WELCOME TO A DIFFERENT WAY OF WORSHIPPING

May 17, 2020

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.

POETIC MEDITATION BEFORE WORSHIP

Everlasting God, in whom we live and move and have our being: You have made us for yourself, so that our hearts are restless until they rest in you. Give us purity of heart and strength of purpose, that no selfish passion may hinder us from knowing your will, no weakness keep us from doing it; that in your light we may see light clearly, and in your service find perfect freedom; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

From the Book of Common Worship, the opening lines attributed to St. Augustine, who is quoting St. Paul.

CALL TO WORSHIP

Friends, we have been gathered from many places and formed into one worshipping community. Some of us are worshipping with sheets delivered to our homes, others are reading from the church website, and still others are gathered in a video format, but God has been at work pulling us together. Here in this time, which has been set aside and marked as holy, we learn to see what others so often miss. Our worship begins with laying aside all distractions in our lives.

HYMN

Be Thou My Vision

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;

Naught be all else to me, save that thou art;

Thou my best thought, by day or by night,

Waking or sleeping, thy presence my light

 

Be thou my wisdom, and thou my true Word;

I ever with thee and thou with me, Lord;

Thou my soul’s shelter, and thou my high tower;

Raise thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

 

High King of Heaven, my victory won,

May I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heaven’s Sun!

Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,

Still be my vision, O Ruler of all.

CALL TO CONFESSION

Perhaps the biggest distraction in life is, well, us! Our lives, our struggles, our pain – even the pain we cause others – all distract us from seeing the deeper meaning of life happening all around us. The time of confession gives us space to set aside so much of what weighs us down. So, take a deep breath and turn to God and let it out.

PRAYER OF CONFESSION

Sometimes, God, you seem so unknowable, unreachable, completely other. Our lives go on day by day with or without feeling your presence. Something in us stirs and we know something is wrong, but still you are apart. So much has been used to fill that void, and still we feel more and more empty.

Meet us here we pray. Be for us a resting place. Let us dwell in you and find our true selves once more as we discover again your character and presence revealed in this world. Show us grace, that we may discover the true meaning of being blessed.

ASSURANCE OF PARDON

Friends, trust that you are held by a love that rises above all petty disagreements, beyond any betrayal, and endures with patience all that pulls us away. We are the forgiven and freed children of God.

PROCLAMATION OF THE WORD

PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION

Give us new eyes, Father, to see the world as you do, and to trust that your hand is at work, even when we cannot see or understand. Give us hope, give us trust, and lead us to see your light in this world. Amen.

GOSPEL READING

Acts 17:22-31

Then Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, ‘Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way. For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription, “To an unknown god.” What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him—though indeed he is not far from each one of us. For “In him we live and move and have our being”; as even some of your own poets have said, “For we too are his offspring.” Since we are God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals. While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.’

SERMON

Rev. Jeremy Jinkins

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.

ACTIVITIES FOR THE FAMILY

Click the activities button for family activities to do with your children. You will find this week's Church on Wednesday (C.O.W.) Activity, plus previous activities you can still do!

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

Our Father who art in heaven.  Hallowed be Thy name.  They 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 the power and the glory forever.  Amen.

How can we pray for you?

Click the button to send us your prayer concerns and joys and stay connected.

OFFERING OUR GIFTS

I love how Paul walks among the people of Athens and learns who they are, comes to respect them, and then points something out, not in judgment, but in offering a new perspective. Our own faith does this over and over again. Each time that we offer ourselves we are asking to be known, understood, and with that – we are shown in greater clarity our own selves.

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 tbarulli@westfieldpc.org if you have that ability.

THE SENDING

CHARGE

One gift of living in community is that we get to learn to love that which is different. We get to have our rough edges knocked off, and we get to see the world with different eyes. One gift we can offer back to our community is the ability to see the everyday of our culture with a different lens, one of hope, love, and faith.

 

Loving our neighbor is not accomplished in telling what they are missing, or how they are wrong. Loving our neighbor can be as simple as revealing something beautiful about them they have never seen themselves. God can live and reside in the lives of others, hidden in plain sight.

BENEDICTION

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.

SPOTIFY PLAYLIST

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