Life that is Really Life: Service Prayers for the 19th Sunday after Pentecost

Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15     Psalm 91:1-6, 14-16     1 Timothy 6:6-19 Luke 16:19-31

The lectionary texts for Pentecost 19 focus on “life that is really life.” The texts remind us that we can chase a life that has no value. 1 Timothy writes that we can fall into temptations and be trapped by senseless and harmful desires that can ruin us. Money is one of those temptations. Rather, we are to be rich in good works, be generous and ready to share. This is the life that God calls us to embrace. This is life that is really life. This liturgy, which includes communion, creates space for a congregation to name those trappings that are harmful to a life of faith, and the well-being of the planet, and claim the need for transformation.


Call to Worship (based on Psalm 91:1-6, 14-16 and 1 Timothy 6:6-19)

All: Life that is really life!
Leader: Comes from the One we trust.
Life that is really life!
Comes from the Presence we call to.
Life that is really life!
Comes from the Foundation of goodness and sharing.
Life that is really life!
Comes to us now in this moment.
Let us take hold of Life that is really Life!


Leader: As we are gathering ourselves into worship, let us share our thanksgivings,
giving thanks to the wonder and awe of living in God’s Way Together.
Call out and share a thanksgiving with us.

Congregation: Offers thanksgivings from their lives

Passing of the Peace

Leader: In this Spirit of Thanksgiving, let us pass the peace to our neighbors.

Hearing the Word of God
We get ready to experience God’s Word through song, silence, and prayerful words.
Let us be still, and know how God moves through song, silence, and words.

Meditative Song (such as: "Be Still and Know that I am God")


Prayer of Illumination (1 Timothy)
Holy One, we have brought nothing into the world,
so that we can take nothing out of it.
May we live with this humility and rootedness
especially when we feel trapped
grounded in fear
eager to run away
longing for more riches and power.
In the silence, may we be still
and center on Your light
Where generosity and sharing
ebb and flow.
This is Life that is really Life.

Silence (offering a candle for those to gaze upon)

Meditative Song (such as: "Be Still and Know that I am God")

Scripture Readings

After the readings, invite people to share a word or phrase from the readings that stand out to them.


At the end, the preacher offers this invitation: “we complete the sermon together. If an experience or story of your own life has come into your mind, share with us now while we experience God’s presence in the words and silence in between.

Call for the Offering
In thanksgiving for our shared life together,
let us share our offerings for the work of the church.

Dedication of the Offering
God of life, we have shared what we have with Your church.
With thanksgiving we sing with one voice:

Praise God the Source of Life and Birth
Praise God the Word who came to earth
Praise God the Spirit, Holy Flame
All Honor, Glory to God’s Name…


Invitation to the Table
You are invited to gather around this table,
the table of Jesus and his earliest companions
to experience how God’s story comes alive for us.

This is a sacramental meal because Jesus is here.
As the Host of this feast of bread and wine, gifts of the planet,
he invites us to name what traps us and keeps us from a life that is really life.
Call out, and name, what keeps you trapped in ways that are not “really life”
and what keeps the planet from living with its own fullness.
(Congregation calls out things which keep them, and the planet, trapped in things that are not “really life”).

We name these traps as we draw near to the table
so they might be transformed into something relational,
so life can be really life.

Now call out again: name what you want your traps to be transformed into.
The writer of Timothy gave us righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. What is the transformation you seek?
What transformation is needed for the planet to thrive?
(Congregation calls out transformations)

At this table, Jesus invites us to bring all that traps us,
and all our hopes for transformations
so we can live, as one body and one planet, life that is really life.

Draw near to this table.
Jesus welcomes all to his table,
so we offer communion to everyone and to everyone by name.
No exceptions.

Prayer of Great Thanksgiving
Leader: The Creator be with you and all of creation
     All: And also with you.
Open your hearts.
     We open them to our Creator.
Let us give thanks to our Creator.
     It is right to join creation in thanking God.
Loving Creator, we praise you.
     For Your rise out of the murmuring deep
     and order coming from chaos.

When we were slaves in Egypt, you freed us
     Instructing Your servant, Moses, to agitate Pharaoh.
You led us through the waters of the sea.
     You fed us with heavenly food in the wilderness,
     and satisfied our thirst from desert springs.

You established order in our community
     to create life that is really life.
When we became bound and complacent to sin and injustice,
     you sent prophets who shouted out
     for repentance and rebirth of community.            

In time, Jesus came, your Beloved, to embody your life,
     to live, die, and rise from the dead.
To restore creation and heal our humanity
     to direct our lives towards the poor
     and those living with sores.

To teach us how to unmask traps in the world
     and create invitations for transformation.
Jesus, a Jew, born to Mary, a woman in poverty, shares our life.
     When people were sick, he healed them.
When people were fearful, he told them stories of power and hope.
     When people were lonely, he held them in community.
When people broke the law, were considered unclean, worthless,
     Jesus ate a meal with them.
Though death came on a cross,
     we believe that he lives again
     to give us hope that life and its fullness
     is possible for all of creation.

Joining our voices
with the great cloud of witnesses
who have gathered at table in centuries and seasons past,
we sing to the glory of your name, O Holy One,

Holy, holy, holy God of power and might!
Heav’n and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of Our God
Hosanna in the highest.

In this communion meal, wine poured out and bread broken
     we give witness to the death and resurrection of our Lord.
Receive our testimony of thanks,
     share your Holy Spirit with us
     that this meal may renew us
     to embrace life over death.

Encourage us with hope,
     inspire us to listen,
     awaken us to liberate
     so that we may serve with
     your whole company of creation.

As we pray together in the spirit of Jesus the Lord’s Prayer.

Words of Institution
At the very end of Jesus’ life,
when he was trapped by the Roman powers of death,
he sat at table with his closest companions.
As they sat at table, he took a loaf of bread, blessed it, and broke it.
“This is my body broken for you.
This is the bread of new life and transformation.
This is how life is really life.
When you eat of it, do it in remembrance of me.”

In the same way, while still at table, Jesus took the cup.
He blessed it and poured it saying,
“Salvation and healing flow from this cup.
Transformation is promised.
This is how life is really a holy life.
Divide this cup among all of you.
As you drink of this cup, do it in remembrance of me.” 

Recommended Song while sharing the bread and the cup: 
Eat This Bread” (Taize)
Eat this bread, drink this cup.
Come to me, and never be hungry.
Eat this bread, drink this cup.
Trust in me, and you will not thirst.

Prayer after Communion
Blessed be the Source of life that is life!
Blessed be the Source of the Beloved!
Blessed be the Source of the Spirit!

This is our prayer. So let it be!


Now go!
Surrounded by the power of the Holy One,
May we experience life that is really life!
Let the people of God say, Amen!

Life that is Really Life, A Service of Holy Communion for Pentecost 19, was written by the Rev. Ashley Goff, an ordained UCC minister serving at Church of the Pilgrims (PCUSA), Washington, DC.

Copyright 2013 Local Church Ministries, Faith Formation Ministry Team, United Church of Christ, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH  44115-1100.  Permission granted to reproduce or adapt this material for use in services of worship or church education.  All publishing rights reserved.