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 (written by Sarah Are for A Sanctified Art LLC)
One: Can you imagine unfettered love?
Free and bold, wild and true, the kind of love that changes you?
Can you imagine a home—safe and bright,
With impromptu dancing, meals around the table, and laughter late into the night?
Can you imagine faith like a compass
That guides the way you shop and vote, the way you love and hope;
That asks questions and yet still believes, even despite uncertainty?
Can you imagine a world where trees, bees, and all living things grow wild and free?
Where peace is the narrative and hope the currency?
A world where news stories are testimonies and funerals are far between?
Can you imagine?
All: Yes, we can imagine.
One: Today in worship, dare to dream. Dare to imagine what could be.
And pay attention, for God is here, in wandering thoughts, hopes, and prayers.
All: Let us worship holy God, that great unfettered love.
Merciful God, in Jesus Christ you do not call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Draw us away from the easy road that leads to destruction, and guide us into paths that lead to life abundant, that in seeking your truth, and obeying your will, we may know the joy of being a disciple of Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
CALL TO CONFESSION
We have sinned and fallen short of what God commands and requires of us. We have no excuses, but we have confidence in the Lord’s promises. Therefore, we are bold to confess our sin to God and with one another.
Please join me in the prayer of confession, followed by a silent personal prayer.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Lord, you see how stubborn we are, how quickly we turn from you toward idols of our own making, how impatient we are when we do not get what we think we deserve. We forget your providential care for us, the countless ways you provide, your gracious response to our cries for help. We do not think on things like justice and goodness. We are not known for our gentleness. We give in to the loud voices that tell us to tend to our own needs only and neglect the very ones you command us to feed. We cannot justify our behavior, we can only confess it, repent and ask again for your mercy. Forgive us, Lord, so that we can bear witness to your character of loving kindness. In Christ’s name we pray, amen.
Moment of silent prayer–people of God, what do you confess this week?
Assurance of Pardon
The Lord’s wrath relents, and God instead pours out mercy and grace. Our God refuses to give up on us and instead forgives and frees us. Friends, believe the exceedingly good news, in Jesus Christ we are forgiven. Thanks be to God!
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
Gracious God, the news this week disturbs and scares us. The state of the world, the state of our own hearts, frightens and stuns us. We need your transformative word to call us back to you, to remind us of who and whose we are, to shape us for your service in ways that shine Christ’s light in our darkness. Send your Spirit so that we will hear and respond rightly to your word to your people. Amen.
FIRST SCRIPTURE READING
When Jesus entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to Jesus as he was teaching, and said, ‘By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?’ Jesus said to them, ‘I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?’
And they argued with one another, ‘If we say, “From heaven”, he will say to us, “Why then did you not believe him?” But if we say, “Of human origin”, we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet.’ So they answered Jesus, ‘We do not know.’
And Jesus said to them, ‘Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things. What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, “Son, go and work in the vineyard today.” He answered, “I will not”; but later he changed his mind and went. The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, “I go, sir”; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?’
They said, ‘The first.’
Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, the tax-collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax-collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.’
- Is it more important to say the right thing or do the right thing?
- Why do you think that the first son in the parable might have changed his mind and decided to go and work in the vineyard that day after all?
- When in your life have you changed your stance on an issue over time and after consideration?
SECOND SCRIPTURE READING
Leviticus 19:9-10, 25:8-12
When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: I am the Lord your God.
You shall count off seven weeks of years, seven times seven years, so that the period of seven weeks of years gives forty-nine years. Then you shall have the trumpet sounded loud; on the tenth day of the seventh month—on the day of atonement—you shall have the trumpet sounded throughout all your land. And you shall hallow the fiftieth year and you shall proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you: you shall return, every one of you, to your property and every one of you to your family. That fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you: you shall not sow, or reap the aftergrowth, or harvest the unpruned vines. For it is a jubilee; it shall be holy to you: you shall eat only what the field itself produces.
You can listen to Pastor Leia’s sermon, “Reimagine Jubilee,” here.
