Watch the 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 (written by Sarah Are for A Sanctified Art LLC)
When we come to this space, we bring all of ourselves.
We bring joy and hope,
dreams and prayers,
grief and doubt,
memories and heartache.
God meets us here.
God hears our prayers and sees our scars.
With open hearts and authenticity,
Let us worship good and gracious God.
Let us pray: God of the covenant, in our baptism you called us to proclaim the coming of your kingdom. Give us courage like you gave the apostles, that we may faithfully witness to your love and peace in every circumstance of life, in the name of Jesus Christ our redeemer, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
CALL TO CONFESSION
Lord, we do not understand our own actions. We do the very things we hate and yet with you there is forgiveness, with you there is mercy. Hear us as we humbly confess the ways we have gone astray — like lost sheep, seek us out and bring us home.
Please join me in the prayer of confession, followed by a silent personal prayer.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION (written by Sarah Are for A Sanctified Art LLC)
God of creation, humanity is capable of such evil. Stories in scripture alongside stories on the news remind us of that truth all the time. For the moments when we choose violence over peace, exclusion over inclusion, and fear over hope—forgive us.
When we choose pride over what is right, and comfort over justice—show us mercy. And when we numb our pain instead of leaning into empathy—unravel us, for we long to be changed. Gratefully we pray, Amen.
Moment of silent prayer–people of God, what do you confess this week?
Assurance of Pardon (Matthew 11:28-30)
Jesus said: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Friends, believe the good news, through Jesus Christ you are forgiven. Thanks be to God! Amen.
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
Loving God, the chaos of the world encircles and frightens us. We worry about tomorrow, even though you tell us not to be anxious. Send your Spirit to quiet our distractions and draw us to you so that we might know the peace of your close presence. Amen.
FIRST SCRIPTURE READING
Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
‘But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market-places and calling to one another,
“We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
we wailed, and you did not mourn.”
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, “He has a demon”; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, “Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax-collectors and sinners!” Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.’
At that time Jesus said, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’
How has your perception of Jesus changed over your life? What images of Jesus have become the most meaningful for you?
What are the qualities of an infant that Jesus wants to lift up as he speaks about our response to God?
How do you hear Jesus’ invitation to seek rest in him? What forms might that rest take? What might we gain from resting in Jesus?
- What can we learn by taking on Jesus’ yoke? How does his yoke differ from the burdens we carry?
SECOND SCRIPTURE READING
2 Samuel 21:1-14
Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David inquired of the Lord. The Lord said, ‘There is blood-guilt on Saul and on his house, because he put the Gibeonites to death.’ So the king called the Gibeonites and spoke to them. (Now the Gibeonites were not of the people of Israel, but of the remnant of the Amorites; although the people of Israel had sworn to spare them, Saul had tried to wipe them out in his zeal for the people of Israel and Judah.) David said to the Gibeonites, ‘What shall I do for you? How shall I make expiation, that you may bless the heritage of the Lord?’ The Gibeonites said to him, ‘It is not a matter of silver or gold between us and Saul or his house; neither is it for us to put anyone to death in Israel.’ He said, ‘What do you say that I should do for you?’ They said to the king, ‘The man who consumed us and planned to destroy us, so that we should have no place in all the territory of Israel— let seven of his sons be handed over to us, and we will impale them before the Lord at Gibeon on the mountain of the Lord.’ The king said, ‘I will hand them over.’
But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Saul’s son Jonathan, because of the oath of the Lord that was between them, between David and Jonathan son of Saul. The king took the two sons of Rizpah daughter of Aiah, whom she bore to Saul; and the five sons of Merab daughter of Saul; he gave them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they impaled them on the mountain before the Lord. The seven of them perished together. They were put to death in the first days of harvest, at the beginning of the barley harvest.
Then Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it on a rock for herself, from the beginning of harvest until rain fell on them from the heavens; she did not allow the birds of the air to come on the bodies by day, or the wild animals by night. When David was told what Rizpah daughter of Aiah, the concubine of Saul, had done, David went and took the bones of Saul and the bones of his son Jonathan from the people of Jabesh-gilead, who had stolen them from the public square of Beth-shan, where the Philistines had hung them up, on the day the Philistines killed Saul on Gilboa. He brought up from there the bones of Saul and the bones of his son Jonathan; and they gathered the bones of those who had been impaled. They buried the bones of Saul and of his son Jonathan in the land of Benjamin in Zela, in the tomb of his father Kish; they did all that the king commanded. After that, God heeded supplications for the land.
