First United Methodist Church of Schenectady
Worship for the Fourth Sunday after the Pentecost
July 3, 2022
Photo by Zach Long
A Service to Lament and Healing
at an End of Reproductive Freedom
It may help to center yourself into worship by lighting a candle, as a symbol of God’s presence with you during the time of worship. You may also want to pay attention to lighting, the position of your body, and the availability of distractions.
“For God alone my soul in silence waits.”
Breath prayers involve breathing in the first phrase, and breathing out the second.
You may wish to simply pray for a moment before starting, or you may wish to pray while listening to the prelude.
“Jesus Shall Reign Where’er the Sun” Arranged by Barry Braman
Call to Worship
One: For God alone our soul in silence waits.
Many: God is present in me, in us. Amen
Hymn #2211: “Faith is Patience in the Night”
A Litany Based on the Prayer of Saint Francis
One: We pray for those who, near or far, are without peace. We pray for all who partner with those in need of reproductive health care as they seek and strive to honor the dignity of every human being. We remember physicians, nurses, spouses, partners, friends, and strangers alike: may there be a great network of love and support to meet the demands of the times that lay ahead.
May we learn to walk with each other without judgment or shame, knowing that it is with action that peace is found.
Many: Lord, make us instruments of your peace.
One: We pray for the hubris of humanity, that by acting legislatively, we assert that we can know the journey of another and deem it unworthy. We pray for an end to the dehumanization of those who claim autonomy of body and mind.
May we be those who can love beyond our own needs and choices, knowing that it is within ourselves that we must first sow love if it is to grow through us.
Many: Where there is hatred, let us sow love;
One: We pray for those who have already been shamed and belittled and caused harm by their choices to seek reproductive health care. We pray for those who have already been harmed by state legislation that limits education and access to safe care. We pray for those who, because of fear or shame, cannot gather with us
now in community.
Many: Where there is injury, pardon;
One: We confess, God, that we are a United Divided States. And we wish that we were in perfect harmony with you and with each other, and that pregnancy would only occur in situations of love, safety, perfect health, and to the benefit of mother, child, family, and community. But that is not so now. In our discord, may we find grace for each other. In our discord, may we offer supportive and caring companionship to each other. In our discord, may we find union with you, the God who loves us. May we be committed to union in the face of imperfect circumstances, imperfect relationships, and imperfect democracy.
Many: Where there is discord, union;
One: We pray for an end to legal action, rhetoric and violent acts that target reproductive health care providers. We pray for the day when health care providers, women and their families, can exercise their rights to reproductive choice in security and peace. We pray for those who are not of the same mind regarding reproductive rights and choices, that all may be led to wise actions and safe choices. May our earthly faith, combined with the faith of the great cloud of witnesses, be strengthened to meet the days and demands that lay ahead.
Many: Where there is doubt, faith;
One: We pray for those who are afraid, lost, and in the midst of turmoil of spirit and mind. We pray for those who lament the loss of bodily
autonomy, for those who fear the loss of other civil rights, and for those who fear the unknown of the world ahead. We pray especially for all who will be disproportionately affected by a lack of reproductive rights, especially people who are Black, Indigenous, Asian, Brown, People of Color, trans and nonbinary. We pray for all who live in poverty, and for those who live in rural areas, who will also be disproportionately affected. May we be resolved in our commitment
to hope, knowing that to hope in God is to never hope in vain.
Many: Where there is despair, hope;
One: We pray for those who have died because they lacked access to safe health care. We pray for the loss of life yet to come from forced childbirth and illegal abortion. We pray for the continued assault on the respect, dignity, and citizenship of those in need of reproductive rights. May we remember that there is no darkness too dark for you, God, and that your presence is neverfailing.
Many: Where there is darkness, light;
One: We pray for the most vulnerable among us, especially children and families who will be affected by this decision. May we remember and make sacrifices to care for all who will face economic hardship, hunger, and difficult choices because of this new ruling. We pray for those in grief and sorrow as they look to the future with dread and trembling. We pray for those who do not see the promise of hope and those for whom life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness will
never be realized. May we be comforters for those in sadness and bearers of joy for those who have none.
Many: Where there is sadness, joy.
All: Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
The Lord’s Prayer – Book of Common Prayer, New Zealand
Loving God, in whom is heaven.
The hallowing of your name
echoes through the universe!
The way of your justice be followed by
the peoples of the earth!
Your heavenly will be done by all created beings!
Your commonwealth of peace and freedom
sustain our hope and come on earth.
With the bread we need for today, feed us.
In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.
In times of temptation and test, spare us.
From the grip of all that is evil, free us.
For you reign in the glory of the power that is love,
now and forever. Amen
Listening and Reflecting
An Excerpt from A Liturgy of Longing, by Sandra Maria Van Opstal
Scripture Reading: Psalm 69: 1-3, 14-16 and Luke 4:17-21
Time for Young People: “Lament”
Hymn (to the tune of #121): “God, We’ve Known Such Grief and Anger”
Passing of the Peace
If you are worshiping with others, please pass the Peace of Christ.
Whether you are alone or with others, please take a moment to find God’s peace within, and then to share it with the world. You may want to reach out to speak peace to another during this week.
Sermon: “Grieving What We’ve Lost” – Rev. Sara Baron
Offertory: “If My People Will Pray” Arranged by Fred Bock
Photo by Larry McArthur
If you wish, you are welcome to use this time to make a donation to the church online, or to put a check in the mail.
The time of offering is not only about our financial gifts to the church, it is about offering our lives to God and the building of the kindom. This is a time for reflection: What is being asked of us? What is being given to us? What are we able to offer? What do we need?
Hymn #2222: “Servant Song”
Friends, as you go out today into what may
feel to some like a new, strange and uncertain
may God make you an instrument of God’s
Where there is hatred, sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
God our Mother,
grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
And the blessing of our God, Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer, be among us always. Amen.
(based on the Prayer of Saint Francis)