Gathering and praising
Call to worship: STS 190
HWB 42 All people that on earth do dwell
HWB 51 Let the whole creation cry
STJ 88 Haleluya! Pelo tsa rona
Blessed be your name
Hearing the Word
Scripture reading: Luke 17:11-16
Sermon ideas: In this passage Jesus travels in the border region between Samaria and Galilee. He heals ten lepers who approach him, but only one–the “foreigner,” a Samaritan–returns to give thanks. As a result Jesus praises him for his faith.
When have you crossed a border, literally or figuratively? What was the experience like? How did you hope to be received?
Reflect on ways in which we set up boundaries today, allowing nation-states to define for us who is a foreigner and who is not.
In God’s kingdom, all are welcome: “You are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:19-20).
How can your congregation offer hospitality and welcome to those in your community? How might “foreigners” like the one in the Gospel story teach us about God’s kingdom?
STS 53 Here to the house of God we come
HWB 322 For we are strangers no more
You led Abraham and Sarah to a new land;
You led your people across the Egyptian border to freedom;
You sent your angel to warn Joseph to take Mary and Jesus to a foreign country,
because their homeland was not safe.
You are a God who calls us to love and care for foreigners among us;
it is because of this love that we pray to you now….
… O God, hear our prayer
and grant our federal and state legislators compassion and wisdom
as they consider various proposals for immigration reform.
May their ears be deaf to lies born of fear.
May their eyes be open to the humanity of each immigrant.
May they lead us to be a state and a nation that finds our security in
offering generous hospitality to all of your people.
–Full text of “Prayer for peace” by Joanna Harader available here.
HWB Hymnal: A Worship Book
STJ Sing the Journey
STS Sing the Story