July 12, 2020: Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

A Spoken Prayer Service

Video: entirety of the spoken prayer service

Sentences of Scripture


O God, you opened your mouth and uttered a word and creation sprang forth in abundance. Open our mouths in praise, that we may bear fruit in this trying season, and be satisfied by your goodness and providence. This we pray in the name of Jesus, our Savior and Friend. AMEN.

Scripture Lesson: Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength,
    a very present[a] help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
    though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam,
    though the mountains tremble with its tumult. Selah

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of the city;[b] it shall not be moved;
    God will help it when the morning dawns.
The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter;
    he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our refuge.[c] Selah

Come, behold the works of the Lord;
    see what desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
    he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear;
    he burns the shields with fire.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God!
    I am exalted among the nations,
    I am exalted in the earth.”
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our refuge.[d] Selah

A Prayer for Covid-19 Patients and Families

O God, in the midst of the Coronavirus crisis, we praise you as a merciful and unchanging God, mighty to save.

Grant those afflicted with this illness and their loved ones an abiding awareness of your presence with them. May the peace that allowed Jesus to sleep in the middle of a storm belong to them now.

Gracious One, we pray for caregivers. Grant them a resolute spirit that will not wither under the pressure of time, fatigue, or loss.

We pray for the overwhelmed. Protect them from the voice of shame. No one can be a full-time employee, parent, and caregiver all at once. May they know you love them and delight in them, even when it doesn’t all get done.

O God, we pray for the sick. When they struggle for the next breath, we pray that the Breath of Life would fill their airways, that your very Spirit would infuse their lungs with life again.

We pray for the dying and the deceased. We praise you for the ultimate healing of resurrection in Christ, who overcomes death.

We thank you, Jesus, that you spoke peace to the storm and the waters were stilled. We thank you that even this wind and these waves will obey you, too. Amen.

Scripture Lesson: Psalm 121

I lift up my eyes to the hills—
    from where will my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;
    he who keeps you will not slumber.
He who keeps Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;
    he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
    your going out and your coming in
    from this time on and forevermore.

A Prayer for the Development of a Vaccine and Cure

Great Physician, increase the knowledge of researchers and scientists. Expand their capacity for creativity and innovation. Draw them to collaborate, discuss, and compare notes, to focus their work in a unified effort to develop a vaccine and cure.

Healer of all ills, you are God over the enormous and the microscopic. You alone understand the inner workings of this virus, how it spreads in bodies and communities. Reveal what you know to our researchers and physicians, so that those who are sick can be healed and those who are well can stay well.

Speed the development of a vaccine and a cure, for the sake of the whole wide world that you love. Amen.

Scripture Lesson: Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;[a]
    he restores my soul.[b]
He leads me in right paths[c]
    for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley,[d]
    I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff—
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely[e] goodness and mercy[f] shall follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
    my whole life long.[g]

A Prayer for Businesses and  Workers

God of compassion, millions of people are being furloughed or have completely lost their jobs, while business owners daily face the changing realities of the disease and the lack of clear direction from leaders. We acknowledge our fear and anxiety for individual finances and the economy as a whole.

We ask that you guide hearts and minds of business owners and employees, as we strive to do what’s best for our families, our economy, and our world. Allow us to be creative in this time, using our unique skills and resources to meet needs in a new way.

Allow us to see your provision in our lives and show us how to use what you have given us to bless our friends, neighbors, and loved ones in need. Allow us to be productive when you would have us be productive and rest when you would have us rest.

Merciful Savior, for those who are unable to return to former work, we ask for an extra measure of faith and hope, to trust that you hold our future, that you have good plans for us.

We pray for leaders and influencers, that you would grant wisdom as they seek to ensure both public health and financial health.

O God, even a global crisis isn’t beyond you. Show us where we need to grow and change spiritually, personally, and in our work. Make us more gracious, understanding, and loving. We ask this and more in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Scripture Lesson: Romans 8:36-39

36 As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all day long;
    we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

A Prayer for All Dealing with Postponed Events

Merciful and loving God, we are experiencing changes and the loss of traditions with great meaning, milestones that mark the transitions in our lives – birthday parties, baptisms, graduations, weddings, funerals, and summer vacations.

God, bring us comfort as these events are canceled or rescheduled. Help our virtual gatherings to offer connection.

May heartfelt expressions of loving care soothe our disappointment and sadness.

God, we have the deepest compassion for the families of those who have died in this time and whose funerals or times of remembrance are put on hold. The inability to hug family and friends, to gather for greeting and comfort, compounds the loss. In your expansive mercy, God, wipe the tears of those who are mourning in isolation. Surround them with your love. Give them strength and perseverance to continue through difficult days when those who offer companionship are unable to be there in person. Sustain them with fond memories until our familiar traditions are open to us once again.

As many hopes are deferred, we offer our prayers in the name of Jesus whose resurrection gives us life and, in whose name, we are held close and dearly loved. Amen.

Scripture Lesson: Exodus 31:18-32:6

18 When God[a] finished speaking with Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the covenant,[b] tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.

32 When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered around Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make gods for us, who shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” Aaron said to them, “Take off the gold rings that are on the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” So all the people took off the gold rings from their ears, and brought them to Aaron. He took the gold from them, formed it in a mold,[c] and cast an image of a calf; and they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a festival to the Lord.” They rose early the next day, and offered burnt offerings and brought sacrifices of well-being; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to revel.

Hymn: “Sometimes a Light Surprises,” 800, vs. 1-2, 4

Hymnal page: 800, "Sometimes a Light Surprises"

Sermon: “The Pandemic Is a Time to Trust,” Rev. Vincent Kolb

Hymn: “If Thou But Trust in God to Guide Thee,” 816

Hymnal page: "If Thou but Trust in God to Guide Thee," 816



We are an open and affirming community of faith in Jesus Christ. At home in an urban neighborhood of many faiths, we acknowledge that we are not alone on the path to understanding God. In worship, study, and fellowship, we celebrate our Presbyterian roots and find joy in our diversity. We strive for the grace to love one another as we seek deeper understanding of life in the Spirit, working for justice and serving as stewards of God’s wondrous creation.

We are a More Light congregation: “Following the risen Christ, and seeking to make the Church a true community of hospitality, the mission of More Light Presbyterians is the full participation of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people of faith in the life, ministry, and witness of the Presbyterian Church (USA).”

Inclusive Language: Words matter. Jesus Christ, the living Word, reached out to all people to bring all people into God’s fold. The kingdom of God includes all types of people; therefore our language should reflect the inclusivity and equality among the people of God. To the end, when possible, we seek to eliminate the inherent bias of the English language towards the masculine gender without altering passages that reflect the historical situation of ancient patriarchal culture, out of which the Bible originated.

* The Session has closed the building until further notice to observe the governmental restrictions of social distancing.

* Many thanks to Kirk Howe for recording and editing the service this week! Thanks also to Paul Nicolaysen for singing!

* Worry not! Even though it’s not part of the spoken word service, Jenny still made this week’s Time for Children (click here!)

* David Harris, Race, Fear, and the Law in Police Confrontations. Join us on Wednesday, July 16, at 7 pm, via Zoom to take a sobering look backward and forward at the recent history of public safety in our city. David Harris is a leading national expert on public safety who looks back on the Jordan Miles beating and what that event meant for police/community relations in Pittsburgh. His presentation will be followed by Q&A, and an offering for PIIN will be received. Email Heather Vallone for information/the Zoom link: [email protected]

* Want to join Pastor Vincent’s Bible study of the lectionary texts at 11 am on Wednesdays? Contact the office to get on the email list for connection to the Zoom meeting.

* Zoom confused? Set up a call with Amy, and we’ll work through it together.

* It’s not the same as the thrill of putting the envelope in the plate, but you can still pay on your pledges either through eGive (click here!) or by mailing your check to the church. We continue to need your support in this challenging time!

* Resources for families are on Jenny’s Children and Youth blog (click here!)

* The Sixth Church Mouse Returns! For congregants who would like to participate in an email form of prayers of the people, please contact [email protected] to be added to the list. You can submit prayer requests to the same email address by Thursdays at 5 pm to be included in an email sent each Friday. Please remember that confidentiality still applies; we want this to be a safe place for both participants and those we love.

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