God of our fathers and mothers,
you know that as we get older
our first memories are still strong
while others fade away.
I think I have accepted my childhood
but sometimes feelings erupt;
anger, tears…when I least expect.
You know about those things, God.
You pulled me through.
Without those memories
I wouldn’t be who I am.
Take away the hurt, Lord,
so I may have peace.
My flesh and heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Ah, Lord, now another friend is widowed.
Of course, people in this retirement community
understand, since many are also widows and widowers.
Friends are sympathetic.
But the heartache for the one who is left
is still there.
The bereaved look forward to a time
when they may see their loved one again in heaven.
We are calmed by the assurance
that you, Lord, are always with us.
Surround the sorrowing with your love, Lord.
Make others sensitive to their need. Amen.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them as their God; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he 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”
Hymn: I Need Thee Every Hour
Dear Lord, in some places
there is famine due to weather or war.
Refugees crowd neighboring countries,
and there is not enough to feed them.
Even in our country some children go hungry.
Lord, you have given us this earth
with its ability to produce
enough food for everyone.
Our church and other churches
gather food and money to feed people
locally and around the world.
But even when we and other countries send food,
it doesn’t always reach the starving
because governments intervene.
Dear Lord, we are thankful that we are fed,
but today we pray for those who are hungry.
And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of broken pieces, twelve baskets full. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that?
Hymn: The Voice of God Is Calling
Dear Lord, you showed us
the way of selfless love.
Like a good shepherd lays
down his life for his sheep,
you laid down your life for us.
Even though wrongly accused,
judged, and hung on a cross,
you continued to love and forgive.
Help us to reach out in love
to everyone we are with today.
Inspire us to look beyond
our immediate circle
to those who need your love.
In your name we ask. Amen.
Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
Hymn: The King of Love My Shepherd Is
Lord, you know that
many widows and widowers
live in this retirement community.
It is especially difficult for those
who are confined in bed.
I am one of a group assigned
to visit them since
some no longer have family
or friends who are able to come.
Help me to be sensitive to their needs
as I share your presence with them. Amen.
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
Hymn: Love Divine, All Loves Excelling
Lord Jesus, we have lived
in this retirement community
a little over two years now.
Each evening we eat with others
in the dining room. If we have not
made a date to eat with others,
the hostess asks if we want her
to assign someone to us.
Recently several new people
have moved in. I need to invite
them to eat with us as others
did to us when we were new.
Move me, Lord Jesus, to reach out
to those who are new. Amen.
In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.
Hymn: Move Me, Move Me
Lord, sometimes it is difficult
to see you in others.
One has to look beyond
the outward façade
to the inner being, and even then
it isn’t always easy.
Is everyone a member of your family, Lord,
or only the chosen few?
Open my eyes to those
you want me to reach out to today.
Let me not hesitate, Lord,
to show your love and care.
“Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”
Hymn: Open My Eyes, That I May See