This beautiful space today reminds us that we co-create with you. Each brick reminds us of our strength through you. Each window reminds us of your light that shines through us.
God of Love and Light: Bless the space today. Bless each brick, each panel of wood, each nail which has assembled this building. Bless all of the hands and hearts which have built and restored this place as we give much gratitude for their gifts. Bless all who have given their treasures in making this day possible.
Each time two or more are gathered in this space, may they see your presence surrounding them. In gatherings of joy, fill their hearts with happiness, and may this room be filled with laughter. As groups congregate for solemn occasions, surround them with your peace, and may their souls experience your comfort.
We give thanks for the saints whose gifts continue to echo in this sanctuary. May their memories continue to bless current and future generations who congregate in this place.
May this space be one which builds community, believing that your love will strengthen our ties and create your realm on this earth.
This was written for the Celebration of the Restoration of Heritage Hall at St. Paul United Church of Christ, April 2022.
Now I lay me down to rest as I have been on days on end. There are only so many movies to stream and shows to binge and Wordles to solve and naps to take.
My mind is willing. But my body is weak.
In this season of healing and boredom, may I see your presence in the spinning of ceiling fan and the pillows beneath my head. May I see your rainbow of colors in the blandness of days. May this body heal as it should, and allow me to see how my stillness rebuilds a healing body. May this season of rest nurture the soil which will hold the seeds of my creativity.
Above all, help me to see your light and love surrounding me in the comfort of my resting spaces.
Tensions rise between neighbors. Hate lurks in stores and on roads, in school hallways and political discussions. Humanity focuses more on its own individual well being instead of the well being of all.
Yet animosity isn’t the last word, and hate will never win because God’s love endures forever. Divine love dissipates all venom and sweetens all bitterness.
Even as we walk in the shadow filled valleys of toxic interactions, God’s love is lighting the path to the future. Through the Spirit of the Christ in our world, the vapors of hate will not last in our world. Love will spread from person to person, lifting the toxic fogs that linger between people.
We light the candle of love to clear the cloud of hate in our world and dissolve the mists of gloom as the Christ enters our world and brightness continues to grow. Amen.
(c)2021 Rev. Michelle L. Torigian. Permission to use in a worship service (including a streamed service) with attribution.
Our life’s circumstances can be quite chilly sometimes. During our times of winter, we look for you to warm our hearts. In the long nights of loss and change, your Spirit hugs our weary souls.
As these shawls/blankets wrap around your children, may they feel comfort that only comes from you. May your Spirit enliven the ones who will receive these shawls/blankets. May they find resurrection in their lives and renewal around every corner. May they know that you are resting as they rest and journeying as they journey.
God of Restoration, bless the hands that have crafted these shawls/blankets. With each movement of their fingers, help them to see how they co-create with you.
May we be a comfort to our neighbors when evening is long and loneliness lurks. As these shawls/blankets warm the hearts of your children, continue to remind us of our deep connection through the loving thread of Christ.
As mid-autumn rushes into our region, its companion, frost, settles upon the grass and flowers. The beauty of frost as the morning light reflects upon it brings us momentary joy.
And then we see our plants who have journeyed with us since spring shriveled, hunched over. Their leaves waving a final goodbye.
We remember their tiny days as we would gently bury their roots into the ground and waited for their leaves to grow and flowers to burst forth. Through the summer, their beings would expand in every direction. They greeted us every morning and evening, welcoming us home when the days were rough, and sending us out into the world with a sense of hope.
Today we bid them farewell and give gratitude for the months they brightened our yards and lives. To you, God, we give thanks for the beauty of annuals, even when their lives are short. We reflect upon our own lives. Like the flowers, how will we illuminate the world with our gifts?
May your peace strengthen us in these short days, cold nights, and when our yards lack the bright colors of summer.
Our joints stiffen and swell. Radiating pain shoots across our necks, backs, knees, and hands. What aches will tomorrow bring? we ask ourselves. How do we walk one step at a time or fulfill our callings with the limited use of our bodies?
As we mark World Arthritis Day, may the gifts of treatments better our lives. May inflammation decrease and movement increase. May we figure out how to live fully even when various types of arthritis threaten our futures. May your Spirit guide us in the shadows and lead us into the sunlight again.
Divine Love, in this week of contemplation, may we remember the presentation of your love through the Christ. As we share in the breaking of the bread, may we recall the beautiful unity of Christ’s table. May the mandate of this day, to love our neighbors as ourselves, be etched into our souls. Widen our minds to see our neighbors from a new angle. Widen our hearts to serve as Jesus the Christ once served. Amen.
The communion liturgy keeps in mind a hybrid approach to worship this year. Some people may be in our presence, and others experiencing worship at home. This was adapted from last year’s “sheltering in place” communion liturgy.
Christ gave us the mandate to love one another. Christ gave us the peace that we will never be left alone. Christ gave us the picture that we are connected as vine and branches. Christ gave us the assurance that no one will take away our joy.
God is with you! God is with us all! Open wide our hearts. We open them to new possibilities. From here tonight to dining room tables, this is the time to give God our thanks and praise.
Jesus the Christ has created a realm of love for each of us- one in which we will be reunited with loved ones, one full of sacred memories, one in which we are assured of God’s comfort.
It was a night filled with teachings and memories. Undoubtedly, tears were shed and laughs raised. This was the night before Jesus died. Jesus took bread. As he blessed it and broke it, he said to his friends Whenever you eat this bread, eat in remembrance of me.
Later, Jesus blessed a cup filled with fruit of the vine. Friends, this is the new covenant. Drink this to remember me. Drink to remember our time together.
Spirit of God, surround the bread. Surround the cup. Surround us – here and elsewhere. Bless us in our eating and drinking. Bless our connection – near and far. No matter if close or distant, our covenant with God will keep us together.
May we spend this time remembering: The ones who can’t be at the table. The ones who are no longer at the table. And the one Christ who created this sacramental table experience. Amen.
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Loving God, Great Provider-
After this time together, near and far, we give thanks for the opportunity to commune with the Christ and our neighbor. May the love that was experienced tonight through bread and cup open our hearts to the beauty, pain, and joy across our world. May this sacrament move us to offer our neighbors our love. And may our time at the table remind us of the ones who are forever in our hearts. Amen.
Blessing of the Gifts and Benediction
As we are not having a “collection” time during our service, our congregants are dropping them in boxes on the way out of the sanctuary, mailing them into church, or giving online. We have combined the two together.
Holy One-Your gifts build a world of love, filled with memories of your presence in our lives. May we use our gifts to continue to create a world of care, living into your mandate to love one another as you love us. Amen.
We walk into the dusk knowing the journey of Jesus. May we remember his steps to the cross. May we embrace his profound love. And may we share this grace each and everyday, leading our world to resurrection.
(c) Rev. Michelle L. Torigian 2021. Liturgy may be used with attribution.