Seeds: Lectionary Resource 10/14

Joshua 24:1-15 [16-26]

Matt 4:8-10

Additional Scripture

Psalm 119: 25-32

Ephesians 4:22-24

Meditative thought: Renew us with rocks and covenants and water and baptism. 

Call to Worship: 

There are so many places we can go and so many things we can do

As for me and my house we will serve the Lord

The worries of the world are temporary, we look to the eternal

Come let us worship the Lord. 


What is worship?

Its time spent with God

What a gift to worship God

Let us worship God!

Prayer of Confession

We confess that we don’t know how to worship you. We spend a lot of time worrying about how to serve you. We forget that we renewed by worship. We are so human in scope, but when we spend time with your, remember how to worship, we are able to let go of worry, and give some of our burdens to you. Help us to worship you today and everyone, we pray.

For all that we’ve forgotten

Forgive us Lord of mercy

For all that we worry about

Forgive us Lord of mercy

For all the burdens that embitter us 

Forgive us Lord of mercy

For all those things that we judge others about

Forgive us Lord of mercy

Lord, let us confess that we belong to you. Help us to let go of all of those things in our lives that do not belong to you, and place those things in our heart that belong to you, we pray. 

Assurance of Pardon:

Remember, nothing separates us from God, God has promised us over and over again that we will always be God’s People. Hear the Good News; In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.

Eucharist Prayer:

God of Abraham and Sarah, the one to whom Miriam sang after the liberation of the Hebrew People. You created us and loved us into being. You are our God, passing blessings throughout time and space, consecrating ordinary acts of eating bread and drinking wine, promising presence whenever two or three gather together in your name. We are here, in your name, we are gathered to taste your goodness. Please send your Holy Spirit on these elements so we can celebrate communion with one another and with you. 

Prayer of Dedication/Closing Prayer

Lord, help us to dedicate our full selves to worshipping and serving you here and in the world we pray. Amen

Food for Thought



Things without Arms or Legs

i have a sad, are you looking for solutions of comfort?

Craft Idea: Draw something permeant on Rocks, Draw God’s house with all the people God welcomes. Create a renewal of baptism and remind everyone that they belong to God.


BOW – The United Methodist Book of Worship
CLUW – Come, Let Us Worship (Korean)
MVPC – Mil Voces Para Celebrar (Spanish)
SOZ – Songs of Zion
TFWS – The Faith We Sing
UMH – The United Methodist Hymnal
URW – Upper Room Worshipbook
WSM  – Worship & Song, Music Edition
WSW  – Worship & Song, Worship Resources Edition
SoG  – Songs of Grace


Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25 UMH MVPC CLUW TFWS SOZ URW WSM WSW SoG
Awesome God       2040          
Battle Hymn of the Republic 717       24        
Christ Beside Me       2166          
Come, Let Us Use the Grace Divine 606         135      
Dear Lord, Lead Me Day by Day 411   100            
Freedom Is Coming       2192          
Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah 127                
Holy Ground       2272          
I Have Decided to Follow Jesus       2129          
I Will Trust in the Lord 464   292   14        
Lord, What a Cloud of Witnesses!                 55
Near to the Heart of God 472   324            
O Happy Day, That Fixed My Choice 391                
One God and Father of Us All       2240          
Stand Up and Bless the Lord 662   128            
Surely the Presence of the Lord Is in This Place 328 344 215            
The Family Prayer Song       2188          
The God of Abraham Praise 116 28              
We Believe in One True God 85        

to tune “Infant Holy, Infant Lowly”

Joshua 24:16  From God Shall Naught Divide Me.  

The Lutheran Hymnal 39

Joshua 24:16  From God Shall Nothing Move Me.

Lutheran Service Book 713/Lutheran Worship 409


Commentary (below)

Sample: Paul Tillich saw our god-visions in terms of our ultimate concern, that is, what we are willing to live or die for, the primary objects of our loyalty. What we worship and treasure shapes our character. Anything that demands exclusivity or primacy focuses our spirit. Placing the one God above all others orders our lives and enables us to live globally as well as locally, transcending the individual ego in light of larger visions. Yet, exclusivity can also lead to violence and displacement as it did in the Israelite occupation of Canaan. Joshua demands a choice. There is no “cheap grace” here; following your god’s path is not optional, and there are consequences to serving the “wrong” deities.

Full content from (below)


JOSHUA 24:1-3A, 14-25


  • “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord,” makes a beautiful arts and craft project to hang in your home.  Somehow, I feel like this cheapens the solemn act of covenant that happens here.


  • Literary Context
    • Near the closing verses of Joshua.  One of the last things he does alive. Before it closes, they bury the bones of Joseph in the promised land
    • Promise of Genesis: You will be a great nation in this land.
    • Genesis closes with a great nation in the wrong land
    • Exodus closes with the nation on the border of the land.
    • Joshua is the story of possessing the land.  It contains some of the most disturbing parts of the Bible. They are now a great people in the land
      • Do you read Joshua as God ordaining horrendous violence OR do you read Joshua as a history of the victors justifying the violence they used to win?  Is there another way to read Joshua?
  • Lectionary Issues
    • The verses cut out are a retelling of the history of the people.
    • Verses 4-12 retells Exodus and Joshua.
    • Focus is on God’s work, “I sent.. I plagued… I brought… I handed…”
  • “I gave you a land on which you had not labored, and towns that you had not built…”
    • Not a self-made nation
    • God reminds them that their existence is dependent upon God, and God alone.
    • NRSV and CEB translates: “Now go and revere the Lord.”
      • CEB Study Bible note: “The word revere is sometimes translated ‘fear,’ but the rendering here is most helpful.  The term has to do with the reverence and honor for God seen in complete devotion.”
      • “Fear the Lord,” seems to be in direct contrast to Jesus’ call to “Fear not.”  How are these things related?  Does this reveal the nature of God that is changed from the Old and New Testaments?  Is Jesus claim to “fear not,” go against the OT claim to “fear the Lord.”  Or is it a misunderstanding of the OT’s use of the word ‘fear.’  There is no way that Jesus is saying “Respect Not,” or “Be irreverent.”  Or maybe he is saying, “lighten up.”
  • Joshua puts forth a choice: “Serve the Lord” or “serve the other gods.”  You cannot serve both (reminiscent of Jesus’ claim that no one can serve two masters)
    • Joshua: “My family is going to serve the Lord.  What about you?”
    • People:  “Of course we’ll serve the Lord, he’s awesome.”
    • Joshua: “I don’t think you realize what you’re saying.  Serving the Lord is really hard, and he’ll get extra pissed if you promise to serve him, and then don’t.”
    • People: “No really, we will serve the Lord.”
    • Joshua: “Alright.  Let’s mark this agreement with this big rock just in case someone forgets.  And by ‘someone’ I mean you, because God won’t forget.”


  • What does it mean to “serve the Lord?”
    • Put away other gods. – What is the modern equivalent of putting away other gods?
    • “Inner devotion can be so vaporous, so vague and unmeasurable, that it is meaningless.  Perhaps for that reason verse 14 recalls Genesis 35:2-4, in which Jacob leads a ceremony of collecting and burying idols.  Joshua 24:14 may suggest a ritual removing of gods that might compete with the Lord as a sign of exclusive devotion.  This can be important for contemporary people of faith who find it difficult to reject the pervasive societal and cultural influences that mitigate faith in God” (Jerome Creach, Interpretation: Joshua, p. 125).
      • This sort of ritual burying of false idols could have some potential for modern worship services, but could also slip into ‘book burning’ type of ritual that could be counter productive.
  • Is a wall hanging a pleasant reminder of the covenant, or a cheapening of what is meant?  It depends on the motivation, and the heart of those in the covenant.
    • An analogy: “A fitting similitude for modern people is the relationship of a person to a passionate lover.  If the relationship leads to a marriage covenant, certain formal agreements apply.  The obligation to the lover, however, is not fulfilled by mechanical compliance with stipulations.  Imagine the absurdity of a partner in marriage greeting the spouse at the end of the day, ‘My commitment to you is complete today because  I have not committed adultery.’  The relationship requires multiple expressions of love that can never be legislated fully.  Moreover, the passion of the lover is naturally expressed as anger if the partner ignores or neglects the relationship” (Creach, p. 127)

Whole content from (below)

Teaching the Text
by the Rev. Dr. John Fairless

Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25
“Third time’s a charm!”

I’ve heard that all my life, though I’ve never thought much about the meaning (or original context) of the phrase. I suppose usually we mean it as either a token of good luck or persistence. Of course, I’ve also always heard that “the harder you work (persist), the luckier you are.”

Whatever the deepest meaning may be, Joshua makes the Israelites commit three times to follow Yahweh. I guess he didn’t want any backing up later…nobody saying, “Well, you didn’t tell us it would be this hard!”

Whole content from (below)


Joshua tells of the conquest of the Promised Land (Palestine). God had promised to their forefathers that they would one day occupy this territory. The book begins with the crossing of the Jordan. It then relates the stories of military victories, achieved under his guidance, through which the people of Israel came to control all of the hill country and the Negev Desert. It describes the allotment of land to each of the tribes and ends with Joshua’s final address to the people.


Joshua 24:1-3a,14-25

The people of Israel are now residents of Canaan. According to this book, the conquest is complete. The land has been divided among the tribes. We leap forward to the final chapter of the book. The people (or their representatives) gather at Shechem, on the eastern edge of the hill country, some 50 km (30 miles) north of Jerusalem. Shechem was the site of a pagan shrine. Here Abraham built an altar to commemorate his meeting with God; here Jacob, returning from Haran, set up camp, bought land, and erected an altar; here Joseph was buried. Our reading describes a treaty between God and his people, in the general style of treaties between a victorious king and a vanquished people, vassals. Such treaties say: in return for protecting you …, you are obligated to … But what really matter to us are the differences from a typical treaty, what makes this an agreement between God and Israel.

In v. 2, God’s titles are given. (“Terah” was Abraham’s father, who “served other gods”.) Vv. 2-13 is the whereas section: the background, the reason why the parties wish a treaty. V. 14 states Israel’s obligations: “to revere the Lord …”. V. 22 speaks of witnesses, but (then and now) it is odd that the witnesses are parties to the agreement. This treaty, unlike others, is light on the curses: what will happen if either party breaks the oath; v. 20 says “if you forsake the Lord …” But this verse is discordant with the rest of the reading and with Israel’s experience during the Exile, so perhaps it was inserted later, as a lesson for people of a later age who were straying from worshipping God. V. 25 says that the treaty was ratified, together with subsidiary documents.

Vv. 14-20 are really separate from the treaty. The people have a free choice as to whether they worship God or the local gods, but Joshua and his household elect to serve God (v. 15). The people, recognizing all God has done for them, do choose to serve him. (“Beyond the River”: the river is the Euphrates, so this refers to Aramea, the land to the north. The ”Amorites”, vv. 1518, appear to be an indigenous people of the Promised Land.)

Verse by verse word study:

Full content from (below)

First Reading: Renewing the covenant

The OT reading from the RCL invites us to reflect on the theme of covenant renewal, and specifically renewal of the covenant as the people of God near the end of the beginning.

As the biblical narrative of Israel’s origins tells the story, the 12 tribes of Israel (under the leadership of Joshua/Jesus) have now taken possession of the land. They have worked together for the common good, and they have overcome great obstacles (with the assistance of their god, Yahweh). All they hoped for is now in their grasp. The land of promise is theirs.

All of us familiar with the story know it was too good to be true, and the ensuing narratives will show a never-ending struggle to retain the land and sustain anything like a viable sense of being the covenant people.

Even the collective promise to put away (finally? after all these years?) the pagan gods of their ancestors has no substance. Later episodes in Judges, 1 & 2 Samuel and 1 & 2 Kings—not to mention the testimomy of the prophetic literature—show that ancient Israel and Judah were attached to their plethora of deities (as well as their sacred images) until at least the time of the Exile.

Even so, the story in Joshua 24 is a classic scene in which the essence of Israel’s faith is proclaimed:

  • gratitude to Yahweh for past and present blessings
  • a sense of collective vocation/identity
  • a rejection of other gods, and their sacred paraphernalia
  • commitment to serve Yahweh and no other gods

Full content from (below)

The Story (from the Revised Common Lectionary) Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25 and Matthew 25:1-13

Here’s an amazing coincidence. Deuteronomy 30 says that Moses closed his career by urging his people to “Choose life!” Here, Joshua ends his leadership by demanding, “Choose whom you will serve!”
It could be Joshua’s spin-doctors still trying to show that their leader was a worthy successor to Moses.
Or it could be that every leader needs to confront her/his followers with the need to choose. Don’t drift. Choose! Choose now! And then run your life accordingly.
I would hope to dramatize that message with video clips from television ads (copyright be damned – they put them out there to be seen!). All those ads say, “Choose! Choose ME to be beautiful, to be sexy, to be healthy, to be powerful… to be loved…”
If TV ads prove technically impossible, I could resort to glossy magazine ads.
We also need to say, “Choose!” But the real choices are not which product to buy, but which values, which standards, which way of life. Will we support a culture that deals with short-term interests and selfishness, or will we promote long-term values that will benefit all of God’s creation, including us?
As Joshua says, whatever our decision, our life choices make us witnesses against ourselves.
Jim Taylor

It seems to me the Joshua and Matthew readings come together to form a couple of parables with strong contemporary relevance. It’s important to notice that Joshua is not calling on the folks to choose between God and no god. The choice is between God and gods – the gods of fertility and prosperity.
So why not paraphrase the Joshua reading and where he refers to the gods of fertility and prosperity, talk instead of the gods that rule the shopping malls, the car dealerships, the real estate market and yes, in these days especially, the stock market. I might ask them to take out their favorite credit card and look at it while I read the paraphrase.
Be sure to include the built-in warning that’s in the story. Don’t make pious little promises you don’t intend to keep, because they’ll come back and bite you.
And Matthew’s story about the bridesmaids – try not to tell the one about the preacher who asked a group of young men, “Would you rather be with the wise bridesmaids and their lighted lamps, or would you rather spend the night in the dark with those foolish bridesmaids?”
The story reminds me of the geezer who was asked why he spent so much time reading the Bible and doing church stuff. “I’m cramming for the finals!” he said. Or the person who said, “I’m going to stop procrastinating. As soon as I can get around to it.”
This story connects with the Joshua passage in reminding us that good intentions about future changes in our lifestyle or habits are quite irrelevant. The promise must be made in the present tense.
Ralph Milton

Following musings on a cruise, also on

The Joshuas among us demand that we choose – and we do choose. Whatever is the most fun and the least hassle.
Don’t read this as a grumpy, green-eyed rant about folks who have things we covet. It is a lament for the living that is lost. It is a lament for people who “laugh, but not all of their laughter. Who cry but not all of their tears.” (Kahil Gibran)
It is a lament over the dull-eyed wanderers who have made their choice about who they will serve. They spend their days moving from one amusement to the next. They spend their evenings mindlessly pulling the handle of a slot machine. They spend their nights in drugged and dreamless sleep.
And they tell themselves.
“I must be happy, because nothing hurts.”