You can listen to Pastor Leia’s sermon, “Unraveled By a Single Voice,” here.
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE (JILL DUFFIELD)
Holy God, we enter this time of prayer mindful of our inability to be content. We are restless and dissatisfied, even when we have all we need and then some. Instead of giving thanks for that which we have, we lament that which we feel we lack. We burden ourselves with things that do not offer that which they promise. We burden others with expectations they cannot possibly meet. We burden creation with our relentless abuse of the earth and its creatures. As we pause to acknowledge our total dependence on you, reveal to us the abundance you pour out upon your people.
We rejoice in the myriad of colors that show your glory around every corner — the green leaves on the trees, the oranges and purples and pinks of blooming flowers, the flash of the red cardinal, and the shiny black of the crow. Help us to stop and notice the beauty you so lavishly create and share.
People of God, what do you pray for this week?
We celebrate the goodness you embed in humanity. We look for the helpers, the healers, the teachers, mentors, leaders, and encouragers who spend their lives looking to the interest of others, seeking to serve rather than be served.
People of God, where have you seen goodness this week?
We give thanks for those closest to us, the people who love us at our worst, cheer us when we are at out lowest, care for us when we are at our weakest, and want for us what is best. They show us what it means to be called beloved and significant.
People of God, what names are on your hearts this week?
We praise you for the gift of this day, whatever it entails, knowing that you are present with us, that Christ prays for us, that the Spirit intercedes for us. We rest in these promises — so that emboldened by your power we can share these truths with those yet to know of their priceless worth in your eyes.
People of God, what do you give thanks for and rejoice in this week?
We lament the suffering so pervasive in our world. We cry out to you with sighs too deep for words for those who go to bed hungry, the people fearing for their lives, the vulnerable too long exploited, and your children denied justice. We lift up to you the sick and the broken-hearted, the lonely and the impoverished. As we are yoked to Christ, yoke us to those who need their burdens lightened and their souls refreshed.
People of God, how are being called to offer your gifts to the world this week?
We make our prayer in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, who taught us to say when we pray:
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.
1 I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“Come unto me and rest;
lay down, O weary one, lay down
your head upon my breast.”
I came to Jesus as I was,
so weary, worn, and sad;
I found in him a resting place,
and he has made me glad.
2 I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“Behold, I freely give
the living water, thirsty one;
stoop down and drink and live.”
I came to Jesus, and I drank
of that life-giving stream;
my thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
and now I live in him.
3 I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“I am this dark world’s light;
look unto me, your morn shall rise,
and all your day be bright.”
I looked to Jesus, and I found
in him my star, my sun;
and in that light of life I’ll walk
till traveling days are done.
INVITATION TO OFFERING
We own nothing. Everything belongs to the Lord. And yet God gifts us with resources we are to steward and share. As we present to God this morning’s offerings, we remember with thanksgiving the Lord’s overflowing goodness and mercy and give accordingly.
If you are able to, please consider mailing your offerings to the church (210 Smith Street). 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
Let us pray: Lord, as the wildflowers bloom on the side of the highway and the birds sing in the summer dawn, we rejoice in the beauty of creation that surrounds us no matter the upheaval around and within us. Take these offerings of ours, given in faith, bless and use them to reveal your glory, your beauty, your goodness and your grace to those deepest in need of knowing they are beloved and cherished by no less than you, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Amen.
AFFIRMATION OF FAITH (Nicene Creed)
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God. begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father; through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation, he came down from heaven, was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became truly human. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. 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.
Remember that we are called to seek justice
and not to “settle the score.”
God will always be with you
no matter how much you have lost,
or how much you hurt,
or how hopeless you feel
and God will always hear you
even if yours is the only voice calling out.
God has seen us through dark days before,
and God will see us through again.
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.