WORSHIP IN AUGUST
Praying in “Ordinary” (but Very Odd) Time
(online worship for August)
The weeks after Pentecost are often called “Ordinary Time,” meaning the time between Eastertide and Advent. But there’s nothing “ordinary” about our time right now. Prayer can guide us as we find our way through this un-ordinary and very odd time. Jacob and Esau, two battling brothers, along with their uncle Laban, are our unlikely guides.
Prayer: The Space Between Us
Jacob (the Grabber) and his uncle Laban out-cheated each other from the day they met. Laban tricked his nephew into working for him for 14 years. Jacob tricked Laban out of herds of sheep, while his wife Rachel (Laban’s daughter) pinched her dad’s household gods. But in Genesis 31, the two men build an altar of thanks, and call on God to watch over each other (aka keep an eye on each other). The uncle and nephew never became best buddies, but they buried the hatchet. It began with giving thanks, which is where prayer begins, too.
Prayer: Sometimes It’s a Struggle
On his way to meet his older brother (whom he had cheated out of his birthright), Jacob is alone at the River Jabbok. That night, someone or something attacks him. They fight until dawn. (Genesis 32:22-31) Prayer isn’t always contemplative and peaceful. Sometimes it’s a wrestling match that leaves us, like Jacob, with a new name and a blessing, limping toward the sunrise.
Prayer: It Changes Us
Over the course of his life, Jacob offered two kinds of prayers. The first focused on what he wanted God to do for him. “If you keep me safe, give me wealth, bring me back alive, you will be my God.” (Genesis 28: 22-23) By the end of his life, Jacob’s prayer was simply gratitude: “You have cared for me, even if I didn’t deserve it.” (Genesis 32: 9-12) From “I want” to “Thank you.” Prayer changes us.
Prayer: To See the Face of God
Two brothers haven’t seen one another in decades, not since the younger one tricked the elder out of his birthright and their father’s blessing, and he fled for his life. One might expect a bloodbath at their meeting. Instead Esau runs to his younger brother, embraces and kisses him. Jacob in turn tells his brother “to see your face is like seeing the face of God.” Perhaps it was just the passage of time that turned their hearts to one another. Perhaps it was something more—like prayer.
Prayer: Without Ceasing
We welcome the Rev. Delois Brown-Daniels as our guest preacher. A dynamic speaker and person of deep faith, she is a national leader in Clinical Pastoral Education and holds dual ordination in the United Church of Christ and American Baptist Church. A native of Cowpens, South Carolina, she received her M.Div. from Yale Divinity School and her D.Min. from McCormick Theological School.
Traditionally, Sunday services are held at 8:30 AM and 11:00 AM. Holy Communion is celebrated every Sunday at 8:30 and the first Sunday of the month at the later service (11:00 AM). Adult forum is held at 9:45 AM. Childcare available. Please check back for updates.