Soft Edges – by Jim Taylor
Getting a Grip on Gravity
Around the time of Moses, the ancient Egyptians worshipped the sun god Ra. They were smart enough to recognize that all the other gods that people worshipped – gods of wind, fertility, river, storm, etc. – all depended on a single source of heat and light, the sun.
Moses may have adapted the concept of monotheism – one God, and only one God – from the Egyptians; he was raised in the Pharaoh’s palace, after all. Or he may have borrowed it from his Midianite father-in-law, Jethro, after Moses fled from Egypt as a wanted-dead-or-alive murderer.
Or, of course, he may have received his revelation directly, just as the Bible relates, from a burning bush in the middle of the desert.
There’s a growing trend among some environmental movements to worship Ra again. They recognize that everything on this earth – plants, animals, insects, fish, and yes, humans too – depends on the sun for life.
Without the sun, there would be no photosynthesis and no plants. Without the sun, we would be a sterile rock hurtling through frozen space. Without the sun, water would not evaporate, form clouds, fall as rain, run as rivers, or irrigate our fields.
Even the fossil fuels that our industrial civilization depends on are simply solar energy that fell on the earth millions of years ago.
Some people claim that if we could more efficiently capture the energy that reaches the earth from the sun, if we could store it, convert it to heat and electricity, we would have no need for fossil fuels.
With no pollution, they insist.
But if I were going to worship something other than God, I think I would choose gravity.
That thought occurred to me the other day, while taking the dog for a walk. We go down a steep little trail that the municipality kindly graveled a few years ago.
The top end of the trail has no gravel left, though. Because every time I put my heel down, it crunches a small mound of gravel ahead of it. Thousands of foot-falls over the years have moved the overlay of gravel steadily downhill.
Gravity does more than just drop apples on Isaac Newton’s head. It causes water to flow downhill, carving ravines and canyons. It causes cliffs to crumble. It wraps a thin skin of atmosphere around the earth.
It holds the earth – and the other planets – in stable orbit around the sun.
Indeed, gravity brought the sun god Ra into being, by compressing the solar gases until they ignited the fusion furnace that still gives us light and heat.
Gravity is the only thing that escapes the clutches of an astronomical black hole.
Physicists speak of four forces. Compared to the “strong force” that holds atomic nuclei together, gravity is considered a very weak force.
Yet gravity surrounds us, envelops us, so completely, so universally, that most of us are completely unaware of its presence.
Which is, now that I start to think about it, a pretty good description of how most of us perceive God, too.

Another commentary, incl. address of the problem of the incomplete conquering of the Canaa

Excerpt from (below)

The place in the story

We are at the end of the story of Joshua and the Israelites’ conquest of the Promised Land. In fact, we are well after the period of invasion and warfare, “a long time afterward, when the Lord had given rest to Israel from all their enemies all around, and Joshua was old and well advanced in years” (Joshua 23:1). All the tribes have gathered at Shechem, a point right in the middle of the land and right between Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerizim, where Joshua had previously renewed the covenant with the people (Joshua 8:30-35). Joshua had already spoken to the leaders of all the people in chapter 23, right before our passage, had given what had seemed to be his final words, in awareness that he himself was shortly to die (23:14). He had given them stern warnings to follow the law of Moses, laying out the severe consequences should they fail to do so, concluding with, “you shall perish quickly from the good land that he [the Lord] has given to you” (23:16).

Yet here in chapter 24 Joshua speaks again. This time he speaks “to all the people” (Joshua 24:2), and he speaks not from himself but as a prophet: “Thus says the Lord,” begins his speech. The speech from v. 2b through v. 13 consists of a first-person narrative — from the perspective of God — of the mighty acts God had accomplished from the time of Abraham through the conquest of the land. It emphasizes throughout that the whole history was God’s doing, not the people’s: “I brought you out” (v. 5); “I destroyed them before you” (v. 8); “I rescued you” (v. 10); “I sent the hornet ahead of you” (v. 12); culminating with, “I gave you a land on which you had not labored, and towns that you had not built, and you live in them; you eat the fruit of vineyards and oliveyards that you did not plant” (v. 13). The speech contains no admonitions, instructions, or warnings, not even including the giving of the law in its account. None of Israel’s failures along the way are mentioned, either. It is a straightforward, powerful narrative of God’s presence with and action on behalf of the people….

How do we remember?

The question for the people, then, is how they will remember their history and whether this history of God’s acts will be the basis of their identity going forward. Here we ought to see ourselves in a similar position, for the question of how we narrate our own past and present, and how we see God working in them, is a perennial question for Christians….

Moreover, the question is always before us in our daily lives. Can we narrate the story of our own lives as the mighty acts of God? We might think of the question in terms of our individual lives, but Joshua put it to the people as a whole. We thus might better think of the question corporately, as a church. How can we narrate our history as a people and our lives together going forward as God’s work among us?…

The response

The people shined in their response to Joshua: “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods” (Joshua 24:16). They summarize Joshua’s (God’s) account of their history as their own (vv. 17-18a) and then conclude, “Therefore we also will serve the Lord, for he is our God” (v. 18b). Joshua is not satisfied, for he then goes on to give all the warnings we might have expected already (vv. 19-20), but the people are emphatic in their commitment to the Lord (vv. 21-24), and the exchange concludes with a covenant renewal (vv. 25-28). Nor was this mere lip service, for v. 31 then tells us that “Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua.” This was a great moment in the history of Israel, one of those all-too-few times when the people really got it right. The story stands as an example and a charge to us: Will we serve the Lord or the gods of our times?

Sample from (below)

Did I choose or was I chosen?

It seems to me this is what Simon Peter finds himself struggling with today as he hears Jesus’ demand to choose. For he responds by saying there really is no choice at all, even though others have clearly chosen not to follow. And as Jesus points out, the twelve were chosen, yes. But one of the twelve chose another way.

So I expect in the end it is perhaps some of both. Indeed, it goes without saying that out of great love, God has chosen us all. And yet, at the same time, you and I are called to choose every day ‘whom we will serve.’

And so I am called to wonder every day as I begin a new day:

  • Will I choose to live in kindness or will I let old hurts taint my responses to those around me?
  • Will I close my office door or will I respond to the cry of pain in the outer office? Or on the other end of the phone line? Or in our neighborhood and beyond?
  • Will I work for justice in the world or will I cower in my fear that I might offend?
  • Will I entrust to God a portion of what I have been given or will I hoard it all away in fear?
  • Will I begin and end my day in prayer or will I try to go it alone?

And on and on…

Oh yes, with Joshua and Simon Peter we do choose ‘who we will serve — who it is we will follow.’ This being so, I thank God every day that God made the ultimate choice for me first. Because of this, all of my choices every day are made under a benevolent cloud of grace.

Indeed, we have before us now a central question for people of faith and so it is so vitally important to keep it before us. For while God did choose us, you and I are called to choose how we will live out the joy of having been so chosen. Shall I, shall we, live it in hope and love and promise? Or shall we not? Either way, what will that look like?

