Being intentionally intergenerational in worship can sound like an overwhelming task. Indeed, it does require some time and effort. As a place to start, consider planning a service that celebrates each generation and the particular gifts it brings to the body of Christ. Doing so may jumpstart your thinking about how to draw in all generations on a more regular basis. Following are two resources that could be used in such a service.
Litany of Thanksgiving for the Seasons of Life
Give thanks to the Lord, our God, who has created all life.
God’s love is forever.
Open our eyes to the joys and gifts to be learned and shared from all the seasons of life.
Open our eyes that we may know your love at each moment of our lives.
Thank you, God, for children who are curious, unafraid, and infectiously joyful, who are trusting receivers of God’s grace.
We thank and praise you, God, for children.
Thank you, Lord, for the young who demonstrate courage and hope as they begin new adventures; for their fresh ideas and their energies.
We thank and praise you, God, for the young.
For those in the middle years of life, we give thanks, dear Lord; for steady hands and hearts that guide the young and offer their experience to us all.
We thank and praise you, God, for those in the middle years of life.
For those grown up and grown old, dear Lord, we celebrate your special gift. We give thanks for joys seen only through the eyes of those who are wise in their age and whose stories of life lived can enrich all our lives.
We give thanks and praise, dear Lord, for those who have grown old.
Guide our lives, Lord, so that in each stage of life we recognize and cherish the joys and sorrows, the strengths and weaknesses, and the special presence of your Spirit—not only in our own season of life, but in the lives of each other, young or old or in between.
Dear God, we give you praise and thanksgiving for all the seasons of life, and we ask that you open our eyes that we may see the unique gift of each person’s life, created out of your love.
God’s love enfolds us all.
—Sarah Hipps, retired educator/chaplain, Presbyterian Church, USA. Used by permission
Hymn: God, We Spend a Lifetime Growing
8787D, ODE TO JOY, BABILONE
God, we spend a lifetime growing,
learning of your love and care,
planting seeds you give for sowing,
working for the fruit they’ll bear.
Now we honor faithful servants
who, with joy, look back and see
years of growing in your presence,
lives of fruitful ministry.
Thank you, Lord, for ones who teach us
what has brought them to this place!
May their faith-filled witness reach us;
may we glimpse in them your grace.
Strong in you, their strength uplifts us
from our birth until life’s end;
Spirit-filled, they give us gifts, as
prophet, mentor, guide, and friend.
Christ our Lord, you walk beside us,
giving daily work to do;
years go by and still you guide us
as we seek to follow you.
If our sight fails, weak hands tremble,
minds forget the things we’ve known,
Lord, we trust that you remember,
hold us close, and see us home.
—by Carolyn Winfrey GilletteText: Copyright © 2001. All rights reserved.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Carolyn Winfrey Gillette is the co-pastor of the Limestone Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, Delaware and author of Gifts of Love (Geneva Press 2000).
A complete list of her hymns can be found at www.carolynshymns.com
Art by Tanja Butler, from Icon: Visual Images for Every Sunday CD (© 1999, Augsburg Fortress, 1-800-421-0239, www.augsburgfortress.org). Used by permisssion.
For additional material from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, click here.