Death, Hope and Community: An Eternity Sunday Sermon Job 14, I Thessalonians 4:13, Romans 12:15

I was surprised to realize that in the verse that Handel used, Job was not talking about a Redeemer who would help him after death. No…Job is looking for redemption in this life. Handel’s aria uses the words of the King James Version, and Handel’s lyrics go,  “Though worms destroy this body…” I have always taken that to mean, “after we die…” But Job had some horrible skin disease, and the problem he actually had was that he had open sores with maggots in them!

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Summer Congregational Prayer

Our souls magnify the Lord.
Our souls amplify the goodness of God–
we take a good close-up look at all our blessings.
Thank you for plants:
for the deliciousness of fresh lettuce
and the sharp tang of dill,
but also for their beauty, their leafy wonder,
their greenness, their fragrance.
Thank you for the miracle of growth,
for sun and rain which has made them grow
and for the mysteries of photosynthesis.
Creation at work at a molecular level,

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Miraculous Bodies Congregational Prayer

Thank you for the miracle of our bodies;
for breath that fills us,
blood that circulates,
synapses that spark,
microscopic particles exchanging in good order,
everything working together in harmony.
We are fearfully and wonderfully made.
 As creatures, we are vulnerable,
we have weaknesses and sicknesses.
Creator God, we need your healing presence:
when we have symptoms that are unexplained
and we wonder, “What does this mean?”:

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Your Kingdom Come Call to Worship

Holy is your name, God in heaven!
We come to worship today longing for your kingdom come.
What is your will in our lives, in our world?
In this hour of worship,
enlighten us with your Word,
inspire us with stirring songs,
enfold us with your community,
embrace us with a vision so strong
that we will go from here with good news for all people.

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Breathing Thankfulness Call to Worship

God of all creation, our chief end
is to glorify you,
and enjoy you forever.
Our deep delight is in your presence,
our fondest thoughts are of you,
our strongest longing is for your house.
In this hour of worship,
help us to become who we are meant to be–
a community that breathes thankfulness,
voicing your praise in all we do.   Amen.

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Did I See You? A Reading About Abuse

Did I see you?
When I was hungry, you broke bread with me.
When I was sick, you sat by my bedside.
When I was in prison, you petitioned for my release.
When I was sexually assaulted, you listened to my pain.
When I was afraid to be alone, you stayed with me.
When I felt guilty and ashamed, you told me it was not my fault.
When I had to go to court, you went with me.
When I was filled with anger and hatred, you did not reject me.
When I was filled with sorrow and hopelessness, you held my hand.
When I kept my story secret for years, you understood why.
When I called on God for help, you came and helped me.

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About Carol Penner

I am a Mennonite pastor currently teaching theology at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario. I’ve served congregations in Ontario and most recently, Alberta.

I love to write and to lead worship! If you are finding my writing helpful, I would love to hear from you! Feel free to use or adapt the material here, it is all written by me. If printing material, please credit “Copyright Carol Penner” (and say whether you modified it). If publishing, please contact me for permission. Contact me at

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