Liturgy for Trinity Sunday, the 100th Anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, & Memorial Day Weekend

-*Call to Worship (From Psalm 62)

How long will you assail a person – will you commit murder, all of you?
Their only desire is to bring others down low.
They delight in deception. With their mouths they bless, but in their hearts they curse.
For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from the Lord.
God alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress. I shall not be shaken.
Trust in the Lord at all times, O people. Pour out your hearts before God!
God is a refuge for us.
Put no confidence in violence and set no vain hopes in robbery.
One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard:
Power belongs to God and unfailing love belongs to you, O Lord.
Let us worship the Lord.
God is our hope.

-Confession & Pardon

-Prayer of Confession
Almighty God, who are we that you have called us to approach your throne? You are eternal, all wise, all merciful, all loving, all powerful. You tell us you are one in three and three in one and we are undone as we try to grasp what that means. Are we your children who stand up for you and show up for you – even giving our lives for your cause of goodness? Or are we wayward and selfish, harming others, justifying our own wickedness? On days when we fall so low that we barely recognize your light within us – have mercy on us. Turn our stiff, stubborn necks so that we might embrace the possibilities of goodness that you lay out for each one of us, day by day. Grant us strength, patience, and courage to show the world who you are with each breath, with every word, with all our deeds.

~a moment of silent reflection~

-Assurance of Pardon
Friends, when we come to God seeking forgiveness, no matter how lost and shameful we feel, we are telling God, “your grace is sufficient for me.” We are not celebrating our own righteousness, our ability to turn things around for ourselves. We are saying, “the power of the cross, the power of salvation, the reality of the new life promised in Jesus Christ is greater than anything I could say or do.” Truly, this grace has been given to you and to me. Thanks be to God– in Jesus Christ, we are forgiven and we are free. Amen.

-Prayer for Illumination

God of the Ages, we spend so much of our lives thirsting for hope, for truth, for guidance, for life. All the while, you offer us living water through your holy scripture, waiting for us to come to the well and drink. This day, let us thirst for your word to us and let our thirst be slaked as we work and worship, this day and always. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Reading of the Word

– Reading from the New Testament: Titus 3:1b-7
[Remind them] to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show every courtesy to everyone. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, despicable, hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, God saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to God’s mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. This Spirit God poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by God’s grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

– Reading from the Old Testament: 2 Samuel 23:13-17
Towards the beginning of harvest three of the thirty chiefs went down to join David at the cave of Adullam, while a band of Philistines was encamped in the valley of Rephaim. 14 David was then in the stronghold; and the garrison of the Philistines was then at Bethlehem. 15 David said longingly, “O that someone would give me water to drink from the well of Bethlehem that is by the gate!” 16 Then the three warriors broke through the camp of the Philistines, drew water from the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate, and brought it to David. But he would not drink of it; he poured it out to the Lord, 17 for he said, “The Lord forbid that I should do this. Can I drink the blood of the men who went at the risk of their lives?” Therefore he would not drink it. The three warriors did these things.

-Sermon Title: “Living Water”

-Affirmation of Faith (Apostles’ Creed)


-Litany for the 100th Anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre

As we approach the hundredth anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, we pause before this impossible pain.
We were not here then; we were not alive; we did not know; we were never taught.
We do not want to face what those few days meant to so many people: those who lost their lives and grieved loved ones, those who were injured, those whose homes and businesses were destroyed, those who never returned.
How could hatred be that powerful? How could that destruction have happened so close by?
So many of those who stirred up violence felt justified in what they did. They believed they were protecting their homes and families.
But they were wrong. Every human being is a child of God. The color of our skin does not make us enemies. Sin, oppression, and distortions of God’s word lead us to hatred and fear.  
Sometimes it makes us feel more powerful and safer to have someone else to blame, to scapegoat, for all the woes that we face.
But God calls us to humility and to truth – to see our own failings and to extend grace to each other just as God has been gracious to us.
We did not know; we were never taught – but we are learning now.
We are learning to hear what we would rather avoid, to love where it is difficult, to start to repair what had been hidden away.
We will make missteps; we will fall into old habits; it is hard to take a new path.
But we have heard the voices of pain that were muffled for a century, and we will not turn away.
Merciful God, heal the wounded hearts of generations that still bear scars from this horror. Unravel every racist thought and thread that persists in this land. Help us seek unity that honors every voice so that we may all walk forward together. Amen.

-Prayers of the People + Lord’s Prayer


-Invitation to the Lord’s Table (from Psalm 34:8)
When Jesus made his final journey to Jerusalem to face his betrayal and death on the cross, he sent his disciples ahead of him to prepare the Passover meal. They did not know it would be their last supper together. When they kneaded and baked the bread, they did not know it would become the bread of life. When they prepared the wine, they mixed it with water – not knowing it would be the cup of their salvation. This living water flows from the throne of God, flows through the very body of Christ, encompasses us in the waters of baptism, preserves us through every fiery trial, and leads us homeward every day. For generations, different disciples have set this table, but Jesus remains our host, our friend, and our Savior. He calls to you and to me: “taste and see that the Lord is good.”

-Great Thanksgiving
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

We give you thanks, O God, for the endless possibilities of life. From the very beginning you set us in the garden of this world to live and learn, to know you and to embrace what you called, “good.” Even then, you gave us a gift that has brought us some of our greatest pain and our greatest joy: the gift of choice. We learned to turn from you, to choose things that bite and sting, to hurt one another and ourselves. You spoke to us in dreams and visions, you sent us teachers and prophets, commandments and miracles to show us what life together could truly be. Again and again, we chose what is evil, we ignored your teachings, we scorned your love. But you refused to leave us; you would not leave us alone with the hurt that we created. However many times we chose the evil, you still made a way for us to turn to good.

For this incredible grace and mercy, let us join our voices with the saints in heaven above and in all corners of the earth who sing together of your wonder and glory:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

You sent us your son, Jesus Christ, through the waters of birth, through miracles beyond our comprehension. When the time was right, he was baptized in the Jordan and the Spirit descended on him from heaven. In this Holy Mystery, you gave us a glimpse of who you are, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit linking heaven and earth in the appearance of a dove. Anointed as your own, beloved son, he revealed the boundless warmth of your love for all humanity. He offered healing and hope, new life and freedom to all he encountered. Once more, Jesus showed us that we can choose what is holy and righteous. Jesus promised to strengthen and support our walk of faith through the gift of the Holy Spirit. He gave everything for us – his love, his time, his comfort, and, in the end, his very life. But the cross was not his end – though so many gave him up for dead, the living water could not be stilled or stopped.  Great is the mystery of faith:

Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Gracious God, pour out your Holy Spirit upon us and upon these your gifts of bread and wine, that the bread we break and the cup we bless may be the communion of the body and blood of Christ Amen.

-Breaking of the Bread

The Lord Jesus, on the night of his arrest, took bread, and after giving thanks to God, he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying: Take, eat. This is my body, given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.

In the same way he took the cup saying: This cup is a new covenant sealed in my blood, poured out for you for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this is remembrance of me.

Every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the saving death of the risen Lord, until he comes again in glory. Amen.

This morning, our blessing here in the church sanctifies the elements you have at home – the bread and the cup, whatever you have on hand. We will take the bread together and then we will drink the cup together.

-Communion of the People

These are the gifts of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God.
This is the body of Christ, broken for you. Take and eat.
This is the blood of Christ, poured out for you. Take and eat.

-Prayer Following Communion
Holy God, we do not rely on our own strength, our own will, or our own goodness. When we share this sacred meal, we are reminded that it is God who made us, Christ who lifts us up, and the Spirit who urges us onward. Here we are fed and here we are bound together with saints of every time and every place. Let us be united in your holy purpose so that we might overcome evil with good – in our own hearts and in the world. Amen.

-Charge and Benediction

Image credit: “Ruins of the Tulsa Race Riot 6-1-21,” owned by Kavin Ross.

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