An Open Mind Frees the Spirit
Call to Worship: United Methodist Women’s Reading Program opens windows of opportunity for minds and spirits. Books focus on education for mission, nurturing for community, social action and spiritual growth. They provide a lifeline for those seeking direction and hope.
Scripture: Psalms 51:10-15
(Titles of 1998 Reading Program books are used as responses.)
Leader: Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.
All: O God, my Prayers of Faith.
Leader: Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me.
All: Help me when I cry, Why God Why?
Leader: Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.
All: I pray I am Becoming a Woman of Strength.
Leader: Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.
All: Lord, lead me to Peace, Love and Healing.
Leader: Deliver me from bloodshed, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.
All: May I move From Victim to Victory.
Leader: O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
All: I will ever sing of your Amazing Grace. Amen.
(Participants should name people and categories of people after each "We remember...")
We remember those denied the right to read. (Pause for names.)
We remember those who are not disciplined to read. (Pause for names.)
We remember those who find freedom by reading, knowledge and action. (Pause for names.)
All: We thank God for the gift of the Reading Program. We are challenged to unwrap, open and share the gift with others to raise consciousness, and to lead us to justice, healing and spiritual development.
(Use these stories or your own.)
Reader 1: Books open minds in profound ways because they take us into experiences we might not otherwise have. They allow us to understand those we have not met. They teach us about the world. Books touch our pain and give us ways to deal with suffering. Books show us God through others’ eyes.
Reader 2: The Reading Program is a window to the world. Books open our minds to understand mission. Through reading, we see different approaches to everyday living.
Reader 3: The reading list is up-to-date. Books relates to things we deal with in our lives. Large-print books give women who are visually impaired a sense of belonging. Mission studies, which are on the reading list, help us understand current issues, other nations, our faith.
Closing: Creator God, we thank you for the gifts of books, for the privilege of reading and expanding our consciousness. We thank you, God, for expanding our horizons as we learn about the needs, concerns and joys of people around the world. We thank you for United Methodist Women’s Reading Program. Help us to appreciate this gift. Amen.
Christine Dean Keels was a vice president of the Women’s Division for the section of Christian social responsibility.