  • Do we choose or are we chosen? What do you think? What stories from your own experience shape your thinking on this?
  • What does it look like to ‘choose’ to serve God in the day to day? What choices are you faced with even now?

Another take on choosing, this one on free human choice over God’s provenience is found at and includes this commentary:

In verse 14, where Joshua urges the people to fear and serve the Lord. “Serve God” becomes the core refrain of Joshua’s message. He repeats the word twice in verse 14, and it appears three times in the subsequent four verses. Serving God means worshipping God alone and not other gods. Indeed, Joshua’s admonition to serve other gods includes instructions to “put away” those gods that their ancient ancestors served and that their more recent ancestors served in Egypt (Joshua 3:14).

But the semantic range of the Hebrew word ?abad includes both “worship” and “serve,” and in the book of Joshua it makes sense to translate — and understand — it as service because of its proximity to Exodus. The Israelites have been freed from slavery in Egypt, but their freedom is not absolute. Rather, they move from being Pharaoh’s servants to being God’s servants. Unlike the type of slavery and service they provided in Egypt, however, this time they must choose to serve God.

And Joshua presents this as a genuine choice, not something they are compelled to do. In fact, the Hebrew of Joshua 24:15 puts it starkly, “it may be evil in your eyes” to serve God! The NIV and NRSV soften the language, with the NRSV saying, “if you are unwilling,” and the NIV saying, “if it is undesirable to you,” but the ESV and the KJV present the difficulty more literally. Maybe it is not a good thing to serve God! Maybe it seems bad to serve God! Joshua ends the verse by presenting his own choice: he, and his house, will serve God.

Perhaps unsurprisingly in the light of Joshua’s rhetorical challenge, the people affirm that they will never forsake the Lord and serve other gods. But they are not only imitating their leader, because they have their own reasons. In verses 17-18, they recall what God has done for them in the past: bringing them and their ancestors up from Egypt out of slavery, doing great signs in their sight, protecting them along the way and among the people, and driving out the people in the land. Because of what God has done for them, they choose to serve God. And, in verse 18, they add another reason, “For he is our God.” This God they choose to serve is their own, personal God.

The other lectionary passage from year B ends with that verse, with the people making the positive affirmation that they will serve the Lord. This one continues, almost humorously. Joshua had laid down the challenge in verses 14-15 — to serve God — and the people have said they would in verses 16-18, but in verse 19, Joshua tells them, “You cannot serve the Lord!” He goes on to explain that God is holy, and jealous, and if the people forsake God, God will not forgive. To Joshua’s word that they cannot serve the Lord, the people respond (with indignation?), “No, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:21).

It seems unlikely that Joshua is merely practicing reverse psychology. Instead, Joshua is proving the people an opportunity to reaffirm their choice. They have already said, once, in verse 18, that they will serve God, but after Joshua’s rejoinder, they affirm it two more times in verse 21 and in verse 24. Their three-fold affirmation to serve God is followed by the official covenant making ceremony, writing down the words, and setting up a stone as a witness. excerpt below 

Joshua has gathered together all the tribes of Israel at Shechem, the place where, long ago, God had appeared to Abram and promised the gift of the land (Genesis 12:6-7). Abram built there an altar, the first sanctuary to Yahweh in the land of promise. In the book of Joshua we learn that the Lord has also designated Shechem as a city of refuge, a haven that interrupts and transforms a landscape marred by violence and revenge (Joshua 20:7).

Joshua now gathers the people in this city that orients them to the boundary between justice and mercy and beside the altar that commemorates God’s revelation and promise and their ancestor’s worshipful response.  At the moment of decision the people are surrounded by physical reminders of God’s revelation and promise and oriented by their own shared practices of worship, justice, and mercy.

The leaders of the community are also such a physical reminder. Joshua summons the elders, heads, judges, and officers to station themselves and stand upright in the presence of God (24:1). These individuals possess wisdom and memory, live as visible examples of covenant faithfulness, dedicate their lives to justice, and are entrusted with responsibility for the people’s welfare. They commit their bodies, hearts, and minds to bridge the space between heaven and earth and draw their people closer to God.

The opposition between worship and slavery rises to the fore.

The editorial shaping of the lection moves the hearer past God’s first-person account of what God has done for Israel’s past generations and given to the present generation. The emphasis falls instead on what the people will do.

The threefold repetition in one verse (24:14) of the Hebrew verb ‘abad sharpens the focus. The verb occurs six more times in the lection (24:15-18; the related noun ‘abadim occurs once). The range of meanings for this verb includes “to be a slave”, “to serve”, “to work”, and “to worship.” The conceptual link between worship and slavery may seem obscure or theologically distasteful, but it is critical for understanding the choice Joshua offers the tribes of Israel. They can and will give their whole selves to one kind of relationship only. Worship of false gods is slavery to human artifice and self-interest. Joshua calls Israel out of bondage into the freedom of life in covenant with God.

Joshua’s call to worship Yahweh in integrity therefore entails putting away (vehasîrû)  the gods “your ancestors” worshipped in Mesopotamia and Egypt (24:14). This instruction echoes an earlier command. In the book of Genesis, Jacob instructs his household to put away foreign gods (Genesis 35:2), and he hides the gods beneath the oak at Shechem (35:4), in the very ground on which the tribes now stand. The preacher who now summons the congregation to choose worship of God must also reveal the false gods hidden like landmines in the ground beneath their feet.

The people speak their reasons and tell their story in their own words.

The elided divine speech in Joshua 24:2b-13 offers God’s version of the story and suggests reasons, from God’s point of view, why the Israelites should now choose to serve God. But to arrive at their decision in true freedom and integrity, the people must tell their own story and declare their own reasons.

They begin by naming the relationship that has claimed them and allows them to claim God for their own: “Yahweh is our God” (24:17). They then profess that God brought “us” and “our fathers” up from Egypt, from a house of slaves. The people who stand before Joshua never set foot in the land of Egypt (except possibly Caleb, see Deuteronomy 1:36), but they remember this passage to freedom. They testify to miracles worked in their sight and to God’s care for them on the road and in their crossings.

Only after the tribes have told the story in their own words do they declare their commitment to serve Yahweh (Joshua 24:18). This declaration is climactic, but not the last word. Three words follow, highlighting once again the relationship that is the ground for every free choice this people makes: “Because [Yahweh] is our God” (24:18).

Brief commentary from Brueggemann (excerpt below)

Joshua attests to his community that he and his household have chosen covenantal life with YHWH, the God who has given both the land and the commandments of Sinai. But he fully recognizes that other choices are available, other gods and other ways of life. And a decision must be made! Israel, and the church, must decide again and again about identity, about defining passions and loyalties. And beyond religious community, the civic community continually needs to decide again what kind of society it intends to be. This decision may be made in a formal ceremonial way, thus we have frequently reiterated patriotic occasions. But more powerfully, these decisions are made by public action, by policy formation, by budget priorities, and by the shape and nature of the infrastructure of the community….

What this God requires is a life-commitment that will impinge upon every dimension of public life — social, political and economic. This God, so says Joshua, is uncompromising. With YHWH it is “all or nothing,” no casual allowance for accommodation. What is at issue is a jealous God who is committed to neighborly justice and the organization of the economy for the sake of the weak and vulnerable (thus the testimony of the book of Deuteronomy that stands behind this narrative chapter). But the other gods, the totems of agricultural self-sufficiency, do not require such neighborly passion. The either/or that Joshua presents has immediate practical social consequences. A decision for YHWH entails socio-economic justice. A decision for the “other gods” leads inevitably to socio-economic exploitation, the accumulation of wealth at the expense of neighbors. Such a “religion” without commitment to social justice will eventuate in communities of economic failure, such as we now witness in Reading.

