FB Live September 6
Meditation: "The Real Church" Pastor Riva (see notes for text of sermon)
Pastor Nancy Victorin-Vangerud
Gracious and most merciful God, God of many names,
We each bear your image that we may be perfected in love
And able to feel whole with all your creation.
“What are we to say, except that it is not our own heart alone
that will give us strength and courage,
but the hearts of those with whom we share community and faith.”
God, we gather this morning as your people of Community UMC,
but we confess our need
to learn what it truly means to be a real community
living in a real world.
There is such deep division, such derision. lying
and polarization in our nation, even in our own relationships.
Around us we see escalating violence--whether perpetrated
by white self-proclaimed militias, or police, or National Guard
or radical individuals.
Yet we also see people coming together to renew, restore and reimagine
what it means to be a society of inclusion and equity.
Help us keep our eyes on the prize, your kin-dom,
and not be weighted down with cynicism, apathy or hate, ourselves.
We give thanks, for moments of beauty in these early fall days--
the taste of ripe tomatoes and green beans,
the cheeriness of goldenrods and sunflowers,
the shining full moon and brilliant planets low on the horizon.
Like leaves on the trees, we are feeling the turning of the wind.
This Labor Day, we remember the many ways we work
with our hands, our hearts and our minds.
We pray for people struggling to maintain their work
in safe and healthy conditions.
We pray for those who have lost their work,
and are now struggling to find alternative jobs
and unemployment support.
We envision a world where human labor conveys
dignity, fair wages and security.
This day, we pray for families seeking childcare,
as parents balance work and home.
For families making decisions about online learning,
and those whose children and youth are returning to in-class learning. For college students happy to be starting their higher education,
but anxious about sudden changes and financial pressures.
For Kristine and Ivan Roderiquez, Ian and Iliana--coming together as a new family.
For the MacCormicks in Iowa, who have finally been able to reconnect their electricity and take steps of restoration.
For our neighbors in the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Arkansas, Missouri, Indiana and Illinois, where new cases of COVID are surging.
For persons facing tests for COVID, or a recent positive diagnosis, may they find grit and healing in quarantine.
So many of us are weary with pandemic fatigue,
some of us continue to need patience and grace
in wearing masks and social distancing.
We give thanks for news about vaccine research and trials,
anxiously awaiting breakthroughs.
How long O God?
In our great world house,
we pray for communities facing severe weather crises
of fire, hurricane, drought and sea-level rise.
In this time of environmental and economic change,
may we understand our interrelatedness with all of creation,
as we seek to be faithful earthkeepers.
In reaching out to new friends in the Philippines,
we pray for Redge Nicolas and his whole family,
Vielo Baniqued and his family,
Reiner Puno and his family,
And the Fernandez and Delos Santos families.
May they experience healing, and peace of mind and heart.
We remember Pastor Riva’s siblings who have returned to the Philippines,
and their anxieties and difficulties rom the transition in quarantine.
God of many names, and beyond all names,
we say their names--the names of your people,
created in your image,
suffering from violence throughout the world.
We say the names of Daniel Prude and those we name in our hearts.
God of the dawning day, We pray for our congregation,
for the presence of Spirit in new vision, new conversations,
new breakthrough ministries.
We seek kindness and care in our relationships with one another,
as we learn to collaborate in more inclusive ways.
And so together, we pray your prayer passed down and recollected
from generation to generation in the name of Jesus:
Our (Creator/God/Mother/Father*) in heaven,
Holy is your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours,
now and forever. Amen.
(*Please use whichever name connects you deeply to the Divine.)