A Prayer as We Gather: Remind us, Lord, how you schooled Moses in the details of proper worship preparation long before the actual events of Israel’s exodus from Egyptian bondage. Show us that thoughtful worship planning still matters. Keep us from trite expressions of praise, self-serving religious entertainment substituting for stunned silence in the mystery of your glorious presence. Amen.* (Mitchell Simpson, inspired by Exodus 12)
Call to Worship:
Sing to God a brand-new song,
Sing God’s praise in the assembly of the faithful!
Let all Israel celebrate their Sovereign Creator,
Let Zion’s children rejoice in their King!
Let them praise God’s name in dance;
Strike up the band and make great music!
Let the faithful break out in praise,
Shouting the high praises of God.* (Psalm 149)
Morning Prayer: Thank you, Lord, that on this side of the cross we are under no obligation to anyone, unburdened by any debt except to love each other as you love us. We welcome apostle Paul’s counsel not to quibble or fret over individual commandments, but to love our neighbors as ourselves, confident that love fulfills your law. Help us rid ourselves of actions belonging to the darkness, cloaking ourselves instead in the weapons of light, clothed in the grace of Jesus himself, who loved us so well he even taught us how to pray, saying …* (Mitchell Simpson, inspired by Romans 13)
Prayer of Confession: Forgive us Lord, for ignoring Jesus’ directions. When we feel wronged by another, rather than seek them out in private, respectful confrontation, we tend to sulk and stew over our ill treatment. We allow our hurt feelings to fester, often confiding in some third party, enlisting them in our antipathy toward the wrong-doer instead of going to that person and honestly addressing our grievances. We find it easier to launch a bitter counter-attack than seek reconciliation in Jesus’ name. No wonder we are often so anxious. Have mercy on our self-serving reticence. Amen.* (Mitchell Simpson, inspired by Matthew 18)