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. Later in the service, we will be sharing virtual communion. Have bread and grape juice or wine on hand–or elements that are roughly equivalent. Granola bar and a juice box? Jesus’ body is broken for you. Goldfish crackers and pop? Jesus’ body is still broken for you. Muffin and coffee? Yep, Jesus’ body is broken for you! We are one in Christ even when we aren’t able to share the same loaf of bread.
CALL TO WORSHIP (Matthew 28:20)
Jesus promised us that he would be with us always, even to the end of the age.
In Christ, we will never be alone.
Let us pray: O blessed Trinity, in whom we know the maker of all things seen and unseen, the Savior of all both near and far: By your Spirit enable us to worship your divine majesty, so that with all the company of heaven we may magnify your glorious name, saying: Holy, holy, holy. Glory to you, O Lord most high. Amen.
CALL TO CONFESSION (written by Sarah Are for A Sanctified Art LLC)
We confess that sometimes things feel too good to be true, while at other times we wonder if God hears us at all. When life unravels for the worst—we blame God. But when life unravels for the best, filling our days with holy surprise—we tend to praise ourselves, thinking we’ve earned this unexpected joy.
Please join me in the prayer of confession, followed by a silent personal prayer.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Where do we begin, Lord God? We survey our world and see the inequity and violence, the death of innocents and the exploitation of the vulnerable. We would like to say that we do not participate in such blatant brutality, but when we do not work for justice, stand with the oppressed and speak truth to power, we perpetuate the very things you hate the most. Your prophets tell us plainly that our worship offends you when it is not accompanied by our care for the least among us. We need your help, Almighty God. We cannot right the wrongs of our world or cleanse the sin within our souls without your intervention. We come to you now, humbled, contrite, begging for your mercy, longing for your transformation.
Moment of silent prayer–people of God, what do you confess this week?
Assurance of Pardon
But God proves God’s love for us in that while we still were sinners, Christ died for us. Much more surely then, now that we have been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of the Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. Friends, believe the good news, through Jesus Christ we are forgiven
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
Gracious God, you meet us as we are, but do not leave us as you find us. Send your Spirit and open us to the transformative power of your living Word. Trusting your promise that your word will not return to you empty, we ask that you would use this time of proclamation to form us more in the likeness of Jesus Christ, your Son and our Savior. Amen.
FIRST SCRIPTURE READING
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’
Even after the resurrection and everything else they had been through together, some of the eleven disciples still had doubts. Was Jesus’ message still for them? (yes. the answer is yes.)
How have you followed Jesus’ call to make disciples?
When have you taught or shared the words of Jesus with others?
How often do you pause to reflect on Jesus’ promise that he will be with you always, to the end of the age?
1 Come, thou almighty King,
help us thy name to sing;
help us to praise:
Father, all glorious,
o’er all victorious,
come, and reign over us,
Ancient of Days.
2 Come, thou incarnate Word,
merciful, mighty Lord,
our prayer attend.
Come, and thy people bless,
and give thy word success;
Spirit of holiness,
on us descend.
3 Come, holy Comforter,
thy sacred witness bear
in this glad hour.
Thou who almighty art,
now rule in every heart,
and ne’er from us depart,
Spirit of power.
4 To thee, great One in Three,
eternal praises be,
Thy sovereign majesty
may we in glory see,
and to eternity
love and adore.
SECOND SCRIPTURE READING
Genesis 18:1-15; 21:1-7
The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them, and bowed down to the ground. He said, ‘My lord, if I find favor with you, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.’ So they said, ‘Do as you have said.’ And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, ‘Make ready quickly three measures of choice flour, knead it, and make cakes.’ Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it. Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree while they ate.
They said to him, ‘Where is your wife Sarah?’ And he said, ‘There, in the tent.’ Then one said, ‘I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son.’ And Sarah was listening at the tent entrance behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, ‘After I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?’ The Lord said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh, and say, “Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?” Is anything too wonderful for the Lord? At the set time I will return to you, in due season, and Sarah shall have a son.’ But Sarah denied, saying, ‘I did not laugh’; for she was afraid. He said, ‘Oh yes, you did laugh.’
The Lord dealt with Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as he had promised. Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the time of which God had spoken to him. Abraham gave the name Isaac to his son whom Sarah bore him. And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. Now Sarah said, ‘God has brought laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me.’ And she said, ‘Who would ever have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.’
You can listen to Pastor Leia’s sermon, “The Unraveling of the Narrative,” here.
