We Put Our Hope in God

On the day that our province declared a state of emergency due to the coronavirus, I received an email asking for permission to include some of my writing on a new worship website. In the midst of the pandemic with new cases of COVID-19 increasing daily and the death toll rising, how could I possibly think about that?

And yet, I wondered, What better time for worship? When life seems strange, uncertain, unbelievable—isn’t that the very time to reach out in faith to God? To reach out with others in prayer?

Now months later, the pandemic continues. My husband had a medical emergency and has now been in the hospital for over five weeks. And the new Together in Worship website is now live. Once again I find myself asking, How can I possibly think about that?

And still I find myself answering in the same way, What better time for worship? When life is hard, uncertain, overwhelming—isn’t that the very time to put our hope in God? To turn to one another for prayer?

Below is a selection of worship resources focused on hope, all drawn from Together in Worship. The Words for Worship section of the site is the most well developed, with sections on Music, Video, Visual Art, and Teaching more sparsely populated. More submissions are invited from “Anabaptist individuals, congregations and organizations.”

May these words of hope encourage and inspire you today. And for more Anabaptist worship resources, check out Together in Worship.

Image by Nina Garman from Pixabay

Call to Worship – We Put Our Hope in God

Leader: Praise God!
People: Praise God, O my soul!
Leader: We put our hope in God
People: Who made heaven and earth and sea and all that is in them;
Leader: Who keeps faith forever;
People: Who brings justice for the oppressed,
Leader: Gives food to the hungry,
People: Sets the prisoners free,
Leader: Opens the eyes of the blind,
People: And lifts up those who are bowed down.
Leader: Praise God!
People: Praise God, O my soul!

Based on Psalm 46
Joanna Harader (USA), 2018. spaciousfaith.com
Creative Commons: Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International (CC BY-4.0)

 

Praise – Hope in God’s Promises and Care

Leader: O God, we put our trust in you. Your care is evident in your creation:
Part 1: You provide for the birds.
Part 2: You beautify the plants with blossoms.
Part 1: You spread the mountains with color.
Part 2: You sparkle the night sky with lights.
Part 1: You give rivers and streams a voice.
Part 2: You place music on the breezes.
Leader: O God, we put our trust in you. Your care is evident in all your gifts:
Part 1: The gift of your Son Jesus.
Part 2: The gift of life itself.
Part 1: The gift of health and food.
Part 2: The gift of family and friends.
All: O God, we claim your promises and we put our hope in you. Amen.

Jewel Harman Shenk (USA), 2010.
Creative Commons: Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International (CC BY-4.0)

 

Confession and Assurance – Telling the Truth

God of love,
confession means telling the truth.
So lean a little closer, please, we might not want to shout our truth for all to hear.
We each hold our confessions in our hearts,
so would you help us to let go of them just a little bit,
so that you can carry the heavy parts?
We confess the things we’ve messed up, done wrong, avoided.
The people we’ve disappointed, misled, hurt.
We confess the times we’ve let fear, apathy, or bitterness drive.
We confess the times we haven’t forgiven others, forgiven ourselves, or maybe even you.
We’re sorry, God, and that’s the truth.
Amen.
Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts
sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure
water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for the One who promised is faithful.
(from Hebrews 10:22-23)

 

Litany – We Wait Quietly Before God

Leader: Our salvation and honor come from God alone.
He is our refuge, and a Rock of safety.
People: We wait quietly before God,
for our hope is in him, our Rock and our Salvation.
Leader: O my people, trust him at all times.
Pour out your heart to him, for he is our refuge.
People: We wait quietly before God,
for our hope is in him, our Rock and our Salvation.
Leader: From the greatest to the lowliest—all are nothing in his sight.
If you weigh them on the scales, they are lighter than a puff of air.
People: We wait quietly before God,
for our hope is in him, our Rock and our Salvation.
Leader: Don’t try to get rich by extortion or robbery.
And if your wealth increases, don’t make it the center of your life.
People: We wait quietly before God,
for our hope is in him, our Rock and our Salvation.
Leader: God has spoken plainly—we have heard it many times.
Power, O God, belongs to you; unfailing love, O Lord, is yours.
People: We wait quietly before God,
for our hope is in him, our Rock and our Salvation.

Gerald Hildebrand (Canada), 2020.
Creative Commons: Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International (CC BY-4.0)

 

Prayer – Christ is Our Hope

God our provider, you have blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing. Before the world was created, you already knew us and loved us. You adopted us as your own children, and redeemed us through the blood of Christ. You made us your heirs. You gave us your very Spirit as a sign and guarantee of all that is to come.

Blessed God, we wait for the day when, in the fullness of time, you will gather up all things in Christ, things in heaven and on earth. We wait for the day when all prophesy is fulfilled. We wait for the day of redemption. Through Christ who is our hope we pray. Amen.

Doug Klassen (Canada), 2015.
Creative Commons: Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International (CC BY-4.0)

 

Offering – In Remembrance

What do we know of offering?
We offer our money and our talents and our time,
sometimes without thinking,
sometimes begrudgingly,
to be used for the work of your church.
But you, O Christ, offered up prayers, supplications,
and ultimately your life for the world.
May we offer this small token
with intention,
with hope,
in remembrance and honor of your love for the world.

 

Sending – Abundant Life

Go forth in the energizing name of Jesus
who has the power to heal,
whose goodness and faithfulness follow us
all the days of our lives,
and who willingly laid down his life for us
in order that we might live an abundant life of hope.

 
Lois Siemens (Canada), 2014.
Creative Commons: Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International (CC BY-4.0)
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For more encouragement and resources on doing ministry better:

Author: April Yamasaki

Embracing the writing life in all its delight and challenge: I currently serve as resident author with a liturgical worship community, write online and in print publications, and often speak in churches and other settings. Publications: On the Way with Jesus, Four Gifts, Sacred Pauses, and other books on Christian living. Websites: AprilYamasaki.com and WhenYouWorkfortheChurch.com.

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