wELCOME TO A DIFFERENT WAY OF WORSHIPPING
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 THE DAY
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.
Attributed to St. Augustine of Hippo
Want to share how your family is staying connected?
CALL TO CONFESSION
READ SILENTLY: The pull away from love into self-preservation, self-protection, self-security is strong, but it is also the way to broken relationships, fractured community, and a self that is no longer spiritually anchored. Our confession is a time of turning in worship to face the love that will not let us go. Trusting this, let us take time to give voice to all that diminishes the power of love in our lives.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
READ ALOUD: God of mercy and justice, we are lost in the wilderness of our own lives. We face the same urges humans have known for millennia, along with myriad new distractions. We confess that we hold good things more closely than they deserve, and make gods of the conveniences of this age. We confess that we continue to be misled by our pride. We confess that we continue be controlled by fear and anxiety. We confess that we compete against the other, any other, for position, power, and security. We confess that too often love feels too small a thing.
Meet us in the wilderness, we pray, and guide us back to remember our truest selves. Walk with us as our guide in these forty days that we may learn to let go of anything that distorts your love.
ASSURANCE OF PARDON
Read silently until the Bold
The steadfast love of God never fails; it continues to breathe new life into our tired hearts and eternally gives hope to the hopeless. In the name of Jesus Christ, we are forgiven and freed! Thanks be to God.
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
Gracious God, our way in the wilderness, guide us by your Word, through these forty days and minister to each of us by the power of your Holy Spirit, so that we may be reformed, restored and renewed in the strong name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
THE RESPONSE TO THE WORD
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION
- What can you do today, this week, to connect with friends and neighbors in the midst of this health crisis?
- What can you do to serve a neighbor in need?
- What are you afraid of? What prayers would you need?
ACTIVITIES FOR THE FAMILY
The sermon this week is focusing on John 9:1-23 – Jesus heals a blind man. Click the family activities button for activities to do with your children, to give them some new ways to understand the story. They require just a few supplies – paper, crayons, dirt, water and a pie plate – but they will be fun activities for the whole family.
HYMN OF AFFIRMATION
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.
Invitation to the Life of the Church and the Offering
The Presbyterian Church in Westfield continues to burn as a light in the darkness as our community weathers this fearsome storm of illness. Our reach of care continues to extend far beyond our immediate borders. You can help us make a real impact in the lives of others by joining in our work through your time, your talents, and also in the fruits of your labors.
PRAYER OF DEDICATION
Giver of all good things, it is from you that we have these gifts to share. Take them, we pray, that they may become a blessing, a light in the darkness during this health crisis. Amen.
Know that you are loved. Know that you are not alone. Know that you do good in ways you cannot imagine. Know this and dwell in peace in these uncertain times.
PASSING THE PEACE
Open My Eyes
Just as the blind man that Jesus gave sight,
I want to live as your child of the light.
Awaken this sleeper, from death set me free,
So that Christ shines upon me, and I truly might see.
Grant me the joy of abiding in you,
A life that is holy, a heart that is true;
Proclaiming your mercy, my joy and delight,
You who called me from darkness into wonderful light.