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All Saints' Day

Small-group Worship Suggestions

Luke 6:20–31 NRSV

The Facilitator Notes provide an overview of Sacred Space and how to use the resource to best meet ministry needs. This is a must read for first-time users.

The weekly outline and handouts provide everything needed to plan and facilitate a scripture-focused Sacred Space gathering and includes additional options such as Thoughts for Children.


Gathering

Welcome

All Saints’ Day is a day to remember disciples of old, people who contributed to Christian community, and church members who lived in faithfulness and service. It is also a time to remember friends, family, and community members who have died during the year. In this way we honor those who have gone before us and reaffirm our belief in eternal life.

Prayer for Peace

Ring a bell or chime three times slowly.
Light the peace candle.

Creating God,

Be with us as you have been with those who have worked for peace.

Sustain us in hope that violence will not endure, peace will reign.

Strengthen us that we may continue the work of our foremothers and forefathers, who shared the good news of your love and the coming of your peaceable reign.

Guide us to do those things that bring blessings of peace to others and to your Earth.

Committed to the message and ministry of Christ we pray. Amen.

Spiritual Practice

Giving Thanks

We will spend several minutes in the spiritual discipline of gratitude. We are grateful for many aspects of our lives, communities, and the Earth. As I say each one aloud, we will spend a few moments in silent gratitude, and then I will move to the next area of gratitude. After the last one I will close our practice of gratitude by saying, “Amen,” aloud.

Find a comfortable position. You may close your eyes if you wish. We will begin:

God of the past, the present, and all that is to come,

We offer gratitude for:

Disciples of old who shared the story of Jesus.

Pause for silent reflection.

People who have worked for peace.

Pause for silent reflection.

Those who shared food and fellowship.

Pause for silent reflection.

People who shared their story of faith.

Pause for silent reflection.

Amen.

Invite group members to share reflections of gratitude that came into their awareness during this practice.

Offer a brief prayer of gratitude for all that has been shared and for the blessings of community past, present, and future.

Sharing Around the Table

Luke 6:20–31 NRSV

Then he looked up at his disciples and said:

“Blessed are you who are poor,
    for yours is the kingdom of God.
“Blessed are you who are hungry now,
    for you will be filled.
“Blessed are you who weep now,
    for you will laugh.

“Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.

“But woe to you who are rich,
    for you have received your consolation.
“Woe to you who are full now,
    for you will be hungry.
“Woe to you who are laughing now,
    for you will mourn and weep.
“Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets.

But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you.

This passage is referred to a Luke’s “Sermon on the Plain.” It stands in contrast to Matthew’s “Sermon on the Mount” in several ways. Here Jesus is among the people and looks up to them. He speaks to hardships they endure in their everyday life: poverty, hunger, grief, and rejection. Jesus also cautions those who have not endured hardship that a time will come when their roles will be reversed, and they will experience what it is to suffer.

To all present, Jesus makes clear what is expected of those who follow him. They are to act in benevolent servanthood. This is what comprises “sainthood” or deep, enduring discipleship. When we follow the teachings of Jesus through our response to God’s grace in our lives, we are living among the community of saints. We stand on the shoulders of all disciples who have gone before us, and we carry forward the message and ministry of Jesus to those who will share in Christian community long after we are gone.

Questions

  1. When have you been without a basic necessity? How would you have heard the blessings of Jesus at that time?
  2. When have you lived in excess? How would you have heard the “woes” of this passage?
  3. What thoughts come to your mind as you reflect on someone you have encountered who lives a deep, enduring discipleship?
  4. What aspects of deep, enduring discipleship do you seek to cultivate?

Sending

Generosity Statement

“Faithful disciples respond to an increasing awareness of the abundant generosity of God by sharing according to the desires of their hearts; not by commandment or constraint” (Doctrine and Covenants 163:9). The offering basket is available if you would like to support ongoing small-group ministries as part of your generous response.

This offering prayer is adapted from A Disciple’s Generous Response:

God, You have blessed generations before us and will bless generations yet to come. May we be a generous people in response to your boundless grace and unending love. Bless and magnify our offerings and our service to others. Let generosity become part of our nature, we pray. Amen.

Invitation to Next Meeting

Closing Hymn

CCS 379, “O for a World”

Closing Prayer

Optional Additions Depending on Group

God Restores (2021)

All Saints’ Day (Ordinary Time)

ISAIAH 25:6-9

God Restores

Additional Scriptures

Psalm 24; John 11:32-44; Revelation 21:1-6a; Doctrine and Covenants 164:9a-d


Preparation

All Saints’ Day, which falls on November 1, is a time to remember those disciples who have passed from this life during the last year, as well as those throughout the wider Christian tradition who have provided the foundation on which we stand. A special service can honor them, or these elements can be incorporated into a Sunday service.

