Friday Morning Opening Worship
St. Paul's UMC - Helena, Montana
8:00 a.m. Friday, June 19
“We Are Called” FWS #2172
Scripture: Genesis 1:1-4, 6-7, 9, 11, 14-15, 20-21, 24, 26-28, 31a
A reading of select verses from Genesis, Chapter 1.
First this: God created the Heavens and Earth—all you see, all you don’t see. Earth was a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, an inky blackness. God’s Spirit brooded like a bird above the watery abyss.
God spoke: “Light!”
And light appeared.
God … separated light from dark.
God spoke: “Sky! In the middle of the waters;
separate water from water!”
God made sky.
He separated the water under sky
from the water above sky.
God spoke: “Separate!
Water-beneath-Heaven, gather into one place;
And there it was.
God spoke: “Earth, green up! Grow all varieties
of seed-bearing plants,
Every sort of fruit-bearing tree.”
And there it was.
God spoke: “Lights! Come out!
Shine in Heaven’s sky!
Separate Day from Night.
Mark seasons and days and years,
Lights in Heaven’s sky to give light to Earth.”
God spoke: “Swarm, Ocean, with fish and all sea life!
Birds, fly through the sky over Earth!”
God created the huge whales,
all the swarm of life in the waters,
And every kind and species of flying birds.
God spoke: “Earth, generate life! Every sort and kind:
cattle and reptiles and wild animals—all kinds.”
And there it was:
wild animals of every kind.
God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them
reflecting our nature
So they can be responsible for the fish in the sea,
the birds in the air, the cattle,
And, yes, Earth itself,
and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.”
[And there it was:
every kind of human.]
God looked over everything he had made;
it was so good, so very good!
The following is the prayer substituted for original plans; a prayerful response to the tragic shootings at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, on Wednesday, June 17, 2015:
We come to you as your children, seeking your wisdom and patience in the midst of our bewilderment. You have made humankind so magnificently and so powerfully, but we lose our way before we can arrive at the kind of love with which you made us. We know it is there because we are the work of your hands and we ask your gentle hand to guide us to it and place it at the center of all things and nations, and races and peoples.
We gathered to learn of the riches of your abundant love, which overcomes all the violence the world, can muster. And then shots rang out across this great land of hope and freedom, infecting people with fear and suspicion.
We turn to you and to you alone, as we cry out once again that we are love because you are love and we are from you. How can anyone hope to love anyone if they do not love everyone? How can anyone seek to overcome darkness with darkness? How can anyone hate anyone without hating everyone?
Turn our hearts to neither the left nor the right, but only to you. We read your Word and hear your love in it even when people in Egypt and Syria and South Carolina die for it.
We lift up you, God:
Our brother, Honorable, Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41, pastor and state senator
Our sister, Cynthia Hurd, 54
sister, Ethel Lance, 70
Our brother, Rev DePayne Middleton-Doctor, 49
sister, Rev. Sharonda Singleton, 45
Our brother, Rev. Daniel Simmons, Sr., 74
sister, Myra Thompson, 59
sister, Susie Jackson, 87
Our brother, Tywanza Sanders, 26
And our brother, the suspected shooter, Dylann Roof, 21.
We pray for peace. We lift up those who suffer violence anywhere in the world and we do not look down on them, but up to you.
Give us your peace. Give us your love. Give us your will, abundantly, as we trudge onward and upward together toward you. Amen.
Prayer written by J. Kelly Addy
During the prayer, FWS #2193 “Lord, Listen to Your Children Praying” will quietly play, leading into congregational singing of the song following the prayer.
The following is the originally planned prayer that was replaced:
Eternal God, You gave wonderful forms to the amazed elements: the tender world blushed at the fires of the sun, and the rude earth wondered at dealings of the moon. And lest no inhabitant should adorn all this, and the sun's orb shine on emptiness, your hands made from clay a more excellent likeness, which a holy fire quickened within, and a lively soul brought to life throughout its idle parts. We may not look, Father, into the inner mysteries. To you alone is known the majesty of your work: what there is in man, that the blood held in the veins washes the fearful limbs and the living earth; that the loose appearances of bodies are held together by tightening nerves, and the individual bones gain strength from the organs within.
But whence comes so great a bounty to miserable men, that we should be formed in the likeness of you and your Son, that an earthly thing should be eternal? We abandoned the commandments of your blessed majesty . . . and mourned the loss of the eternal comfort of your gift. But your manifold goodness and inestimable majesty sent the saving Word from heaven, that he should be made flesh by taking a human body, and should care for that which the age had lost and the ancient wounds.
The proclamation of your magnificence, made in the starry realms, was revealed to your servants by a gift, not only to be known but also to be imitated. Send your Holy Spirit upon us this day to that your gift might be deeply known by us, and also imitated by us, among us, through us and into your world. Amen.
Adapt. Saving Paradise by Rita N. Brock & Rebecca A. Parker
Copyright © 2008 by Rita N. Brock & Rebecca A. Parker. Beacon Press, Boston.
“A Better Place” Music available online
Copyright © 2015 Playing for Change,
a multimedia movement created to inspire
and bring peace to the world through music.
Learn more at http://playingforchange.com
Used by permission for
Yellowstone/Rocky Mountain Annual Conferences (UMC) 2015.