Coronavirus is upon us in Berkshire County, which will have many members staying home instead coming to worship. So, here's what might help you join in worship while staying at a safe distance. For an audio chance to follow along with the liturgy, click here.
* Call to Worship Psalm 43 Adapted
One: As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. All: My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. One: When shall I come and behold the face of God? All: My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me continually, ‘Where is your God?’
One: These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: All: how I went with the throng, and led them in procession to the house of God, with glad shouts and songs of thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival. One: Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? All: Hope in God; for we shall again praise the Lord, our help and our God. One: My soul is cast down within me; but deep calls to deep…
All: By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life. One: I say to God, my rock, ‘Why have you forgotten me? All: Why must we walk about mournfully because of the enemy,
as if we are with a deadly wound in our body? One: Doubt is as an enemy saying to me continually, ‘Where is your God?’ All: Why are you cast down, O my soul,and why are you disquieted within me? One: Hope in God; for we shall again praise him,
our help and our God. Hold firm. Trust in the Lord. Let us pray.
Prayer of Invocation & Confession (please be seated; in unison)
Lord God, you are faithful even when we are not: you grant us what we need even as we fail to recognize it; you sustain us even as we sense ourselves to be faltering or doubting.
This is truer now than in recent memory, even living memory. We seldom had more cause to fear than with what seems to be coming. The spread of sickness has us react in counterproductive ways, but your way among us has always been to use crisis as opportunity.
Forgive us that we don’t trust you as we should, that when crisis comes, we act selfishly rather than in compassion, thoughtlessly rather than in wisdom and with care. Give us this moment to reflect on all that brings us to doubt, and all that might instead be an opening to your presence and a renewing of your ancient promise to walk with us all our days.
Faithful God, as we believe in the power of sickness to spread, help us also to believe in the power of wellness to spread, of your Gospel to spread, a virality of goodness and love. Strengthen us to be your people, even across safe and caring distance. Encourage us to follow in your way, even when that is to stay home and stay safe for the sake of our community. Love us as you do and help us to know it; help us then to love one another. None of this can we do ourselves, so hear our prayer offered in the faith of Christ, our crucified and risen savior. Amen.
Words of Assurance
We are God’s people: God is responsible for us and responsive to us. Though we suffer, God yet saves. During this season of Lent, rest assured of God’s acting even in such things as the cross to save and restore, to redeem and make whole. Amen.