Call to Prayer
One: Creating God, blessed are You and blessed is this time and place. Thank You for Your people gathered here.
All: We are here! Being the Church! We have not retreated! We are standing in praise!
One: Reconciling Redeemer, You are the mender of our souls and the healer of our broken bodies. You lift us up, strengthen and sustain, nurture and nourish, heal and help.
All: Holy Fire, ignite a new spark in the heart of each one gathered here.
One: Light our way. Warm our bodies. Inspire our tongues to speak a new word, to shout another praise, and to sing an amazing song that will bring to us life and to You glory!
Introduction and Welcome
Dr. Althea Spencer Miller
Case Akers and Leif McLellan
From Luke 6, Matthew 5, and “Blessed are you …” by the Rev. Anna Blaedel
One: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
Two: blessed are you who feel sick. and tired. and sick and tired.
One: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Two: blessed are we when we stay tender.
blessed are we when we stay fierce.
blessed are we when we dare to imagine repair, and transformation.
blessed are we when we labor together to make it so.
One: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Two: blessed are you who are raging.
blessed are you who are mourning.
blessed are you who feel numb.
blessed are you who need to turn away.
One: “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Two: blessed are you who feel broken open beyond repair.
blessed are you who are raw beyond words.
One: “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
Two: blessed are you who keep breathing deep.
blessed are you who are tending to your own needs.
blessed are you who are tending to the needs of another.
One: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Two: blessed are you who preach and know that divinity resides in despised, abused, violated flesh.blessed are you who refuse to turn away.
One: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Two: blessed are you who have been calling.
blessed are you who have been organizing.
blessed are you who have been testifying.
blessed are you who have been hearing.
blessed are you who have been resisting.
One: “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
Two: blessed are you who know deep in your bones that you are good. and beautiful. and beloved. and sacred. and worthy. and believed. and held. and capable of healing beyond your wildest imagination.
One: blessed are you who remind others they are good. and beautiful. and beloved. and sacred. and worthy. and believed. and held. and capable of healing beyond their wildest imagination.
Two: blessed are we when we dare to dream of a world without sexual violence, without white supremacy, without misogyny, without police brutality, without anti-trans and anti-queer violence.
Prayer for General Conference
Breath of Life, soften the hearts of your people. Teach us to love fully and radically, all of your children as their whole selves. As you have sent us your advocate in the Holy Spirit, help us learn what it looks like to be advocates for people of all sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions. Lord in your mercy, hear us now as we pray aloud with and for one another …
The congregation prays aloud
Holy One, we pray this day for those whose lives and personhood have been questioned, torn apart, diminished, and excluded from the church. May the wounds inflicted by this exclusion be recognized and acknowledged so that the long and necessary process of mourning might set us on the road to healing. May we learn from our mistakes so that we might act with dignity and justice as we work toward a love that knows no bounds.
Loving and welcoming God, help the whole Body of Christ show up and be present for and in your kin-dom. Let the Holy Spirit breathe through your church gifts of compassion and radical hospitality for people of all sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions. Remind your clergy and lay leaders of the call to love the neighbor, doing so in a way that is intentional and graceful. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer. Amen.
“What Does the Lord Require of You”
Dean Tanya Linn Bennett
One: The Lord be with you.
All: And also with you.
One: Lift up your hearts.
All: We lift them to you, Lord.
One: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
All: It is right to praise you, Lord.
One: It is right, a good, and joyful thing, always and everywhere to give thanks to you, O God. Even as we wander away we hear your voice calling out to us, calling us back into communion with you and with one another. And so we praise you, joining our voices with all your people on earth and all the company of heaven who forever sing this hymn to the glory of your name:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord,
God of power and might
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest!
We remember that on the night before Jesus was killed by those who feared him, he sat at table with his friends, women and men and children, sharing in the feast of the Passover, which is the celebration of the liberation of God’s people. And remembering God’s power, Jesus took bread, and after he had given thanks and blessed it, he broke it saying, “This is my work and my life, for you and with you. Take it all of you, and do this remembering me.”
When the supper was over, Jesus took the cup, gave thanks to you, gave it to the disciples, and said: “This is the cup of the new covenant. It is the cup of justice and peace poured out for all for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
And so, in remembrance of these your mighty acts in Jesus Christ, we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving as we proclaim the mystery of faith, singing …
Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.
Pour out your Holy Spirit on us gathered here, and on these gifts of bread and fruit of the vine. Make them be for us symbols of Christ’s grace, that we may be for the world the grace of Christ, redeemed by the Spirit.
Sung Lord’s Prayer
This table does not belong to this congregation. It doesn’t belong to the United Methodist Church. This is the table of God, belonging to all those who wish to partake. This is not a table of exclusion. Just as Christ’s ministry was to all; the sick, the lonely, the poor, the disenfranchised, the Syrophoenician woman, the outcast, let us follow in these steps towards justice.
Blessing and Sending Song
Dr. Althea Spencer Miller
“Creating God.” From the More Light Presbyterians Retreat & Mission Weekend New Orleans, LA, 2006.
Poem by Anna Bladel: https://radicaldiscipleship.net/2018/10/10/blessed-are-you/
Communion Liturgy: Adapted from a liturgy written by Brinna Kolitz and from http://www.welcomingresources.org/liturgies.htm
Prayers of the People adapted from https://www.reconcilingworks.org/resources/ric/pride-prayers/