this load we are carrying
and we are weary ...
You students of the Master, come.
Study and learn.
You teachers of the law, come.
Gather, and practice the law of love.
This place of grace welcomes both saint
Rabbi and student,
those accustomed to being served,
and those accustomed to serving.
Let us humble ourselves before the Lord,
and learn to practice the faith Jesus lived.
Our God does not show partiality to anyone.
All are welcome here.
The Son of God has come and has given us understanding.
Through God's son, Jesus Christ, we have seen God, and we abide in God.
Therefore, we will not show partiality.
In the name of Christ, all are welcome here.
Our God protects us, delivers us.
All respect and honor is due our God.
Let us bring our offerings of thanksgiving and praise
and worship the Lord our God and serve God only.
be present, we pray, with those whose invitations
to share in life together,
to be in communion,
or outright rejected,
not because of who the host is
but because of our own insecurities
or misplaced priorities
or failure to live as you have called us to live.
Comfort them, we pray, and restore us to healthy relationship
with our neighbors in Christ,
that we may heal the brokenness within and among us
and strive to love as you have called us to love.
Open our hearts to your invitations
and to be transformed by your grace.
Reclothe us, Lord,
with compassion, kindness, meekness, humility, and patience,
and over all of that,
help us to put on love,
so that every word and every action brings glory to your name.
Send us out as servants
to extend your invitation
to all who will receive it
in the same Spirit of inclusivity
and genuine welcome
with which you have invited your Church,
that your loving hospitality will be evident in and through your people
Spiritual Practice of the Month: Love
What kind of radical love invites everyone to a party? What kind of extravagant grace provides garments for us to change into when we arrive, putting us all on the same footing, regardless of economic class or race or creed or gender?
In the days ahead, consider how you can show the kind of love and grace that has been extended to you in God's invitation to participate in the kin-dom, to others around you. How do you unconditionally welcome those who are not in your usual circles, who don't agree with you, and who even oppose and/or persecute you? How do you graciously receive an invitation to be part of circles where you are welcomed in spite of your difference from the host? Loving our neighbor is the second greatest commandment. Let us love one another as we have been loved by God.
Call to Confession
Seek the Lord while he may be found,
call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake their way,
and the unrighteous their thoughts;
let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. (Isaiah 55:6-7)
Let us confess our sin before God and seek God's mercy.
Prayer of Confession
In utter dismay, Lord, we hide our faces from you,
rendered speechless by our own thoughtlessness.
Over and over, you have reached out to us,
invited us in,
encouraged us to spend time with you,
to feast with you at your Table.
But we were too busy,
and we ignore your invitations
without so much as a thank you.
Or we show up,
openly displaying our hypocrisy for all to see.
We disrespect you at every turn
because we know we do not deserve
the genuine hospitality
with which you welcome us.
Forgive us, we pray.
Cover us in the extravagant grace
we fail to extend to others,
and fill our cups to overflowing
that we might be transformed
into the people you have called us to be.
Assurance of God's Grace
For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, ‘I have set you to be a light for the Gentiles,
so that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’” – Acts 13:47
In the name of Jesus Christ we are forgiven. Thanks be to God!
Since God has forgiven us in Christ, let us also forgive one another.
The peace of Christ be with you.
Please extend the peace of Christ to all whom you encounter this day.
Julie participated in the 25th Seminar for Certified Zentangle(R) Teacher Training in June, 2019, trained by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. In addition to creating art as a personal spiritual practice, Julie also incorporates the Zentangle(R) method in Prayer Art Retreats in a variety of contexts, including church groups, friend gatherings, and at a local art gallery. Check out the Upcoming Events page for a calendar of events, or use the Contact Us page to inquire about scheduling an event with your group!
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