Whether you are looking for a pastoral prayer, a communion meditation or an offering moment, we want to help make Week of Compassion a meaningful part of your church’s worship service. Maybe you are lifting up a special concern for those affected by a recent disaster, or maybe you just want to celebrate this ministry of the church that reaches so many parts of the globe. Here are some of the ways that pastors and worship leaders might incorporate Week of Compassion into the liturgy, in any season and for any reason.
Call to Worship
One: We are yearning for the day… All:The day of God’s hope made real! The day when nobody is hungry, nobody thirsty! The day of God’s Love flowing freely! One: Shade from Sun and Shelter from the Wind, The Compassionate One guides us to the springs of living water in the Word and in mighty deeds! All:Let us worship our God and Let Love Flow!
Pastoral Prayer God of abundance, You have ordained that creation yields fruit, and that the earth will put forth plenty. You have promised a banquet in your presence for all those who seek you. And yet, so many in the world are hungry. So many suffer under the weight of poverty, made greater now by the burden of illness. In this time of struggle and uncertainty Lord, hear our prayer. Guide us to share what we have in faith, so that even our smallest gifts might be transformed by your love. Take our offerings of compassion, so that even when we doubt your abundance, all might be fed. Forgive us when we cling to what you have given us; when we believe in the world’s story of scarcity more than your promise of plenty. Forgive us when we fail our neighbors, building up treasures for ourselves when we should be caring for the most vulnerable in our midst. Teach us, as Disciples, to walk in the way of Christ, who leads us in paths of plenty; who seeks the one lost sheep, who calls in those who have been cast out, and who feeds those he loves with a generous hand. Give us a new Spirit of hope, that all might be fed in your presence, if only we plant the smallest seeds of love. Call us from our places of fear and into the open fields of generosity, God; we place our trust in you, and in the gospel truth that you are in all things: alive and moving in the world even now. May this body of Christ move in new ways, in this new season, to share the abundance we have known in you. In your name and by your grace we pray, Amen. Download PDF version
After the storm: Loving Creator, We know that you are with us in every time and place. In all things, you are faithful. But when winds are raging, we may find it hard to hear your voice. When skies are dark, we may struggle to see your face. When all around is chaos, fear and destruction, the peace you promise seems worlds away. And yet we continue to seek you in the storm. And we seek you in the morning after. Surround us with the certainty of your loving presence. To those in raging winds, speak words of calm and comfort. For those in great darkness, send light. For those surrounded by the remains of what was; answer the silence with promises of all that might be. Hear our prayer, O Lord. Renew our strength for the days ahead. May we hear again your call to be the Church; to speak comfort to those who weep, and to be present with those who suffer. We trust that you have given us every gift we need to meet the needs of this time. Teach us to walk in the way of Christ-- sharing all that we have, and believing in your goodness in all things. Send us in your peace, Holy One. And may there be joy in the morning. Amen.
Jesus asks, “What is the Kingdom of Heaven like?” The kingdom of heaven is a tiny seed, that grows wild-- giving shelter and shade to every living thing in the garden. The kingdom of heaven is yeast -- it starts small and rises, making enough bread to feed the neighborhood. The kingdom of heaven is a generous church lady -- who doesn’t have much, but who gives everything she has so that others might live. The kingdom of heaven is a great banquet -- where those who were on the outside have been gathered in; where there is plenty to pass around; where there is room for everyone at the table.
We come to this table knowing that many in our world go hungry, even though there is enough; many live in need, even though creation is filled with the abundance of God. Jesus has many stories and beautiful images to show us what the kingdom of Heaven is like, but they all point to the same truth: the Kingdom is abundance; and the way of Christ is love. When Jesus asks us what the kingdom of Heaven is like, he is not just pointing to a truth for us to know: he is giving us tools to build this place of abundance; to bring this way of love into reality. To share what we have with those in need, until none are left empty.
When we gather at this table, we remember the many ways and places where we have witnessed that abundant love and life in our own time. And we remember that... Once, Jesus gathered those he loved, and told them that everything was about to change--that the world would be transformed beyond recognition-- so he left them with gifts that would carry them through. He blessed their bread, and broke it, and said “Take this, and eat; like my life, it is given for you.” And then he raised his glass and said “this cup is a new covenant; like my life, it is overflowing with love for you. Do this always, to remember me.” Let us pray: God, we give you thanks that in you, there is life; and in the way of Jesus, there is more than enough.
Bless this bread and this cup to be signs of your presence among us. As we share this feast, make us mindful of those who hunger and thirst; fill us with your Spirit of compassion that might grow to feed the whole world, bringing your Kingdom about in our time. In your name we pray, amen.
Hurricanes and natural disasters can 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 people 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 dire need. While we may want to join our hands to those [in the affected area] now is not yet the time. We are ready to help when our presence is needed.
But in the meantime, we can pray. And we can give. Every dollar that you give for disaster 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 helping with long-term recovery. Please give generously, knowing that your gifts will help both right now and in the months and years to come.
Week of Compassion P.O. Box 1986 Indianapolis, IN 46206
Week of Compassion is the relief, refugee and development mission fund of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada.