
from human grief and burdened toil,
from famished souls, from sorrow’s stress,
your heart has never known recoil.

The cup of water given for you
still holds the freshness of your grace;
yet long these multitudes to view
the sweet compassion of your face.

O Master, from the mountainside,
make haste to heal these hearts of pain;
among these restless throngs abide;
O tread the city’s streets again;

Till all the world shall learn your love,
and follow where your feet have trod;
till glorious from your heaven above
shall come the city of our God.
(Words: Frank Mason North 1905; tune: Germany/Walton/Melchisidec, Gardiner)

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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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