On Mondays I share liturgical writing focused on the Luke passages for each Sunday in the Revised Common Lectionary. This week’s scripture is Luke 18:1-18 a parable about persistence in prayer … set in what is called “the justice system.” William B. Jones, born in Lake Charles, Louisiana, offers an invocation, a prayer before the reading of scripture which cites a widow we have met earlier this year in Luke, and a poem for use with this scripture. Gary Schulte of Pembroke, New Hampshire, though one might as well say he is from Missouri, contributes a call to worship and a prayer for the day.
Invocation for Sunday of Luke 18:1-18
The cypress knees, God, *
I see bright from my window,
the bay waters rising
from gold into blue,
like prayers I make you
slow or soon,
the rising moon.
Can you answer me from there,
crossing the gulf to where I am?
Can you not hear my plea, our prayer,
help us, God, this wrestling to stand!
Shelter us in the heat of the fray,
taste, and see, and remember how good
to walk this earth, this water with you!
You, our God! Who once called us on,
come again, re-make us
[An opening hymn of Joy may follow]
2013 (Gulf Coast Version).
* [Alternate opening stanza, for northern US:]
like prayers I make you
slow or soon,
a Harvest moon.
Introduction to the Reading of the Lesson, Luke 18:1-18
Once before, Luke, you kept for us too ǂ
the story of a widow whose cry was heard, whose only son had died,
and of how Jesus, on seeing her, had compassion,
and said to her, “Weep not,” the crowd surrounding,
And reached to touch the funeral carriage,
saying “Young man, I say to you, rise!”
And the widow’s son sat up, and spoke.
And Jesus gave him back to his mother.
As in that time the people were amazed,
and glorified God,
saying “a great prophet has risen among us,”
So today we join those gathered to hear Jesus
speak of a widow’s cry for justice,
rising apart from custom or husband,
demanding what is due her until
the one who needs to hear relents,
until the one who needs to respond
listens and takes heed.
May we listen for the Good News
borne of persisting in faith:
[read Luke 18:1-8]
ǂ [Luke 7:11-17]
Poem to accompany Sunday of Luke 18:1-18
Jesus said, “…Will not God grant justice
to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night?
Will he delay long in helping them?”
– Luke 18:6-7 (NJB)
Have I not thirsted enough in you God?
Have we not hungered enough on your way?
“Sing us your God you weeping implore,
Pray us this wasteland you dream us to cross.”
Shall I not hear your voice in the living?
May we not sound from echo to song?
Show us again what we’ve come to forget, God,
Leave us behind the scrambles of old.
Flood in the desert your well-spring uprising,
Drinking new marvels, your way surging forth.
Walk us these waters, your dry-land to river;
Dance us your creatures, oasis to thrive.
Shelter us yours, God, our far exile ending,
Thirst me your pouring, this hardened crust torn.
Hew me a pathway with these formed in you;
Take me from silenced to calling me yours.
imagery based on Isaiah 43:16-22
Gift of Gary Schulte
A Call to Worship
One: Remember how Jesus told us to ask, . . . to seek, . . . and to knock.
Many: We have heard him say it, and we believe it to be true:
Those who ask, receive;
Those who seek, find;
And to all who knock, the door will be opened.
One: Let us worship God, who greets us with love and mercy.
Many: Let us worship God, who receives all our praises and our petitions,
who welcomes us home with outstretched arms,
and satisfies us with good for as long as we live.
One: We are gathered to worship the Righteous Judge,
who graces us with every good and perfect gift.
Many: All praise and glory and love be to God!
A Prayer for the Day
Will we have such faith, O Righteous One, to cry out day and night with the widow for your justice?
Will we join our voices with hers in confronting the unjust judges of our age?
Will we be bold to believe that you are the God who graciously gives every good and perfect gift—
that you are not bothered nor weary with our prayers?
Will you find us faithful, hopeful, and loving when you come again?
Will we, your church, share the faith of your Son, Jesus,
who prayed in his living, and in his dying, and in his rising again?
Let your justice roll down. Let your peace prevail.
May you find us to be faithful, O God!
May you find us to be faithful!
May it be so. Amen.
All of these resources were given freely and they may be used in worship contexts. They may be adapted to fit your context. Please cite the original author when you reprint them or share them orally. For any other use please contact me so that I can put you directly in touch with that particular author.