Senior Adult Sunday
VISUAL ARTS (PARAMENTS, GENERAL DECORATIONS, SPECIFIC DECORATIONS)
- Locate a copy of the song “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang to play as a gathering song for worship each Sunday of the CE Season. You may not want to play the entire song since it is about four minutes long and repeats.
- Ask your worship committee or a creative bunch of folks to decorate the worship area with items that represent your senior adults. Ask the Senior Adults of your church to bring items, possibly something from their childhood like an old doll or a butter churn or something that represents what they enjoy doing now such gardening tools. Encourage them to express themselves creatively, then have someone meaningfully arrange the items on the altar.
- Well before this Sunday, ask a member to take pictures of your Senior Adults and display them throughout the sanctuary. If you want to do some extra work, ask a member to interview the Senior Adults while another person records it on video. Ask them to recall a memory of a time when they have felt especially close to God. The stories can be funny or somber, but meaningful to them.
- Look through the Additional Activities at the end of this liturgy and decide which of these you will do. Make plans to do them and gather materials as needed. You will also need to publicize and recruit people to help you with them so leave plenty of time to do so.
—Elinor Swindle Brown
CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader: The LORD is my shepherd. I shall not want.
People: He makes me lie down in green pastures
Leader: He leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul.
People: He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.
Leader: And I shall dwell in the house of the LORD my whole life-long.
One Voice: For it was you who formed my inward parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Many Voices: I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.
One Voice: My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Many Voices: Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.
One Voice: In your book were written all the days that were formed for me,
when none of them as yet existed.
How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
All Voices: I try to count them—they are more than the sand; I come to the end—I am still with you.
Leader: God is with you.
People: And also with you.
Leader: God guides our lives.
People: Every day from birth to death.
Leader: God loves us.
People: God cares for us.
Leader: God leads us in right paths.
People: God goes with us all our way.
One: Praise the Lord
Men: Praise God from Heaven
Women: Praise God from the mountaintops;
One: Praise God,
Men: all you angels,
Women: all you warriors
All: Praise God, sun and moon.
Praise God, you morning stars
One: Praise God from earth
All: Robust and important people
Kids: And little children
All: Old and young together
One: Let them praise the name of God
Women: It’s the only name worth praising
All: Praise from all who love God.
—Abby Cole Keller
Leader: One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek:
People: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life.
Leader: To gaze on the beauty of the LORD
People: And to seek God in the holy temple.
—based on Psalm 92:12-14
Leader: The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree
All: He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Leader: Those who are planted in the house of the Lord
All: Shall flourish in the courts of our God.
Leader: They shall still bear fruit in old age
All: They shall be fresh and flourishing.
Leader: Sisters and brothers, let us come to hear the Word!
People: Yes! We come to hear and do the Word!
Leader: Brothers and sisters, let us expand the ropes of our tents.
People: We widen those ropes to embrace all God has created, no exceptions.
Leader: Sisters and brothers, let the Spirit blow through our imaginations!
People: Our souls yearn to dance in the wind and fire of the Spirit.
Leader: Brothers and sisters, let us celebrate the gift of long life God has given us.
People: Truly we come with years behind us, but each day is an extra blessing to gather in praise.
Leader: Sisters and brothers, let us gather in a circle of joy for all the relationships of our lives.
People: We come to experience friendship, to be community, to find God.
God of life, from before our birth you knew us. As we grew, we came to know you as parent, protector, and provider. In this worship hour, we praise you for your goodness, which only years of experience have taught us. We praise you with our bodies and voices which have grown weaker over time, and we praise you from the depths of our souls which are ever strengthening as we come nearer and nearer to your presence. Accept this worship as we praise you with all our hearts, all of our souls, all of our minds, and all of our strength. In the name of Jesus Christ, the redeemer of our bodies and souls, we pray this. Amen.
MUSIC (HYMNS, SONGS, ANTHEMS)
I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry by John Ylvisaker
- The Lord’s My Shepherd
- Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us
- Morning Has Broken
CALL TO CONFESSION
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts.
See if there is any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.
