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 (based on Amos 5)
We are called to seek good and not evil, that we may live;
and so that the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with us.
We are called to hate evil, love good, and establish justice.
Let justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
We seek to be a people that embodies God’s justice.
By the power of God at work within us, may it be so.
Let us worship God.
OPENING PRAYER (Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)
Let us pray: Yes, Jesus, I want to be on your right side or your left side, not for any selfish reason. I want to be on your right or your best side, not in terms of some political kingdom or ambition, but I just want to be there in love and in justice and in truth and in commitment to others, so we can make of this old world a new world. Amen.
CALL TO CONFESSION (1 John 8-9)
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sin, God who is faithful and just will forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Let us confess our sin together, trusting God’s promised mercy.
Please join me in the prayer of confession, followed by a silent personal prayer.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Gracious God, in Jesus Christ you teach us to love our neighbors, but we build dividing walls of hostility. You show us how to love one another as sisters and brothers but we hide ourselves from our own human family. You ask us to seek out the stranger and welcome the guest, but we lock ourselves up inside our own fear. You want us to share your abundant gifts with the poor, but we cling tightly to our possessions and our privilege. You call us to proclaim good news to all people, but we waste our words and hide our light.
Have mercy on us, loving God.Forgive our sin, open our hearts, and change our lives. By your Spirit, make us holy and whole—one people, united in faith, hope, and love; through Jesus Christ, our reconciler and redeemer.
Moment of silent prayer–people of God, what do you confess this week?
Assurance of Pardon (Roger Gench, Presbyterian Outlook)
In Christ, all the dividing walls of hostility have come down so that we might live in justice, friendship and peace. Friends, hear the good news of the gospel: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven and restored, and set on right paths!
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION (Rev. Dr. Howard Thurman)
Lord, open unto me.
Open unto me – light for my darkness.
Open unto me – courage for my fear.
Open unto me – hope for my despair.
Open unto me – peace for my turmoil.
Open unto me – joy for my sorrow.
Open unto me – strength for my weakness.
Open unto me – wisdom for my confusion.
Open unto me – forgiveness for my sins.
Open unto me – love for my hates.
Open unto me – thy Self for my self.
Lord, Lord, open unto me! Amen.
FIRST SCRIPTURE READING
The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, ‘Follow me.’ Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.’ Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.’ When Jesus saw Nathanael coming towards him, he said of him, ‘Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!’ Nathanael asked him, ‘Where did you come to know me?’ Jesus answered, ‘I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.’ Nathanael replied, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!’ Jesus answered, ‘Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.’ And he said to him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.’
- Jesus says to Philip, “Follow me.” How do you feel called to follow Jesus?
- Nathanael says to Philip, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” When have you doubted someone because of where they came from?
- Philip says to Nathanael, “Come and see.” Where have you seen Jesus this past week?
SECOND SCRIPTURE READING
Amos 5:8-15, 21-24
The one who made the Pleiades and Orion,
and turns deep darkness into the morning,
and darkens the day into night,
who calls for the waters of the sea,
and pours them out on the surface of the earth,
the Lord is his name,
who makes destruction flash out against the strong,
so that destruction comes upon the fortress.
They hate the one who reproves in the gate,
and they abhor the one who speaks the truth.
Therefore, because you trample on the poor
and take from them levies of grain,
you have built houses of hewn stone,
but you shall not live in them;
you have planted pleasant vineyards,
but you shall not drink their wine.
For I know how many are your transgressions,
and how great are your sins—
you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe,
and push aside the needy in the gate.
Therefore the prudent will keep silent in such a time;
for it is an evil time.
Seek good and not evil,
that you may live;
and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you,
just as you have said.
Hate evil and love good,
and establish justice in the gate;
it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts,
will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.
I hate, I despise your festivals,
and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.
Even though you offer me your burnt-offerings and grain-offerings,
I will not accept them;
and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals
I will not look upon.
Take away from me the noise of your songs;
I will not listen to the melody of your harps.
