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.
OPENING PRAYER LITANY: PSALM 146
Pastor: Praise the Lord, o my soul!
Peoples: We will praise the Lord as long as we live!
Pastor: We will praise God until our final breath and then begin the song of praise anew.
Peoples: Our hope is in the Lord,
Pastor: who made the heavens and the earth and the seas and all that is in them,
Peoples: who gives justice to the oppressed and food to those who hunger,
Pastor: who lifts up those who are bowed down,
Peoples: who cares for the lonely stranger,
Pastor: who shall reign forever.
Peoples: We praise the Lord throughout all generations. Hallelujah!
CALL TO CONFESSION (TERI MCDOWELL OTT, PRESBYTERIAN OUTLOOK)
God knows us completely. God knows our heart and discerns our thoughts. Let us then confess what we carry within us that does not honor God or God’s path of righteousness.
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, although we honor you with our words and worship, our hearts are often far from you. We are quick to judge, quick to exclude, quick to put others down instead of building them up. Forgive us, God. Help us amend our ways. Help us embrace the inclusive love you graciously offer us and expect us to offer others. Amen.
Moment of silent prayer–people of God, what do you need to confess this week?
ASSURANCE OF PARDON (TERI MCDOWELL OTT, PRESBYTERIAN OUTLOOK)
The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting. I declare to you, in the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven. May the God of mercy, who forgives you all your sins, strengthen you in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep you in eternal life. Amen.
PRAYER FOR UNDERSTANDING (TERI MCDOWELL OTT, PRESBYTERIAN OUTLOOK)
Open us, Eternal God, to your Word read and proclaimed. Help us not to turn from your truth, or avoid and distract ourselves from your message. Help us be receptive to the wisdom you offer in this worship moment.
FIRST SCRIPTURE READING
James 2:1-10, 14-17
My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in, and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, ‘Have a seat here, please’, while to the one who is poor you say, ‘Stand there’, or, ‘Sit at my feet’, have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court? Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you?
You do well if you really fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you show partiality, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill’, and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.
SECOND SCRIPTURE READING
Then Jesus returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him. Jesus took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, ‘Ephphatha’, that is, ‘Be opened.’ And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. Then Jesus ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. They were astounded beyond measure, saying, ‘He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.’
The Deaf man is brought to Jesus. What do you think went through his mind during the experience?
Jesus quite literally gets his hands dirty to perform this miracle. Why do you think that might be?
What do you think needs to be opened in this story or in our church today?
You can listen to Pastor Leia’s sermon, “What Needs to Be Opened?” here.
HYMN O LORD, HEAR MY PRAYER
lyrics by Taizé Community, 1982, 1991
music by Jacques Berthier, 1982
© 1982, Les Presses de Taizé, GIA Publications, Inc., agent
Used with permission under ONE LICENSE # 738214-A
O Lord, hear my prayer. O Lord, hear my prayer.
When I call, answer me.
O Lord, hear my prayer. O Lord, hear my prayer.
Come and listen to me.
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE (TERI MCDOWELL OTT, PRESBYTERIAN OUTLOOK)
God of mercy, the earth groans as wildfires rage, hurricanes destroy, and our climate continues to warm and change. We are weary of disaster, God. We are tense from concern and fear. We feel helpless as we watch each evening’s news. Hear us, O God, as we share ourselves, our prayers, our hopes with you. Bless us, O God, with a reverent sense of your presence as we lift these petitions to you.
We pray for students newly returned to school. We pray for their curiosity, imagination, and intellect to bloom. We pray that they persevere through every new challenge, that they take advantage of their education, that they work hard to develop their emerging skills. We pray also for parents and teachers still navigating the change and pressures brought on by the pandemic. Bless these, we pray, with your wisdom and grace.
We pray for our nation and our nation’s leaders. In this time of national turmoil, come near, Holy God, to both judge and save. When we turn from your way, help us repent and return. May our leaders be led by your wisdom; may they clearly discern your will and seek to follow it. We pray also for those who serve our nation through the military. Keeps these sons and daughters safe, keep them from being hardened by war, restore them from moral injury, heal them from physical, mental, and spiritual pain.
We pray for the suffering all across our globe. We pray for peace to reign in Afghanistan, for the Afghan people to enjoy the freedom and dignity they deserve. We pray for mercy for the people of Haiti, for respite from their endless woes, for prosperity for a country desperate to make their way. We pray for all those who must endure violence, destruction, and abuse. Save us, God, from sectarian thinking that leads us to believe others’ problems are not our own. Remind us of our interconnectedness, that the suffering of some is the suffering of us all.
Mighty and merciful God, we praise you for sending healing and hope through doctors and nurses and researchers who bless us with new science and technology to serve and save. We claim your promise of wholeness for all who suffer. We glorify you for your constant presence, help, and hope. May your world and all who live in it be renewed through the power of the risen Christ and those committed to being Christ’s hands and feet in a hurting world.
United as a family of faith and as the Body of Christ we lift these prayers up to you, God, our Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer. Finally, hear us 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.
HYMN O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing
lyrics by Charles Wesley, 1739
music by Carl Gotthelf Gläser, 1828
my great Redeemer’s praise,
the glories of my God and King,
the triumphs of God’s grace!2 The name of Jesus charms our fears,
that bids our sorrows cease,
sings music in the sinner’s ears,
brings life and health and peace.
3 Christ speaks, and listening to his voice
new life the dead receive;
the mournful waken to rejoice;
the poor in heart believe.
4 My gracious Master and my God,
assist me to proclaim,
to spread through all the earth abroad
the honors of your name.
5 To God all glory, praise, and love
be now and ever given
by saints below and saints above,
the Church in earth and heaven.
MORNING OFFERING (TERI MCDOWELL OTT, PRESBYTERIAN OUTLOOK)
We have more to offer than we recognize or realize. God has given us abundant gifts. Let us faithfully respond to our generous God by presenting our tithes and offerings.
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, how often we take for granted all that we have. How often we fail to recognize how blessed we are. Take these gifts we give in response to your generosity and use them to further Christ’s mission and ministry in a hurting world. Amen.
AFFIRMATION OF FAITH (Romans 8)
We believe there is no condemnation
for those who are in Christ Jesus;
for we know that all things work together for good
for those who love God,
who are called according to God’s purpose.
We are convinced that neither death, nor life,
nor angels, nor rulers,
nor things present, nor things to come,
nor powers, nor height, nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God
in Christ Jesus our Lord. 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.
From wherever you are, serve the Lord: Creator, Son, and Holy Spirit.