A Call to Worship/Candle-lighting prayer, including a responsive reading of Psalm 147:1-11, 20c (NRSV)
Blessed be you, O Holy Light-fitter,
who set the sun in its proper place
and scattered the stars across the skies
to brighten up our way
(the first candle is lit).
Blessed be you, Bright Morning Star,
the hope of our salvation,
dawning in our lives,
drawing nearer in this very moment.
(the second candle is lit).
Blessed be you, O Sacred Flame,
who gives us life
and tends our growth
through Your constant, gentle presence
(the third candle is lit).
Blessed be You,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
light with and within us:
~ in a world torn apart by hatred, fear and greed;
~ in a time governed by self-made truth and wealth-mad leaders;
~ in the rubble and ruin of cities and countries in which conflicts rage
and in the panic and pain of those who have no place to call home or safe haven;
~ in the broken hearts of those who no longer feel loved or who find themselves alone,
and in the bleeding wounds and bruised faces of those harmed by loved ones;
~ in the barrenness of the earth, burned and blasted, to make space for our ever-growing population and in the widening gap between those with too much to eat and those with nothing;
~ in the darkness of our delusions of grandeur and in the relentless drudgery of our pursuit of power, popularity, and plenty.
In the midst of all our troubles,
we gather together this day to proclaim
to gift of God-with-us:
“How good it is to sing praises to our God;
for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting.
The LORD builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted,
and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars;
he gives to all of them their names.
Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
his understanding is beyond measure.
The LORD lifts up the downtrodden;
he casts the wicked to the ground.
Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving;
make melody to our God on the lyre.
He covers the heavens with clouds,
prepares rain for the earth,
makes grass grow on the hills.
He gives to the animals their food,
and to the young ravens when they cry.
His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his pleasure in the speed of a runner;
but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his steadfast love.
Praise the LORD!”