Brueggemann on scarcity and abundance

Another commentary raising questions about Joshua’s depiction of the victory over the Canaanites:

African American commentary on the passage***    

Australian resource with links***

Quoting MLK about choice:

Another Working Preacher commentary


Seeds: Narrative Lectionary Resource 9/30 Parting of the Seas/Escape Egypt

Genesis 14

Matthew 2:13-15

Additional Scripture

Psalm 105 (summarizes story thus far)

Psalm 80

Meditative Thought: How often is rescue through a restoration?

Call to Worship (based on Psalm 105)

Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name, make known his deeds among the people

Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wonderful works.

Call to Worship

Rescuer of Israel, You call your people out of Oppression

When Moses was enslaved, when baby Jesus was threatened, you rescued them

Call us out of oppression, again, lead us into light

You are our Lord and Our God, worthy of our Praise.
Prayer of Confession

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock. We confess that we follow our own ideas instead of you.

Restore us, O Lord God of hosts, let your face shine, that we may be saved.

We confess that we are often distracted by shiny things, the popular things, we put our trust in money and power.

Restore us, O Lord God of hosts, let your face shine, that we may be saved.

We confess that we have trouble listening to you and to one another, and that our relationships need to be saved.

Restore us, O Lord God of hosts, let your face shine, that we may be saved.

We confess that we forget that you are the God of forgiveness, that we would rather hid our faults than name them.

Restore us, O Lord God of hosts, let your face shine, that we may be saved.

Remind us of your love, your grace and your forgiveness, so that we can be filled with hope and live the life of the People of the Resurrection

Restore us, O Lord God of hosts, let your face shine, that we may be saved.

Prayer of Confession

God of the rainbows and the stars. We confess that we have trouble trusting. We do not want to make ourselves vulnerable. We have trouble baring ourselves in relationships. Yet, you promise to bring us out of the wilderness we wander in, you give us signs of your love, splitting the oceans and splashing us with baptism. Help us to trust in your steadfast love we pray. Amen.

We confess that we have trouble listening. We do not listen to you, we do not listen to those who are oppressed, we plug our ears and hum as if everything is find

Assurance of Pardon: Our God is the God of the Covenant. Promising us over and and over again to love us no matter what. In the name of this God we can proclaim together: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.

God declares, God is our God, and we are God’s people, forever. In this we know that God’s forgiveness never ends.

Eucharist Prayer: Lord, you are a Covenantal God. You created us to be relational, to one another and to you. And when we forgot that relationship you gave us a rainbow and pointed to the multitude of stars, you walked with us along the beach. And when we got tangled in rules and who was in and out, you came to us as a baby. Vulnerable and cute, your grew into the grace of Jesus Christ, showing us just how radical your love could be. And when we met love with hatred, you died on the cross for us, you proved love to be the power of resurrection and you sent your loving advocate in the Holy Spirit to bless us. Bless these elements here, so that they are imbued with your love, and so that we can taste and see the seal of your Covenant we pray. Amen

Prayer of Dedication/Closing Prayer: Let us Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually. Remember the wonderful works he has done, his miracles, and the judgements he has uttered as we go forth as the children of the promise to Abraham and Sarah. Amen.

Food for Thought: Trust and Vulnerability a comic



You Are My Hiding Place O Lord

O Hear Our Cry, O Lord (vineyard haven tune)

Our God, Our Help in Ages Past (St. Anne tune)

Spirit of the Living God

Every Time I feel the Spirit (Pentecost tune)

When Israel Was in Egypt’s Land (Go Down Moses Tune)

I Love the Lord, Who Heard My Cry (Watts words)

O Jesus, I Have Promised (Nyland or Angel’s Story tune)

Craft/Sunday School Ideas

Create Meditation Mason Jars: Glitter & Water, add fish sequins if you want, Remembrance of baptism prayer & sprinkle water, Make an ocean with glue & glitter draw with crayon in the middle for the split (keeping glue/glitter off) put a Moses in the middle, Make a promise banner: add what promises God makes along the way, Older: Discuss Slavery & What deliverance meant, Action: Have some pleople wave streamers and others walk thru on dry land.

Image result for ocean crafts

Ocean in a bottle


Resource: By Pastor Katy Stenta, solo pastor of a bigger on the inside Church New Covenant Presbyterian in Albany, NY

Seeds: A Resource for Narrative Lectionary Sept 9, Genesis 5:4-22, 8:6-12; 9:8-17 and Matthew 8:24-27

Narrative Lectionary 

September 9, 2019

Genesis 5:4-22, 8:6-12; 9:8-17 and Matthew 8:24-27

Resources by Rev. Dr. Barbara Hedges-Goettl

Image result for seeds of prayer

Audio/Video/Print takes on Noah

Animated Christmas Video of school choral piece Old Man Now Built a Boat

Robert Shaw Chorale version of Old Man Noah Built a Boat

Bill Cosby’s take on the Noah story

Frederick Buechner’s take on Noah


Intro to the Fall NL



The ark=teva in Hebrew, meaning nature, biosphere, wildlife. All of nature in a single     vessel. Different word from ark ov covenant-aron, but might have in common specially  built container for something precious. Suggested that Moses’ little boat as a baby was    a kind of miniature ark.   See   the-Ark-of-the-Covenant-and-Noahs-Ark

Renewal of baptism (see Flood Prayer resources below)*

These next 3 themes are from

Human stewardship of animals and their welfare (Gen 6:19-21-keeping each animal according to its kind/species safe, incl. taking the food they’ll need

Fresh start but bringing along something from what came before*God keeping covenant with humans and animals and the earth even when they do not keep covenant in return

Liturgical Resources

Hymns from

The title is the final set of words after the /

Genesis  Also titled “You Are Our God, We Are Your People”  v. 3   v.3


Matthew     (verse 3)    

(Jesus, Lover of my Soul, let me to thy bosom fly)   

  (I was sinking deep in sin far from the peaceful shore)    

Hymns from the PCUSA 1993 hymnal

The notation .2 means that verse 2 is most pertinent to the scripture passage; 2+3 means verses 2 and 3 are most pertinent 

Genesis 9.8-17

134.2 Creating God, Your Fingers Trace

191 God Is Our Refuge and Our Strength

192.1+2 God, Our Help and Constant Refuge

193.2+3 Psalm 46

209.3 My Song Forever Shall Record

214.4 O Come and Sing Unto the Lord

271.1 Many and Great, O God, Are Thy Things

276 Great Is Thy Faithfulness

283.1 God Marked a Line and Told the Sea

293 This Is My Father’s World

294 Wherever I May Wander

554 Let All Things Now Living

Genesis 9.13

384.3 O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go

Genesis 9.13

384.3 O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go

Matthew 8.23-27

184.3 How Blest Are Those

191 God Is Our Refuge and Our Strength

192 God, Our Help and Constant Refuge

193 Psalm 46

201.2 Praise Is Your Right, O God, in Zion

209.3 My Song Forever Shall Record

214.4 O Come and Sing Unto the Lord

271.1 Many and Great, O God, Are Thy Things

286 Give to the Winds Thy Fears

303.1 Jesus, Lover of My Soul

365.2 Jesus, Priceless Treasure

373 Lonely the Boat

388.3 O Jesus, I Have Promised

389.3 O Jesus, I Have Promised

560.2 We Plow the Fields and Scatter

562.2 Eternal Father, Strong to Save

Matthew 8.26a

86.4 When We Are Tempted to Deny Your Son

189.4 As Deer Long for the Streams

286 Give to the Winds Thy Fears

326.3 Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart

348.3 Christian Women, Christian Men

390.6 O Savior, in This Quiet Place

399.3 We Walk by Faith and Not by Sight

462.3 Christ, Whose Glory Fills the Skies

463.3 Christ, Whose Glory Fills the Skies

464.1 Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee

522.3+4 Lord, When I Came Into This Life

Hymns from the new Glory to God PCUSA hymnal (2013)

