November 5, 2023

Liturgy, Reflection & Benediction 2023.11.05


Lord, today your saints come to you tired.
Our demands on ourselves this week have been loud.
The voices around us load us down
with ideas about how we can become holier,
better leaders, more righteous, more pure, more productive.

We want to do your good work in a hurting world,
but dumbbells of expectation weigh down our arms.
Our very muscles bear witness to our need for rest.
Remind us that,
like little children or beloved siblings,
we do not need to do anything to be loved.
Remind us that we belong just as we are:
in your arms,
and to each other.

Teach us to recognize the voices that declare your goodness:
fresh, cool, thirst-quenching.
Forgive us for the ways we have burdened others
when our eyes are trained on keeping the rules.
Free us to delight in ourselves and the people around us
just as we are.

Show us a new way of moving in the world:
lives that no longer treat long hours and full schedules
as badges of honor,
lives that practice spaciousness
and invite others in,
lives that return day after day
to the deep stillness and boundless love
at the heart of all things.
We forget so often,
in the carrying of all this weight,
that your ways are light.
Remind us, over and over.
We pray this in the name of God our comforter,
Christ our peace,
and the Holy Spirit, our Breath of Life.

(Vox Prayer Team)

Scripture Reading

We invite you to hear from the Gospel according to Matthew 23:1-4
1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 2 “The scribes and
the Pharisees sit on Moses’s seat; 3 therefore, do whatever they teach
you and follow it, but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what
they teach. 4 They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the
shoulders of others, but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to
move them.

The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!
The grass withers and the flower fades,
but the Word of the Lord endures forever. Amen.

Homily and Reflection

Homily Podcast: Let’s Not Do This

What burden might God be trying to lift from your shoulders this morning?

What burdensome expectation for others might God be calling you to release?

How might you lean into the “rest for your soul” that Jesus promises?


God, we go out of this place just as we have always been:
your people, a holy priesthood,
called to learn a lighter way of living.
But liberate us from the burden of believing
that anything depends upon us.
You alone, God,
have the power to knit our imperfect hearts,
our weaknesses, our strengths,
our stories and our gifts, one to another.
May our acts of service and creation,
wanting as they are,
be met and multiplied by the mysterious workings of Your Spirit,
who weaves all things together
toward a redemption more good and glorious
than we yet have eyes to see,
or courage to hope for.
Let all that we do here,
in these our brief lives,
in this our brief moment to love,
in the work you have ordained for us,
echo your love and your labors.
Spirit of God,
shape our hearts.
guide our hands.
Spirit of Life,
make us part of your restoration of all things.
(Vox Prayer Team)

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