Tuesday, June 4, 2013
New Life is the worship theme for the third Sunday after Pentecost, June 9, 2013. Our focus scripture reading is Luke 7:11-17.
The healing of the widow’s son at Nain is one of the stories that simply shows us who Jesus is. As he is entering the city, Jesus meets a funeral procession which is taking a young man out to be buried. He is the only son of a widow, meaning that his mother is going to be left in a very precarious position. Not only is she filled with grief, but in a society without Social Security or welfare she needs the help and protection of a man. She is in the same position as Naomi in the Book of Ruth.
Jesus sizes up the situation and is filled with compassion. Without being asked, he simply stops the procession and calls the young man to new life. Jesus is a walking piece of the kingdom of heaven, born into his life on earth. With the kingdom is love and compassion and healing for all. It is this kingdom work that we inherit from him and that is our ministry.
Here are two Calls to worship. Please use or adapt anything helpful to you.
**Call to Worship
L: Once there was a man who lived without fear.
P: Wherever he went the love of God went with him.
L: In fact, God’s love flowed out of him like a circle of light.
P: Inside that circle, people were safe.
L: Sick people received healing.
P: Sad people received hope.
L: Angry people received the gifts of forgiveness and peace.
P: Weak people got backbone.
L: Aimless people got purpose.
P: All of them felt intuitively like they had walked into heaven on earth.
L: The man who lived without fear is gone now.
All: He left his circle of light for you... for me... step in!
Call to Worship From Psalm 30
L: Praise you, O God! You rescued me! You lifted me over my enemies!
P: I cried out to you, Lord, and you healed me.
L: You drew me up from the grave, O God. You saved me from falling into the pit.
P: Sing, all you faithful! Bless God’s holy name!
L: For God’s anger lasts but a moment; God’s grace lasts a lifetime.
Weeping may linger for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
P: Puffed up by prosperity, I bragged, “I’m invincible!”
L: By your grace, O Lord, you made me a strong mountain.
But when you looked away; I fell apart.
P: Then I cried to you for help, O God. I begged your forgiveness and mercy.
What good is it to you if I die? Can my dust praise you?
Can I tell your faithfulness from the pit? Hear me, help me, gracious God!
L: Then you did it! You turned my mourning into dancing!
You took off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy!
All: Now my soul is bursting with praise! I cannot keep silence!
O Lord my God, I give thanks to you forever!
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Our Experience of the Trinity is the worship theme for Trinity Sunday, May 26, 2013. Our focus scripture is Romans 5:1-5.
In a way, the trinity is an artificial concept. Jesus never specifically teaches it as an article of faith. But as John tells it in the sermon Jesus gives his disciples at the Last Supper, God the Father, who has sent him into the world, will also send a Comforter, an Advocate, after Jesus is no longer with his disciples who will strengthen them and bring to their remembrance all that he has taught them. And Luke, in his two chapter book – the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles – tells the story of the mighty acts of God working through God’s Spirit. The Gospel tells how God gets Mary pregnant through the Spirit to create Jesus’ life, and then how God fills Jesus with the Spirit at his baptism and empowers his ministry. Then Acts tells how the risen Christ pours the Spirit out on the members of his Body on the day of Pentecost to give strength and wisdom to the Church. So in all this we do see a creating God, a ministering Christ, and an empowering Spirit. May the Church be blessed to always experience all three!
Here is a Call to Worship based on Romans 5:1-5. Please use or adapt anything helpful to you.
Call to Worship From Romans 5:1-5
L: Sisters and brothers, our Lord Jesus Christ inspires us to put our faith in him.
And in this faith we find peace with God who sent him to us.
P: So now in Christ we experience the grace of God.
We know that God forgives us and loves us completely.
L: We revel in the glory of God and God’s eternal blessing!
P: This empowers us to even find meaning in our sufferings.
L: For we know that suffering builds endurance, and endurance builds character,
and character leads to hope.
P: And our hope is not in vain, because God’s love is poured into our hearts
through Christ’s presence in the Holy Spirit who God gives to us.
All: Let us worship God, our Creator; Christ, God’s Son; and the Holy Spirit!
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Experience Pentecost is our worship theme for Pentecost Sunday, May 19, 2013. Our focus scripture is Acts 2:1-12.
