Call to Worship
(Deborah Sokolove, The Abingdon Worship Annual)
God’s love is steadfast, inviting us to rejoice and find eternal life in love of God and others.
The Holy One calls us to trust God’s steadfast love. With our ancestor Abraham, we say: “Here I am.”
The Holy One calls us to be guided by prophets. With the first followers of Jesus, we say: “Here I am.”
The Holy One calls us into eternal life. With the Gospel writers, we say: “Here I am.”
Let us worship the God who calls us. Amen.
My thought about the response above is that my “Here I am.” is not complete. There's much I hold back, even if I'm sincere as I say the words, within a moment I am protecting the part of me I want to keep control over.
Hymn TIS 102: “Praise to the living God”
Wellspring of Grace, Teacher of Truth, Breath of Resurrection, you welcome us into your life, and invite us to welcome others with a cup of water, a bite of bread, a moment of conversation. As we drink from the overflowing spring of your endless love, fill our hearts with thanksgiving and joy, that we may become the body of Christ pouring our lives into a world that yearns to be filled. Amen.
Another chance to lay all on my God but am I ready to let God be my Lord and King?
A Prayer of Confession
Teacher of Truth, you tell us to welcome prophets and teachers, and to give to those in need.
Yet we want to hug your salvation to ourselves and keep your gifts for our own use.
You call us to be servants of your teaching, and to remember that we are no longer slaves to sin.
Yet we want to continue doing what we have always done before, hanging onto old habits and opinions, even when you show us a better way.
You even offer us eternal life when we surrender to your will.
Forgive us, Holy One, when we mistake our will for your own. Amen.
The very prayer of confession needed for someone like me. Can I make it mine?
Declaration of Forgiveness
God is a wellspring of grace, offering the gift of eternal life to all who do God’s will. In the name of Christ, we are forgiven, loved, and free.
Thanks, be to God! Amen.
Eternal life, in the here and now. An offer of liberty but still we hesitate. Why?
In gratitude for the gift of eternal life, let us greet one another with signs of peace. The peace of Christ be with you.
The peace of Christ be with you always.
At least God’s grace allows us to open our hearts to our neighbours.
Pentecost God, take our hearts and set them on fire. Take our lives and transform them. Take our church and resurrect it with your life-giving Spirit. Take our gifts and use them for the fulfillment of your vision of peace and unity.
Giving of our gifts is so easy compared with the giving of ourselves.
God of grace and truth, you welcome us into your presence and provide refreshment and renewal for our lives in Jesus, your Son, our Lord. Receive and bless these gifts and our lives which we offer in response to your many gracious gifts to us. May our hands be always open to welcome people in Jesus’ name. Amen
Grace enough to acknowledge Gods great gifts to us. But can we take our hands off the wheel of our lives and give God full control.
Hymn TIS 129: “Amazing grace”
The Service of Holy Communion
The Great Thanksgiving
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.
It is a right, good, and a joyful thing always and everywhere to give our thanks to you, who saved Abraham from sacrificing his beloved son, Isaac, and has given us the gift of eternal life in Christ. We give you thanks for freedom and friendship, for love and for laughter, for parents and children who travel together in the ways of peace. We give you thanks for new understandings of ancient stories, for happy endings and new beginnings, for cups of cold water on hot, sunny days. And so, with your creatures on earth and all the heavenly chorus, we praise your name and join their unending hymn:
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest!And we can say this with the greatest authenticity while still holding back. The service continued:….
Invitation to Communion
Are you hungry for God? Come to the bread of life. Are you in need of forgiveness? Come to the table of grace. Are you empty and alone?
At the deepest level…yes, sometimes.
Come to the feast of love. Come, even when naked and vulnerable, for here we are covered with abundant grace and filled with the goodness of God.
Prayer after Communion
God of compassion, through your son, Jesus Christ, you reconciled your people to yourself. Following his example of prayer and fasting may we obey you with willing hearts and serve one another in holy love. Amen.
Obey with willing hearts. I mean to.
Rev. John referred to the story of Abraham preparing to sacrifice his son at a time when families were willing to do just that to gain favour with lifeless deities.
But in this case, the deity was the Living God and Abraham was shown that such a sacrifice was not asked for or required.
John continued, applying the situation to our own lives: “We can let work drive a knife into the beating heart of a marriage. We can bind our families with cords of anger and addiction that feel like living death. If we are not aware of or sensitive to others, we will kill life’s most precious relationships. The story tells us that God provides a way that leads to life, not death; that sacrifice does not require the death of a child or a spouse. God calls us to worthy dreams and ennobled human values. In the thickets of our, often complicated lives, God has resources offering better ways to live.”
Hymn TIS 585: “I heard the voice of Jesus say”
Music to lead us to prayer
Music to lead us to prayer
Margaret thanked God for the security we are given in the face of all that is unGodlike within us and around us. She asked for God’s direction for all people and gave thanks for the healing and Grace God gives. She asked for God’s protection for all people who serve others in places where they could be exposed to violence and then prayed for those facing the highs and lows of life in sickness and in pain or travelling the roads, the seas or the skies. We then joined in the Lord’s Prayer.
Hymn TIS 650: “Brother, sister, let me serve you”
With prophets and teachers, and all who seek to do the will of God— let us go forth to fill the empty cups of all who ask; let us give in the name of the Breath of Resurrection, the Wellspring of Grace, the Teacher of Truth: The One, Triune God, who gives eternal life. Let us share the blessings of Christ’s eternal covenant, and praise God for the Spirit’s call to love and give. Amen.
Hymn TIS 778: “Shalom to you now”
Sung with sincerity to each other, wishing everyone the highest blessing that God offers.