WELCOME TO A DIFFERENT WAY OF WORSHIPPING
October 18, 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
We believe that the transformation we experience in our own lives through this church makes us a safe place for our neighbors as we invite them in, make space for them to grow with us, and join us in hands-on service.
- The Session of the Presbyterian Church in Westfield
CALL TO WORSHIP
In a world that increasingly feels unhinged and uncertain, it is evermore important to remember that we are called back together by God’s Holy Spirit, and that in our worship in, to, and with the Son, we glorify the redeeming work of the Father in this world. We believe this, because when it feels the world is unhinged, we remember that everything really hinges on Jesus.
CALL TO CONFESSION
Each week we are invited back to confession, not because we are bad, but because each time we come back to God and lay everything out in front of us, we renew the “new relationship” sealed in the blood of Christ in communion. Confession is a little promise made to us that nothing stands in the way of our relationship with God. Trusting this, we can come back to the Father with earnest hearts, keeping nothing back.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
God, our Eternal Parent, the one from whom we keep nothing, be with us and our neighbors in these uncertain times. Friends and families are stretched thin, even split, over conflicts in society and politics. We allow our social identities to obfuscate our spiritual identities. Our sense of community is being torn by collective smugness and tribe allegiance.
Forgive us, and help us learn once more to live faithfully, with changed lives that point back to you. Allow us to live with our neighbors with sincere motivation and act always from a place of integrity knowing that so many in our community are terrified of what may be lost through these conflicts.
Give us a mind to see beyond the confusion and cleave ourselves to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ that we may be transformed into something trustworthy for hurting souls in our communities.
ASSURANCE OF PARDON
In Christ we come face to face with the full character of God, whose judgment on humanity is love, whose life calls us to new life and whose very being is our refuge. Know that you are forgiven, freed, and loved.
PROCLAMATION OF THE WORD
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
Meet us in these lines, that we may see the power of one life changed, and lived on full display. Help us see that the spark in each of our lives can influence others in ways we cannot predict, setting in motion good in this world we can scarcely understand. Amen.
Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,
To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
Grace to you and peace.
We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that he has chosen you, because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of people we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place where your faith in God has become known, so that we have no need to speak about it. For the people of those regions report about us what kind of welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath that is coming.
The Influence of Changed Lives
Rev. Jeremy Jinkins
I love to tell the story of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and his glory, of Jesus and his love.
I love to tell the story, because I know it’s true;
It satisfies my longings
as nothing else can do.
I love to tell the story, it will be my theme and glory
To tell the old, old story of Jesus and his love.
Tell me of Jesus, a story so dear,
Tell me of Jesus, who always is near.
Tell me a story of grace from above,
Of Jesus, our Savior, and his unending love.
I love to tell the story of Jesus so dear,
I love to tell the story of Jesus so near.
I love to tell the story of grace from above,
Of Jesus Christ, our Savior, and his unending love.
I love to tell the story, it will be my theme and glory
To tell the old, old story of Jesus and his love.
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
During the time that we focus on 1 Thessalonians and hear about maintaining faith in uncertain times, we will use the same Pastoral Prayer, one that is based on responses to the Heidelberg Catechism, and used by many pastors and is based on the Lord’s Prayer.
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Help us to really know you,
to bless, worship, and praise you
for all your works
and for all that shines forth from them:
your almighty power, wisdom, kindness,
justice, mercy, and truth.
Help us to direct all our living—
what we think, say, and do—
so that your name will never be blasphemed because of us
but always honored and praised.
Your kingdom come.
Rule us by your Word and Spirit in such a way
that more and more we submit to you.
Keep your church strong, and add to it.
Destroy the devil’s work;
destroy every force that revolts against you
and every conspiracy against your Word.
Do this until your kingdom is so complete and perfect
that in it you are all in all.
Your will be done on earth as in heaven.
Help us and all people
to reject our own wills
and to obey your will without any back talk.
Your will alone is good.
Help us one and all to carry out the work we are called to,
as willingly and faithfully as the angels in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Do take care of all our physical needs
so that we come to know
that you are the only source of everything good,
and that neither our work and worry
nor your gifts
can do us any good without your blessing.
And so help us to give up our trust in creatures
and to put trust in you alone.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
Because of Christ’s blood,
do not hold against us, poor sinners that we are,
any of the sins we do
or the evil that constantly clings to us.
Forgive us, just as we are fully determined,
as evidence of your grace in us,
to forgive our neighbors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
By ourselves we are too weak
to hold our own even for a moment.
And our sworn enemies—
the devil, the world, and our own flesh—
never stop attacking us.
And so, Lord,
uphold us and make us strong
with the strength of your Holy Spirit,
so that we may not go down to defeat
in this spiritual struggle,
but may firmly resist our enemies
until we finally win the complete victory.
For yours is the kingdom and the power
and the glory forever.
We have made all these requests of you
because, as our all-powerful King,
you not only want to,
but are able to give us all that is good;
and because your holy name,
and not we ourselves,
should receive all the praise, forever.
It is even more sure that you listen to our prayer,
than that we really desire what we pray for.
You are invited to silently lift the names of particular people or situations that weigh heavily on your soul at this time.
We seal these prayers with the one he taught us, saying together: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy 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 power and the glory, Amen.
How can we pray for you?
Click the button to send us your prayer concerns and joys and stay connected.
OFFERING OUR GIFTS
Even in this time where so much feels unsettled and we so yearn for things to be put right, God calls to us, and invites us to become a part of the reconciling work. Where we see brokenness, we can offer healing. Where we see discord, we can offer peace. Where we see despair, we can offer hope. Our lives, simply led as an offering of gratitude for the hope we find in Jesus, can spark change in the lives around 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.
You can change a life today. A kind remark when unnecessary… a call of consolation when unexpected… a word of peace, reconciliation, or even forgiveness when least deserved… each off these and more can become the spark that changes a life, who knows, it may even be yours!
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.