WELCOME TO A DIFFERENT WAY OF WORSHIPPING
October 25, 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
The key to success is sincerity. Learn to fake that and you’ve got it made.
- George Burns, or Groucho Marx, or Jean Giraudoux?
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
Confession isn’t really about what we “get out of it.” The practice of this prayer is an assurance of our pardon, of the restoring of our connection with all that is holy. It starts with our turning back to our true north, and doing so because we are motivated, not by being let off the hook or being forgiven or feeling as though the albatross has dropped from our necks, but rather by the desire to come home – to be the real us once more.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart and mind and strength. We have not loved our neighbor as ourselves.
In your mercy forgive what we have been, help us amend what we are, and direct what we shall be, so that we may delight in your will and walk in your ways to the glory of your holy name. Amen.
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
So often, God, we meet this world with the hope of winning – however we may measure it. In these words from scripture remind us of what motivates you. We ask this that we may learn to live and breathe in this world, driven forward by your Holy Spirit. We pray this in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
1 Thessalonians 2:1-8
You yourselves know, brothers and sisters, that our coming to you was not in vain, but though we had already suffered and been shamefully maltreated at Philippi, as you know, we had courage in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in spite of great opposition. For our appeal does not spring from deceit or impure motives or trickery, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the message of the gospel, even so we speak, not to please mortals, but to please God who tests our hearts. As you know and as God is our witness, we never came with words of flattery or with a pretext for greed; nor did we seek praise from mortals, whether from you or from others, though we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nurse tenderly caring for her own children. So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us.
The Importance of Sincere Motivation
Rev. Jeremy Jinkins
Our God, our help in ages past,
our hope for years to come,
our shelter from the stormy blast,
and our eternal home:
Under the shadow of your throne
your saints have dwelt secure;
sufficient is your arm alone,
and our defense is sure.
Before the hills in order stood,
or earth received her frame,
from everlasting you are God,
to endless years the same.
A thousand ages in your sight
are like an evening gone;
short as the watch that ends the night
before the rising sun.
The busy tribes of flesh and blood,
with all their lives and cares,
are carried downward by your flood,
and lost in foll'wing years.
Time, like an ever-rolling stream,
bears all its sons away;
they fly forgotten, as a dream
dies at the op'ning day.
Our God, our help in ages past,
our hope for years to come:
O be our guard while troubles last,
and our eternal home.
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.