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Related Bible reading(s): Matthew 10.40-42

Welcome to ROOTS at home for adults

Worship-at-home resources to help you read and reflect on this week's Bible passages

ROOTS is a partnership of denominations and other Christian organisations and has been publishing lectionary-based worship resources online and in print since 2002.

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You are welcome to copy this material for use in your own resources e.g. printed sheets or web pages including audio/video recordings. If you do so, please include this acknowledgement to ROOTS:
© ROOTS for Churches Ltd (www.rootsontheweb.com) 2002-2020.
Reproduced with permission.

NEW! The world ablaze:
Prayers for difficult times

 

Opening prayer

Lord, thank you for all the welcomes I receive.
Help me always to be welcoming.
Amen.

 

Open the Word

The Lord’s Prayer

Jesus’ prayer in John 17 has strong echoes of the Lord’s Prayer (or is it vice versa?). Place or print a copy of the Lord’s Prayer at the centre of a sheet of A4 paper. Look for phrases and words in today’s Gospel reading that relate to the Lord’s Prayer and write them around the prayer.

 

Generosity

Generosity involves sacrifices, and making ourselves vulnerable (letting down our guard) can leave us open to exploitation, but a simple act of kindness can be the difference between life and death. Desert communities know this better than most, and other faith traditions may have something to teach those of us who clutch our branded cardboard coffee cups as we push open the office door.

The Bible is replete with accounts of hospitality that became turning points:

  • Abraham and Sarah’s visitors (Genesis 18.1-15)
  • Elijah and the widow of Zarephath (1 Kings17.8-16)
  • Paul’s numerous journeys (Acts 13-24)

These are all stories that describe people giving whatever they had. This was not about the amount or value, but a willingness to give. Anyone who has ever experienced real thirst in a hot country will recognise the welcome afforded by a cup of cold water. How willing are we to let down our guard in order to be generous?

 

Explore & respond

A family activity

Give everyone a cup half-full of water. (Or is it half-empty? You might first like to discuss about what it means to be a ‘glass half-full’ or ‘glass half-empty’ person.) The challenge is to turn your half-full cup into a full one without going to a tap. Eventually someone will have to give, and someone else receive. Is it better to give or to receive?

Recall Jesus words: ‘Whoever gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.’ (Matthew 10.42)

 

A prayer walk

Do a prayer walk in your local community (maintaining social distancing, of course), or do it ‘virtually’ using Google Street View (or similar), or simply use your imagination to picture particular places familiar to you in and around the local area.

Take your time and notice what around you.

  • Who do you meet or see?
  • What are they doing?
  • What might be of concern to them?
  • Are they stressed or struggling?
  • Are they happy with reason to celebrate?
  • Are they lonely or overstretched?

As you observe, hold each person before God and let your thoughts take you where they will.

 

PostScript - a cup of water

 

Prayers

A reflective prayer

To give a cup of water to a little one is not a lot to ask
– it only requires a few simple actions, little time, no cost.

Lord Jesus, give me the eyes to notice the thirsty around me,
behind closed doors,
on the streets,
in my family.

Give me the strength to turn off my lukewarm self-absorption
and to turn on the refreshing tap
of your compassion,
your generosity,
your cleansing. 

Give me the daring to offer a cup of my treasure,
my vulnerability,
my heart,
to another.

And give me the courage to step out of myself,
to place that cup into the empty hands of another in need,
acknowledging my own need
to reach out for your living water day by day.
Amen.

 

A prayer of adoration inspired by Psalm 89.1-18

I want to sing, Lord, like some great star,
any style will do,
rock and roll, ska, pop, house or classical, so long as I can belt it out –
the deep down truth of your constant, firm and unwavering love,
your faithfulness to all – who do, will, or have followed you. 

My song reflects your history, Lord,
of loving, loving again, loving more;
in fact, never-ending love, right from the start,
and through your agreements with David
and all who have followed in leading your people.

How do I find adequate words, Lord?
What tune fits?
I am mesmerised in wonder
with a heart bursting with song.
I am in awe,
and want to chant, rave, harmonise and duet.

Nothing is fully like you for you are so great, beyond the limits of words.
So I sing along with your creation, in tune with the praises they sing to you:
clouds, white, fluffy, grey or dark,
the sea, gentle, rough or furious,
trees in their magnificence:
autumn, spring, summer and winter. 

I sing to you, Lord,
aware of the strength you have and the strength you give to me.
Off key or melodious,
strengthen your song of salvation within me.
Sing through me to others
to set them alight in the song that goes on for eternity.
Amen.

 

A prayer of intercession

Lord Jesus,
we pray in your name and in the name of peace
for the worn torn countries of the world,
for countries where violence is rife, 
for communities where tensions run high.
Lord, hear our prayer

We pray in your name and in the name of sorrow 
for the people of Reading,
as we remember James Furlong, Joe Ritchie-Bennett and David Wails,
for those who tried to save them,
for those who grieve for them.
Lord hear our prayer

We pray in your name and in the name of justice
for the marginalised people of the world,
for those who are discriminated against,  
for those who are trafficked.
Lord hear our prayer 

We pray in your name and in the name of compassion  
for the animals of the world, 
for those that are hunted,
those that are exploited,
those that are endangered.
Lord hear our prayer

We pray in your name and in the name of gratitude  
for those who stand up for the oppressed,
for those who kneel down for the victimised,
for those who speak out for the silenced.
Lord hear our prayer

We pray in your name and in the name of love  
for children and young people.
for those who are vulnerable,  
for those with special needs, 
for those who are carers for their parents and siblings.
Lord hear our prayer

We pray in your name and in the name of hope  
for economic challenges to be overcome,
for opportunities to be embraced,
for changes to be long lasting.
Lord hear our prayer

Lord Jesus, we pray in your name and in the name of faith  
for your church throughout the world,
for those entrusted with leadership,
for congregations reaching out to their communities,  
for one another to live as we pray.
Lord hear our prayer

Lord Jesus, we pray in your name and in the name of thankfulness
for businesses and venues preparing to open again,
for families preparing to meet up again, 
for friends preparing to socialise again;
and we pray for all in government as they continue to monitor and measure 
the levels of infections around the UK.
Lord hear our prayer,
for you are our strength and our inspiration
and in you we trust.
Amen.

 

This week's Live your faith sheet

(Bible notes, prayers, a picture and questions for reflection, a live your faith action)

 

Listen and sing

Preview songs on YouTube, buy online and download.

Hard love, feat. Lauren Daigle, Needtobreathe on The shack: music from and inspired by the original motion picture 
Alive again, Seventh day slumber on Alive again 
Run to you, Philippa Hanna on Speed of light

Traditional hymn(s): Lord, for the years your love has kept and guided

 

Don’t forget that, as subscribers,
all the normal weekly and issue-based materials are available to you:
  • Bible notes
  • In conversation with the Scriptures
  • A range of adaptable prayers and activities 
  • PLUS The archive!

 

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