2021 Summer: How Shall We Love?



Loving is never just about opening our heart. It is about being willing to have our heart become larger as we make room for people and stories and experiences we never imagined holding. It is about being willing to have our heart become deeper as we move beyond the surface layers of our assumptions, prejudices, and habits in order to truly see and receive what—and who—is before us. It is about being willing to have our heart continually shattered and remade as we take in not only the brokenness of the world but also the beauty of it, the astounding wonder that will not allow us to remain the same.

Jan Richardson, “Blessing That Meets You in Love,” The Painted Prayerbook



Leader:      Come! Open your hearts!

People:      We come to learn how to make room in our hearts
for people, stories, and experiences we never imagined loving.

Leader:      Come! Deepen your hearts!

People:      We come to learn how to move beyond the surface of differences,
to receive and to love every being that comes before us.

Leader:      Come! Let the Holy One shatter your hearts!

All:             We come to allow brokenness, beauty, and wonder
to break us open to the Spirit
who remakes us into the living, loving Body of Christ.





Leader:            The Holy One invites us
to make room for far more
than we could imagine our hearts could hold.

People:            It is easier to keep our hearts
small and our love manageable.

Leader:            The Holy One invites us
to move beyond our assumptions,
prejudices, and habits.

People:      Our thinking limits our understanding
of those in front of us.

Leader:            The Holy One invites us to a way of life
where our hearts can be continually shattered
by the brokenness that surrounds us.

People:            Our resistance keeps us trapped,
unable to be remade,
blind to the astounding wonder all around us.
Forgive us for the ways we protect ourselves
from following your path of love.


Leader:      The Holy One forgives us,
opening and enlarging our hearts,
so that we can see both the brokenness
and the astounding beauty of the world.

All:             Amen



All:             O Holy One, we come today
to claim our relationship with you.
We pray for the commitment to grow together,
sharing the gifts you give us with others
here and in the wider world.

Forgive us for the hurt we have inflicted,
and help us forgive those who have hurt us.

Give us strength and discipline
to nurture our relationship with you;
to care for every part of your creation;
to foster justice and be in solidarity with those in need;
to work to end all war, and violence, and discord;
and to respond joyfully when you call,
freely giving our selves as you have shown the way.

We open our hearts to you and your creation
in the name of Jesus, who is the Christ.  Amen.




Leader 1:   This is the table of the heavenly feast,
the joyful celebration of the people of God.

Leader 2:   We gather now as one body, joined around the table.
Here we celebrate God’s presence among us,
united in Christ’s spirit, broken and whole all at once.

All:             Nourished and hungry, loved and loving,
sinner and forgiven, we make one circle
of knowing, believing, rejoicing, being,
as God lights and rests among us.


Leader 1:         Holy Source of all that lives and loves,
we offer thanks for the life you have given us
and the love that surrounds us.

People:            We give thanks for Jesus,
who showed us how to love one another,
and how to live the life that you intended.

Leader 2:         We give thanks for the Holy Spirit
as she lights and rests within us and among us,
offering hints about how to love more fully.

All:        We give thanks for your Holy Church,
the community where we experience your love
and share it with others.

Leader 1:   Christ invites everyone to eat the bread of life,
to drink the cup of the new covenant.

Leader 2:   Jesus said, I am the bread of life.
You who come to me shall never hunger;
you who believe in me shall never thirst.

Leader 1:   On the night he gave himself up, Jesus took bread,
and after giving thanks to God, broke it and said,
This is my body,
broken for the healing of the world.
Whenever you eat it, do so remembering me.

Leader 2:   After supper, Jesus took the cup and said,
This is the cup of the new covenant,
poured out for you and for all.
Whenever you drink it, do so remembering me.

All:             O Holy One, send down your Spirit
that these gifts of grain and grape,
and work of human hands
may be for us the body and blood of Christ.
Unite us with Christ forever
and bring us with the whole creation
to your eternal realm.

Please use what you have at home as you eat the bread and drink from the cup today.
If you do not have grape juice, use whatever is convenient.
As a sign of gathering in spirit while scattered,

you may want to lift your bread toward your camera as we break bread together.

All:             God of abundance and mercy,
we give joyful thanks
for your eternal love and healing presence
in our celebration of bread and cup.
Bless this Body of Christ
that we may attend faithfully
to our call to be your servants,
with each other and throughout the world. Amen.




Leader:      With hearts opened and changed,
let us go out to receive and love every being.

As we are remade
into the living, loving Body of Christ.
let us greet one another with signs of peace.

All:                               Amen.

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