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 (Psalm 34:1-5)
I will bless the Lord at all times;
God’s praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
let the humble hear and be glad.
O magnify the Lord with me,
and let us exalt God’s name together.
I sought the Lord, and God answered me,
and delivered me from all my fears.
Look to the Lord, and be radiant;
so your faces shall never be ashamed.
God of glory, we ask that you make us one with Christ and with that great multitude of the faithful—those who hunger and thirst no more and worship night and day in your temple. Lead us in paths of righteousness and guide us to the springs of the water of life, until we join the choir of the redeemed, singing: Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb: Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
CALL TO CONFESSION
Jesus said: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Trusting in God’s grace, let us confess our sin.
Please join me in the prayer of confession, followed by a silent personal prayer.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Lord of every tribe and nation, on this day when we remember and give thanks for all the saints, we are mindful of the countless ways we fail to follow their example of loyalty and faithfulness. We capitulate to idolatry. We worship the false gods of our time instead of bowing down before the Lamb on the throne. We imagine all people gathered in praise of you and lament how we make our witness through our divisions and strife. Forgive us for acting as if earthly powers are ultimate. Hear our plea to find our hope, our life, our salvation in you alone. Accept our repentance and reshape us in ways that glorify you. Amen.
Moment of silent prayer–people of God, what do you confess this week?
Assurance of Pardon
Jesus said: Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. In the name of Jesus Christ, we are forgiven! Thanks be to God.
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
Gracious God, we come to worship carrying with us the concerns of the world, the worries on our hearts and burdens that have become too heavy for us to carry. In the light of your Word reveal to us that which truly matters, those things we need to expose in order that healing might happen, and the next step that will take us closer to our Lord. Amen.
FIRST SCRIPTURE READING
After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice, saying,
‘Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!’
And all the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshipped God, singing,
‘Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom
and thanksgiving and honor
and power and might
be to our God for ever and ever! Amen.’
Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, ‘Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?’ I said to him, ‘Sir, you are the one that knows.’ Then he said to me, ‘These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
For this reason they are before the throne of God,
and worship him day and night within his temple,
and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them.
They will hunger no more, and thirst no more;
the sun will not strike them,
nor any scorching heat;
for the Lamb at the centre of the throne will be their shepherd,
and he will guide them to springs of the water of life,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’
SECOND SCRIPTURE READING
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
‘Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
‘Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
- What does it mean to be blessed?
- Who in the world today do you think Jesus blesses?
- Where do you see yourself in relation to Jesus’ Beatitudes?
You can listen to Pastor Leia’s sermon, “Sometimes, Blessings Hurt,” here.
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
Lord, all the saints sing your praise, bow down in worship and pray without ceasing before your throne. In gratitude for their witness and in thanksgiving that you call us children of God, we come to you seeking your will and relishing the chance to be in relationship with you and all the saints.
You tell us that the poor in spirit are blessed. While we often seek fleeting riches and worldly status, you remind us that those whose focus is on you, those who seek to serve and the least of these are the ones who know your blessing. When we struggle to find our way to you, turn us toward the poor and the poor in spirit in order that we might be found in and with you.
You say that those who mourn are blessed. In this time of pandemic and economic upheaval, natural disasters and human inflicted violence, there are many of your children in mourning. Comfort them in their distress. Relieve their suffering. Make your blessing evident and felt.
You name blessed those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. In a time when injustice is unmasked on every corner and earthly powers exploit and abuse, make us hungry, starving for righteousness. Feed us on the bread of life that never fails to satisfy and never slake our thirst for doing good.
The meek, the merciful, the pure in heart, while the world overlooks and ignores them, you, Lord, proclaim them blessed. Knowing this divine truth, turn us toward and make us one among the meek, the merciful, the pure in heart who commit to following you no matter where you lead them.
When strife seems unending and violence grips without surrender, grant us the courage to be peacemakers, those who refuse to give in to the idea that might makes right but instead stand stalwart in your mercy.
Do not let us shrink from following you even when it requires risk and taking a stand no matter the cost. Help us to be numbered among your good and faithful servants, all days and in the end. We pray 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.
HYMN For All the Saints
1 For all the saints who from their labors rest,
who thee by faith before the world confessed,
thy name, O Jesus, be forever blest.
2 Thou wast their rock, their fortress, and their might;
thou, Lord, their captain in the well-fought fight;
thou, in the darkness drear, their one true light.
3 And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
and hearts are brave again, and arms are strong.
4 From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,
through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
singing to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
INVITATION TO OFFERING
Come before God with gifts and offerings that reflect your joy and gratitude for God’s grace and goodness. Come before God with praise and worship, joining with all the saints as we present to God with gladness a portion of all the God has entrusted us to steward.
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
Alpha and Omega, our beginning and end, there is nowhere we can flee from your Spirit, no place God-forsaken or unable to be transformed by your redemptive power. As we remember the saints who ran the race before them and were called good and faithful servants, we are humbled and inspired to seek to follow you more closely and imitate those who imitated Christ. We offer these gifts as a sign of our desire to be loyal to you and loving to our neighbors. Take them, bless them, distribute them in ways that reveal your goodness to your creation. Amen
AFFIRMATION OF FAITH (The Apostles’ Creed)
I believe in God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth; And in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried. He descended into hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father almighty. From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost, the holy universal Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. 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.
May the memory of all those who have loved you
and the memory of all those whom you have loved
be with you and inspire you.
God has been with us from the beginning of all things,
God is with us now,
and God will be with us until the very end of time.
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.