WELCOME TO A DIFFERENT WAY OF WORSHIPPING
August 2, 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
Stop for a moment as we prepare to worship. Let us ask the question, “how often does my faith, or scripture, or who I know God to be in Jesus Christ, take a back seat to the demands of the day?” Our culture is a powerful force and there are demands on our time, the way we think of our identity, the way we relate to our neighbors. So often, our identity is shaped first by our native culture – to the point that even tenets of the faith are coopted to serve it.
We are in week 2 of a three-week period of focusing on phrases, nuggets of wisdom, that we learned as children, but which are only vaguely connected to our faith. In fact, all three sayings are part of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus’ most famous sermon, yet they tend to remain detached from the meaning he gave them.
Come with us this week as we refresh our thinking of going the extra mile.
CALL TO WORSHIP
Jesus calls to us, even today, showing us a world we often think is too good to be true.
Jesus calls to us, inviting us into the kingdom, showing us what means to live within the will of God.
Jesus calls to us, the Spirit moves and something stirs in us, knowing that what Jesus says is more true than anything else in all of creation.
Jesus calls to us, and yet, this message, this call is drowned out, watered down, diluted. Let us here set all aside that would distract us and turn to face the One who first turns his countenance to us.
CALL TO CONFESSION
I have to admit that sometimes my personal confessional prayers have to do with frustration and even anger at the behavior of others. We all struggle from time to time with relationships that have become touched by one forcing the other to carry the weight or burden of the relationship. Whether we are demanding more, or whether we are struggling to keep things going, the strain can pull things apart. Confession is a safe space to bring this to God, and find a way forward.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Our Light and true Life, we admit that too often your lofty call seems too 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
Sometimes, God, your word has become so familiar, we have made it so “our own” that we have lost its intended meaning. Clear away the cobwebs of our own expectations, so that we might hear with new ears the life to which you call us. Amen.
Matthew 5:38-39a, 41
‘You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile.
It’s a Long Road - Rev. Jeremy Jinkins
“Pray, don’t find fault with the man that limps,
Or stumbles along the road.
Unless you have worn the moccasins he wears,
Or stumbled beneath the same load.
There may be tears in his soles that hurt
Though hidden away from view.
The burden he bears placed on your back
May cause you to stumble and fall, too.
Don’t sneer at the man who is down today
Unless you have felt the same blow
That caused his fall or felt the shame
That only the fallen know.
You may be strong, but still the blows
That were his, unknown to you in the same way,
May cause you to stagger and fall, too.
Don’t be too harsh with the man that sins.
Or pelt him with words, or stone, or disdain.
Unless you are sure you have no sins of your own,
And it’s only wisdom and love that your heart contains.
For you know if the tempter’s voice
Should whisper as soft to you,
As it did to him when he went astray,
It might cause you to falter, too.
Just walk a mile in his moccasins
Before you abuse, criticize and accuse.
If just for one hour, you could find a way
To see through his eyes, instead of your own muse.
I believe you’d be surprised to see
That you’ve been blind and narrow-minded, even unkind.
There are people on reservations and in the ghettos
Who have so little hope, and too much worry on their minds.
Brother, there but for the grace of God go you and I.
Just for a moment, slip into his mind and traditions
And see the world through his spirit and eyes
Before you cast a stone or falsely judge his conditions.
Remember to walk a mile in his moccasins
And remember the lessons of humanity taught to you by your elders.
We will be known forever by the tracks we leave
In other people’s lives, our kindnesses and generosity.
Take the time to walk a mile in his moccasins.”
By Mary T. Lathrap, 1895
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
SACRAMENT OF LORD'S SUPPER
AFFIRMATION OF FAITH
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father; through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven, was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became truly human. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
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 that ilk, 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.
You are loved, just as you are, you are loved. You are enough, just as you are, you are enough. When we encounter others who have forgotten, our compassion and empathy – simply trying to walk in their shoes a while – can make for amazing transformation.
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.