OPENING PRAYER LITANY: PSALM 19
Pastor: The word of the Lord revives the soul
Peoples: and those who follow it are wise.
Pastor: The word of the Lord rejoices the heart
Peoples: and guides our paths through life.
Pastor: The word of the Lord endures forever.
Peoples: God’s word is true and righteous.
Pastor: The word of the Lord is more desirable than gold.
Peoples: God’s word is sweeter than honey.
Pastor: Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you,
Peoples: o Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
CALL TO CONFESSION (Mark 9:35)
Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” Let us humble ourselves before God and confess our sins as individuals and as a community.
I invite you to join with me in our unison prayer of confession, followed by a time either for silent personal confession.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION (TERI MCDOWELL OTT, PRESBYTERIAN OUTLOOK)
Holy God, we commit ourselves to service, but fail to have a servant’s heart. We seek social status, not sacrifice. We welcome worldly success, not the humble path of Christ. Forgive us, we pray. Free us from the pressures of the world that keep us jockeying for position. Help us be servants of all. Amen.
Moment of silent prayer–people of God, what do you need to confess this week?
ASSURANCE OF PARDON (Presbyterian Book of Common Worship)
The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting. I declare to you, in the name of Jesus Christ, we are forgiven! Amen.
PRAYER FOR UNDERSTANDING (TERI MCDOWELL OTT, PRESBYTERIAN OUTLOOK)
With a reverent sense of your presence and your Spirit’s gift of guidance, we gratefully approach your word today, Holy God. Help us meditate on the message you intend for us and be open to your life-giving truth. Amen.
FIRST SCRIPTURE READING
Say to those who are of a fearful heart,
‘Be strong, do not fear!
Here is your God.
The Lord will come with vengeance,
with terrible recompense.
The Lord will come and save you.’
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then the lame shall leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.
For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
the burning sand shall become a pool,
and the thirsty ground springs of water;
the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp,
the grass shall become reeds and rushes.
SECOND SCRIPTURE READING
John said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.’ But Jesus said, ‘Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterwards to speak evil of me. Whoever is not against us is for us. For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward.
‘If any of you put a stumbling-block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell., And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell.’
What could be an example of a stumbling block for children or new believers?
Are there people, environments, or media that encourage you to act in a way that is sinful or hurtful to others? How could you cut them out of your life or reduce their influence on you?
How seriously do we take Jesus’ words?
You can listen to Pastor Leia’s sermon, “Blessed Are the Pirates,” here.
HYMN Come, Bring Your Burdens to God
lyrics translated from Xhosa by Barbara Clark, Mairi Munro, and Martine Stemerick, 2008
music: South African melody, arranged by Welile Sigobi, 2008
English translation and musical arrangement © 2008 WGRG, Iona Community (admin. GIA Publications, Inc.)
Used with permission under ONE LICENSE # 738214-A
Come, bring your burdens to God;
come, bring your burdens to God;
come, bring your burdens to God,
for Jesus will never say no.
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE (TERI MCDOWELL OTT, PRESBYTERIAN OUTLOOK)
Persistent and present God, deliver us from doubts that keep us from turning to you more often in prayer. Deliver us from catastrophizing thoughts, from assuming the worst, from failing to recognize the power you have given us to help and heal. Deliver us from the shame of past failures that keep us from risking vulnerability. Deliver us from cynicism that keeps us from embracing each day as a new opportunity, a precious gift, another chance to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with you.
God of peace, be with those who are fleeing violence, tyranny and war. Accompany those seeking safety and shelter. Rescue the asylum-seekers and the unaccompanied children. By the gift of your Holy Spirit, embolden us to cross borders of our own making — overcoming bias, seeking justice, offering welcome.
Creator God, in the midst of hurricanes, floods and devastating wildfires, empower us to care for our earth and one another. Give comfort and courage to those who are suffering. Guide world leaders toward smart and sustainable action that will care for your creation and not cause further harm. Quench our warming globe’s thirst for justice.
Finally, God, we pray for the sick in need of healing: friends, neighbors and loved ones suffering from COVID-19 or other diseases. Sit with those waiting for a diagnosis. Comfort those living with pain. Sustain those filled with worry. Restore those living without hope.
Almighty God, we praise you for your grace that has sustained us, your discipline that has corrected us, your patience that has borne with us, and your love that has redeemed us.
United as a family of faith and as the Body of Christ we lift these prayers up to you. Hear us now as we pray the prayer Christ taught us, 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.
MORNING OFFERING (TERI MCDOWELL OTT, PRESBYTERIAN OUTLOOK)
With glad and generous hearts, let us return to God a portion of all that we have been given. Let us present our tithes and offering to our God.
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, if you visit peoples presbyterian dot org, you’ll find a donate button at the top of the page that will link you directly to a secure page where you could make a donation online. We appreciate the generosity of the Peoples family as we live out our faith in MISSION and ministry.
PRAYER OF DEDICATION (TERI MCDOWELL OTT, PRESBYTERIAN OUTLOOK)
Holy God, we gratefully present these gifts and entrust them to the power of Christ’s ministry. May these gifts bear the Good News of the gospel to the least and the last. May these gifts be signs of our welcome to the most vulnerable among us. Bless our offerings so they might provide healing and hope. Amen.
AFFIRMATION OF FAITH (FROM A BRIEF STATEMENT OF FAITH)
We trust in Jesus Christ,
fully human, fully God.
Jesus proclaimed the reign of God:
preaching good news to the poor
and release to the captives,
teaching by word and deed
and blessing the children,
healing the sick
and binding up the brokenhearted,
eating with outcasts,
and calling all to repent and believe the gospel.
Unjustly condemned for blasphemy and sedition,
Jesus was crucified,
suffering the depths of human pain
and giving his life for the sins of the world.
God raised this Jesus from the dead,
vindicating his sinless life,
breaking the power of sin and evil,
delivering us from death to life eternal.
HYMN Spirit, Spirit of Gentleness
lyrics by James K. Manley, 1975
music by James K. Manley, 1976
© 1978 James K. Manley
Used by Permission. CCLI License #3456351 and ONELICENSE # 738214-A
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.
From wherever you are, serve the Lord: Creator, Son, and Holy Spirit.