Experience has taught us we are not perfect. In reflecting on our lives, we have made choices that led us away from a deeper fellowship with God and our neighbor. We are promised in scripture that in confession, we are healed and restored. Let us then go boldly before God in Christ Jesus confessing our shortcomings and disobedience.
Though sin is ever with us, God provides for our redemption in Jesus Christ, our Shepherd and Savior. Therefore, let us be bold in acknowledging our wandering ways.
Remnant of God,
You are God’s people,
God is always ready to hear you
and awaits you with forgiving arms.
With penitent hearts, let us confess our sins together.
—Abby Cole Keller
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father: Jesus Christ, the righteous one. Let us draw near with a humble and penitent heart, and confess our sins to God.
We have all sinned and fallen far short of the life we are called to live. But if we confess our sins and repent, we are forgiven. Let us confess our sins corporately and then silently.
—based on 1 John 1:8-9
We cannot say that we have no sin. When we confess our sins, God who is eternally faithful hears our plea and forgives all our actions and omissions, which are sinful. Let us confess to our loving God who will restore us.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Loving God when we can’t see the good around us because
all we can see is what has changed and what doesn’t work anymore,
Forgive us, Lord.
When we allow our fears to overtake us and prevent us
From anticipating the newness of each day,
Forgive us, Lord.
When we forget that you are here with us,
leading, guiding, and restoring us,
Forgive us, Lord.
Forgive us Lord, and grant us your grace to see life
as you see it for us and the grace to trust you as we walk into the future.
In Christ’s name we pray.
(Have a time for the congregation to offer their personal confessions to God.)
Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and of your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for your goodness’ sake, O Lord!
Ever present God, whose mercy never fails, we confess that we are headstrong and think we know what is best for our lives. We continually choose self over others, forgetting that all people are in this earthly pilgrimage together. We hold onto our guilt rather than completely following you. Forgive our foolishness. Remove our self-centeredness. Take away our sin, for without your grace we are doomed, both in this life and in the next. Guide us by your Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.
We are your chosen people; we have been given strong hands to do your work.
Yet we turn to the comforts of this world and our hands have become smooth and weak.
You call us to sow your peace, yet we neglect your fields,
and fear and hatred grow as weeds in your kingdom.
You call us to yield your fruit, and to be a blessing in your name.
Yet too often we turn away from your calling.
We shy away from the labor of being your people
and refuse to work together for your good.
We are quick to blame our ailments, our age, our busy lives.
Too often we do not listen to the generation in the next pew,
And hold tight to our own view, unable and unwilling to listen and learn.
Forgive us O God. Call us back to you once again.
Fortify us for your labor. Calm our fears.
Strengthen our hands that we may reenter the world your chosen people,
ready to work the field, sowing peace and sharing love. Amen.
—Abby Cole Keller
O God, you have set us in families in which we early learned to sing your praises;
and you have given us the Church where we have found fellowship
that strengthens us and enables us to serve your kingdom.
Where would we be without you and without one another?
Yet, Lord, we confess that we are tempted to ‘go it alone,’
to deny our need of you, and isolate ourselves from one another.
We separate ourselves from our greatest source of your grace.
In pride we lose fellowship with you and our sacred community.
Forgive us, Lord.
Help us to recognize that there is a blessedness
wrapped up in our relationship with you and one another.
Help us to be the kind of faith community that encourages growth and trust. Amen.
Dear God of mercy and grace, we confess that we are sinners. We have tried to live a life of love and light. But we have fallen short. We have often tried to depend on ourselves rather than you. We think we have learned a lot in our time on earth, but we are ignorant and lost without you. Please show mercy on us and forgive us. Help us to know that no matter how wise we think we are, you are the source of our strength and salvation.
(Silent confession.) Amen.
Holy God, how many times have we come to you to ask forgiveness? How many times have we promised to begin again? How old is the universe and how old are we? We are your children in the great scheme of things, but sometimes we are childish, not childlike.
We say that our age gives us the right to impose our ways when we have failed to see the beauty in change. We like things our way at home and at church. We confess that our fear of growing old has imprisoned us at times. We lash out at the very ones who love us the most.
