Matthew 13:10, 13, 16
The disciples came to [Jesus] and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”
This is why I speak to them in parables: Though seeing, they do not see;
though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.
In Matthew 13, Jesus references the prophet Isaiah (6:9-10) and warns “You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes." Lord, we confess that so often we do not see as You see and we do not listen when You speak. Help us now to see with our eyes, and hear with our ears. Help us to understand with ours hearts and turn to You. We wish to be healed, and we wish to be healers like You. With open eyes and open ears, may we follow Your Son, Jesus, and share Your love with the world.
Sermon Title - Potted Plant or Community Garden
Hymn - Come, Ye Thankful People, Come
(adapted slightly from Feasting on the Word Worship Companion, copyright 2014, Westminster John Knox Press)
We were yours as we drew our first breath, and still we are yours as we draw our last breath.
In every fragile, reckless moment, we belong to you.
We thank you for the love of our parents who gave us life.
May the love we have received spill gratitude from our hearts.
May the wounds we carry open our hearts to the needs of others.
May we recognize in your mercy the faithfulness that judges and redeems every human bond.
We lift to you now all that seems broken and imperfect
in our families ...
in our schools and workplaces ...
in our nation ...
in your church ...
in your world ...
Of course, to acknowledge the brokenness of this world is not to say that all is broken. We thank you for the many joys and blessings that we find each day. And we also pray that your kingdom might come and all of the damages of sin might be repaired.
We pray for those we identify as leaders in every sphere of life...
We pray for our president and for all whose decisions weigh heavily on others...
Even so, Lord, give us the courage to name ourselves as those whose responsibility is great.
Teach us to act, to tend the world you love: to sew more that we reap, to heal more than we would, to make room for others as you made room for us.
Redeeming God, stake your claim on us now, until we hear your gospel echo in each stranger's story and see your image reflected on every wounded face, for we pray in the name of Jesus, who unsettles our lives for the sake of your love.
As your church, though still divided, we embody our unity by joining our voices in the words of Jesus who taught us to pray ...
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 debts, as we forgive our debtors.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever.
Go in the grace, mercy, and peace of God, the Father
the love of Jesus Christ, His one and only Son
and the fellowship of His Holy Spirit
both now and forever