WELCOME TO A DIFFERENT WAY OF WORSHIPPING
February 14, 2021
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
“What you must realize, what you must even come to praise, is the fact that there is no right way that is going to become apparent to you once and for all. The most blinding illumination that strikes and perhaps radically changes your life will be so attenuated and obscured by doubts and dailiness that you may one day come to suspect the truth of that moment at all. The calling that seemed so clear will be lost in echoes of questionings and indecision; the church that seemed to save you will fester with egos, complacencies, banalities; the deepest love of your life will work itself like a thorn in your heart until all you can think of is plucking it out. Wisdom is accepting the truth of this. Courage is persisting with life in spite of it. And faith is finding yourself, in the deepest part of your soul, in the very heart of who you are, moved to praise it.”
- Christian Wiman, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer
PRAYER OF INVOCATION
Holy God, mighty and immortal, you are beyond our knowing, yet we see your glory in the face of Jesus Christ, whose compassion illumines the world. Transform us into the likeness of the love of Christ who renewed our humanity through his life, death, and resurrection – the same Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
CALL TO CONFESSION
Trusting the promise of God’s loving grace, let us pause for a moment to bring our hearts to God.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
God of transfiguration, you meet us in the ordinary as well as the extraordinary moments of life. We seek you in the valleys and on the mountaintops. Yet we admit that too often our eyes are blind to your presence, too often our ears are deaf to your call. When you reach out to us through the cries of the hungry and homeless, too often our hearts shrink from your touch. Forgive us, we pray, and set us free to love and serve. Amen.
ASSURANCE OF PARDON
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another, for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.
In Jesus Christ we are forgiven and transformed! Praise be to God. Amen.
PROCLAMATION OF THE WORD
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
Holy God, you revealed to the disciples the everlasting glory of Jesus Christ. Grant us, who have not seen and yet believe, the gift of your Holy Spirit, that we may boldly live the gospel and shine with your transforming glory as people changed and changing through the redeeming presence of our Savior. Amen.
Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus, ‘Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!’ Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.
As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
Rev. Jeremy Jinkins
Swiftly Pass the Clouds of Glory
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
Let us bring the needs of the church, the world and all in need to God’s loving care. This prayer is a litany form – and as has happened occasionally before, comes to us from The Worship Sourcebook; each petition section ends with the same phrase and you are invited to actively participate by reading the bold letters out loud.
The Word of God calls us to see that all the places and occasions of the world, even places of sorrow and death, are transfigured by the presence of the glory of God in Christ Jesus. and commend them to God’s transforming care, saying, “O merciful God, hear our prayer.”
For those who are alone, for widows and widowers and orphans, and for the divorced, O merciful God, hear our prayer.
For the imprisoned, for those whose only home is the streets, and for those caught in addiction, O merciful God, hear our prayer.
For the hungry, for those who cannot feed their children, and for the unemployed, O merciful God, hear our prayer.
For refugees, for victims of warfare, and for those held in poverty by racial discrimination, O merciful God, hear our prayer.
For the people of our nation, our city, and our community, O merciful God, hear our prayer.
For artists and writers and for all who think on the edge of society, O merciful God, hear our prayer.
For preachers and teachers of the light-bearing Word of Christ, O merciful God, hear our prayer.
For the church and its leaders, formed by the life-giving Word of Christ, O merciful God, hear our prayer.
For this assembly, feeding on the Word of Christ, O merciful God, hear our prayer.
You are invited to silently lift the names of particular people or situations that weigh heavily on your soul at this time.
With Moses and Elijah and all the people of God, with the church throughout the ages bearing witness to the great light of God shining in dark places, we commend to you all for whom we pray, sealing 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
Jesus invites us to follow, not to gather in one place reveling in his glory, but to follow him back down from the mountaintop experiences of our lives seek out every lost and scared sheep hiding in the valleys. Your gifts: your talents, your love and compassion, your time, your treasures, they are all part of how we reflect God’s bright love back into the world.
We can join in this work by volunteering to help our neighbors, by joining with our ministries to continue making an impact in the lives of our fellow church members – like helping to teach our children. We can also help by pledging to support this church community financially as we make a bigger and bigger impact in our local, regional, and even international communities.
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.
There are moments when we catch a glimpse of the full glory of Christ, when we see the full reality our holy books try to reveal. In fact, it is the moment we get a sneak peek into the glory of his own resurrection and the completion of his redemption; these glimpses are not only to help sustain us in our own faith, but in sharing we may brighten someone else’s darkness.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the one who calls us to new life; the love of the Father, who calls us back to abundant life; and the communion of the Holy Spirit, who sustains us still with every breath we take, be with you now and always. Amen.
PASSING THE PEACE
Peace be with you
Please pass the peace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, to your neighbors.