We ask forgiveness for the tendency to focus on our losses, wrapping ourselves in a cocoon of self-pity, failing by omission to comfort others who are also hurting. We often use our age as an excuse to be self-centered and inflexible. We fail to forgive others because our hurts are special, we say. When we are unsympathetic and impatient with youth, help us to remember our own youth and the promise it brought. We ask forgiveness for the times we allow loneliness to eat us alive, not turning the pain of it into the possibility of new relationships.
We ask forgiveness, most of all, for the times our prayer is thoughtless and routine. In our long lives you have been with us every step of the way. When we hurt and are lonely, help us remember our conversation with you is the healing and restoration we seek. In Jesus’ name, we pray.
ASSURANCE OF PARDON
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. God’s mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning. Great is God’s faithfulness. If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, I declare to you that your sins have been forgiven. May the peace of Christ be with you!
Hear now the promise of God the Creator: In believing you receive the new life promised to all who trust in Jesus. Let him be your Shepherd and Guide. Live in hope. Serve in peace. You are forgiven.
God has promised to do good to Jerusalem to the house of Judah—to all God’s children and we are all God’s children. We shall be God’s people and God shall be our God, in faithfulness and righteousness. Therefore believe the good news. Do not be afraid, for in Christ Jesus you are forgiven.
—Abby Cole Keller
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Leader: Who can condemn us?
All: Only Christ
Leader: Christ came to earth and lived a life showing all love and mercy.
He alone can condemn us, but he forgives us.
He died for us, rose for us, and reigns in glory for us.
Friends believe the good news, you are forgiven.
All our lives we have believed that before we asked forgiveness, you, our most loving God, forgave.
Invite the children to come forward.
Begin your time with the children by asking:
Who is the oldest person you know?
How old do you think that person is?
Think about that person. It might be a grandparent or even a great-grandparent.
Does this person look and or act differently than you do? Thank your parents do?
(has gray hair and wrinkles, walks slow, sits a lot, gets tired more quickly)
There are some things this person can’t do that you and your parents can do, right?
Now tell me some special things that this person can do.
(gives the best hugs, tells stories about long ago, fixes things, lets me have
candy, takes me fishing, teaches me to sew or build things, etc.)
Today is a Senior Adult Sunday. On this special day we want to celebrate our senior adults and what they bring to our lives. Think about those senior adults who are part of your life. Give them a hug, draw a picture for them, or give them a call to let them know that you love them.
Thank you, God, for those older persons in our lives who bring love to us and who care for us and accept us. They help us to know little of what your love for us is like. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.
Read the book Faith the Cow by Susan Bame Hoover. If you do not own this book, this is a great opportunity to buy it for yourself or for your church’s nursery or library. After reading it, you may want to make the following points:
- Today the scripture is talking about remembering our past history, which can help us to make things better in the future. We are also celebrating Senior Adults—those people who are older than us and smarter than us and have some great ideas. This story is about one of those Senior Adults who had a good idea.
- In this story, Dan West travels to Spain and gives away food and supplies to those who don’t have any. That was a great thing for him to do, but there were so many people who needed help that Dan couldn’t give them enough. He remembered that when he was growing up, his family had enough to eat because they had animals that provided food and milk.
- Dan West came up with an idea: If those families who don’t have enough to eat could get a milk cow, they could help other families by giving them milk. They could also sell the milk to buy food. He asked his friends and they gave him Faith the cow—and then another cow and another cow. Dan’s idea became a business called Heifer International. They give away all kinds of animals now, not just cows. Dan West could have just sat around being sad because he couldn’t do enough to help, but he didn’t. Because he took action, Dan made a difference.
- Sometimes people think that they can’t do anything to help others. They might think they are too young to make a difference. Or too old to make a difference. But God uses all kinds of people of all ages and races, girls and boys and men and women. We can be glad about that because everyone has to help to make the world a better place to live. That is what God wants from us and for us.
- Then pray something like this: God, we thank you so much for people like Dan West who want to serve other people and work hard to do so. We thank you that no matter what age we are, we can serve you and serve others. Amen.
—Elinor Swindle Brown
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
Open our eyes Lord with the longing to learn from those of the past so we might act according to your will in the future. Amen.