Genesis 9:7-17

315 In the Midst of New Dimensions

Genesis 9:12-16

738 O Master, Let Me Walk with Thee

Genesis 9:12-17

22 God of the Sparrow

Genesis 9:13-15

39 Great Is Thy Faithfulness

Genesis 9:13-17

250 In the Bulb There Is a Flower

Renewal of Baptism

Luther’s “Flood Prayer”  

Lutheran version (Lutheran service book): Almighty and eternal God, according to Your strict judgment You condemned the unbelieving world through the flood, yet according to Your great mercy You preserved believing Noah and his family, eight souls in all. You drowned heart-hearted Pharaoh and all his host in the Red Sea, yet led Your people Israel through the water on dry ground, prefiguring this washing of Your Holy Baptism. Through the Baptism in the Jordan of Your beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, You sanctified and instituted all waters to be a blessed flood, and a lavish washing away of sin. We pray that You would behold N. according to Your boundless mercy and bless him with true faith by the Holy Spirit that through this saving flood all sin in him which has been inherited from Adam and which he himself has committed since would be drowned and die. Grant that he be kept safe and secure in the holy ark of the Christian Church, being separated from the multitude of unbelievers and serving Your name at all times with a fervent spirit and a joyful hope, so that, with all believers in Your promise, he would be declared worthy of eternal life, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Anglican version (Book of Common Prayer):

Almighty and everlasting God, who of thy great mercy didst save Noah and his family in the ark from perishing by water; and also didst safely lead the children of Israel thy people through the Red Sea, figuring thereby thy holy Baptism; and by the Baptism of thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ, in the river Jordan didst sanctify Water to the mystical washing away of sin: We beseech thee, for thine infinite mercies, that thou wilt mercifully look upon this Child, wash him and sanctify him with the Holy Ghost; that he, being delivered from thy wrath, may be received into the ark of Christ’s Church; and being stedfast in faith, joyful through hope, and rooted in charity, may so pass through the waves of this troublesome world, that finally he may come to the land of everlasting life, there to reign with thee world without end; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. 

1993 Book of Common Worship (PC-USA) version:

The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give our thanks and praise.

We give you thanks, Eternal God,

for you nourish and sustain all living things

by the gift of water.

In the beginning of time,

your Spirit moved over the watery chaos,

calling forth order and life.

In the time of Noah,

you destroyed evil by the waters of the flood,

giving righteousness a new beginning.

You led Israel out of slavery,

through the waters of the sea,

into the freedom of the promised land.

In the waters of Jordan

Jesus was baptized by John

and anointed with your Spirit.

By the baptism of his own death and resurrection,

Christ set us free from sin and death,

and opened the way to eternal life.

We thank you, O God, for the water of baptism.

In it we are buried with Christ in his death.

From it we are raised to share in his resurrection,

Through it we are reborn by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The minister may touch the water.

Send your Spirit to move over this water

that it may be a fountain of deliverance and rebirth.

Wash away the sin of all who are cleansed by it.

Raise them to new life,

and graft them to the body of Christ.

Pour out your Holy Spirit upon them,

that they may have power to do your will,

and continue forever in the risen life of Christ.

To you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God,

be all praise, honor, and glory,

now and forever. [411]


Directives for a baptismal prayer with similar content:

The minister may give thanks over the water in his or her own words:

a. praising God for God’s faithfulness in the covenant;

b. thankfully remembering God’s reconciling acts such as:

the cleansing and rebirth in the flood in the time of Noah;

the exodus through the waters of the sea;

Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan;

the baptism of Jesus’ death and his resurrection.

c. invoking the Holy Spirit

to attend and empower the baptism;

to make the water a water of redemption and rebirth;

to equip the church for faithfulness.

The prayer concludes with an ascription of praise to the triune God.

Book of Common Worship offering prayer (covenant)

Let us pray.

Faithful God,

you placed the rainbow in the skies

as the sign of your covenant with all living things.

May we who are saved through water and the Spirit,

worthily offer to you our sacrifice of thanksgiving.

We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. [256]


Other water/flood-related scriptures:

Psalm 29, 42, 69

Song of Solomon 8:6–7

Psalm 29 (Book of Common Worship)

PSALM 29 Tone 3; PH 180; PS 26


1 Ascribe to the LORD, you gods, *

ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.

2 Ascribe to the LORD the glory that is due the holy name; *

worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. R

3 The voice of the LORD is upon the waters;

the God of glory thunders; *

the LORD is upon the mighty waters.

4 The voice of the LORD is a powerful voice; *

the voice of the LORD is a voice of splendor. R

5 The voice of the LORD breaks the cedar trees; *

the LORD breaks the cedars of Lebanon;

6 the LORD makes Lebanon skip like a calf, *

and Mount Hermon like a young wild ox. R

7 The voice of the LORD splits the flames of fire;

the voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness; 

the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.

8 The voice of the LORD makes the oak trees writhe *

and strips the forests bare.

9 And in the temple of the LORD *

all are crying, “Glory!” R

10 The LORD sits enthroned above the flood; *

the LORD sits enthroned as Sovereign forevermore.


11 The LORD shall give strength to the chosen people; *

the LORD shall give the people the blessing of peace. R

God of mystery and power,

open our eyes to the fire of your love,

and open our ears to the thunder of your justice,

that we may receive your gifts of blessing and peace,

to the glory of your name;

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

PSALM 42 Tone 8; PH 189, 190; PS 37


1 As the deer longs for the water-brooks, *

so longs my soul for you, O God.

2 My soul is athirst for God, athirst for the living God; *

when shall I come to appear before the presence of God?

3 My tears have been my food day and night, *

while all day long they say to me,

“Where now is your God?” R

4 I pour out my soul when I think on these things: *

how I went with the multitude and led them into the house of God,

with the voice of praise and thanksgiving, *

among those who keep holy-day.

5 Why are you so full of heaviness, O my soul? *

and why are you so disquieted within me? R

Put your trust in God; *

for I will yet give thanks to the One

who is the help of my countenance, 6 and my God.

My soul is heavy within me; *

therefore I will remember you from the land of Jordan,

and from the peak of Mizar among the heights of Hermon.

7 One deep calls to another in the noise of your cataracts; *

all your rapids and floods have gone over me.

8 The LORD grants loving-kindness in the daytime; *

in the night season the song of the LORD is with me,

a prayer to the God of my life. R

9 I will say to the God of my strength,

“Why have you forgotten me? *

and why do I go so heavily while the enemy oppresses me?“

10 While my bones are being broken, *

my enemies mock me to my face;

all day long they mock me *

and say to me, “Where now is your God?” R

11 Why are you so full of heaviness, O my soul? *

and why are you so disquieted within me?


Put your trust in God; *

for I will yet give thanks to the One

who is the help of my countenance, and my God. R

Gracious God,

in the night of distress we forget the days of sun and joy.

