Through the Spring and Summer, and now into Fall, we have borne the grief of a global pandemic, endured a massive loss of life and of livelihood, and protested escalating violence against Black Lives. Even as we wait on the help of Almighty God, we are compelled to stand up; to defend the cause of righteousness. With boldness in our prayers and by our actions we seek to redeem the soul of our nation.
Loving by Serving (John 13:1-15, 34-35, NRSV)
The Scripture reading is drawn from Sunday’s lesson for November 1, 2020 ©Uniform Lessons Series, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA.
13 Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, 4 got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” 8 Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” 9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus said to him, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
12 After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. 14 So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.
34 I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Prayer of Confession and Commitment
Today’s prayer by W. Franklyn Richardson, Senior Pastor, Grace Baptist Church, is from, “United Against Racism: Churches for Change,” ©New York: Friendship Press, 2018, p. 125. You may purchase the book through Friendship Press, on their website at store.friendshippress.org.
O God, our Mother. . . and Father,
We thank you for being accessible to us! We acknowledge that we live beneath your divine intention, having been made in your divine image.
We have allowed our sin to distort who you made us to be, a sin that has fanned the flame of hate, grounded in discrimination, prejudice, and the superiority of one people over another, which devalues all humanity. This hate has been concretized in our institutions and systems and threatens to destroy us all, nationally and globally.
Lord, help us return to the vision you have for us, free of racism and all the -isms that paralyze us from becoming a beloved community. Give us the capacity to own whatever complicity we have in the distortion of your intention and the courage to be agents of change. Forgive us for our silence and our long delay to take action. As we commit ourselves to reflect the biblical mandate “to do justice, and to love mercy and to walk humbly before God,” (Micah 6:8b), give us fresh Christian faith to act out of a renewed commitment to Christ. Help us hear the gospel fresh and clearly. In Jesus’s name, Amen.