God of light, illumine our minds that we may understand your word. Open our ears, Lord, that we may hear your words of grace. Open our eyes that we may see your majesty. Silence all in us that keeps us from clearly receiving from you. Amen.
Great God of all, in your word is revealed the light we need to please you and follow your truth. Grant us ears to hear this reading, hearts to receive your promises, and determination to follow your guidance, through the power of the Spirit. Amen.
O Lord of Host, we gather together—old men and old women, children and youth, alike to worship you. We are drawn together to hear your word. We are gathered to worship you as your people. Speak to us now through your holy scripture. Still our worried hearts, calm our racing minds, and open our spirit to your Spirit that we might grow in wisdom and might through the hearing of your word this day. Amen.
—Abby Cole Keller
Open my eyes, that I may see glimpses of truth Thou hast for me;
Place in my hand the wonderful key that shall un-clasp and set me free.
Silently now I wait for Thee, ready my God, Thy will to see;
Open my eyes—illumine me, Spirit divine!
—Clara H. Scott, 1841-1897
O God who reigns over all, we are grateful for your leadership and your wisdom. We know your word has comfort and guidance for each of us. Help us to search and learn. No matter how much we think we know or we have learned during our lifetimes, we are ignorant without you, the source of all knowledge. Give us the direction we need to understand and apply your word to our lives. Amen.
God of the living word, help us to be open to the words of scripture we are about to hear proclaimed. We want to follow faithfully in obedience and we seek to honor you in our hearing and doing through Jesus, the Christ. Amen.
SCRIPTURE TEXTS/SERMON IDEAS
- Psalm 139:1-18, 22-23
Title: The Light in the Darkness
This text speaks to our senior adults because one commonality among the elder group of senior adults is “darkness.” Here are some of the ways, darkness manifests itself to senior adults:
- moving from being productive in vocation and in church leadership to feeling unproductive
- failing eyesight and physical abilities cause isolation due to the inability to drive or to
participate in former activities/organizations
- hearing loss limits conversations even over the phone
- losing family and friends, thus seeing yourself as “the only one left”
- leaving a lifetime home for assisted living or healthcare facility
- spending so much time with doctors or in hospitals.
- dwindling financial resources often has a negative impact on lifestyle
- recognizing those things, they can no longer do, but not being encouraged to do new
things or even think of what they can still do
This scripture tells us that when life becomes dark to us, with God there is light. The image that comes that comes to my mind is as powerful as being in the pitch dark and having someone hand you a flashlight. Your situation may still be what it was, but now you can see it better and, most importantly, you realize that are not alone.
So often when I talk about God with senior adults who are seldom able to leave their homes I hear, “Oh, I don’t want to bother God with my problems.” This text tells us that we do not have to find God, but that God comes to us where we are and already knows what we need.
Many of the senior adults who are experiencing the “darkness” may not be in the sanctuary, but there will be some who are and others who are already seeing this in their future.
“I come to the end. I am still with you.”
- Jeremiah 18:1-11—How the potter uses time and life experiences to form the clay
- Psalm 139—A long life lived in the presence of God; how someone who has had long life responds in praise
- Luke 14:25-33—What “veteran Christians” can teach younger Christians about discipleship
- James 1:17-27
- Mark 7:31-37
- John 10:11-18 (“I am the good shepherd…”)
- Ezekiel 34:11-16; Isaiah 40:1-11; Psalm 23 (Also on a shepherding theme)
- Psalm 148
- Zechariah 8:1-13 (or on to 17 for more)
- —Abby Cole Keller
- Old Testament Reading―Proverbs 1:20-33
- New Testament Reading―Mark 8:27-38
- Sermon Title: Lives Lived Well
- Isaiah 65:20 about the promise for an old man (sic) to live out his days and youth to live to 100
- Isaiah 40:28-31 with the eagle wing passage. Eagles are supposed to live longer than other birds
- Psalm 103:5 “You shall renew my youth like the eagle.”
