WELCOME TO A DIFFERENT WAY OF WORSHIPPING

February 28, 2021

weekly liturgy

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.

PRAYER OF INVOCATION

Journey with us, O Holy God, as we begin our way to the cross. Sharpen our focus, that our attention may center more on you than ourselves. Lead us through the shadows of darkness and prepare our hearts, that we might be a people of prayer, ready to perceive and respond to you Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ. In his name we pray, Amen.

CALL TO CONFESSION

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, God, who is faithful and just, will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Let us confess our sins to the Almighty God.

PRAYER OF CONFESSION

Almighty God, you despise nothing you have made, and you forgive the sins of all who are penitent. Create in us new and contrite hearts, that, truly repenting of our sins and acknowledging our brokenness, we may obtain from you, the God of all mercy, full pardon and forgiveness, through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

ASSURANCE OF PARDON

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

In Jesus Christ we are forgiven and transformed! Praise be to God. Amen.

PROCLAMATION OF THE WORD

PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION

God of call, God of transformation, God of our Lenten journey, help us to discern your still, small voice. Open us to change and growth, that we may learn to walk with Christ. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

GOSPEL READING

Old Testament Reading – Psalm 121

I lift up my eyes to the hills—
   from where will my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
   who made heaven and earth. 

He will not let your foot be moved;
   he who keeps you will not slumber.
He who keeps Israel
   will neither slumber nor sleep. 

The Lord is your keeper;
   the Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
   nor the moon by night. 

The Lord will keep you from all evil;
   he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
   your going out and your coming in
   from this time on and for evermore.

New Testament Reading – Ephesians 1:1-7

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,

To the saints who are in Ephesus and are faithful in Christ Jesus: 

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.

SERMON

Anyone Need a Blessing?

Rev. Tom Kort

HYMN

I Lift My Eyes

Performed by the PCW Choir

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

Today’s prayer is a special one, written by Michelle Henrichs. Michelle is a gifted worship leader and pastor in Wisconsin who has published books of prayers (reach out to the church if you are interested in learning more). 

The solace and hope of Psalm 121 sometimes seems elusive.  Let us pause and reflect on the help our Lord offers.

I lift up my eyes to the hills – 
from where will my help come? 
My help comes from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth. (NRSV)

Lord, help us to lift our eyes up to you that we would look to you for help and strength.  When we focus our eyes on ourselves or on the comforts of this world, draw our eyes back to you.  God in your mercy: Lord, hear our prayer.

God will not let your foot be moved;
God who keeps you will not slumber. 
God who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

Even as we grow weary, Lord, we know that you do not.  Sometimes the help you offer us is an invitation to rest.  Too often we refuse this gift saying, “There is no time!”  May we not forget that like the heaven and the earth, time is also your creation.

The LORD is your keeper;
the LORD is your shade at your right hand. 
The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.

Lord, you are always with us, and all of our circumstances are under your control and authority.  When the sun seems too hot please lead us to the shade you offer.  When the nighttime seems too dark, help us find the light by which you guide us.

The LORD will keep you from all evil;
the LORD will keep your life.

Lord, you protect our soul and our eternity belongs to you.  You were I AM before us and you will be I AM after we are no longer here. There is nowhere we can go that you are not.  Help us to trust.  Help us to be faithful.  Help us to truly know you.

The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in
from this time on and forevermore.

In the entirety of our lives and the briefness of our moments; in our living and our dying; in our joy and our sorrow; in scarcity and abundance may we always lift our eyes to you, O Lord.

Lord… our help, maker of heaven and earth.
Lord… who does not sleep.
Lord… who provides both shade and light.
Lord… keeper of our life: our going out, our coming in.
Lord… who keeps us.

I lift up my eyes to the hills – 
from where will my help come? 
My help comes from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth. (NRSV)

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 our Lord, Christ Jesus, 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

Lent is a time of taking stock on our lives, and reassessing who we have been, who we are, and who we want to be, and, more important, who we begin to sense God is calling us to be. It is a time to become an offering to God and to our neighbors, whom God loves so deeply. 

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 tbarulli@westfieldpc.org if you have that ability.

THE SENDING

BENEDICTION

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.

SPOTIFY PLAYLIST

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