October 20, 2019
(Jeremiah 31:27-34, Genesis 32:22-31, Psalm 121, 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5, Luke 18:1-8)
Call to Worship
We have gathered in this space
Welcomed like a prodigal child back into our warm, safe home.
We have gathered in this space
Embraced like children greeted by Jesus when others turned us away.
We have gathered in this space.
Let us worship God as beloved children, heirs to God’s beloved kin-dom of peace.
Call to Confession
As beloved children of a loving God, we are not without our shortcomings and sinfulness. We are not perfect, but we are loved by God with a perfect love. It is with faith in God’s redeeming love and the confidence that we all fall short of God’s call to be love in this world that we pray together the prayer of confession.
Prayer of Confession
You created a world of plenty,
Yet there are children starving for food, thirsting for clean water.
You created a world of peace,
Yet there are children in the path of war, innocent lives lost to the violence of weapons and hatred.
You created a world with time for rest,
Yet there are children in homes and communities so wrought with uncertainty and fear that no rest comes and sleep carries with it memories of fear.
You created a world touched by your compassionate hand,
Yet there are children who never hear kindness and never experience unconditional love in ways they can understand.
It is our sin, through what we have done and what we have left undone, what we have said and what we have kept silent, that has caused your world to feel less compassionate, less restful, less peaceful and less bountiful.
Forgive us. Place us back into the work of reconciling ourselves to our neighbors and this world so that we may again return to your loving creation.
Prayers of the People
Loving God, we come today bringing prayers for your beloved children near and far.
We pray for the children in our congregation and families. We pray that we do the work we promised at their baptism. That we love and support them, hold them in our daily prayers and provide for them lessons in both our words and our actions that teach your love for all creation.
May children find peace and rest within this congregation and within your loving embrace wherever their journeys may lead.
We pray for the children in our community. Bless them with enough food to eat each day and a safe place to take their rest each night. Hold them safe when their worlds feel unstable and keep us actively engaged in making this community a place where they can thrive and live in love and peace.
May children find peace and rest in our neighborhoods and in your loving embrace wherever their journeys may lead.
We pray for the children in our nation. We grieve for those who have perished this year from violence, from not having access to clean water, from being held in detention facilities on our nation’s border and for those who were unable to get the medical care they needed to keep their bodies healthy. We give you great thanks for the children who are standing up and advocating for themselves and for others, from standing up against bullies in their classroom to advocating internationally for justice for all children and their future.
May children find peace and rest in our nation and in your loving embrace wherever their journeys may lead.
We pray for the children of this world. We ask you to place a protective hand over every child living in fear of war or genocide, of drought or evacuation. We know their suffering inflicts so much pain upon your heart, and we pray that we can be part of the work of global peace and reconciliation between nations and with your beloved Earth. While we await your Beloved Kin-dom, we are reminded of your mandate to care for these, your beloved children, and put their wellbeing above the conflicts of politics.
May all children find peace and rest in our world and in your loving embrace wherever their journeys may lead.
We pray for the work of Children’s Advocacy from the local to the global level. We thank you for teachers, counselors, coaches, therapists, parents, pastors and all other caregivers who put love and effort into creating a safer and better world for children. We thank you for all people working in politics to advocate for the rights of children, for quality education, for accessible healthcare and for a clean earth that our children will inherit. May we all work, advocate, love and educate until all children can find peace, rest, and hope for whatever their future may bring.
We lift this prayer as children to our loving parent praying as Jesus taught his disciples…(Lord’s Prayer)
What is the World Like (744)
Rise O Church Like Christ Arisen (536)
Savior Like. Shepherd Lead Us (187)
Description of Children’s Sabbath
“Sponsored by the Children’s Defense Fund, the National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths weekend unites faith communities of every religious tradition across the nation to:
- Raise awareness of problems facing children and families in our nation (such as poverty, gun violence, and lack of health care)
- Explore the texts and teachings in religious traditions that call us to nurture and protect children with love and justice
- Engage people of faith in immediate and long-term action to nurture, protect, and seek justice for children
By participating in this multi-faith, nationwide celebration, people of faith gain the inspiration of participating in a larger movement for children and help amplify the voice of our faith communities calling for justice.”
From the Children’s Defense Fund website
Educate a Child
The PC(USA) has always provided and advocated for access to education in our congregations and on a national and global level. For more information about how your church can get involved with education support and advocacy, please visit the website and download the “Educate A Child Toolkit.”
If you have any questions about Educate a Child or want to learn more about how to get involved as an individual or as a congregation, please reach out to Rev. Dr. Alonzo Johnson (Alonzo.Johnson@pcusa), Coordinator for Self-Development of People.
For a printable version of the Children’s Sabbath Liturgy, Click Here.
Beth Olker serves as Field Staff for Racial Equity and Women’s Intercultural Ministries working specifically with Young Women’s Leadership Development. She also serves on the Educate a Child Roundtable.