Closing Litany and Prayer Warming — June 21, 2015

Video used in worship service on June 21, 2015

(adopted from a litany shared by Rev. Deb Avery, Oakland, California. The prayer warming of the crosses is an idea from Rev. Dave Carver who led our group from Pittsburgh Presbytery to South Sudan in January, 2015)

L: The church of Jesus Christ is constantly changing. Our church is changing as well. Babies are born. Children grow up. People commit themselves to one another. Loved ones and friends die. Newcomers join our community and our church. Others leave, moving on to new places and new opportunities. It is important that we recognize these times of change. 
In 2011, you called me to serve as your temporary supply pastor. Today that call comes to an end. I thank all of you, members and friends of Emsworth U.P. Church. Your kindness and support, your caring and love, have sustained me, and I shall remember you with gratitude to God.
Let us pray for the saving presence of our living Lord:
In your world,
be present, Lord.
In this congregation,
be present, Lord.
In this community,
be present, Lord.
In this presbytery and the whole church,
be present, Lord.
In the homes and hearts of all your people,
be present, Lord.
Let us pray for the mercy of the Lord: For work begun but not completed,
Lord, have mercy.
For expectations not met,
Lord, have mercy.
For wounds not healed,
Lord, have mercy.
For gifts not shared,
Lord, have mercy.
For promises not kept,
Lord, have mercy.
Let us give thanks for our journey together in this place.
For friendships made, for joys celebrated and for times of nurture and growth,
thanks be to God.
For wounds healed, expectations met, gifts given and promises kept.
thanks be to God.
For our fellowship in Jesus Christ, and for the love of God which has sustained us,
thanks be to God.
Pastor: Friends, you called me into your midst, to serve with you in the ministry of Word and Sacrament. The Bible is the symbol of the ministry of the Word among us. May Gods Word continue to challenge, nurture, and inspire you.
All: We will continue to place Scripture at the center of our life. The Word of God lives among us. Thanks be to God.
Pastor: The font is the symbol of our baptism, the place of our birth into the Body of Christ. May you continue to welcome new members through the living waters of our faith.
All: We will continue to celebrate new life in baptism; the font of blessing welcomes all. Thanks be to God.
Pastor: The table is the symbol of our communion in Christ, the source of nourishment and strength. May you continue to share the bread and cup, remembering the One who is the Bread of Life and True Vine.
All: We will continue to break the bread and share the cup; the table invites us to taste and see that God is good. Thanks be to God.
Pastor: The towel and basin are symbols of our calling to justice and service, according to the example of Jesus, who washed the feet of his friends. May you continue to walk the way of the cross of Christ.
All: We will continue to serve others and to work for justice, following in the way of Jesus, friend and servant of all. Thanks be to God.
Pastor: As a congregation we are called to love and serve each other, to care and to heal, to teach and to witness to the Word. May you continue to love one another as God has loved you.
All: We will continue to offer care, challenge and encouragement to one another, sharing all that we are and have. Thanks be to God.
L: In the end, what remains for all of us is the promise symbolized most powerfully by the cross of Jesus Christ. This what we have to lean on and support us as we face the forces that fragment life. We sense its potency. We can rest upon its strength and have our faith renewed as we worship.
During the last of our gatherings in Yei, South Sudan, each member of the community of faith we had formed was given a small Jerusalem cross. The cross is formed by one central cross, representing the centrality of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. 
Surrounding the central cross are four smaller crosses representing the four gospels to be taken to the four corners of the globe. 
In addition, the larger cross is made of four shapes that are symbolic of an ancient crutch, reflecting the truth that the gospel, intended for the healing of the whole word, can only be carried by those who have been wounded themselves. 
You and I, brothers and sisters, are the wounded people that Christ has called to be his own, his messengers for peace and healing in a troubled and hurting world.
In South Sudan, we received our crosses by means of a “cross-warming” prayer wherein each of us held the cross of a fellow team member and prayed for them by name, and then passed that cross around the circle.  By the conclusion of this exercise, we were all wearing crosses that had been prayed over by the other members of our small group.
That is how we will end our worship together today. The crosses you see here on the table have been prayed over by me earlier today.  I’m going to give one to each of you.  And then each one of you at the table will take turns, passing the cross around to your brothers and sisters at the table, and each person will take a moment to pray over the cross as it comes around the table.
At the end of our prayer time, we will gather together here at the front and pray over the remaining crosses that will be sent to our at home members so they too can be remembered and connected to all of us.

Closing Prayer
O God, we give thanks for remembered time when we, together, have shared the life of faith.  We thank you for the moments we have shared over the past four years in worship, in learning, in service.  We pray that all of us in this place will be aware of your Spirit’s guidance as we moveto new and unknown places, in the name of Jesus the Savior.
God, whose everlasting love for all is trustworthy, help each of us to trust the future which rests in your care.  The time we were together in your name saw our laughter and tears, our hopes and disappointments.  Guide us as we hold these cherished memories but move in new directions, until that time to come when we are completely one with you and with each other, in the name of Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen.