GATHERING BEFORE GOD
October 12, 2014
Eighteenth Sunday After Pentecost
GREETING AND PREPARATION
Leader: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you!
CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader: We will praise you, O Lord our God, with our whole hearts; we will glorify your name forever. For you have delivered us from the power of death.
People: Bring joy to your servants, O Lord, for to you we lift up our souls. There is none like you; no deeds can compare with yours.
Leader: All the nations you have made will come and worship before you. They will bring glory to your name, for you alone are God.
People: Teach us now your way, O Lord, and we will live in your truth. Give us undivided hearts that we may fear and praise your great name.
— From Psalm 86
PRAYER OF INVOCATION
Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name
The sun comes up, it's a new day dawning
It's time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes
You're rich in love, and You're slow to anger
Your name is great, and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find
And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years and then forevermore
COME THOU FOUNT
Come, thou Fount of every blessing,
tune my heart to sing Thy grace.
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise His mount! I'm fixed upon it,
mount of Thy redeeming love.
Here I raise mine Ebenezer;
hither by Thy help I'm come;
and I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
interposed His precious blood.
O to grace how great a debtor,
daily I'm constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
seal it for Thy courts above.
CALL TO CONFESSION
Leader: Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous their thoughts; let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
— Isaiah 55:6-7, NRSV
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
People: We confess, our Father, that we do not live up to the family name. We are more ready to resent than to forgive, more ready to manipulate than to serve, more ready to fear than to love, more ready to keep our distance than to welcome, more ready to compete than to help. At the root of all this behavior is mistrust. We do not love one another as we should because we do not believe that you love us as you do. Forgive us our cold unbelief, and make more vivid to us the meaning and depth of your love at the cross. Show us what it cost you to give up your Son that we might become your sons and daughters. We ask this in the name of Jesus, our righteousness. Amen.
WORDS OF PARDON
Leader: He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.
—1 Peter 2:24, NRSV
SONG OF RESPONSE - TRISAGION
Holy God. Holy and mighty.
Holy immortal One, have mercy, have mercy on us.
Holy God. Holy and mighty.
Holy immortal One, have mercy, have mercy
Have mercy, have mercy on us.
PASSING THE PEACE
THE WORD OF GOD
15So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.
16Then the soldiers led him into the courtyard of the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters); and they called together the whole cohort. 17And they clothed him in a purple cloak; and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on him. 18And they began saluting him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 19They struck his head with a reed, spat upon him, and knelt down in homage to him. 20After mocking him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.
21They compelled a passer-by, who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross; it was Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus. 22Then they brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull). 23And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh; but he did not take it. 24And they crucified him, and divided his clothes among them, casting lots to decide what each should take.
25It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. 26The inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” 27And with him they crucified two bandits, one on his right and one on his left. 29Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30save yourself, and come down from the cross!” 31In the same way the chief priests, along with the scribes, were also mocking him among themselves and saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. 32Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down from the cross now, so that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also taunted him.
33When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 35When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “Listen, he is calling for Elijah.” 36And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” 37Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. 38And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!”
Minister: This is the gospel of the Lord.
People: Praise to you O Christ!
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
Sermon series: The Story of Everything (Apostles' Creed)
Sermon title: The Cross
Speaker: Jared Ayers
Ave Crux, spes unica.
Hail Cross, our only hope.
— Edith Stein
The meaning of the story (of Jesus’ cross) is found in every detail, as well as in the broad narrative. The pain and tears of all the years were met together on Calvary. The sorrow of heaven joined with the anguish of earth; the forgiving love stored up in God’s future was poured out into the present; the voices that echo in a million human hearts, crying for justice, longing for spirituality, eager for relationship, yearning for beauty, drew themselves together into a final scream of desolation.
Nothing in all the history of paganism comes anywhere near this combination of event, intention, and meaning. Nothing in Judaism had prepared for it, except in puzzling, shadowy prophecy. The death of Jesus of Nazareth as the king of the Jews, the bearer of Israel’s destiny, the fulfillment of God’s promises to his people of old, is either the most stupid, senseless wasted and misunderstanding the world has ever seen, or it is the fulcrum around which world history turns. Christianity is based on the belief that it was and is the latter.
— NT Wright, Simply Christian
THE APOSTLES' CREED
Minister: Let us say what we believe.
People: We believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. We believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty. From there he will come to judge the living and the dead. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
THE LORD’S TABLE
THE GREAT THANKSGIVING
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts now!
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our saving God.
It is right and good, always and everywhere.
To give thanks, to the Lord.
Minister: Holy and right it is, and our joyful duty to give thanks to you at all times and in all places, O Lord our Creator, almighty and everlasting God! You created heaven with all its hosts and the earth with all its plenty. You have given us life and being, and preserve us by your providence. But you have shown us the fullness of your love in sending into the world your Son, Jesus Christ, the eternal Word, made flesh for us and for our salvation. For the precious gift of this mighty Savior who has reconciled us to you we praise and bless you, O God. With your whole Church on earth and with all the company of heaven we worship and adore your glorious name, saying:
Holy, holy, holy, God of power and might.
The whole earth is full of Your glory,
hosanna in the highest!
Holy, holy, holy, God of power and might.
The whole earth is full of Your glory,
hosanna in the highest!
