WELCOME TO A DIFFERENT WAY OF WORSHIPPING
August 9, 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.
This week we conclude 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 The Golden Rule.
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
How often do we get caught up in thinking of others first in terms of “how the relationship is going.” The degree to which others treat us well is a prime determinant of how connected we feel, and often guides how we behave towards them. So many relationships have been scuttled as each person reacts to the actions of the other, a downward spiral that hurts our souls. Our confessional prayer gives us room to take stock and reflect on how we want things to be different, and then also prepares us to be the change we want to see – to borrow words from Gandhi.
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
Meet us once again in these sacred words. Clear from our minds all thoughts that distract us from the life you have prepared for us, and awaken our inmost being to the love that lies at the center of all things. Amen.
In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.
The “big-C” Bucket Challenge
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
As the continued heath, economic, and social crises continue, many of us and many close to us feel depleted, worn, less-than. With so much to be concerned of we may sense emotional fatigue and have the impression that we have no more left to give. Here is the wonder of self-offering… with every act of making ourselves available to help, to serve, to love, we realize we need self-protection less and less; we realize that God is with us, carrying us, sustaining us.
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.
How will you “fill a bucket” today? Our lives have an extraordinary power to transform and shape others. Once we realize that our bucket is already full, we are freed to spark the lives around us. Know that you are loved just as you are.
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.