May 24, 2020 â€” Seventh Sunday of Easter
Dance of the Blessed Spirits
Schuyler Thornton, Flute
CALL TO WORSHIP
CALL TO CONFESSION
God, we humble ourselves before you. The burden of our sin is too heavy to carry and too big to hide. We rejoice in your promise of mercy and forgiveness. Hear us as we name that which we no longer want to have dominion over us. Hear us and set us free.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Lord, you pray that your followers will be one as you and the One who sent you are one, and yet we divide into factions, demonize those with whom we disagree and fail to show the world we are yours through our love of one another. We are to be your witnesses to the ends of the earth, revealing your mercy and enacting your compassion. Instead we keep silent when we should speak and speak when we ought to remain silent.
Forgive us for our failure to take risks for your sake.
Grant us your grace and embolden us to share it, forgiving others as we have been forgiven.
ASSURANCE OF PARDON
SPECIAL MUSIC "Meditation" from Thais JULES MASSENET
Schuyler Thornton, Flute
PRAYER OF ILLUMINATION
God, we cast our anxieties on you, knowing that you care for us. Send your Spirit to open our hearts, settle our minds, and grant us discernment. May your living Word come alive in us. Amen.
So when they had come together, they asked him, "Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?" He replied, "It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven."
Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day's journey away. When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.
HYMN NO. 246 Christ is Alive! TRURO
AFFIRMATION OF FAITH
New life in Christ takes shape in a community in which people know that God loves and accepts them in spite of what they are. They therefore accept themselves and love others, knowing that no one has any ground on which to stand, except God's grace. Adapted from the Confession of 1967, 9.22
PRAYER OF THE PEOPLE
Loving God, knowing that Christ prays for us, we join our hearts and voices in his prayers for the world. We come before you seeking to ask the right questions, discern your answers and do your will. We cast our anxieties on you, knowing you care for us.
Merciful God, knowing that our ways are not your ways, we humble ourselves and ask for your guidance. As we struggle with how to navigate these turbulent and frightening times, we pray that you would help us to make choices that glorify you and demonstrate our love for our neighbors. Help us to look to the interest of others as we begin to venture from our homes again. Do not let us be a stumbling block to the well-being of the vulnerable and weaker among us.
Gracious God, knowing that you refuse to leave us alone, that you run out to meet us when we make the slightest turn toward you, that you rejoice whenever a lost one is found, we pray for those in greatest need of your strength and courage. Comfort those who mourn. Bind up the brokenhearted. Feed the hungry. Set the captives free. Enliven us with the Spirit so that we may be the light and salt we are called to be in your world.
Almighty God, knowing that you can do abundantly more than we can ever hope or imagine, we are bold to ask you for the desires of our hearts. You know our deepest needs before we even name them. You send your Son that we might have abundant life and our joy might be complete. Resting in your promises, we set aside our worry and open our mouths in praise. Help us to give thanks in all circumstances, confident that you hold us in the palm of your hand and will never let us go.
Generous God, knowing that there is no end to your goodness, we pray to do your will, no matter where it takes us or what it requires of us. You give us the power of the Holy Spirit to be your witnesses to the ends of the earth, Free us from whatever prevents us from being welcoming, generous and loving. Make us one in our service to our Savior Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.
THE LORD'S PRAYER
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and forever. Amen.
INVITATION TO OFFERING
How does God's love abide in anyone who has the world's goods yet refuses to help a sister or brother in need? Remembering God's great love for the world, let us offer our lives to the Lord. 1 John 3:16–17
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OFFERTORY Ashokan Farewell JAY UNGAR
Schuyler Thornton, Flute
PRAYER OF DEDICATION
Gracious God, often our anxieties and fear overwhelm our desire to trust you. We give in to worry and suppress the Spirit's urging to be generous and open-hearted. But today, in faith, we offer you these resources, knowing you will take them, bless them, multiply them and use them to meet the world's needs. May this offering help ease the pain of those wondering if there really is enough for everyone. We thank you for the ability to participate in your life-giving work. Today, on Memorial Day weekend, we especially thank you and honor the sacrifice of those in our society who have given their utmost, even their lives, to keep us safe so that we can have peaceful and abundant lives. In Christ's name we pray. Amen.
CLOSING HYMN NO. 450 Be Thou My Vision SLANE
CHARGE AND BENEDICTION
Go out into the world in peace. Have courage! Hold fast to what is good. Return no one evil for evil. Strengthen the faint-hearted, support the weak, help the suffering. Honor all people. Love and serve the Lord your God, rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit.
May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Jesus Christ, that all may come to know and experience God's love and peace through you. Amen.
POSTLUDE Hymn to the Fallen JOHN WILLIAMS
Thank you to those who participated in the creation of this worship service.