When we do not know your presence,

preserve us from the deep torrent of despair.

We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

PSALM 69 Tone 8


1 Save me, O God, *

for the waters have risen up to my neck.

2 I am sinking in deep mire, *

and there is no firm ground for my feet.

I have come into deep waters, *

and the torrent washes over me. R

3 I have grown weary with my crying;

my throat is inflamed; *

my eyes have failed from looking for my God.

Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head;

my lying foes who would destroy me are mighty. *

Must I then give back what I never stole?

5 O God, you know my foolishness, *

and my faults are not hidden from you.

6 Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me,

Lord GOD of hosts; *

let not those who seek you be disgraced because of me,

O God of Israel. R

7 Surely, for your sake have I suffered reproach, *

and shame has covered my face.

8 I have become a stranger to my own kindred, *

an alien to my mother’s children.

9 Zeal for your house has eaten me up; *

the scorn of those who scorn you has fallen upon me.

10 I humbled myself with fasting, *

but that was turned to my reproach. R

11 I put on sack-cloth also, *

and became a byword among them.

12 Those who sit at the gate murmur against me, *

and the drunkards make songs about me. R

13 But as for me, this is my prayer to you, *

at the time you have set, O LORD:

“In your great mercy, O God, *

answer me with your unfailing help.

14 Save me from the mire; do not let me sink; *

let me be rescued from those who hate me

and out of the deep waters.

15 Let not the torrent of waters wash over me,

neither let the deep swallow me up; *

do not let the pit shut its mouth upon me. R

16 Answer me, O LORD, for your love is kind; *

in your great compassion, turn to me.

17 Hide not your face from your servant; *

be swift and answer me, for I am in distress.

18 Draw near to me and redeem me; *

because of my enemies deliver me. R

19 You know my reproach, my shame, and my dishonor; *

my adversaries are all in your sight.”

20 Reproach has broken my heart, and it cannot be healed; *

I looked for sympathy, but there was none,

for comforters, but I could find no one.

21 They gave me gall to eat, *

and when I was thirsty, they gave me vinegar to drink. R

22 Let the table before them be a trap *

and their sacred feasts a snare.

23 Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, *

and give them continual trembling in their inner parts.

24 Pour out your indignation upon them, *

and let the fierceness of your anger overtake them.

25 Let their camp be desolate, *

and let there be none to dwell in their tents.

26 For they persecute the one whom you have stricken *

and add to the pain of those whom you have pierced.

27 Lay to their charge guilt upon guilt, *

and let them not receive your vindication.

28 Let them be wiped out of the book of the living *

and not be written among the righteous. R

29 As for me, I am afflicted and in pain; *

your help, O God, will lift me up on high.

30 I will praise the name of God in song; *

I will proclaim the greatness of the LORD with thanksgiving.

31 This will please the Lord more than an offering of oxen, *

more than bullocks with horns and hoofs.

32 The afflicted shall see and be glad; *

you who seek God, your heart shall live.

33 For the Lord listens to the needy *

and does not despise those who are in prison. R

34 Let the heavens and the earth give praise, *

the seas and all that moves in them;

35 for God will save Zion and rebuild the cities of Judah; *

they shall live there and have it in possession.

36 The servants of the LORD will inherit it, *

and those who love the name of God will dwell therein. R

Blessed are you, God of hope;

you restore the fallen

and rebuild the broken walls.

Teach us the song of thanksgiving,

for you are the strength of your people;

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [

Call to Worship from Psalm 29:3-4, 10-11

One: The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
Many: the God of glory thunders,

One: the Lord, over mighty waters.
Many: The voice of the Lord is powerful;
One: The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
Many: the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.
ALL: May the Lord give strength to his people!
May the Lord bless his people with peace!

Collect (from Genesis 9)

O Saving God, who made a covenant with Noah and his descendants and with every living creature surviving on the ark; when clouds cover the earth, remember and keep your covenant with all living things, so that the waters will never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 

In the name of the Creator, who makes and keeps covenant with the people of God; the Spirit, who sweeps over creative waters; and the Son, who calms the seas, Amen.

Prayers of the People (from Psalm 42:7-8)

All: Deep calls to deep at the thunder of your cataracts;
all your waves and your billows have gone over me.

O God, we are billowed and buffeted by waves of evil and violence. Silent or specific prayers.

All: I pray to you, O God of my life.  By day command your steadfast love. By night your song is with me.

Floods of illness and grief threaten to drown us. 

Silent or specific prayers.

All: I pray to you, O God of my life.  By day command 

your steadfast love. By night your song is with me.

Tears of weariness and sadness have been our food.

Silent or specific prayers.

All: I pray to you, O God of my life.  By day command 

your steadfast love. By night send your song to be with me.

But we hope in you, O God. Dry our tears and quench our thirst.

Silent or specific prayers.

All: I pray to you, O God of my life.  By day command 

your steadfast love. By night your song is with me.

Send your cleansing waters upon us, soothing and healing, renewing and refreshing. Silent or specific prayers.

All: I pray to you, O God of my life.  By day command 

your steadfast love. By night your song is with me.

Buoy us with the relief of rain, the flow of a stream, the quiet of a lake, the ebb and flow of the ocean. Silent or specific prayers.

All: I pray to you, O God of my life.  By day command 

your steadfast love. By night your song is with me. 

In the name of the Creator, who placed the rainbow in the heavens; the Spirit, who brought order to the chaos of the deep; and Jesus, the living water, Amen.

Prayer of Confession (Psalm 69:1-3, 29, 17-18 from The Message)

In 2 groups (bold & italic); it would be best if leaders jump in quickly, or if people read the bold and leader (quickly afterward) the italics,

indicating the urgency and overwhelmingness of the need.

God, God, save me! I’m in over my head,

Quicksand under me, swamp water over me;
Going down for the third time.

Hoarse from calling for help,
Bleary-eyed from searching the sky for God.

I’m hurt and in pain;
Give me space for healing, and mountain air.

Don’t look the other way; your servant can’t take it.
I’m in trouble. Answer right now!

18 Come close, God; get me out of here.
Rescue me from this deathtrap.

Maybe play/sing “Bridge Over Troubled Water” during quiet time for confession after the litany or after these words of assurance: “Jesus is our bridge over troubled water. He laid himself down to dry our tears and calm our seas. Thanks be to God for the Good News: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.” 

Contributions from readers

*Brief portions of this Book of Common Worship may be reproduced without special permission for one-time use only, for worship and educational purposes, in an order of service for use by a congregation, or in a special program or lesson resource, provided that no part of such reproduction is sold, directly or indirectly, and that the following acknowledgment

is included: Reprinted by permission from Book of Common Worship, © 1993

Westminster/John Knox Press.

Narrative Lectionary: Prayers, Liturgy, Collects

Acts 2:1-21

Phil: 4:4-7

Call to Worship
The Lord is near
Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice
And here we are, all gathered in the name of Jesus, to hear the Word of Jesus Christ
Let us speak to God, each in our own way and tongue, so that God might hear our praise.

