Call to Worship from John 14:27
Jesus says: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.
Glory be to the Creator, and to the Christ, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. Amen.
Opening Scripture: from Psalm 27
The Holy One is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
God is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid? . . .
One thing I asked of my God,
that will I seek after:
to live in the house of the Holy One
all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the Divine,
and to inquire in God’s temple.
For God will hide me in divine shelter
in the day of trouble;
and conceal me under the cover of the holy tent;
God will set me high on a rock. . . .
Hear, O Holy One, when I cry aloud,
be gracious to me and answer me!
“Come,” my heart says, “seek God’s face!”
Your face, God, do I seek.
Holy One of light and salvation, you are our stronghold, our shelter, our rock. Let us not fear the people or systems that perpetuate evil, but let us fearlessly live out your reign of peace and justice. Let us behold the beauty of your beloved Kindom. Amen.
Scripture: Daniel 6:6-16
6 So the presidents and satraps conspired and came to the king and said to him, “O King Darius, live forever! 7 All the presidents of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an interdict, that whoever prays to anyone, divine or human, for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be thrown into a den of lions. 8 Now, O king, establish the interdict and sign the document, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, which cannot be revoked.” 9 Therefore King Darius signed the document and interdict.
Daniel in the Lions’ Den
10 Although Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he continued to go to his house, which had windows in its upper room open toward Jerusalem, and to get down on his knees three times a day to pray to his God and praise him, just as he had done previously. 11 The conspirators came and found Daniel praying and seeking mercy before his God. 12 Then they approached the king and said concerning the interdict, “O king! Did you not sign an interdict, that anyone who prays to anyone, divine or human, within thirty days except to you, O king, shall be thrown into a den of lions?” The king answered, “The thing stands fast, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be revoked.” 13 Then they responded to the king, “Daniel, one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or to the interdict you have signed, but he is saying his prayers three times a day.”
14 When the king heard the charge, he was very much distressed. He was determined to save Daniel, and until the sun went down he made every effort to rescue him. 15 Then the conspirators came to the king and said to him, “Know, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no interdict or ordinance that the king establishes can be changed.”16 Then the king gave the command, and Daniel was brought and thrown into the den of lions. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you faithfully serve, deliver you!”
Silent and/or Spoken Reflections
Offering Our Prayers
Holy One, we seek your beauty, and we find it in so many places. Hear now our prayers of thanksgiving. [offer prayers of gratitude with response: God of life, . . . we give you thanks.]
Holy One, we know you have told us not to be afraid, still many concerns weigh on our spirits. Grant us your peace and receive our prayers . . . [offer prayers of intercession with response: God, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer.]
Prayer: A Song of Christ’s Goodness (Anselm of Canterbury)
Jesus, as a mother you gather your people to you;
you are gentle with us as a mother with her children.
Often you weep over our sins and our pride,
tenderly you draw us from hatred and judgment.
You comfort us in sorrow and bind up our wounds,
in sickness you nurse us and with pure milk you feed us.
Jesus, by your dying, we are born to new life;
by your anguish and labor we come forth in joy.
Despair turns to hope through your sweet goodness;
through your gentleness, we find comfort in fear.
Your warmth gives life to the dead,
your touch makes sinners righteous.
Lord Jesus, in your mercy, heal us;
in your love and tenderness, remake us.
In your compassion, bring grace and forgiveness,
for the beauty of heaven, may your love prepare us.
Benediction from Romans 8:38-39
As you live this day, hold these words in your heart: Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.