call to worship: don’t you know? haven’t you heard?

based on Isaiah 40:21-31, Common English Bible
submitted by Rev. Andy James, Pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Whitestone, New York

Don’t you know? Haven’t you heard?
God created all things and summons everyone by name.

Don’t you know? Haven’t you heard?
No one – nothing – can compare to God’s glory.

Don’t you know? Haven’t you heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth,
and never grows tired or weary.

Don’t you know? Haven’t you heard?
Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength forever and ever.

prayer of illumination for Advent – speak to us Lord

submitted by Rev. Andy James, First Presbyterian Church of Whitestone, New York

Speak to us, Lord.
Speak to us in the waiting, the watching,
the hoping, the longing,
the sorrow, the sighing, the rejoicing.
Speak to us by your Word in these Advent days,
and walk with us until the day of your coming. Amen.

call to worship: we gather here

a call to worship for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A, after reading Exodus 33:12-23
submitted by Rev. Andy James, First Presbyterian Church of Whitestone, New York

We gather here, hoping to catch a glimpse of God’s face.
We gather here, longing for the fullness of God’s grace.
Here God steps into our world and walks this way with us.
Here we join our voices in praise for our God who shows us all that we need.

prayer of confession: sowing and harvesting

submitted by Rev. Andy JamesFirst Presbyterian Church, Whitestone, New York
based on Matthew 13:24-30

Gracious God, you sow good seeds in the field to make the world blossom and grow, but we lay waste to your crop. We toss other seeds into the field that only choke the life you share. We pull up the weeds when the time is not right and destroy the good wheat in our world. And sometimes we would rather even destroy the whole field than claim the good crops that you have given us. Forgive us for tending your field with such carelessness and bad judgment. Show us your intentions for us and our world once again, and so open us to the good harvest that you share with us and all creation.

prayer of illumination: lift our eyes

A prayer of illumination for reading Acts 1:1-14 (Ascension/Easter 7A).
Submitted by Andy James, First Presbyterian Church of Whitestone, Queens, NY

Ever-rising God,
just as you lifted the eyes of the disciples
to the rising Jesus at his ascension,
so lift our eyes to you as we hear your holy word today,
that we too might turn our eyes toward the need of the world
and follow in your way through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

prayer of confession: keeping the commandments

submitted by Andy James, First Presbyterian Church of Whitestone, Queens, New York

connected to the gospel reading for Easter 6A, John 14:15-21

Gracious God, we love you,
but too often we do not keep your commandments.
We turn away from your path
and love our way of life more than we love you.
We love ourselves but forget to love our neighbors too.
Forgive our misdirected love.
Help us to respond to your love in new ways each and every day.
Strengthen us so that we may know your promises
and see your risen presence in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Prayers for Mothers Day

submitted by Andy James, First Presbyterian Church of Whitestone, Queens, New York

Some churches have many celebrations for Mothers Day; others almost completely ignore it. I’ve found it important and helpful to include a focus on “mothers” of all sorts in the Prayers of the People. Here’s what I have used several times before.

Mothering God,
on this day set aside in our nation to praise mothers and motherhood,
help us to give thanks to you for our mothers
and for those who have been like mothers to us.
Rejoice with us for all those, male and female, older and younger,
who have shown us your tender grace, mercy, and love.
Support all who have entered into the joyous calling of motherhood,
especially those who raise children alone or in the face of great trial.

Do not let us forget about those who might feel left out on this day:
those who do not know their mothers,
those whose mothers are far away or have died,
those mothers whose children are far away or have died,
those who do not or cannot know the joy of children and motherhood.

Help all your people to know the gift of a mother’s love
in and through whatever manifestation you offer it,
and continue to show us your love through all who are mothers to us.

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