WELCOME TO A DIFFERENT WAY OF WORSHIPPING
July 19, 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.
PREPARATION FOR WORSHIP
Today is the third week of exploring the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus flips the world we know on its head and reveals a truth obscured by our expectations and day-to-day life. As we walk through worship, may we be invited in and given the confidence to stand firm when so much of our lives seems to be upended.
CALL TO WORSHIP
Jesus warns that what we have heard, what we have been taught, stops short of what the world needs most. To simply “not kill someone” is a far cry from actively trying to love and care for them. Anger, adultery, divorce, breaking of promises… these are all examples of the ways that relationships are broken through failures of love. Jesus calls to us, to all who would listen, and invites us to hear his vision for a world in which the Kingdom of Heaven is not a far-off, hoped for ideal, but an experience to be lived right now. This is our worship today.
CALL TO CONFESSION
Jesus says that when we let our anger drive the future of a relationship that we have lost our ability to make offering to God. Jesus says that when we look beyond the sacramental relationship of marriage that we have broken something deep within our being. Jesus says that divorce itself is a schism of the soul. Jesus also warns about our inability to make and keep promises. Jesus says all this because we are loved and God aches for the ways we hurt ourselves and those we are to love. Confession in worship is not a guilt trip, but rather is a chance to name what needs healing.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Our Light and true Life, we admit that too often your lofty call seems to high, a dream, a myth to reach for. We admit that the everyday we see around, the suffering on the news, abuses of power, people split and fighting constantly, all of it seems a reality we must escape or learn to live with. We admit that there also moments when we are complicit in the “real world.” We admit that, like Christians over the centuries, we don’t know how to grapple with your call to be the blessed ones.
Meet with us here in this holy space. Wash us once more in your Spirit and strengthen us to see that our faith is one of living and moving in a world gone blind. Let our lives be ones that help others see you at work in the world. Let our lives work for reconciling that which is broken. Let our lives inspire others. Let our lives offer more love than we ever thought possible. Reform and remold us into a blessing for this world you so adore. This we ask in the holy name of Jesus, the Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen.
ASSURANCE OF PARDON
Know that the love that holds you in grace is greater than any power in all creation. Yes, the same One we claim is the very spark of all that is, seen and unseen, we also believe exists in perfect communion; another way of saying it, God is love, and more than that, God is the love that binds all relationships. You are never lost, this world is never lost, because God will never let that relationship falter. We are loved, forgiven, and free. Amen.
PROCLAMATION OF THE WORD
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
Speak to us now and light up our spirits with your word. May these ancient lines spoken by our Lord call us to renewed faith, restore us with renewed hope, and point us in the way we must go. Amen.
‘You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, “You shall not murder”; and “whoever murders shall be liable to judgement.” But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgement; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, “You fool”, you will be liable to the hell of fire. So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.
‘You have heard that it was said, “You shall not commit adultery.” But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to go into hell.
‘It was also said, “Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.” But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
‘Again, you have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, “You shall not swear falsely, but carry out the vows you have made to the Lord.” But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let your word be “Yes, Yes” or “No, No”; anything more than this comes from the evil one.
Breaches and Breaks - 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.
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
How can we pray for you?
Click the button to send us your prayer concerns and joys and stay connected.
OFFERING OUR GIFTS
We are a people with more gifts than we know what to do with! Sometimes this may be in material terms of money, assets and the like, but even when that is true, the real gifts are generosity of spirit, kindness, empathy, patience, curiosity, and love. Our cup truly “runneth over” and our offering is a time to consider where and how this wellspring of love should be directed in our personal lives.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you have that ability.
When we shut down emotionally, spiritually, we block out others and things break down. Compassion is key to unlocking our own inner world; learning to see things from the point of view of another, learning to set our own view aside, helps us mend what has been broken. Compassion is a gift that connects us to all whom we come across.
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.