Women's Sunday, April 15, 2018

Prayer as We Gather:  We give thanks on this Women’s Sunday, Lord, for special women in our lives.  “Some have changed - some forever, not for better -  some have gone and some remain.”  All these women have their places in crucial moments of our lives that have gone before, some are dead and some are living, some have shown us the face of Jesus, some have loved us through darkness and pain, some have helped us change our hearts and lives.  In our life, we’ve cherished them all for their particular incarnation of God’s grace.  Amen.*(Mitchell Simpson, inspired by Acts 3 and the poetry of Paul McCartney)

Call to Worship:

When I call, give me answers, God. 

Take my side!

Now I’m in trouble again:

Grace me!  Hear me!

Look who got picked by God!

God listens the split second I call.

Complain if you must, but don’t lash out.

Build your case before God and wait for God’s verdict.

Why is everyone hungry for more?

I have God’s more-than-enough, more joy in one ordinary day.

At day’s end I’m ready for sound sleep,

For you, God, have put my life back together. (Psalm 4, The Message)

Morning Prayer:  Lord, help us not to worry about what is yet to be.  Instead, free us to marvel at the kind of love you have given us, a love that calls us your children!  May we not be discouraged when the world doesn’t recognize us, because the world didn’t recognize Jesus our Lord, either.  We take comfort in scripture’s reminder that “it hasn’t yet appeared what we will be,” though all around us chaotic voices demand we embrace their frenetic schedules and their dark vision of what lies ahead.  Grant us the unfettered courage of a child, resolved to “make sure no one deceives you,” for we pray as our Galilean Lord taught us, saying …*(Mitchell Simpson, inspired by 1 John 3)

Prayer of Confession:  Forgive us, Lord, for being just as afraid in the face of unfolding terror as were your first disciples in the wake of your crucifixion.  If you suddenly stood among us this morning, we too would likely think we were “seeing a ghost.”  We shrink from your invitation to “touch me and see,” for fear we would then have no choice but to follow you and make disciples in your name.  We much prefer to gather in your name every Sunday as members of the Jesus admiration society, with no real intention of drawing others into the beloved community of believers we claim means so much to us.  Have mercy, we pray.  Amen.*(Mitchell Simpson, inspired by Luke 24)   

Assurance of Pardon:  I have good news!  Jesus has spelled out for us the point of his suffering, death and rising from the dead on the third day: “A change of heart and life for the forgiveness of sins to all nations.  You are witnesses of all these things.”  May our changed hearts, ennobled lives and willingness to “forgive others even as you have been forgiven” combine to show a broken world what newness of life looks like in person.  Thanks be to God for the privilege of being called as witnesses on Jesus’ behalf!*(Mitchell Simpson, inspired by Luke 24)

Thought for a Sabbath Day:  “Real courage is when you know you’ve licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”      - Harper Lee, American writer