prayer flags
 *On the third Sunday, our service is contemplative. Instead of a sermon, we share our worship bulletin from our prayer service.

April 19, 2015
Third Sunday of Eastertide
A Contemplative Service in Celebration of God’s Creation

MUSIC FOR REFLECTION “For the Beauty of the Earth”






One:  Since earliest times people have marveled at the skies above, the earth below, and the creatures upon the earth–and wondered about their place amidst such glory. The Psalmist offered these words:

Group 1:1O God of all, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. 2Out of the mouths of babes and infants you have founded a bulwark because of your foes, to silence the enemy and the avenger.

Group 2: 3When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established;4what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?

Group 1: 5Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor. 6You have given them responsibility over the works of your hands.

Group 2: You have put all things under their feet, 7all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, 8the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

ALL:  9O God of all, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

CHILDREN’S TIME “Naptime for the Earth”

SONG “Be Still and Know”

A CALL TO PRAYER                                                                                      


 SONG   “Touch the Earth Lightly”

GOSPEL READING 1 Luke 24: 13-31

Narrator: 13Now on [the day of Jesus’s resurrection], two of [his followers] were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14and talking with each other about all these things that had happened.15While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, 16but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17And he said to them,
Jesus: “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?”

Narrator: They stood still, looking sad. 18Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him,

Cleopas: “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days? [We speak]about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people,20and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. 21But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. 22Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, 23and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. 24Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.”

Narrator: 28As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. 29But they urged him [to stay]. So he went in to stay with them. 30When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight.

SONG “We Will Take What You Offer”


Has grief, sorrow, or discouragement ever prevented you from seeing evidence of resurrection in your life?

What do you think it was about Jesus’s breaking bread with his followers that helped open their eyes?

What does it mean to you that “he vanished from their sight” as soon as they recognized him?


. . . for our eyes to be opened that we may see through God’s eye.

SONG   “God’s Eye Be Within Me”

GOSPEL READING 2   Luke 28:32-48

32They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” 33That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. 34They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” 35Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread. 36While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 37They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. 38He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43and he took it and ate in their presence. 44Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” 45Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures,46and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things.

PRAYER STATIONS (You are invited to visit one or more of the prayer stations located around the chapel.)

  1. Pray for the Planet. Pause first to contemplate one artist’s impression of our planet. Place a sticker on one of the maps provided as you offer silent prayer for a particular part of planet Earth. You might pray for farmers producing food there, endangered species in that location, polluted rivers, deforested lands, sites of warfare or disease, areas of drought, etc. Either take your map home as a reminder to learn more about that part of the world and keep it in prayer. Or compose a brief prayer on your map and leave it on the table so the pastor may read it aloud at the close of the service. Older children might try to label the names of the continents and oceans.
  2. Pray for our City. “Have you anything to eat?” asks Jesus in today’s Gospel. He is hungry. When we feed others we are feeding the hungry Christ who walks among us. Some visionaries led by our own Jessica Norwood are hoping to “resurrect” the city of Prichard by creating a North Mobile County Food Park. This project will bring fresh produce to a food desert in our county and revitalize a local economy. Plus it’s healthier and “greener” to buy local. Learn more at As you taste the grain of the field and the fruit of the vine, give thanks to God. Recall the giving life of Jesus.
  3. Pray as We Give. Sea shells are strewn around our offering plate. In some ancient cultures sea shells were an early form of currency. For most of us, our house is our greatest possession. Like a sea creature’s shell, it may be lovely and sheltering, but it is also temporary. As the animal grows, it must give up its house in the hope of something larger. As you bring your offering to further the ministry of Open Table, take with you a sea shell—a reminder that we can never really hold onto things and that letting go of the old and familiar is a way to enlarge our spirit.
  4. Pray with the Pastor. You may kneel or stand beside the pastor if you wish to share a concern for private prayer.





* Please stand as you are able, in body or in spirit.

A well-staffed nursery is available for children ages 4 and under. We’re happy to escort you to that room.

All are welcome at the Open Table. Gluten-free bread is available on the Table. Our cup is alcohol-free.

Welcome to OPEN TABLE. We hope you will join us again for one of our various worship and learning experiences. If you are a first-time visitor, we invite you to sign our guest book on the small table at the back of the chapel and share your preferred contact information. Our pastor, Ellen Sims, welcomes a chance to share more about Open Table UCC and hear about your faith journey. You can follow us at: and To become a member of Open Table, see our pastor to set up a time to learn more about our congregation and denomination, the United Church of Christ:

If you’re a visitor, we invite you to sign our guestbook and provide contact information. Please join us for light refreshments after our service.

Open Table is an Open and Affirming congregation that affirms the worth and dignity of every human being, extending extravagant welcome to all persons. We affirm lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons in particular and assure them full inclusion in the life, leadership, and ministry of our congregation. We acknowledge the suffering they have endured in the context of the larger society. We aspire to develop an increasingly sensitive and informed understanding of God’s good gifts of human sexuality, gender, and relationships. We believe that all people are created in God’s image and thus are loved and blessed equally by God.

Worship at OPEN TABLE. Christianity is always evolving, and Progressive Christianity is experimenting with varied ways of worship (rooted in ancient traditions, responsive to expanding visions of the Sacred). Many among us do not primarily envision God as a being or see prayer as a transactional process whereby we request, and God delivers. Therefore, we explore a range of prayer practices. A diverse but unapologetically Christian congregation, we hope people of various religious backgrounds can feel at home and find spiritual sustenance here.

Category Contemplation
Write a comment:

© 2015 Open Table, United Church of Christ
Follow us: