Preparation for Worship
Songs: Ask yourself and the people who will be worshipping with you (kids included), “What are some of the songs we sing about listening to God?” Play them on Spotify, sing them acapella, or create your own instrumental arrangement.
Bible: You will need a Bible to read from the scriptures. You can use this doc or your phone as well…but I’d recommend using an actual Bible.
This week’s liturgy is based on the following texts:
Acts 8:26-40, Psalm 22:25-31, 1 John 4:7-21, John 15:1-8
You can decide who will lead the different movements of this gathering. It would be great for every person to have a part.
Call to Worship
Leader: Let our praise for all that God has done resound within and beyond these walls.
All: We praise you, O God!
Leader: When all people turn to God and worship God,
the poor shall eat and be satisfied,
and justice and peace will surely embrace
present and future generations.
All: We praise you, O God!
Leader: Therefore, in thanksgiving for all that God has done,
let our lives and our love proclaim the message
of God’s gracious acts.
All: We praise you, O God!
Song of Praise
Sing one song that focuses on God’s love and God’s call.
New Testament Reading
It says in 1 John chapter 4 (CEB), Dear friends, let’s love each other, because love is from God, and everyone who loves is born from God and knows God. 8 The person who doesn’t love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how the love of God is revealed to us: God has sent his only Son into the world so that we can live through him. 10 This is love: it is not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son as the sacrifice that deals with our sins.
11 Dear friends, if God loved us this way, we also ought to love each other. 12 No one has ever seen God. If we love each other, God remains in us and his love is made perfect in us. 13 This is how we know we remain in him and he remains in us, because he has given us a measure of his Spirit. 14 We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the savior of the world. 15 If any of us confess that Jesus is God’s Son, God remains in us and we remain in God. 16 We have known and have believed the love that God has for us.
God is love, and those who remain in love remain in God and God remains in them. 17 This is how love has been perfected in us, so that we can have confidence on the Judgment Day, because we are exactly the same as God is in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear expects punishment. The person who is afraid has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love because God first loved us. 20 Those who say, “I love God” and hate their brothers or sisters are liars. After all, those who don’t love their brothers or sisters whom they have seen can hardly love God whom they have not seen! 21 This commandment we have from him: Those who claim to love God ought to love their brother and sister also.
Prayer for Illumination
Jesus our Guide,
you explained the scriptures
and revealed yourself to the eunuch through the words of the prophet
and with the help of Philip.
Now, by your Spirit, open our eyes and ears
That we might recognize what you are saying to us. Amen.
(The time of listening is a series of reading the scripture, re-telling the story, and paying attention to where God is stirring your hearts as you listen. Invite everyone to listen to the words of the scriptures and to be ready to re-tell the story.)
Let’s hear the word of God from Acts chapter 8 (CEB),
26 An angel from the Lord spoke to Philip, “At noon, take the road that leads from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a desert road.) 27 So he did. Meanwhile, an Ethiopian man was on his way home from Jerusalem, where he had come to worship. He was a eunuch and an official responsible for the entire treasury of Candace. (Candace is the title given to the Ethiopian queen.) 28 He was reading the prophet Isaiah while sitting in his carriage. 29 The Spirit told Philip, “Approach this carriage and stay with it.”
30 Running up to the carriage, Philip heard the man reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, “Do you really understand what you are reading?”
31 The man replied, “Without someone to guide me, how could I?” Then he invited Philip to climb up and sit with him. 32 This was the passage of scripture he was reading:
Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter
and like a lamb before its shearer is silent
so he didn’t open his mouth.
33 In his humiliation justice was taken away from him.
Who can tell the story of his descendants
because his life was taken from the earth?
34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, about whom does the prophet say this? Is he talking about himself or someone else?” 35 Starting with that passage, Philip proclaimed the good news about Jesus to him. 36 As they went down the road, they came to some water.
The eunuch said, “Look! Water! What would keep me from being baptized?” 38 He ordered that the carriage halt. Both Philip and the eunuch went down to the water, where Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Lord’s Spirit suddenly took Philip away. The eunuch never saw him again but went on his way rejoicing. 40 Philip found himself in Azotus. He traveled through that area, preaching the good news in all the cities until he reached Caesarea.
Let’s remember together what was said in these readings. What was said first? What happened next? (go around the circle and tell the story to each other. Try to remember as many details as possible.).
What part of the scripture grabbed your attention? Why do you think that part stood out?
Let each person in the circle take a turn to wonder about something in this text . . . a word, a phrase, something that happened in the text, something that you’re thinking about. Start out by saying “As we read these texts, it made me wonder . . . ”
In what ways has Jesus been revealed to you in your journey? Is there anyone who has helped you understand what God is trying to say to you?
Is there something we should remember for this coming week from what we heard from the scriptures?
Prayers of the People
like the eunuch reading the scriptures,
we struggle to recognize you in the everyday journey of our lives.
We seek your wisdom in the midst of the questions we have
about the circumstances we ﬁnd ourselves in—
circumstances sometimes beyond our control.
Open our eyes, O God,
to your work of transformation in and around us.
As we walk with you day by day,
may your new life be made manifest in what we say to and how we treat others.
Help us to understand the power of our words to hurt or to heal;
give us the graciousness to reflect your love in all we say.
As you opened the scriptures to the disciples
and taught them everything,
open our eyes to behold you in your Word.
Help us to live these words in all we say, do, and think.
May your resurrection presence guide our lives.
We pray now, silently and aloud, for the things weighing on us today…
(pause for prayers)
So often we forget
that you invite us to abide with you;
to have our lives hidden in you.
We thank you that you travel with us in our joys and our concerns.
And now we pray together the prayer you taught us to pray saying,
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
Go with this blessing.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
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