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE (JILL DUFFIELD)
Lord, we rejoice in you always. Even in times of trial and despite seasons of doubt and pain, we rejoice. We come to you pleading on behalf of the world you so love, asking for signs of your grace, interventions of your mercy, transformation that reflects your goodness. When we grow weary and bereft, send your Spirit to encourage and uphold us. When we are tempted to give in to violence or force, remind us that we, your people, are to be known for our gentleness. Be near to us that we might know your peace.
Grant us the strength of faith not to worry, but to instead think on things that are honorable. Help us to live with integrity, showing respect to your creation and love to our neighbors. May our actions reflect your character, the body of Christ an extension of Jesus’ earthly ministry until he comes again.
Give us the courage to not only think about justice, but enact and embody it. Aid us in our work for equity and our honest accounting of past wrongs and present oppression. Knowing that we are united in Christ and called to a ministry of reconciliation, empower us to do the hard, tangible work of repairing the breach and restoring the streets.
Reveal to us that which is pure, those things that speak of your holiness and point to your will. Do not let us be overtaken by cynicism or despair. Give us eyes to see you present and at work, ears to hear your voice however and through whomever you choose to speak, hearts inscribed with your word and moved to do your work.
Teach us to recognize that which is pleasing in your sight so that we can name it, emulate it, expand it. In the suffering so pervasive and varied in our world, call forth hope and embolden us to be bearers of it. Surround those bent over in grief and pain with disciples who refuse to turn away, people committed to sitting in the darkness until the dawn comes.
Open our mouths to proclaim your praise. As our anxieties grow and our divisions increase, send the Holy Spirit to remind us of all Jesus taught us, give us the right words to speak at the right time, turn our thoughts to you so that we will think and act on your loving kindness, your free flowing justice, your pursuit of goodness and mercy.
We pray in the name of your Son, 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 O Peoples, Lift Your Voices
For the second week in a row, I couldn’t choose between two versions of this hymn…
Piano music with lyrics on screen O Peoples, Lift Your Voices
Jazzy brass O Peoples, Lift Your Voices
1 O peoples, lift your voices,
Triumphant songs to raise;
Till heaven on high rejoices,
And earth is filled with praise:
Ten thousand hearts are bounding
With holy hopes and free;
The gospel horn is sounding,
The song of jubilee.
2 Not unto us, Lord Jesus:
To Thee all praise be due,
Whose gift of mercy frees us,
Has freed our brethren too.
Not unto us: in glory
The angels catch the strain,
And cast their crowns before Thee
3 Great God of our salvation,
Thy presence we adore;
Praise, glory, adoration
Be Thine forevermore;
Still on in conflict pressing
On Thee Thy people call,
Thee King of Kings confessing,
Thee crowning Lord of all.
INVITATION TO OFFERING
God’s love for us never ends. God’s mercies are new every morning. When we consider God’s goodness and mercy, we are humbled and awed. In gratitude and joy we give to God our morning’s offering. Let us worship as we give.
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
Almighty God, you invite us to the banquet, welcome us to your table, send your prophets with your instructions and your Son to save us from our sin. The depth and breadth of your compassion cannot ever be earned or repaid, hence we call it grace. Accept, we pray, these gifts, given in thanksgiving and in the hope that you will bless and use them to call others to the heavenly banquet. Amen.
AFFIRMATION OF FAITH (written by Sarah Are for A Sanctified Art LLC)
We believe in God the Creator,
who, like a painter with a canvas,
imagined creation and breathed it into being.
We believe in Jesus,
who many years later,
walked this hurting world and showed us a new way to love.
We believe in the Holy Spirit,
who prods us and pulls us,
leads us and guides us,
carries us and loves us into new life, day after day.
And we believe in the power of imagination,
a gift from God that allows us to dream dreams,
create anew, start over, try again, and live lives of hope.
So in response, together, as God’s church,
We dare to dream.
We strive to love.
We try to imagine a new day.
And we walk together,
All with God’s help.
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 God is with us
in seasons of joy and seasons of sorrow.
God has been with us as we have longed for jubilee before
and God is with us as we long for jubilee 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.