You can 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)
One: Gracious God, we bring you the broken parts of ourselves.
All: Hem us in before and behind.
One: Creator God, we bring you the joyful parts of ourselves.
All: Weave us together in hope and praise.
One: God of new life, we bring you doubt and faith knotted up in our hearts.
All: Unravel our doubt. Weave faith into our hearts. Draw us together and point us toward you.
One: In hope and faith we pray. In hope and faith we worship.
Let us pray: All-powerful God, in Jesus Christ you turned death into life, and defeat into victory. Increase our faith and trust in him, that we may triumph over all evil, in the strength of the same 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 (written by Sarah Are for A Sanctified Art LLC)
Our God of the wind and the sea invites us to be brave, but we are more familiar with fear. God invites us to trust, but we’d rather trust wind and gravity. God invites us to believe in ourselves, but we have not always been good at that. God invites us to move—to change and take a risk—but we stay planted where we are, afraid of the ways growth might hurt.
Please join me in the prayer of confession, followed by a silent personal prayer.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Lord, we come to you boldly, trusting your love for us as we recognize that while we are still sinners, Christ died for us. If it were not so, how could we ever be brave enough to share the burdens of our heart and speak aloud the guilt that weighs heavy on our conscience? In a time of turmoil and pain, suffering and hurt, we confess our lack of action to prevent the source of this season’s anguish. For too long we have not loved you with our whole hearts, nor loved our neighbors as ourselves. We have failed to see your image in every human being, and we’ve torn apart instead of built up the one body of which we are a part. We plead for mercy. We cry out for grace. Make of us a new creation, and do it now.
Moment of silent prayer–people of God, what do you confess this week?
Assurance of Pardon
Friends, if it were not for the grace of our God, we would be unable to move forward in faith. But we trust this powerful truth: While we were still weak, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly, for us. Knowing that Jesus came not to condemn the world, but to save it, we rejoice, give thanks and praise God that we are forgiven.
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
Word made flesh, make your embodied Word known to us this day. As we stop and attend fully to you, send your Spirit to give us understanding, to help us remember who and whose we are and to open our mouths to proclaim your near kingdom to a world aching for good news.
FIRST SCRIPTURE READING
Be joyful in the Lord,
all you lands;
serve the Lord with gladness
and come into the divine presence with a song.
Know this: the Lord, our Lord, is God;
the One who made us and to whom we belong;
we are God’s people, the sheep of God’s pasture.
Enter the gates of the Lord with thanksgiving;
go into these courts with praise;
give thanks to God and call upon the name of the Lord.
For the Lord is good, whose steadfast love is everlasting;
and whose faithfulness endures from age to age.
1 Come into God’s presence singing
“Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.”
2 Come into God’s presence singing
“Jesus is Lord, Jesus is Lord, Jesus is Lord.”
3 Praise the Lord together singing
“Worthy the Lamb, worthy the Lamb, worthy the Lamb.”
4 Praise the Lord together singing
“Glory to God, glory to God, glory to God.”
SECOND SCRIPTURE READING
Jesus asked his disciples to get into the boat and go before him while he sent the crowds away. And when he had done so, he went up a mountain to pray, away from the retreating crowds. When evening fell, he was alone. But the disciples in the boat were in the middle of the sea, tormented by raging swells, for the wind was strong. Just before dawn, Jesus went to them, walking on the water. When the disciples saw him walking on the rolling waves, their minds were as uneasy as the water. They cried out in fear: “Are we awake? Are we imagining a man on the water?” But Jesus called to them, saying “It’s alright! Don’t be afraid! It is me–I am here! Peter answered the call, saying, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” Jesus said, and Peter came down from the boat and walked towards Jesus on the water. But when Peter saw the strong wind, he was struck with fear and, beginning to sink into the water, he cried out, “Lord! Save me!” Immediately, Jesus stretched out his hand, grabbed Peter, and asked him, “You have a little faith. What made you waver?” When they got back into the boat, the winds grew weary of raging and there was peace on the water. The men in the boat came to Jesus to kiss his hand, saying, “Truly, you are the Son of God.”
