May 20, 2006

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A Mother's Day Liturgy Last year we used this Mother's Day liturgy and it received a warm reception. It's inclusive of women in all stages of life. Mothers’ Day Liturgy Lord, on this day set aside to honor and remember mothers, we give you thanks for our mothers. We are grateful that you chose to give us life through them, and that they received the gift of life from your hands, and gave it to us. Thank you for the sacrifices they made in carrying us and giving us birth. We thank you for the women who raised us, who were our mothers in childhood. Whether birth mom, adopted mom, older sister, aunt, grandmother, stepmother or someone else, we thank you for those women who held us and fed us, who cared for us and kissed away our pain. We pray that our lives may reflect the love they showed us, and that they would be pleased to be called our moms. We pray for older moms whose children are grown. Grant them joy and satisfaction for a job well done. We pray for new moms experiencing changes they could not predict. Grant them rest and peace as they trust you for the future. We pray for pregnant women who will soon be moms. Grant them patience and good counsel in the coming months. We pray for moms who face the demands of single parenthood. Grant them strength and wisdom. We pray for moms who enjoy financial abundance. Grant them time to share with their families. We pray for moms who are raising their children in poverty. Grant them relief and justice. We pray for step-moms. Grant them patience and understanding and love. We pray for moms who are separated from their children. Grant them faith and hope. We pray for moms in marriages that are in crisis. Grant them support and insight. We pray for moms who have lost children. Grant them comfort in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We pray for mothers who aborted their children. Grant them healing and peace. We pray for moms who gave up their children for adoption. Grant them peace and confidence as they trust in your providence. We pray for adoptive mothers. Grant them joy and gratitude for the gift you have provided. We pray for girls and women who think about being moms. Grant them wisdom and discernment. We pray for women who desperately want, or wanted, to be moms. Grant them grace to accept your timing and will. We pray for all women who have assumed the mother’s role in a child’s life. Grant them joy and the appreciation of others. We pray for those people present who are grieving the loss of their mother in the past year. Grant them comfort and hope in Christ’s resurrection. All mothers, women, and girls are invited to come to the front of the sanctuary to receive a blessing through prayer and the laying on of hands. Lord, we thank you for the gift of motherhood. We...
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“Spin the Bottle” Kiss of Peace and Communion While planning a worship service at Austin College in Sherman, Texas, one student said, “If we’re going to do the Kiss of Peace, can we play Spin the Bottle?” Although her comment was intended as a joke, she and the other students—with the encouragement of the college chaplain—developed a version of “Spin the Bottle” as an appropriate and authentic part of our Christian communion service. After the Invitation to the Lord’s Table, Eucharistic Prayer, and Words of Institution, a worshiper who was chosen before the service began, took an empty water bottle and spun it on the floor of the Chapel. When it came to a stop, the first worshiper and the worshiper toward whom the bottle was pointing met in the middle of the Chapel, exchanged the Mar Thoma Kiss of Peace, and then went to the communion table and served the Eucharist to each other. Then the next worshiper spun the bottle and met the person toward whom it pointed in the middle of the Chapel. They exchanged the Mar Thoma Kiss of Peace and went to the Table and served the Sacrament to each other. We learned about the “Mar Thoma” Kiss of Peace from an Austin College student who was part of the Mar Thoma Church of India. We have begun to use it often in our worship because it is an appropriate and non-threatening way for worshipers to touch each other. To exchange the Mar Thoma Kiss of Peace, two worshipers face each other, extend their hands forward, and then touch hands so that the right hand of each worshiper is between the palms of the two hands of the other. One worshiper then says, “The peace of Christ be with you,” and the other responds, “And also with you.” Students find this to be an enriching part of worship because—with a little assisted reflection—they realize that they might be paired with a close friend or they might be paired with a fellow worshiper whom they had not even known before the service began. In either case, worshipers are reminded that our lives as Christians—as the Body of Christ in the world—might involve both those to whom we are closest and others who we may not know at all.

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