As Luke tells it in Acts 2, the story of Pentecost is the story of the Holy Spirit creating the Body of Christ in a way that parallels Luke’s Gospel story of the Holy Spirit creating Jesus. While the Holy Spirit quietly “overshadows” or “lays upon” Mary to cause her to conceive Jesus, the Holy Spirit is anything but quiet in impregnating the Church. Instead there is the sound of a mighty rushing wind, followed by fiery flames, followed by a surge of energy that has the followers of Jesus speaking in all kinds of languages, followed by the drawing of a large, diverse crowd who hear and come to understand the good news of God’s acts in Jesus.
Clearly, the Spirit brings enormous power and energy to the Church. This power binds us together as a community of the fire of Christ. And it gives us sending power to go out into the world and offer a radical welcome. We experience Pentecost when we experience the indwelling of Christ’s living presence and when we speak the language of those around us and tell the good news in ways that they can hear and understand it.
Here is a Call to Worship based on Acts 2:1-21. Please use or adapt anything that is helpful to you.
Call to Worship (from Acts 2:1-21)
L: On Pentecost all Christ’s followers were in one place.
P: Suddenly from heaven came the sound of rushing wind!
L: Like a tornado, it shook their house!
P: Then fiery flames appeared, arcing and dancing above their heads.
L: They were filled with Holy Spirit! They started speaking in tongues!
P: What were they saying?
L: The Spirit gave each a different language. But each told the same story.
P: Devout people from every nation lived in Jerusalem.
Hearing the uproar, they came running.
L: “This is amazing!” We hear God’s deeds proclaimed in our languages.
P: But some scoffed: “Can’t you see, these people are drunk!”
L: Then Peter shouted: “Are you kidding? This is what Joel predicted!”
“In the last days,” God reveals, “I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh!”
P: Our children will prophesy. Our youth will see visions.
Our elderly will dream dreams.
L: Slaves and free, men and women, everyone drenched in Holy Spirit!
P: Then signs will appear in earth and heaven. The sun will go dark.
The moon will turn to blood.
All: And everyone, yes everyone, who calls on God will be saved!
Alleluia! Let us worship God!
Monday, May 6, 2013
The Church of the Nativity is conducting a debt reduction drive and is temporarily straying from the lectionary. However, here is a Call to Worship based on John 17:22-23 and a litany for Mother's Day which was adapted from a wonderful litany by the Rev. Jane Sommers. Please use or adapt them if they are helpful to you.
Call to Worship From John 17:22-23 “That They May All be One”
L: Sisters and brothers, let us recall Jesus’ prayer for unity:
God, my Father, I pray for my followers,
and for those who will come to trust in me through their witness.
P: I pray that they may all be one, just as we are one.
L: As you, God, dwell in me and I dwell in you, may they also dwell in us.
P: My Spirit is alive in them and your Spirit is alive in me.
L: May they live in such perfect unity that the world will know
that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.
All: I pray that they may all be one, just as we are one.
Let us worship God!
A Litany for Mothers and Those Who Offer a Mother’s Care
Adapted from the Rev. Jane Sommers
L: Gracious God, you are the Creator of our world and of our lives.
You gift us with your Spirit of love. Your divine love empowers all
P: As we celebrate your love, we lift to you those who birthed us,
blessed us, and taught us: our mothers. May your blessing be with
all who brought us into this world, and upon all the beautiful,
strong women of faith who have mothered us along our journey.
L: We praise you, O God, for your gift of motherly love: gentle and fierce; strong and humble; kind and true. Many are the mothers who embodied your love; who worked hard to raise us, cared enough to correct us, and blessed us with their guidance and love.
P: Now we also call forth your compassion on every mother who has
been unable to carry your love and who has caused pain and
suffering. And we lift to you these mothers, so imperfect and also so wounded by the world.
L: We bless our mothers this day no matter what they have done or left
undone. We do this because we believe in your healing love. We know that you love all mothers, and we stand together with them in solidarity, for we are all in need of your grace.
P: We lift to you every mother who has watched her child die of
hunger, all who struggle under conditions of violence or poverty,
and all whose dreams of mothering have come undone. May you
comfort them, and may you empower us to work for a better world!
All: We lift to you our Mother Earth. We lift to you our Mother Church. We praise you, O God, for your mother’s heart, and we pray that this day you will help each of us to be your blessing of love. Amen.