But let justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
You can listen to Pastor Leia’s sermon, “Prophets, in an Ever-Flowing Stream,” here.
RESPONSIVE READING (adapted from “Letter from Birmingham Jail” by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1963)
Was not Jesus an extremist in love?
“Love your enemies, bless them that curse you,
pray for them that despitefully use you.”
Was not Amos an extremist for justice?
“Let justice roll down like waters
and righteousness like a mighty stream.”
Was not Paul an extremist for the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
“I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.”
Was not Martin Luther an extremist?
“Here I stand; I can do no other, so help me God.”
Was not John Bunyan an extremist?
“I will stay in jail to the end of my days
before I make a mockery of my conscience.”
Was not Abraham Lincoln an extremist?
“This nation cannot survive half slave and half free.”
Was not Thomas Jefferson an extremist?
“We hold these truths to be self-evident,
that all [people] are created equal.”
So the question is not whether we will be extremist,
but what kind of extremists we will be.
Will we be extremists for hate,
or will we be extremists for love?
Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice,
or will we be extremists for the cause of justice?
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE (Roger Gench, Presbyterian Outlook)
Holy One, you have called for justice to roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. On this Sunday, as we remember the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., help us to embody the justice and righteousness that he sought for our country. Help us to embody his dream of a beloved community and of a day when justice is a reality for all Americans, not just the few. Inspire us by his example and by the power of your Spirit at work within us to live in solidarity with all who have been marginalized in our world. Give us ears to hear their cries, and hearts that move us to respond.
Indeed, during these tumultuous days of political and social reckoning, give us courage to pursue accountability for all who have incited and inflicted this violence upon the nation — and courage to recognize our own complicity in the racism that has warped our common life. Animate courage in us so that we might confront realities that deform and deface our country and participate in your reconciling and justice seeking work in our midst. Hear our prayers also for peace in the days ahead as we navigate transitions in the nation’s leadership. Grant all of our elected leaders wisdom and patience and courage to work together for the common good and to restore a spirit of partnership among us.
God, our help in times of trouble, we continue to pray for the global community as it grapples with an ever-worsening pandemic. We pray that you would give each of us determination to take personal responsibility for measures that protect us all. We pray especially for the well-being of those hit hardest by the strains of this scourge, and pray for those in leadership in our communities, states and nation as they negotiate ways in which to aid those most afflicted.
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 O God, Show Mercy to Us
1 O God, show mercy to us, and bless us with your grace;
and cause to shine upon us the brightness of your face,
so that your way most holy on earth may soon be known,
and unto every people your saving grace be shown.
Let all the peoples praise you; let all the nations sing;
in every land let praises and songs of gladness ring.
2 For you will judge the peoples in truth and righteousness,
and on the earth all nations will your just rule confess.
Let all the peoples praise you; let all the nations sing.
Then earth in rich abundance to us its fruit will bring.
The Lord our God will bless us; our God will blessing send,
and all the earth will worship to its remotest end.
INVITATION TO OFFERING (Roger Gench, Presbyterian Outlook)
God has showered us with good gifts. In response to this love, let us give all of who we are in return: our hearts, minds, energies and resources.
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, receive the gifts we offer as a sign of our commitment to live into our calling as a community of hope, love and justice for this world. May these gifts be part of your own work in the world to establish the flourishing of all your children and the whole creation. Amen.
AFFIRMATION OF FAITH (Adapted from writings of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)
Gracious God, we believe that you have called us
to justice, righteousness, and peace.
We refuse to believe that we are unable
to influence the events around us.
We refuse to believe we are bound
by racism, war, and injustice.
We believe those around us are our brothers and sisters.
We believe in dignity every day
and that our brokenness can be healed.
We believe we can overcome oppression and violence,
without resorting to it.
This means we seek to reject revenge and retaliation
as we prayerfully remember,
“Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can.”
In the love of Jesus Christ we pray. 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.
Hate evil and love good,
and find ways to help justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
God has been with us throughout all time,
and God is with 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.