Prayer of Confession: (unison) Holy Spirit, we confess that new things share us. We confess that although we want to be welcoming, sometimes w have trouble putting it into practice. We confess that sometimes we feel awkward. Forgive us for the times we forget to listen closely to one another. Aide us, when we forget to accept help from each other. For we know that relationship is holy, so we pray that you teach us to truly work through the Holy Spirit to come together as church, today and everyday so we might truly be a Pentecost People. Amen

Assurance of Pardon: (Phil 4:6-7) Know this, when we worry, we can take everything to God in prayer, and supplication, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will be with you. Let us proclaim the truth to one another: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven. Amen

Hymn Suggestions:

They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love

Thy Word

Sweet, Sweet Spirit


Narrative Lectionary: Phil 2

Phil 2:1-13

Luke 6:43-45

Psalm 62


Call to Worship (based on Psalm 62)
For God alone my soul waits in silence
God loves each of as a mother hen protects her young
God alone is my rock and my salvation, and I shall never be shaken
God is our refuge, let us worship God today.

Prayer of Confession: (unison) Loving Jesus, if there is any encouragement from you, then help us not to do things from selfish ambition or conceit,, but let us instead do all things with humility. Help us to act not from our own interests, which are limited, but instead for the interests of others, loving each other as sibling in Christ, we pray. (Silent Confession). Amen

Assurance of Pardon: (Phil 2) Trust God at all times, knowing that God is our caring parent giving us consolation and sympathy, and assuring us in love the good news: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven. Amen

Prayer of Dedication: Let us go into the world encouraged by the power of the Holy Spirit, and proclaiming the joy of Jesus Christ to one another. Amen.

Narrative Lectionary: #prayer liturgy

Acts 17:16-31 and John 1:16-18

Image result for Unknown God

Call to Worship
When the idols surrounding us, distress us.
We come seeking God
When we talk to the unknown one
We come seeking God
When we wonder at how we live, and move and breathe.
We come seeking God. Come let us seek God together starting with worship, so that we might seek God throughout our lives.

Prayer of Confession: (unison) God, we confess that we are surrounded by idols, we confess that we do not like “the unknown” so we make things feel safe, putting them in stereotypes or boxes, trying to master knowledge of all things. I confess that I don’t always know how to worship, because faith and God still remain a mystery to me. Comfort me, lord, teach me how to wonder and hope at your grace I pray. (Silent Confession). Amen


Assurance of Pardon: (Romans 8:34) Who is in a position to condemn? Only Christ, and Christ died for us, Christ rose for us, Christ reigns in power for us, Christ prays for us. Friends, believe the good news of the gospel. People: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven! In Jesus Christ we are forgiven. Amen

Prayer of Dedication: Let us go into the world dedicating ourselves to you, and teaching people about that they too the offspring of God. Amen.

Imprisoned: #narrativelectionary

Acts 17:16-31, Luke 6:18-19 , Alternative: Psalm 142

Call to Worship

Lord, you have opened the door for us
Help us to come out, blinking, into the light
Lord the resurrection is the beginning of healing
Let us celebrate and share the resurrection with one another in worship here today.


Prayer of Confession: (unison) Mighty God, we confess that we feel the weight of our chains. Our sorrow and suffering, our prejudices and petty judgements, our hurts and helplessness. Each one of us has something binding us. Give us the hope and inspiration that we need to live life freed from chains we pray. (Silent Confession). Amen

Assurance of Pardon:We know that even when our persecutions seem too great, you God are stronger than any chains that try to bind us. Your resurrection frees us from all prisons. Hear the good news, in Jesus Christ we are freed: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven. Amen

Prayer of Dedication: Let us go into the world free children of God, energized by hope and empowered to tell the good news, passing the freedom of justice to every person we meet! Amen.


Also anyone else have this running thru their head?

P(s)aul #Narrative Lectionary

Acts 9:1-19a. and Matthew 6:24

Alternative 2nd Text Psalm 42


Call to Worship Lord we come to you, blind to the opportunities to be your instrument Teach us to be instruments of your grace, Take the scales from our eyes oh Lord, for we want to see your beauty. Let us begin to tell to story of your Gospel, in our worship here today.


Prayer of Confession: Lord, we confess that at times we breathe murder on our breath. We tear one another down, we complain, we whine. We confess that we breathe out hate of people, places and things. Sweeten our breath, we pray. Allow us to breathe in the Holy Spirit: inhaling her inspiration, her hope, her courage, so that we might breathe out the Holy Spirit exhaling: creativity, aspiration and encouragement in every particular action we perform.

Assurance of Pardon: If your soul thirsts for God, the way a deer longs for the stream, Know that our God is steadfast in love, and in the darkest nights, God’s song is with you, so go forth, singing this song of the truth to one another: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven. Amen.

Prayer of Dedication: Let us do as the the Lord commands, Let us get up and go, gaining strength from our baptism for the work you have set before us today.

When in Doubt: Easter Sunday Resource

John 20: 1-18 and Psalm 118:21-29

Call to Worship (from Psalm 118)
One: Jesus Christ is risen;
ALL: he is risen indeed!
One: And so I thank you, O God, that you have answered me.
ALL: You have become my salvation.
One: The stone that the builders rejected
ALL: has become the chief cornerstone.
One: This is the Lord’s doing;
ALL: it is marvelous in our eyes.
One: This is the day that the Lord has made;
ALL: let us rejoice and be glad in it.
One: For Jesus Christ is risen;
ALL: he is risen indeed!

Prayers of the people* (Silence may follow each refrain of “we seek the Lord.”)
One: People, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for? Many: They have taken away the Lord, and we do not know where they have laid him.
One: In the darkness of our mornings and our nights Many: we seek the Lord. One: When hopes have been tampered with and things are not going as planned Many: we seek the Lord. One: When our nation is deeply divided and violence abounds Many: we seek the Lord. One: When jobs are lost or never found Many: we seek the Lord. One: When darkness overcomes the health we try to hold onto Many: we seek the Lord. One: In the darkness of divorce and bankruptcy, eviction and addiction Many: we seek the Lord. One: When the usual situations and explanations reduce us to tears Many: we seek the Lord.
ALL: O God, in our grief and anguish, we seek you. Call us by name so that we know you and proclaim your living, risen presence. Amen.
*These images are adapted from Taylor, Catherine E., “ ‘Who are you looking for?’ I Corinthians 15:19; John 20:1-18,” Journal for Preachers, 28:3 (Easter 2005), 31-33.

Call to Confession:
We do not always live as people of the resurrection. While it is still dark, we come to the tomb, expecting only death, and the risen one meets us and calls us by name.
Prayer of Confession:
One: Confessing the darkness of our lives and our world, we come to you
Many: God of grace and mercy, hear our prayer.
One: Confessing our part in dealing death and denying hope, we come to you
Many: God of grace and mercy, hear our prayer.
One: Confessing that it is hard to love others as ourselves, we come to you
Many: God of grace and mercy, hear our prayer.
One: Confessing harsh words expressed and kind words unsaid, we come to you
Many: God of grace and mercy, hear our prayer.
One: Confessing the decisions we make about our time, our energy and our loyalties, we come to you
Many: God of grace and mercy, hear our prayer.
ALL: God of hope and resurrection, free us from the stones that block us from living as resurrection people. [Silent confession.] Amen.

Assurance of Pardon:
God has removed the stone from the tomb. The resurrected Jesus meets us, calling us by name, that we may proclaim him as the risen Lord.
Thanks be to God for the Good News:
ALL: In Jesus Christ, we are resurrection people. Thanks be to God.

More Lent Prayer Resources

Rev. Dr. Barbara Hedges-Goettl has her doctorate in liturgy and has worked on the new Book of Common Worship for the PCUSA, she is particularly interested in Communion, and uses her writing skills for bulletins, sermons and IEPs for children with special needs.



An entire Communion Liturgy is available at