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE (JILL DUFFIELD)
Creator God, you made all that is seen and unseen and called every last bit of it good. We look at the birds of the air and the beasts of the field and see your glorious work. We see the lilies of the field in their splendor and marvel at your gratuitous beauty. The diversity and intricacy of creation astounds and awes us. You made us stewards of your marvelous work and yet far too often we have failed to treat the earth with care and reverence. Forgive us for using that which you gifted us to enjoy. As you make of us new creations, move us to see ourselves not as consumers of the world’s resources, but as those who tend and nurture the earth’s gifts.
People of God, what do you give thanks for and rejoice in this week?
Lord Christ, you came not to condemn, but to save. You shone light in the darkness and flooded the cosmos with grace and truth. You fed the hungry, healed the sick, sought out the lost and ate with sinners. No one was beyond your concern. You regarded the unseen, touched those long marginalized and had compassion even for those who could not bring themselves to leave what they knew in order to follow you. Your mercy stuns us. Your love astounds us. Your command to love others renders us wholly dependent on your power to work within us. In a season filled with fear and overrun with death, we plead for your intervention. Grant us your peace that passes understanding and then enable us to be the peacemakers we are to be in our families, communities and country. As your body in this world, help us to be ambassadors of reconciliation and stewards of your mysteries in the places most in need of your compassion and justice.
People of God, what names are on your hearts this week?
Holy Spirit, when you possess us we cannot help but be in relationship with the whole swath of humanity. When your wind blows, we are swept up in God’s salvation plan to bring unity, wholeness and abundant life to each and every corner of creation. When your flames burn, we see with clarity our complicity with sinful systems and our personal participation in inflicting pain on others. May your refining fire burn away all that prevents us from fully following Jesus Christ and illumine the Way we are to go. Enliven our discipleship and send us out to preach teach and baptize, feed, tend and heal, advocate for the least, seek out the lost and stand with the oppressed until death and pain and crying are no more.
People of God, how are being called to offer your gifts to the world this week?
We make our prayer in the name of the Creator and the Son and the Holy Spirit and using the words our Savior taught us:
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.
INVITATION TO OFFERING
The Triune God follows us with goodness and mercy, seeks us out when we are lost, welcomes us when we come home and stops at nothing to be in relationship with us. There is nothing we could do or say, offer or give, that would adequately show our gratitude. Yet, we also know that you accept whatever we render in faith, bless and use it. In thanksgiving and joy, we worship God with our morning’s offering
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: Lord, you require of us to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with you. We pray that these gifts represent our desire to be faithful in our daily living. We ask that you would bless our offerings, not just of our money but of ourselves, in order to make of us the salt and light in the world you call us to be. May these gifts further your will for justice, love and peace. In Christ’s name we pray, amen.
Pastor: The Lord be with you.
Response: And also with you.
Pastor: Lift up your hearts.
Response: We lift them to the Lord.
Pastor: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
Response: It is right to give our thanks and praise.
We know the story, that on the last night with his friends, Jesus took bread, gave thanks, and broke it, telling them, “Take this and eat. It is my body, broken for you.” He also poured a cup, telling them, “This is the new covenant, sealed in my blood. Drink from it, all of you, and remember me.”
Throughout the centuries, across the nations, even when we have been divided by time and place, every time we break bread together in Jesus’ name, we take part in the meal he shared with his friends so long ago. We may be separated now, as we continue to shelter in place in our own homes, but Christ is always with us, even to the end of the age, and Christ is in the meal that we are sharing now, no matter what form it might take.
Let us pray: Holy God—Creator, Son, and Holy Spirit—as you are One, help us to be united in love, in faith, and in hope. Help us to work together from wherever we are to make your dreams for the world come true. Amen.
This is the body of Christ, broken for you.
This is the blood of Christ, shed for you.
AFFIRMATION OF FAITH (written by Sarah Are for A Sanctified Art, LLC)
I believe in God, the Great Tailor—
Who weaves us together in community,
Collecting our loose ends and turning them into belonging.
I believe in the Holy Spirit—
Who hems us in before and behind,
Catching us when we fall and writing us into God’s holy narrative.
Who loved and claimed the people society had thrown out, refusing to disregard anyone as scrap.I believe God has woven part of God’s self into the fiber of our being,
Making us inherently worthy of love and belonging.
I believe the fabric of my life is weak,
That I am prone to error and need God’s handiwork to remind me of love.
She is designed to be as diverse and beautiful as God’s creation.
God is there to stitch my wounds together,
To hold me in the palm of God’s hand, to tell me of love,
And to invite me into a new journey.
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 triune God who worked miracles in Sarah
can work miracles in you, as well.
No matter what narrative you think you are bound to,
God can unravel it and weave together something more beautiful
than you ever could have imagined.
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.