Why do you think Jesus needed to spend time alone?
What are the storms in your life?
Why do you think Peter came down from the boat and walked towards Jesus?
Is Peter’s faith enough?
You can listen to Pastor Leia’s sermon, “Anything Can Happen When Jesus Unravels the Storm,” here.
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE (JILL DUFFIELD)
Lord, when you see us harassed and helpless, you have compassion for us. You know our need for a good shepherd, one who leads us to places of still waters and brings us through the valley of the shadow of death. Our anxiety grows during these long days of the pandemic. Our questions about how to move forward together in hope multiply as cries for justice go too long unheard. We feel harassed and helpless. We need your care and intervention, your mercy and direction.
Show us, Good Shepherd, where to go from here. Clear the path to green pastures and safe spaces where all can freely breathe. Heal the sick, the heart sick, the home sick, the long sick and the soul sick. Bring close those pushed to the margins, the laborers not paid a living wage, the ones hurting without access to healthcare, the lonely who yearn to be included. Cure every illness that consumes us and keeps us from abundant life: diseases of body, mind and spirit, COVID-19 and all-consuming greed, addictions and the abuse of power, violence and an ever-growing opportunity gap.
People of God, what names are on your hearts this week?
Send us, Savior of creation, into the world, to be your laborers, bringing in and sharing God’s abundant grace-filled harvest. Make us justice bearers, evil crushers, life givers, healers and helpers. Move us with your compassion, so that we do not turn away from the suffering of others, but instead walk toward it in your power, trusting that the Spirit will bring endurance, character and a hope that does not disappoint.
Embrace us, loving God, draw us so close to you that we are pulled into genuine community with each other. Break down barriers between us. Build up trust among us. Give us the words to speak and the ears to hear your truth that will set us all free. Do not let us remain harassed and helpless, but gather us in the lost and the lonely, so that we are on earth as in heaven, your one, united, beloved household, all of us valued, cherished, nurtured and able to live without fear
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 How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
is laid for your faith in God’s excellent Word!
What more can be said than to you God hath said,
to you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?
2 “Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
for I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.
3 “When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
the rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;
for I will be near thee, thy troubles to bless,
and sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.
INVITATION TO OFFERING (Micah 6:6-8)
With what shall I come before the Lord,
and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before God with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
God has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?
As a sign of our desire to do as God requires, let us give to God our tithes and offerings.
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: Generous God, these offerings represent our sincere desire to be faithful, to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with you. Use them, we pray, to make justice, love and mercy evident in your beloved world until Christ comes again, and come again he will. Amen.
AFFIRMATION OF FAITH (from The Confession of Belhar)
We believe that God has revealed God’s self as the one who wishes to bring about justice and true peace among people;
- that God, in a world full of injustice and enmity, is in a special way the God of the destitute, the poor and the wronged;
- that God calls the church to follow God in this; for God brings justice to the oppressed and gives bread to the hungry;
- that God frees the prisoner and restores sight to the blind;
- that God supports the downtrodden, protects the stranger, helps orphans and widows and blocks the path of the ungodly;
- that for God pure and undefiled religion is to visit the orphans and the widows in their suffering;
- that God wishes to teach the church to do what is good and to seek the right;
- that the church must therefore stand by people in any form of suffering and need, which implies, among other things, that the church must witness against and strive against any form of injustice, so that justice may roll down like waters, and righteousness like an everflowing stream;
- that the church as the possession of God must stand where the Lord stands, namely against injustice and with the wronged; that in following Christ the church must witness against all the powerful and privileged who selfishly seek their own interests and thus control and harm others.
Therefore, we reject any ideology which would legitimate forms of injustice and any doctrine which is unwilling to resist such an ideology in the name of the gospel.
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 the God who calmed the seas
is always with us, no matter how terrified we may be.
Whatever storm might come your way
Jesus is with you
and is always coming closer.
God has seen us through times of doubt 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.