You can watch today’s service here.
If you are watching our live stream this morning, you are invited to find a candle, so that we can all light candles at the same time.
CALL TO WORSHIP (Isaiah 40:26)
We gather this morning
and join our voices as a congregation,
no matter what divides us,
no matter where we are.
Lift up your eyes on high and see:
God brings out the peoples and numbers them
calling them all by name,
because God is great in strength
because God is mighty in power:
not one is missing in God’s sight.
Let us worship God.
Holy God, you confound the world’s wisdom by giving your kingdom to the lowly and pure in heart. Give us such a hunger and thirst for justice and a perseverance in striving for peace, that by our words and deeds the world may see the promise of your kingdom, revealed in Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
CALL TO CONFESSION (Roger Gench, Presbyterian Outlook)
Isaiah exclaims “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. God does not faint or grow weary,” but rather comes to us to renew our strength. So let us make our confession before God and one another, and find therein renewed life in God.
Please join me in the prayer of confession, followed by a silent personal prayer.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION (Roger Gench, Presbyterian Outlook)
O God, our creator, sustainer and redeemer, we confess our feelings of exile and alienation amid a global pandemic, and we wonder where you are. We fear your absence when in fact you are most present to us. Restore in us a sense of your comfort and care. Renew our strength so that we might mount up with wings like eagles. Amen.
Moment of silent prayer–people of God, what do you confess this week?
Assurance of Pardon (Roger Gench, Presbyterian Outlook)
The God who hung the stars and the moon has come close to each and all with mercy and love. Hear the good news of the gospel: We are forgiven and empowered by God’s Spirit to run and not be weary, to walk and not faint. Thanks be to God.
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION (Roger Gench, Presbyterian Outlook)
O God, open our hearts by the power of your Holy Spirit so that the words of Scripture that we hear this day may become your Word that empowers our lives in this time and place. Amen.
FIRST SCRIPTURE READING
To whom then will you compare me,
or who is my equal? says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes on high and see:
Who created these?
The one who brings out their host and numbers them,
calling them all by name;
because God is great in strength,
mighty in power,
not one is missing.
Why do you say, O Jacob,
and speak, O Israel,
‘My way is hidden from the Lord,
and my right is disregarded by my God’?
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth,
who does not faint or grow weary;
and whose understanding is unsearchable;
who gives power to the faint,
and strengthens the powerless.
Even youths will faint and be weary,
and the young will fall exhausted;
but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint.
HYMN God of the Ages, Whose Almighty Hand
1 God of the ages, whose almighty hand
leads forth in beauty all the starry band
of shining worlds in splendor through the skies,
our grateful songs before thy throne arise.
2 Thy love divine hath led us in the past.
In this free land by thee our lot is cast.
Be thou our ruler, guardian, guide, and stay:
thy word our law, thy paths our chosen way.
3 From war’s alarms, from deadly pestilence,
be thy strong arm our ever sure defense.
Thy true religion in our hearts increase.
Thy bounteous goodness nourish us in peace.
4 Refresh thy people on their toilsome way.
Lead us from night to never-ending day.
Fill all our lives with love and grace divine,
and glory, laud, and praise be ever thine.
SECOND SCRIPTURE READING
As soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them.
That evening, at sunset, they brought to him all who were sick. And the whole city was gathered around the door. And he cured many who were sick with various diseases.
In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. And Simon and his companions hunted for him. When they found him, they said to him, ‘Everyone is searching for you.’ He answered, ‘Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.’
- Jesus doesn’t say anything to Simon’s mother-in-law; he simply “came”, “took her hand” and “lifted her up”. What are some times when it is more important to be present than to have the right words?
- Do you think that it is significant that the healing miracles Jesus performs in this story happen in a home, rather than a synagogue?
- Why does Jesus go to a deserted place to pray?
You can listen to Pastor Leia’s sermon, “Perfectly Ordinary Places: a blessing of the home,” here.
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE (Roger Gench, Presbyterian Outlook)
God of creation and redemption, your prophet Isaiah reminds us that you have established the heavenly host and invite us to “Lift up your eyes on high and see: Who created these?” We thank you for this assurance of your strength and power. You have created all things and continue to sustain them. You also come into our present moment, our times of vulnerability and trial, to renew our strength, and for this we are thankful!
Yet we acknowledge, O God, that the realities of the pandemic weigh heavily upon us, upon our children, upon our nation and the entire globe. Our crisis feels like an exile, because we are living with profound isolation and deep vulnerability. Teach us, O God, that stand-alone self-sufficiency is an illusion and is not your will for us. Help us to discern our deep interdependency with one another and with you. Help us to trust in the comforting words of the prophet Isaiah that remind us that you give power to the faint and strengthen the powerless, and that those who wait on you “shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” These words affirm that you, O God, can make a way when there appears to be no way.
Thus we continue to pray for weary healthcare workers in the trenches of this pandemic and for all who are now facilitating vaccinations. We pray for your comfort for all who are sick and for all who have lost loved ones. Empower us to be agents of love and justice for all who are suffering in our midst.
We pray all these things in the name of Jesus Christ, who taught us to pray saying,…
THE LORD’S PRAYER
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 the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
HYMN Your Hands, O Lord, in Days of Old
1 Your hands, O Lord, in days of old
Were strong to heal and save;
They triumphed o’er disease and death,
O’er darkness and the grave.
To you they went, the blind, the deaf,
The palsied, and the lame,
The leper set apart and shunned,
The sick and those in shame.
2 And then your touch brought life and health,
Gave hearing, speech, and sight;
While strength renewed and health restored
Acclaimed you Lord of light;
And so, O Lord, be near to bless,
With all your healing pow’r,
In troubled home, in crowded street,
In sorrow’s saddest hour.
3 O be our mighty healer still,
Great Lord of life and death;
Restore and strengthen, soothe and bless,
With your almighty breath;
On hands that work and eyes that see,
Your healing wisdom pour,
That whole and sick, and weak and strong,
May praise you evermore.
INVITATION TO OFFERING (Roger Gench, Presbyterian Outlook)
The God of all creation who has stretched out the heavens and called the stars by name also gives us strength for our journey. Let us now respond with gratitude to God’s empowering presence by giving of our resources in return.
If you are able to, please consider mailing your offerings to the church (210 Smith Street) or dropping them off in the mail slot. Alternatively, there is a link at the top of this page that will take you directly to a secure page where you can make a one-time donation. We appreciate your generosity as we seek to continue our mission and ministry throughout the community during this difficult time.
PRAYER OF DEDICATION (Roger Gench, Presbyterian Outlook)
O God, we give you thanks for the gifts of creation, and for the gift of life itself. We dedicate our resources to you, trusting and hoping that they will build up your work in our world. Amen.
AFFIRMATION OF FAITH (from A Brief Statement of Faith)
In life and in death we belong to God.
Through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, we trust in the one triune God, the Holy One of Israel, whom alone we worship and serve.
With believers in every time and place, we rejoice that nothing in life or in death can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Amen.
CHARGE AND BENEDICTION
May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May God’s face shine upon you and be gracious unto you.
May God’s countenance be lifted upon you and give you peace.
God has called to us before,
and God is calling to us now.
From wherever you are, serve the Lord: Creator, Son, and Holy Spirit.
VIRTUAL COFFEE HOUR
If you are using this page to follow along with today’s worship service while it is being live streamed, please join us for virtual coffee hour! Turn on your video camera and join us after the benediction with THIS LINK. You could also join over the telephone by dialing (312) 626-6799 and entering the meeting code 146 874 134, followed by the password 075003. You can find other events throughout the week on our CALENDAR.