“Lift Every Voice and Sing”
Lift ev’ry voice and sing,
Till earth and heaven ring.
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise,
High as the list’ning skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on till victory is won.
Stony the road we trod,
Bitter the chast’ning rod,
Felt in the days when hope unborn had died;
Yet with a steady beat,
Have not our weary feet,
Come to the place for which our parents sighed.
We have come over a way that with tears has been watered,
We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,
Out from the gloomy past,
Here now we stand at last
Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.
God of our weary years,
God of our silent tears,
Thou who has brought us thus far on the way;
Thou who has by Thy might,
Led us into the light,
Keep us forever in the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee,
Lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee,
Shadowed beneath thy hand,
May we forever stand,
True to our God, True to our native land.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
“See, the home of God is among mortals.
God will dwell with them;
they will be God’s peoples,
and God […] will be with them;
God will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.”
And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” And also said: “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Then God said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.
Prayers of the People
Gracious God, we come before you tonight carrying joys and sorrows, with thanksgiving and need. We give thanks for the stewardship you have given us of this planet earth, for the gifts of life and companionship, for your love which is unbounded and eternal.
We pray tonight for our world and those who lead it. Whether known or unknown to us, they are known intimately by you. They are people like us who need encouragement, support, love, and prayer. People who have cause to celebrate and to mourn.
We lift up our towns, cities, neighborhoods, and families. Hear us now as we speak aloud the joys and concerns we have carried here today …
The congregation offers prayers aloud.
Watch over these places in our lives. Be present in the broken places and help reveal the needs of our communities. Encourage us to reach out to our neighbors, not just to live behind closed doors. Heal the brokenness that exists in families due to addictions, abuse, neglect, and stress. Show each of us how we might be bearers of your grace and mercy in a despairing world.
Into your hands we commend ourselves and those we love. Be with us still, and when we take our rest renew us for the work ahead of us that we might help your kin-dom to come – even here, even now.
All: In despair and in hope, in trouble and in joy, help us, O God, to trust your love, to serve your purposes, and to praise your name. Amen.
The Rev. Dr. Leslie Callahan
“We’ve Come This Far By Faith”
The Rev. Dr. Leslie Callahan