WELCOME TO A DIFFERENT WAY OF WORSHIPPING
March 7, 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.
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
Send your Spirit among us, O God, as we meditate on the source of our being – your very life. Prepare our minds to hear your Word. Move our hearts to accept what we hear. Purify our will to obey in joy and in faith. This we pray through Christ, our Savior. Amen.
Old Testament Reading – Psalm 127
Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord guards the city,
the guard keeps watch in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives sleep to his beloved.
Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the sons of one’s youth.
Happy is the man who has
his quiver full of them.
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
God the Builder
Rev. Jeremy Jinkins
Just As I Am
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
God of all seasons, your creative spirit holds the foundations and sets the firmament. As the pattern of our lives unfold we fool ourselves into thinking that it is all from the choices we have made – our wins and our losses – remind us that no matter what happens in our lives that you are above all with us.
In your pattern of life there is time for holding fast and letting go, a time for building and pulling down. Help us to realize that our own lives are a part of this pattern established in your work. In this season of Lent, on our way to Jerusalem and the highs of Palm Sunday to the cross of Good Friday, help us to see in our lives what we need to let go of; help us see that to which we need to hold fast; and give us confident and discernment in understanding what we must end and what must be begun.
Give us chastity and discipline in our lives that we may be more concerned with the welfare of our neighbor than we are with our own good – and certainly more than our own pleasure. Make us glad to serve with faithfulness so that our lives may be a spark that kindles faith in another.
Our relationships are a reflection of the one we have in you. Help us live in “right” relationship with our families and friends, our neighbors, and even those who hold grudges against us. Use this season of Lent to build us into the sort of people who “welcome home” the stranger, and becomes a sign of your presence to all we meet.
We turn our prayers away from our own transformation to the worries and tragedies of this world. You know them too well, Father. In the health and economic crisis people are ill, people are dying, even those who have been spared terrible health consequences from the virus have experienced loneliness and depression, separation and anxiety – others have witnessed the disintegration of community, of family, while others have lost work, are at risk of starvation and even their homes. Bring your peace, succor, and justice to set things right, and call us – your servants – to become a part of that justice for your children who suffer.
In addition to these worries we pray for the deep social and political unrest and division that our people face. Racism and xenophobia have been cultivated once more; hate crimes are on the rise and our neighbors of different ethnicities and creeds are terrorized. We know that your children span every corner of the globe and that your love reaches even the darkest corners of civilization. There is no one that is apart from your grace. Again, guide us, your children to become the light of truth that recognizes the value of all your beloved in this world, bringing the hope of peace to those divided by driving hate out with love.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you have that ability.
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.