WELCOME TO A DIFFERENT WAY OF WORSHIPPING
June 14, 2020
First, a word on fancy words. In worship we have this phrase we use called liturgy that feels like a formal way of having a worship leader saying stuffy things about God. The word means, “the work of the people” and liturgy is meant to be held, and owned by the worshippers, i.e. you. This service is planned to give you a path, a guide to pray, interact with scripture, wrestle with it – wrestle with God – and in so doing, have a moment of coming face to face with the divine right here, right now.
So, come and lay all the worries of the day aside. Take a deep breath, and we will start with a prayer.
PONDERING BEFORE WORSHIP
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.
CALL TO WORSHIP
Jesus, our Lord, summons us to answer God’s call of mercy – mercy for us and mercy for us to give others. God’s Holy Spirit gathers us up and gives us power to be healed and to heal, to be forgiven and to forgive, to be welcomed in and to open the door to others in love and hospitality. God’s very presence is at hand. Let us now worship God.
CALL TO CONFESSION
The deep mystery of God’s own life brings forth life, and too often the promise of good seems to good to be true. We shrink into the world we know, and find comfort in what we can control. The resurrection of Jesus Christ reveals that nothing is impossible with God. In confession, our openness to and with God brings miracles we can scarcely imagine.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
God, Holy Three, Holy One, we confess that we do not know how to look for you. We do not sense your nearness, and if there are angels among us, we are unaware. In fear, we close ourselves off to those who are different, and miss the chance to find new life in these foregone relationships. We also, too often, do not trust that our hardships can be transformed by your Spirit.
Forgive us, we pray, and show us the day when our laughter will be not of disbelief, but in utter joy for the peace among us and the grace we find. Seeking this, we ask that you send us out to offer good news so that others may receive your holy blessing. Amen.
ASSURANCE OF PARDON
The one who has risen is the same who promises to come again. We have not been left to our own devices; our failures and false starts are not the end of the story. Trust in God that every hurt, every scar you bear signals the coming presence of God who reconciles all things.
PROCLAMATION OF THE WORD
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
God of redemption, summon us to Sarah’s joy, Abraham’s wonder, and the promise that when your children welcome each other you are among us. Amen.
Genesis 18:1-15 (21:1-7)
The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them, and bowed down to the ground. He said, ‘My lord, if I find favour with you, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.’ So they said, ‘Do as you have said.’ And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, ‘Make ready quickly three measures of choice flour, knead it, and make cakes.’ Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it. Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree while they ate.
They said to him, ‘Where is your wife Sarah?’ And he said, ‘There, in the tent.’ Then one said, ‘I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son.’ And Sarah was listening at the tent entrance behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, ‘After I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?’ The Lord said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh, and say, “Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?” Is anything too wonderful for the Lord? At the set time I will return to you, in due season, and Sarah shall have a son.’ But Sarah denied, saying, ‘I did not laugh’; for she was afraid. He said, ‘Oh yes, you did laugh.’
The Lord dealt with Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as he had promised. Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the time of which God had spoken to him. Abraham gave the name Isaac to his son whom Sarah bore him. And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. Now Sarah said, ‘God has brought laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me.’ And she said, ‘Who would ever have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.’
Rev. Jeremy Jinkins
SUNDAY SCHOOL AT HOME
Although we can’t be in the same proximity physically, we can be together in spirit. We are happy to be able to provide to you age appropriate Sunday school lessons each week for you to do with your children. Click the Sunday School button to be directed to our weekly lessons.
ACTIVITIES FOR THE FAMILY
Click the activities button for family activities to do with your children. You will find this week's Church on Wednesday (C.O.W.) Activity, plus previous activities you can still do!
STAYING CONNECTED FOR ADULTS
Faith Formation is pleased to announce the following adult learning opportunities that are meeting “virtually” while we “shelter in place”. Anyone is welcome to participate. Contact information and more details can be found by clicking the Adult Opportunities button.
RESPONDING TO THE WORD
Prayers of the People and the Lord’s Prayer
Our Father who art in heaven. Hallowed be Thy name. They kingdom come. Thy will be done. On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
How can we pray for you?
Click the button to send us your prayer concerns and joys and stay connected.
OFFERING OUR GIFTS
In some important ways the key of life is learning to remain open to others. Experience and disappointment, especially, tend to shut us down, and we shut others out. In the same way strangers and those who are different are often not welcomed in. As we heard today with Abraham, being open, welcoming in the unknown is a way of offering ourselves to the world. It is a way of being fully and immediately the good creation we were made to be.
In our spiritual and faith lives we are invited to relearn how to be fully present in all aspects of life – how we relate to our time, how we employ our talents and gifts, how we invest the fruits of our labors are all a matter of being fully present. We are blessed to be more intentional with every part of our lives so that they may be a gift to others.
If you have struggled finding a way to help support the work PCW does in our local and broader community in these days of worshipping remotely, remember, you can send checks to 140 Mountain Avenue, Westfield, NJ 07090, or email Tina Barulli at email@example.com if you have that ability.
Know that you are loved by a God of surprises and miracles, a God who meets us unexpectedly as the stranger, and who has a sense of humor. This same God walks with you in this time of uncertainty, giving you strength and bringing you the love of community.
Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
PASSING THE PEACE
Peace be with you
Please pass the peace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, to your neighbors.