- Psalm 71 is obvious
- Psalms 92:12-15
- Proverbs 16:31, 20:29, 23:22—Wisdom of elders
- Matthew 6: 25-34—Lilies of the field is a good one
- Luke 2:21-38—Anna and Simeon
SOCIAL MEDIA HELPS (VIDEOS, TAPED SONGS)
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
Gracious and loving God, it is because you love us that we live, move, and have our very being. It is because of your love for us that we can make it through the difficult times in our lives, and it is your love that makes it possible for us to love one another. We pray for your people who do not know your love and have never known the love of others. Pour out your love upon them.
Let us pray for those in our church community for whom we have committed to pray…those who are unable to leave their homes for worship, those who are in hospitals or healthcare facilities, those who are dealing with chronic illnesses or taking treatments, those who are dealing with difficult medical decisions. We pray especially for those who are dealing with changes in their lives. Supply the needs of these, your people, O God.
We pray for those who are facing losses in their lives…losses of loved ones, jobs, relationships. We especially pray for all those people who live alone and seldom hear another voice or experience a human touch, for all those who find it difficult to get through the day and some days find it difficult even to try. Search out these, your children, and restore them to wholeness. Empower them to reach out and receive your grace.
We pray for our church. May we all listen to your call to us and respond as you guide us in ministry. We pray for the leaders of our country and to world leaders, for those whose lives have been affected by our economic situation, for those who are serving or have served our country in the military and their families, and we pray for peace and reconciliation in our country and in our world.
Now we lift all these concerns on our hearts to you (pause). And as we do this, we also offer ourselves to you to use to bring answers to our prayer.
In the quietness of these moments, empty us, still us, so as your word is read and proclaimed, we may be filled anew with your love and we may respond to this love as you call us.
We ask these things in the name of Jesus Christ who taught his disciples to pray saying:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
God, it is said that age is just a number, and how true it is. We have grown older, and we have gained experience and wisdom, but still, there are times when we wish we could call up our parents and ask for some advice. We still need comfort and still need someone to tell us, “It’s going to be okay. I’m here.”
We are still children. We are your children. So, we look to you as our heavenly, all-knowing and loving parent and ask for your attention and blessing on the requests we place before you today.
For our bodies and mind which break down we pray that you would be the Great Physician and heal those in the hospital and at home. For those who have diseases and those who are hurting in their bodies, give comfort to these, we pray. For those who are hurting in their minds, we pray that you would give them patience and a reminder that their identity is as a beloved child of God.
For the families who must work as a team to accomplish their daily task. For mothers and fathers who are caregivers for their mothers and fathers, we ask you to give strength and blessing for the task. For grandparents who support and raise their grandchildren, give them both strength and grace to share with their grandchildren your love.
For those whom retirement has been hard, who have felt a lack of purpose and meaning in life we ask that you be a light in the darkness and a lamp to their path as they figure out your purpose in this new stage in life.
For those who find life difficult because they feel they have been betrayed by their minds and bodies and for those who feel betrayed by our culture of newer and younger always meaning better, we pray you remind them and us that our worth is in being your beloved child.
Help us all, O God, to be used by you each day. Inspire us to set our minds on things above and not on earthly things. Remind us through the aches, pains, and disappointments that this world is not our home, and we are on a journey to you. In Christ, we ask these things. Amen.
Merciful God, you always lead us toward green pastures. You call us to follow where the streams of clean, clear water flow, and thus we know that only goodness follows us all our lives. We praise you for the richness of life we have been granted. Even when we suffer loss, when life seems dark and the future gloomy, you are our comfort and shepherd.
Teach us to look with compassion on those who suffer through no fault of their own. Where there is illness, send healing. Where there is pain, grant the ability to endure. Where there is hunger, compel us to share. Where there is abuse, cause justice to prevail. Wherever help is needed, make us uneasy until we have given aid.
Lead those chosen to lead us in church and the world. Grant them courage and insight to seek the welfare of all. May they have the wisdom to reverse course when their most carefully conceived plans prove to be wrong. Especially we seek your guidance for legislators, political executives, and those who interpret and enforce laws for the common good.
Sustain those who leave home and family to serve you in alien cultures. In particular we remember those who minister in your name through the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Let them be faithful to you, understanding of those of other backgrounds, and willing to stand for truth under difficult circumstances.
