While we all hope and pray that the destructive impact of Hurricane Florence will be less than predicted, we also want to make available to you worship resources for this Sunday that you may wish to use in response.
Pray, Stay, and Give: In the midst of this or any natural disaster, Week of Compassion invites you to PRAY for those affected and those who are first responders, STAY -- as much as you might want to go the the disaster area to help your presence can actually cause more harm than good right now (and there will be plenty of opportunities as recovery gets underway), and GIVE: Give through your congregation or through Week of Compassion’s website; 100% of your gifts designated for Hurricane Relief will go to that cause.
Below you will find worship resources for this Sunday that may help you and your congregation come before God in prayer for all those affected by Hurricane Florence.
Worship Resources for Hurricane Florence
Call to Worship Adapted from Psalm 46
Leader: God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble. Therefore we will not fear.
People: Though the earth give way, though the seas roar, though the winds howl in their fury.
Leader: God is with us; God does not fail us.
People: Let us be still and know that God is indeed God, the One who never leaves us adrift, the One in whom we and all the earth live and move and have our very being.
Leader: Thanks be to God! Amen.
Responsive Prayer of Intercession and Hope
Leader: Let us pray for those near and far who are affected by storm and sea and rain and tumult:
People: We pray for those who have lost loved ones, those whose homes are in tatters, those whose livelihoods have been lost, those who have been injured.
Leader: May God’s tender grace be with them, may God’s loving arms enfold them, may God’s hope grant them courage.
People: We pray for those who respond with bravery and dedication and skill in the midst of danger and loss: for firefighters and paramedics, police and soldiers, doctors and nurses, pastors and counselors, and all those who give of themselves to serve their neighbors in need.
Leader: May they know rest in the midst of danger, perseverance in the face of overwhelming need, and the thanks of those whom they serve.
People: We pray too for ourselves, O God. May too many needs, too much sorrow, never leave us jaded or calloused. May we open our hearts and offer our prayers and our gifts to those who are hurting. May we never lose hope.
Leader: O God our help in ages past, and our hope for now and years to come, be with all those who need you in this and every hour. May it be so, in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God, Mother of us all. Amen.
Call to Offering
Hurricanes and natural disasters bring out some of the best in people. Folks of every race, of every religion or no religion, of every class, step forth to help those who are hurting, whose lives are in shambles, who may wonder if anyone cares about them in the midst of so much suffering. They need not wonder, for folks with trucks and boats have helped carry people to safety, have helped get desperately sick people to hospitals, have tried to make sure that families stay together and have a safe place to recover. But please know this: We too are those people. We may not drive a truck or pilot a boat, but we too can help our neighbors in such dire need. We may want to join our hands to those on the Atlantic coast but now is not yet the time. But we can pray. And we can donate. Every dollar that you give for Hurricane Relief to Week of Compassion, our wider church family’s disaster relief ministry, will go to work through our partners to assist those impacted by this terrible storm. Those dollars will continue working too; long after the headlines have faded and the cameras have been turned off, Week of Compassion and its partners will still be there – as they are in Texas and Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands – helping with long-term recovery. Will you give generously, knowing that your gifts will help both right now and in the months and years to come?
Pastoral Prayer/Prayers of the People
O God, you have been our rock, our comfort, our hope from generation to generation. For your abiding love that never leaves us, for your grace that enfolds this whole earth, for your care which invites us to care along with you, we are grateful. This morning our prayers are especially with all those in every part of this world who are dealing with natural disaster, but especially those in the path of Hurricane Florence. We pray for those who have lost loved ones, for communities that are in tatters, for lives that have been upended and livelihoods destroyed. We pray that all of these would know your presence, and that they might know that they are cared for by folks near and far. We thank you for all who brave danger to assist those in need: firefighters and police and paramedics and doctors and nurses and soldiers and counselors. Be with them, O God, in their noble and too often scary work. Finally, O Lord of Life, we pray for ourselves. May we open our hearts and hands to the needs of our brothers and sisters, may we pray for them daily, may we dig deep to give of our resources to assist. We thank you, God, for the privilege of doing these things, to help in your name, the One whose love lets none of us go, now and forever. Amen.
Communion Meditation/Call to Communion
In communion with Christ, we are joined with the trials and sufferings of all. This morning we pray that through Christ we too would be with those who endure the wind, rain, and flooding from Hurricane Florence.
As we come to this Table, we pray to the Lord: Protect those in the path of danger, open the pathways of evacuations, help loved ones find one another in the chaos, provide assistance to those who need help.
May Christ’s presence be known to all those who are fearful and discouraged, just as He makes His presence known in the breaking of the bread and the sharing of the cup – at this Table and around the world, in every nation, among every people.
These are the gifts of God for God’s people! Let us come with joy and gratitude and hope.
(Lightly adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship: Occasional Services for the Assembly, page 394)