Growing up a Navy-brat, Veterans Day holds a special place in my heart. It is a national holiday set aside to celebrate and honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. I always appreciate the many ways we celebrate and give thanks to veterans with ceremonies and parades. Yet, I can think of no better way to honor them than with prayer. This Veterans Day, I encourage you to pray for veterans in worship.
One of the many options available to church leaders is to include a prayer for veterans during prayers of intercession or the pastoral prayer. I’ve written a prayer included below that can be used as a stand alone or woven into a longer prayer or series of intercessions.
The children’s sermon is also a great way to honor veterans and equip children with a tangible reminder to pray for them. This particular message uses plastic toy soldiers, which can be purchased at a local dollar store, box store, or online. If possible, buy enough for the whole congregation.
Finally, make available in the bulletin, or via another means of communication, an active duty military prayer list. This will allow members to be in prayer for specific people connected with your congregation and it sends a powerful message to those serving that they are regularly remembered by name in prayer.
The first Sunday in October is World Communion Sunday. It’s a special day highlighting the joyful celebration of the sacrament at the Lord’s Table and the many different Christian traditions from around the world.
There are a lot of resources to help celebrate this day and one that caught my eye was from Discipleship Ministries of the United Methodist Church. I loved their idea of using something like a Christmas Eve lessons and carols liturgy on World Communion Sunday. With this as a springboard, I created a “World Communion Festival of Hymns.”
The readings, music, and videos are selected to educate about World Communion Sunday as a day we mark the universal Christian practice of breaking bread with one another in the sacrament of Holy Communion.
The children’s sermon highlights the global nature of World Communion with a variety of breads from around the world. Though these could be store bought, it would be especially impactful to invite people from within the congregation to make these breads from their own ethnic heritages. Then, not only use these breads in the children’s sermon but also for the sharing in Holy Communion.
I hope these resources are helpful to you as you plan a celebration for World Communion Sunday!
As Father’s Day quickly approaches, I hope the prayers of intercession and children’s sermon provided below will help you in your preparations for worship. This is a wonderful day to celebrate and with careful planning and sensitivity, I believe it can be a rich day of thanksgiving for all!
As leaders in ministry with children and family, it often falls to us to help plan and visualize worship celebrations for Mother’s Day. I hope the prayers and resources below will help you discern what might work best for your congregation or spark a new and creative idea for you. First, a few thoughts on celebrating Mother’s Day in worship.
Growing up Mother’s Day was a special day to celebrate my mom with a bouquet of dandelions from our field, a cup of her favorite tea, and a new something special handmade at school. When I moved away from home, I expanded my understanding to include the women who mothered me through college, seminary, and early adulthood. Then, I became a mom — now the recipient of dandelion bouquets and handmade masterpieces. Along the way, I was blessed to meet women who became like sisters and loved me enough to “mother” me through tough times. Not to mention the many women I’ve encountered in my ministry who have showed me different ways women mother in the world. Today, Mother’s Day has such a broader and wider meaning in my life than it did when I was a little girl.
This ever growing sense of the greater scope of what it means to be a mother influences how I plan worship on Mother’s Day. I also keep close at heart the need to approach this day with great care and sensitivity. Paul reminds us in First Corinthians that as members of the community of Christ we are to care for one another. On Mother’s Day, this means we must both celebrate the joy and acknowledge the pain of being a woman on this day. It means honoring a woman’s worth is not tied to being a mother. And it means remembering many women long for motherhood but as of yet remain childless. It means recognizing some are grieving the death of their mothers and some mothers grieve the death of their children. As a community formed in the light and love of Christ, to care for one another means we must honor the wide spectrum of mothering.
And to all the moms out there who are planning Mother’s Day for others, thank you for all you do to lead in ministry, I see you and I give thanks for you.
Resources for Mother’s Day Worship:
I’ve written a special children’s sermon to celebrate the gift of love and to acknowledge all church mothers who train up the next generation with love. Children’s Sermon
These prayers honor female imagery of God found throughout the Bible and lift up prayers of celebration and concern for women on this day. Prayers for Worship
This is a beautiful story of the Biblical creation story retold to break down traditional assumptions that God is male, allowing young girls of all ethnicities to see themselves in the divine. The link takes you to Storypath, a site dedicated to sharing the rich theological resource of children’s books for Christian education; it is part of a project at Union Theological Seminary. Children’s Book, When God Was a Little Girl To purchase the book, click here