Through all our days, in all our ways, be our comfort and guide. Help us to continue to grow in faith and knowledge. Make us ever eager to seek what is right in home, community, and state. And when our days in this life draw to an end, may we go toward the unknown convinced that we shall then know you fully even as we are fully known. Amen.
(At appropriate places in this prayer, mention of particular needs and specific people may be included.)
Most Holy God,
You call us all to be your children.
You call us to love one another and hold one another up in prayer.
Therefore we pray for all your peoples.
We pray for the young children
Who are growing up in a world that is changing too fast.
Help us to value their energy and enthusiasm.
Help us to reach out and support them as they grow.
May we have the strength to show them your ways
and be a source of strength and knowledge for them.
We pray for the youth of this community.
Teenagers who are working to find out who they are and whose they are.
As they grow into adults, help us to reach out to them and find ways to speak with them.
Help us to model the love of Christ to them and for them.
May we be the community that sows love in them that they may bear good fruit.
We pray for young adults.
As they face the hurried world around them,
As they feel the pressures of providing, surviving and finding their way,
May they find moments of grace and joy.
May this community support them and uphold them,
Making their burdens lighter.
Today we especially pray for our senior adults.
We give you thanks for their years of toil and labor,
For the hard work they have done
And the good lives they have lived.
They are the firm foundation of the church.
May their wisdom and knowledge continue to be a strengthening agent.
May they know their value in this community, in the world, and in your kingdom.
Continue to give them purpose.
May their strong hands help to shape the generations that follow.
May the wisdom of their years be heard and held in honor.
And may they continue to be the building blocks of our congregation.
Grant them peace of mind, strength of body, and grace abounding.
When they face challenges, loss and declining health,
May we be the people who lift them up, surround them with love,
And provide them with security and comfort.
Together we are all your people, O God,
Draw us nearer to one another through prayer and love,
That we may resemble your kingdom,
and that together we may live into the fullness of our calling.
In Christ, through Christ and with Christ we pray. Amen.
—Abby Cole Keller
If you intend to commission some of the service activities, (see additional activities below), you may want to do it here.
Most Gracious God,
Honor and praise be given to you for all your mercy and loving kindness shown to us your people. We bless you for the goodness that freely designed our glory before time began.
We thank you for creating us in your own image,
for redeeming us, when we were lost, with the precious blood of Christ,
for sanctifying us by your Spirit in the revelation and knowledge of your word,
for your help and assistance in our needs, your comfort in our tribulations
for saving us from dangers of body and soul, and giving us so large a time of repentance.
These benefits, O most merciful God, we acknowledge to have received by your goodness alone. And so we pray for your grace to continually increase our thankfulness toward you inspiring our hearts with pure and ardent love. Prevent us from receiving your word in vain. Graciously assist us always, in heart, word, and deed, to sanctify and worship your holy name through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Ask for prayer requests for anyone in need of special prayer. Recognize any members who have special event: birthdays, anniversaries, etc. It would be a good time to recognize the oldest person or the longest member or some other accomplishment.
O God of mercy and grace, we thank you for the incredible blessings we enjoy. We thank you for those among us who have been here for many years. We thank you for the wisdom and experience they bring to this congregation. We ask your blessings upon them.
We pray for those who have physical, emotional, or spiritual needs. There are needs we may not know about. We pray for your healing power. And we ask you to help us to be your love and light to those in pain.
We bring our cares and concerns to the one who taught us to pray…
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
God of yesterday, today, and forever, we gather to celebrate our aging. As we continue our journey, we pray for wisdom to keep our focus. Eternal God, we give you thanks and praise for the religious imagination, the dreams and visions of those who have gone before us, sustaining us through our lives from infancy through our golden years. Even as we grow older, help us to remember that we have been called to serve you and not be led by a culture counter to the gospel.
We pray that even as we slow down, the fire of that first Pentecost continues to burn so that we are good models of your unending love. There are those among us who have outlived their loved ones and feel the sting of loneliness. Help us find one another so that we can become your open arms here in our midst. We pray for a greater sensitivity to one another’s needs in our own family and for compassion that reaches beyond our doors. May our fear of being shelved become a challenge to help us continue to grow.
We pray for our brothers and sisters who have sharp minds and strong bodies that they might be generous with patience and understanding to those who don’t. We pray that all who are secure economically find ways to reach out to those on fixed incomes and offer friendship in creative ways so growing old is less painful. As the days of our lives stretch into the twilight of our life on earth, we pray our spirits continue to be brightened by our belief in the resurrection.
Beyond our small lives, there is a larger world and we know there is pain in this world. We pray for families broken by war, economics, human frailty, divorce, and illness. We pray for the leaders of nations so they may come to the peace and justice you desire and yearn for us.
Our journey continues. We pray for days sprinkled with humor so we become a blessing for youth and a challenge to those in middle years. We praise you, we bless you, we give you thanks in Jesus, the Christ, Amen.
—Psalm 92:13-14, Deuteronomy 34:7, Isaiah 46:4
One Voice: Ever Compassionate, Ever Loving God, we celebrate those in our congregation who have been blessed to live as disciples for many years and, in turn, have given the church the fruits of those years of discipleship. They have served, they have taught, they have given, they have sacrificed for the glory of your Church.
Many Voices: The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green.
One Voice: While our bodies may grow older and we lose some of our strength, we will always be your beloved children, and you always have work for us to do. When we become weak, you become our strength.
Many Voices: Moses was one hundred twenty years old when he died; his sight was unimpaired, and his vigor had not abated.
One Voice: For years, O God, you have proven your faithfulness; you have shown us love every day. Now, even now, bring to our minds the promises you have made to your children; that you are a mighty fortress and you never change in your steadfast love for us.
All Voices: Even to your old age I am your God, even when you turn gray, I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save. Thanks be to God!
INVITATION TO THE OFFERING
—2 Corinthians 8:12
For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has—not according to what one does not have.
Jesus says in the Gospel of Luke, “From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded.” With age and experience comes responsibility. Let us continue our worship and give a portion back of all that has been given to us.
From the bounty poured forth by God, we receive all that we have. Whether what we have is little or much, we have opportunity to share. Let us bring our gifts to God.
God has chosen us. God has promised to be our God so let us be God’s people. With glad hearts let us make our offering to the Lord.
—Abby Cole Keller
—1 Corinthians 16:2, TNIV
On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income.
We have received many blessings and enjoy God’s bounty. Let us give back with our tithes and offerings at this time.
Brothers and sisters, we have an opportunity to spread the good news through our offering. Sometimes all we have to give is ourselves. For you, O God, that is enough. You know the depth of every gift and treasure what we give. Let us give joyfully and generously from our heart and from whatever treasures we may have.
Gracious and loving God, we are here today as blessed people who have received abundantly from you. Receive now the gifts we bring to be used in the work of your kingdom. And we also offer to you ourselves to be used to your glory and honor. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.
Like many churches, our levels of giving vary from person to person. We pray that you bless this offering, those who gave and those that desired to do so. Ultimately, Lord, we know that the giving of our resources is a symbol. You have also asked us to offer our lives to you as a true act of worship. We ask that you do something incredible with these gifts to the glory of your name. Amen.
Here O God is our offering to you. Bless it, multiply it, and use it to bring honor to your name. Then lead us to use all that we have to glorify you. In your holy name we pray, Amen.
God of all people, young and old, you created us to be your people. You promised to be our God. You have given us hands to serve you and hearts to praise you. Accept these gifts from our toil and labor as a token of our gratitude for all that you have entrusted to us. May these meager offerings be strengthened in our giving. May they be used to sow your peace and to glorify your kingdom. May our hearts be humbled by your majesty and your might, and may our hands be strengthened for your labor. Amen.
—Abby Cole Keller
O Lord our God, you have taught us through your word that to everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. Grant that we, whose fortune is cast in this Christian heritage, may strive more earnestly, by our prayers and tithes, by sympathy and study, to build your Church in the midst of a dying world, so that as we have entered into the work of others, so others may enter into ours, to your honor and glory. In Christ’s name. Amen.
