Love as I Have Loved You
1) A Service of Congregational Blessing
2) Prelude and Preparation
3) Hymn of Gathering
"Gather Your Children" (Stanzas 1 & 2) CCS 77
OR “O Lord, Grace Our Communion” CCS 80
4) Lighting of the Peace Candle and Prayer for Peace
6) Call to Worship: I Peter 3: 8-12
"Holy Spirit, Come with Power" CCS 46
OR “Spirit of God, Descend upon My Heart” CCS 48
7) Prayer of Invocation
Disciples’ Generous Response
Reflection: What is our response as followers of Jesus?
How will we extend this blessing to others?
Blessing and Offering of Mission Tithes
8) Scripture Reading and Homily
"Weave" CCS 327
OR “We Need Each Other’s Voice to Sing” CCS 324
10) Testimony of Harmony
11) Hymn: “With Gifts That Differ By Your Grace” CCS 328
12) Testimony of Transformation and Empowerment
Song of Dedication: "At The Heart of Sacred Calling” CCS 509
Blessing of the Priesthood
Blessing of the Children and Youth
Song of Dedication: "Sing of Colors” CCS 332
Blessing of the Families and Home
Blessing of the Congregation
"Gather Your Children” (stanzas 3 & 4) CCS 77
OR “Called by Christ to Love Each Other” CCS 577
Go forth, blessed to be a blessing to others. "Love as I Have Loved You." Amen.
"Love as I Have Loved You" – Annotations
As with all orders of worship in which a sacrament is enacted, the congregational blessing should be the liturgy's focal point or climax. The welcome, call to worship, invocation, scripture readings, hymns, and homily should thematically complement the purpose of the service and move the worshippers in a meaningful way towards participation in the blessing. Accordingly, the blessing should not be given early in the service.
The congregational blessing is ideally a culmination of many weeks of dialogue, home visitation, priesthood and leadership meetings and other congregational activities focused on a congregation's particular need. The blessing should address the need and should be contextual to all age groups.
1. Make every attempt to use the World Church theme and lectionary scriptures for the day. If they just do not seem appropriate for the sacrament, select a theme and scriptures that highlight the sacrament of blessing.
2. Through music and, perhaps, presider’s comments, the congregation is encouraged to gather in a manner that allows for preparation for the sacrament.
3. The gathering hymn properly reflects the anticipation of the congregation in being together for the celebration of the sacrament.
4. If your congregation has the tradition of lighting a peace candle and offering the prayer for peace, include it here.
5. The presider should warmly welcome all attendees and briefly address the unique purpose of this service, particularly for the benefit of visitors.
6. The suggested call to worship scripture focuses on harmony.
7. The prayer of invocation can include a statement of thanksgiving, praise, and expectation, as well as invoking God’s Spirit.
8. For this service, the reading and homily are not the focal point of the worship and should be much briefer than a typical sermon. Five minutes is sufficient. The homily should address the scriptural theme and prepare the congregation for the blessing to follow.
9. A hymn of unity and purpose fits the focus of the worship and the sacrament.
10. The testimony should also be brief and focus solely on the image of harmony.
11. This hymn could be omitted or replaced by a ministry of music. It could also be changed to a brief period of silence.
12. See note 10, only this time the image is of transformation and empowerment.
13. There is not prescribed formula for the prayer of blessing. Although this order of worship illustrates the evangelist blessing as three separate prayers, this should not be understood to be the proffered model for this unique sacrament. The blessing can be offered by one evangelist or more than one. If there are several prayers, they can each have a central focus as in this order of worship. A basic outline for a prayer of blessing is as follows:
Salutation - The salutation addresses God. It includes praise and thanksgiving and functions much like an invocation.
Purpose - The blessing's central purpose should be stated early in the prayer.
Petition - A petition for God's blessing properly is contextual to the age groups and families represented.
Congregation's Covenant - This is an expression of the congregation's commitment to work towards the desired focus (mission, reconciliation, healing, etc.)
God's Covenant - The evangelist should articulate God's desire and willingness to bless the congregation. This is where specific words of counsel and guidance are offered. This is the central body of the prayer - an expression of God's longing to strengthen the group as an authentic community of Jesus Christ.
Conclusion - The evangelist concludes quickly and briefly with a closing statement and amen.
14. Ask the congregation to form a circle around the perimeter of the sanctuary prior to singing the remaining stanzas of Hymn 77 or Hymn 577.
Ten Years and Growing!
“For Such a Time” CCS 376
“Come Now, Sound the Call of Zion” CCS 381
“The Spirit of God Like a Fire Is Burning” CCS 384
Greeting and Invitation to Worship
(name of congregation), now is the time to live, to come to the God who creates us, to sing to the Redeemer who frees us, to dance with the Spirit who fills us. Let us invite the whole world to join us in praising. Let us invite the city to worship with us. Let us call to those from far away, and those who live near by… Come, praise the Lord!
We call the traffic in the streets to stop and shout God’s name. May all who see us wonder at the witness of our faith. We summon doctor, teacher, nurse, minister, writer, creator, and child to… Come, praise the Lord!
We invite our friends to know our joy, those we love to know our Lord, and those we long to have beside us know, to celebrate with us. We invite the Spirit of this morning, and of the wind, and rain, and of all creation to join us as we remember the blessings of the Lord.
Let us extend an open invitation to one and all to join in one full circle of joy. We await the blessings of this hour. Come, Lord, make our joy complete!
“Community of Joy” CCS 631
OR “Called to Gather As God’s People” CCS 79
We Remember God’s Call to Us
Scripture: Doctrine and Covenants 157:11, 12, 15, 17
Hymn: “The Living Word of Scripture” CCS 65
Personal testimony by a person involved in the planting or “birth” of the congregation.
We Rejoice in Our Present Callings
Scripture: I Corinthians 12:4-12
Congregation’s Mission Statement
Personal testimony by current pastor
Congregational Hymn: “Weave” CCS 327
Disciples Generous Response
Blessing and Receiving of Mission Tithes
We Venture with God into the Coming Days
Scripture: Doctrine and Covenants 161:6
Allow congregation members to make 1-2 sentence statements of commitment.
Hymn: “Too Often, God, Your Name Is Used” CCS 342
“According to the Gifts That God” (stanzas 1, 3, and 4) CCS 591
Congregational Hymn: “God, You Have Set Us,”
by Jane Parker Huber, from A Singing Faith (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1987)
(Tune “God of Our Fathers”) ISBN 0-664-24056-9
OR “The Cause of Zion Summons Us” CCS 386
OR “Bring Forth the Kingdom” CCS 387