I always like to include these first prayers. I think the people who can't attend church gain great benefit from these words which are shared during the service.
The First Reading: Romans 8:12-17
The Gospel Reading: John 3:1-17
Gathering God’s People
Call to Worship
(Abingdon Worship Annual 2015)
Greetings, divine beings! Give glory and power to the Lord!
Let heaven bow down to the Lord’s holy splendour.
Greetings, human beings! Give glory and power to the Lord!
Let earth bow down to the Lord’s holy splendour.
The Lord will give strength to God’s people.
The Lord will bless God’s people with peace!
The voice of God created the universe. The voice of God calls us to worship, and we cry:
The voice of Christ names us as sisters and brothers. The voice of Christ calls us to worship, and we cry: Glory! Glory!
The voice of the Spirit claims us as children of God. The voice of the Spirit calls us to worship, and we cry:
Glory! Glory! Glory!
Holy and awesome God, you are too amazing for us to comprehend! We thank you for the majesty, the power, and the glory of your divine presence. We are grateful that you came to us in the person of a tiny, human baby. You sent your own Son to enter fully into our lives. Our connection with Christ continues through the power of your Holy Spirit— the life-giving Spirit that transforms us into brothers and sisters of Christ, full partners in the glory of your divine love. With hearts overflowing, we thank you! Amen and amen.
Prayer of Confession
God, you come to us in a blaze of glory, but feeling unworthy of your presence, we cower and hide.
You invite us to become one with Christ, but in our fear of the demand to take up our cross, we pull back from you.
You offer us the gift of new life, but we roll our eyes, convinced of our knowledge of human biology and the impossibility of resurrection.
You manifest yourself to us in so many ways, but we have become experts at dodging, avoiding, and rationalising our refusal to follow your ways. Forgive us, Holy One.
Come to us once again, we pray. Open our eyes to your glory. Open our hearts to your love. Open our minds to your divine presence in our lives. Amen.
Declaration of Forgiveness
God’s own child was born on earth, in our midst, as a sign of God’s deep and abiding love for each one of us. Through the witness of the Holy Spirit, we claim this love for our own. We are the forgiven and loved children of God.
Thanks, be to God.
Rev. John talked today about whether we, as a church, function as an organization or an organism. He introduced this idea by referring to the individualistic way Australians operate, even to the extent of local congregations not being able to think of themselves as part of a worldwide “organism”.
He went on to say that many people take on or are given jobs in the church which reflect their daily occupations.
This leads to people fulfilling “functions” rather than building the kingdom. We fail to open ourselves to welcome all into the kingdom because we stay in our little “world”.
This has been something I have been
considering for some time. The Christian
Church is unbelievably diverse in its
expression. If we travelled from country to
country, especially outside the European
world, we would see churches which seem
unrecognizable to us as a church, that is
because our idea of what a church is, is so
That's not such a problem if we are only confining ourselves to think about Christians from different lands but if we look into that type of “classifying” more closely, we would resound that we exclude certain people from those we would consider being part of our congregation because of trivial differences. What does it matter what a person wears? What does it matter whether a person speaks grammatically (or softly or loudly). What does it matter whether someone is a bit gauche and bursts out at inappropriate times.
Jesus opened his arms to us all. When we are thinking that someone is not quite right for our congregation, put Jesus in our place and think what he would do.
I really worry that in our attempts to be “Christian” sometimes we are being most unChristlike.