Minister: Most righteous God, we remember in this Supper the perfect sacrifice offered once on the cross by our Lord Jesus Christ for the sin of the whole world. In the joy of his resurrection and in expectation of his coming again, we offer ourselves to you as holy and living sacrifices. Together we proclaim the mystery of the faith.
Your death, O Christ, we proclaim.
Your rising celebrate!
Your coming Lord we await, to make all things new.
Minister: Send your Holy Spirit upon us, we pray, that the bread which we break and the cup which we bless may be to us the communion of the body and blood of Christ. Grant that, being joined together in him, we may attain to the unity of the faith and grow up in all things into Christ our Lord. And as this grain has been gathered from many fields into one loaf, and these grapes from many hills into one cup, grant, O Lord, that your whole Church may soon be gathered from the ends of the earth into your kingdom. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
Praise to the Father,
praise to the Son,
praise to the Spirit,
Our God the Three in One.
WORDS OF INSTITUTION
Minister: Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.
People: Therefore, let us keep the feast.
Minister: The gifts of God for the people of God.
Gluten-free communion wafers are available at the welcome table in the front lobby of the church. Please pick one up prior to coming forward to take communion.
Holy Communion, also called the Lord’s Supper or the Eucharist, is the family meal of Christians. We invite all committed followers of Jesus Christ to partake of this sacrament: those who are baptized members of a congregation that proclaims the Gospel, who are at peace with God and their neighbor, and who seek strength to live more faithfully for Christ.
PRAYERS FOR REFLECTION
If you are not a Christian, or if you are not prepared to share in this meal, we encourage you to spend this time in prayer. We hope that this time is helpful to you as you consider your relationship with Jesus Christ and with his people, the church. If you are unable to receive Communion, we invite you to meditate on one of the following prayers:
PRAYER FOR THOSE SEARCHING FOR TRUTH: Lord Jesus, you claim to be the way, the truth, and the life. Grant that I might be undaunted by the cost of following you as I consider the reasons for doing so. If what you claim is true, please guide me, teach me, and open to me the reality of who you are. Give me an understanding of you that is coherent, convincing, and that leads to the life that you promise. Amen.
PRAYER OF BELIEF: Lord Jesus, I admit that I am weaker and more sinful than I ever before believed, but through you I am more loved and accepted than I ever dared hope. I thank you for paying my debt, bearing my punishment on the cross, and offering forgiveness and new life. Knowing that you have been raised from the dead, I turn from my sins and receive you as Savior and Lord. Amen.
PRAYER OF COMMITMENT: Lord Jesus, you have called us to follow you in baptism and in a life of committed discipleship in your church. Grant that I may take the necessary steps to be one with your people, and live in the fullness of your Spirit. Amen.
HOW DEEP THE FATHER’S LOVE FOR US
How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give his only son,
And make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss!
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory.
Behold the Man upon the cross,
My sin upon His shoulder.
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished!
His dying breath has brought me life;
I know that it is finished
I will not boast in anything:
No gifts no power no wisdom,
But I will boast in Jesus Christ,
His death and resurrection.
Why should I from His reward?
I cannot give an answer,
But this I know with all my heart:
His wounds have paid my ransom.
People: Your Son, Jesus Christ, fulfilled the prophets’ words and entered the city of Jerusalem, where he was lifted high upon the cross, that the whole world might be drawn to him. By his suffering and death he defeated the power of death, becoming the source of eternal life. The tree of defeat became the tree of victory; where life was lost, life has been restored. Thank you for speaking to us, embracing us, and strengthening us both in your Word and in this Sacrament. We pray in Jesus name. Amen.
THE LORD’S PRAYER
Minister: Let us pray as our Lord Jesus has taught us:
People: Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin
Save us from the time of trial,
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours, now
and forever. Amen.
SENDING INTO GOD’S WORLD
BE THOU MY VISION
Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.
Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.
High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.
Minister: May God, who gives us a new vision of life through the cross, enlighten our understanding, inflame our affections, and enable us to walk the way of the cross. And may the love of God — the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit — surround us as we seek to discern that love.
Minister: Go in peace to love and serve the Lord!
People: Thanks be to God!
FOR THE CITY INITIATIVE
We’re excited to have launched For The City this fall - our church’s initiative to pray, serve, and give to raise funds to restore the First Baptist building in Center City that our church recently purchased. To learn more, and sign up to pray, serve, and give, simply visit libertichurch.org/forthecity.
If you are an excellent musician, especially a drummer or bassist, we would love for you to join us in serving here on Sunday mornings. For more information, please email Brian Savage at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SMALL FRY HARVEST PARTY
One of our ministry partners, Small Fry, is hosting a harvest party at the Marion Anderson Rec. Center (17th & Fitzwater) on Saturday, Oct. 25 from 12:00 - 2:00 PM for the kids they serve. It will include crafts, costumes, snacks, and a movie. They are in need of volunteers to help make this happen. Email Alissa McLaughlin (alissa@rm-events) to sign up.
COMMUNITY HALLOWEEN PARTY
You are invited to join us for a community Halloween party on Friday, Oct. 31 from 5:00 - 7:00 PM at Hawthorne Park (12th & Catharine). There will be a DJ, candy, food, games, and costumes, so please come join the fun! If you are interested in volunteering to help with the event, please contact Vito Baldini (email@example.com).