Prelude

Welcome

All Saints’ Day is a day to remember our disciples. Today we focus our remembrance of friends and colleagues who have served this congregation, this church, and the Christian community and who, in the past year, now rest from their labors in God’s loving embrace. We also honor all those who have gone before us within the wider Christian tradition and provided the foundation on which we stand. We reaffirm our belief in eternal life. As you worship today, consider all those, past or in the present, who have walked with you and helped shape your discipleship.

Call to Worship

Leader: Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,

Group 1: “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his people, and God will be with them; God will wipe every tear from their eyes.

Group 2: Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.”

Leader: And the one who was seated on the throne said,

All: “I am making all things new. These words are trustworthy and true.”

—Revelation 21:1-5, adapted

Hymn of Praise

“For All the Saints” CCS 331

OR “Clouds of Witnesses Surround Us” CCS 372

Prayer of Thanksgiving and Invocation

Response of Gratitude

“For Thy Gracious Blessing” Instrumental performance or sung by the congregation. CCS 126

On This All Saints’ Day

On this All Saints’ Day, let us give honor to those who formed our families, who sacrificed for our well-being, who built our churches, who founded institutions of learning, who braved the storm, who provided the foundation for our lives. Let us give honor to those who hallowed this earth by their prayers and by the way they walked in the light of God. Let us remember the giants of faith on whose shoulders we stand.

Identify those saints to be honored. The congregants can be invited to call out the names of those they wish to honor or a list can be prepared ahead of time for the presider to read. Be sure to include those from generations past and saints from our Christian tradition whose influence have also helped to shape us.

Responsive Prayer of Blessing

Leader: Gracious God, we praise you for these women and men whose authentic witness to your love inspires each new generation of your people.

People: We are mindful of all those who have gone on ahead of us. Teach us to follow their examples:

Leader: to feed the poor; to support and comfort those who mourn;

People: to cherish and be humbled by the compassionate; to stand with and learn from the peacemakers.

Leader: Let us recognize what it means to be called the children of God and may we know that we are included within this company of saints,

People: not by our own choosing, or in our own strength, but simply as followers of Christ Jesus, our Savior.

Leader: Loving God, each generation rises and passes away before you.

People: We rejoice in the company of these saints.

Leader: We remember all the saints who have lived and died in faith, especially those most dear to us who found their rest this year.

All: We bless you for their lives and love, and rejoice with them that “all is well.” Amen.

Prayer for Peace

Light the Peace Candle.

Prayer

Loving God, we pray to you today to make us your agents of peace;.
to give us the strength to help fight hatred and discord.
Give us compassion and understanding for those who are not like us.
Shine your light for us to see the good in others.
Lay your loving hands on those who are in the position to lead
and give them the wisdom to use their power wisely.
Help them lead their people to a life of love and peace.
We pray these in your most holy name, Amen.

—Learni Walton

A Daily Prayer for Peace service is held at the Temple in Independence, Missouri, USA 365 days a year. Additional ideas for Prayer for Peace can be found at www.CofChrist.org/daily-prayer-for-peace.

Call to Confession

Scripture Reading: Psalm 24:1-6 Print or project the words.

Moment of Silent Meditation

Hymn of Confession

“O My Soul, Bless Your Creator” CCS 220

OR “God Weeps” CCS 212

OR “Humble Yourself” Sing twice. CCS 211

Pastoral Prayer

Disciples’ Generous Response

Scripture Reading: Doctrine and Covenants 164:9a-d

Statement

We each stand on the shoulders of giants who have gone before us. The gospel is not only our path to follow, but it was the path of the saints who gathered before us. How could I choose any other way than to give to my full capacity?

During the Disciples’ Generous Response, we focus on aligning our heart with God’s heart. Our offerings are more than meeting budgets or funding mission. Through our offerings, we are able to tangibly express our gratitude to God who is the giver of all.

As we share our mission tithes either by placing money in the plates or through eTithing, use this time to thank God for the many gifts received in life. Our hearts grow aligned with God’s when we gratefully receive and faithfully respond by living Christ’s mission.

Blessing of Generosity

Our God, we thank you for all your faithful servants who have lived their lives in such a way that your gospel lives on today. Let us be generous as we carry the mission of Christ forward. Accept the gifts we place before you now. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Receiving of Local and Worldwide Mission Tithes

For additional ideas, see Disciples’ Generous Response Tools at www.CofChrist.org/disciples-generous-response-tools.

Hymn of Commitment

“Let Us Give Praise to the God of Creation” CCS 607

OR “Sing a New World into Being” CCS 576

OR “Church of Christ Now Poised Anew” CCS 373

Benediction: Numbers 6:24-26

Postlude

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