We ask your blessings on these gifts of your people. May they be used wisely to further your kingdom on this earth. In Christ’s name, Amen.
Generous God, please accept the gifts of our hearts, our imaginations and our purse. We give what we have for the spread of the gospel. We pray you bless our efforts and we believe you will increase the abundance of their effect. This we pray in the name of Jesus, the Christ, Amen.
CHARGE AND BENEDICTION
May God, who put saints of old in our paths to give us wisdom and knowledge,
Jesus Christ, who sacrificed all to give us a future filled with grace and peace,
And the Holy Spirit, who is with us all the way on our journey no matter our age,
Be with us all, both now and forever. Amen.
Go forth, no matter your age and be light in this world. Use your youthful strength to serve your neighbor. Use wisdom gained by years to guide and shepherd the wandering sheep. Together we are Christ’s body, and together we serve God. Go forth, and witness to the community of the wonderful acts of our God in Jesus Christ!
And now, “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Amen.
As God shepherds you through life,
seek to follow in faith and obedience.
And the blessing of God the Creator,
the grace of Jesus Christ the Savior,
and the guidance of the Holy Spirit
be with you always. Amen.
Friends, do not be afraid.
Let your hands be strong.
Old men and women with their wisdom,
Young boys and girls with their energy,
Let your hands be strong.
Sow peace, yield fruit and be a blessing for God.
And may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God,
And the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you always.
—Abby Cole Keller
Go forth now as God’s servants.
Remember God’s presence often.
Draw strength from the knowledge that the one who calls and sends also sustains.
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
the beginning and the end, be with each of us,
those near the beginning and those toward the end.
May God lift us up and help us to have a “life well lived” for Christ,
in whose name we go out into the world. Amen.
Brothers and sisters – all of us may be distinguished by wrinkles. BUT—There are no wrinkles in our spirits. The fabric of our souls is wrinkle-free. Let us go out and live with joy, with humor, love, and generosity. Let us dance in the wisdom we have learned and earned. May the blessing of God, the creator, fill us with imagination and creativity, may the Son renew our joy in the resurrection, and may the Spirit burn brightly in and through each of us!
OTHER HELPS (COMMISSION, COMMUNION, BLESSINGS)
Senior Adult Gatherings and Beyond—Here are some ideas that can be for both one time programs and ongoing service activities for your church:
- Contact your state’s Department of Aging or Human Services. Arrange to have someone speak to your group about the services the state provides for older adults.
- Ask a lawyer to talk with your group about wills, powers of attorney, protecting your finances, etc.
- Learn about fraud and scams. The local police or an advocacy group would be glad to share information with your group.
- Invite a school choir, ensemble, budding musician, and so forth to perform for your group. Chances are they would welcome the opportunity to use their skills. This might also provide an opportunity to forge a relationship with other groups in your community.
- Become involved in a service project. Rather than having someone give to your group, give to others.
- Take a tour of a historic site or a new manufacturing facility.
- Have someone teach basic self-defense techniques that the people in your group could use.
- Go to see a play or hear a musical performance at a local college or community center.
- Learn exercises that people can do at any level of mobility.
- Invite a representative from the Chamber of Commerce to talk with your group about things planned for the community.
- Start a mentoring program for children and teens.
- Have members of the group share their hobbies. Or, if you learn about someone in the community who has an unusual hobby, invite him or her to share with your group.
- Volunteer at a community food bank or clothes closet.
- Bring snacks and enjoy playing games.
- Attend a seminar that’s being offered through a community college or other local group.
- Arrange to have someone bring an audio/video recording device so that members of the group can record some of their favorite memories, history of the church, funny stories, etc. Plan another time for sharing these recordings with the congregation.
- Learn about social media. A teenager or young adult in your congregation would be a good resource person.
- Have a class about basic use of a computer or other electronic devices.
- Invite someone to share budgeting tips for senior adults.
- Have a volunteer who can help with income tax preparation.
- Ask a mechanic or a home maintenance professional to share information about caring for your vehicle or home, how to perform simple repairs, and when to call a professional.
—Abby Cole Keller