REFLECTIONS

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
 It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
 It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

-Gerard Manley Hopkins, “God’s Grandeur,” in Gerard Manley Hopkins: The Major Works

What we have lost... is a full sense of the power of God- to recruit people who have made terrible choices; to invade the most hopeless lives and fill them with light; to sneak up on people who are thinking about lunch, not God, and smack them upside the head with glory.

-Barbara Brown Taylor,  from Home by Another Way


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GATHERING BEFORE GOD
November 1, 2015
23rd Sunday After Pentecost
Center City Campus

OPENING SENTENCES
Leader: Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen

FOR THE BEAUTY OF THE EARTH

For the beauty of the earth,
For the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies.
Lord of all to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the wonder of each hour
of the day and of the night,
hill and vale, and tree and flower,
sun and moon, and stars of light;
Lord of all to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth and friends above,
For all gentle thoughts and mild.
Lord of all to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the church, that evermore
Lifteth holy hands above,
Offering up on every shore
Her pure sacrifice of love.
Lord of all to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For Thyself, best Gift Divine.
To our race so freely given,
For that great, great love of Thine,
Peace on earth and joy in Heaven.
Lord of all to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.


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GREETING AND PREPARATION

Leader: The Lord be with you. 
People: And also with you. 

CALL TO WORSHIP

Leader: Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. 

People: Just and true are your ways, King of the nations. 

Leader: Who will not fear you, Lord, and bring glory to your name?

People: For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you. 

                                                                                      -Revelation 15:3-4, NRSV

PRAYER OF INVOCATION


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OUR GREAT GOD

Eternal God, unchanging, mysterious and unknown.
Your boundless love unfailing, in grace and mercy shown.
Bright seraphim in endless flight around your glorious throne.
They raise their voices day and night in praise to you alone.

CHORUS
Hallelujah! Glory be to our great God!
Hallelujah! Glory be to our great God!

Lord, we are weak and frail, helpless in the storm.
Surround us with your angels, hold us in your arms.
Our cold and ruthless enemy, his pleasure is our harm.
Rise up, oh Lord, and he will flee before our Sovereign God.

CHORUS

Let every creature in the sea and every flying bird;
Let every mountain, every field and valley of the earth;
Let all the moons and all the stars in all the universe
Sing praises to the living God, who rules them by His word.

CHORUS


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DEAR REFUGE OF MY WEARY SOUL

Dear refuge of my weary soul,
On Thee, when sorrows rise
On Thee, when waves of trouble roll,
My fainting hope relies
To Thee I tell each rising grief,
For Thou alone canst heal
Thy Word can bring a sweet relief,
For every pain I feel

But oh! When gloomy doubts prevail, 
I fear to call Thee mine
The springs of comfort seem to fail, 
And all my hopes decline
Yet gracious God, where shall I flee? 
Thou art my only trust
And still my soul would cleave to Thee
Though prostrate in the dust

Hast Thou not bid me seek Thy face, 
And shall I seek in vain? 
And can the ear of sovereign grace, 
Be deaf when I complain?
No still the ear of sovereign grace, 
Attends the mourner’s prayer
Oh may I ever find access, 
To breathe my sorrows there

Thy mercy seat is open still, 
Here let my soul retreat
With humble hope attend Thy will, 
And wait beneath Thy feet,
Thy mercy seat is open still, 
Here let my soul retreat
With humble hope attend Thy will, 
And wait beneath Thy feet
 


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CALL TO CONFESSION

Leader: "Come now, let us settle the matter," says the Lord, "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. "
                                                                                                        -Isaiah 1:18, NRSV

PRAYER OF CONFESSION

People: Gracious God, our sins are too heavy to carry, too real to hide, and too deep to undo. Forgive what our lips tremble to name, what our hearts can no longer bear, and what has become for us a consuming fire of judgment. Set us free from a past that we cannot change; open to us a future in which we can be changed; and grant us grace to grow more and more in your likeness and image; through Jesus Christ, the light of the world. Amen. 

SILENT CONFESSION
WORDS OF PARDON

Leader: The Lord is faithful in all his words, and gracious in all his deeds. The Lord upholds all who are falling, and raises up all who are bowed down. 
                                                                                                                                  -Psalm 145: 13-14        

SONG OF RESPONSE-TRISAGION

Holy God. Holy and Mighty. 
Holy immortal One, have mercy, have mercy on us. 
REPEAT
Holy God. Holy and Mighty. 
Holy immortal One, have mercy, have mercy
Have mercy, have mercy on us. 

PASSING THE PEACE
ANNOUNCEMENTS


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                        THE WORD OF GOD

SCRIPTURE READING

Genesis 28:10-22, NRSV
10Jacob left Beer-sheba and went toward Haran. 11He came to a certain place and stayed there for the night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place. 12And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, the top of it reaching to heaven; and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13And the Lord stood beside him and said, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring; 14and your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you and in your offspring. 15Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”16Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place—and I did not know it!” 17And he was afraid, and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” 18So Jacob rose early in the morning, and he took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. 19He called that place Bethel; but the name of the city was Luz at the first. 20Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, 21so that I come again to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God, 22and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God’s house; and of all that you give me I will surely give one tenth to you.”

Minister: This is the word of the Lord.
People: Thanks be to God!

SILENT REFLECTION
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION & SERMON
Sermon Series:The Gospel According to Genesis
Sermon Title: Stairway to Heaven
Speaker: Jared Ayers


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NICENE CREED

Minister:    Let us say what we believe.

People:
       We believe in one God,
       the Father, the Almighty,
       maker of heaven and earth,
       of all that is, seen and unseen.     

        We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
        the only Son of God,
        eternally begotten of the Father,
        God from God, Light from Light,
        true God from true God,
        begotten, not made,
        of one Being with the Father.
        Through him all things were made.
        For us and for our salvation
        he came down from heaven:
        by the power of the Holy Spirit
        he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
        and was made man.
        For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
        he suffered death and was buried.
        On the third day he rose again
        in accordance with the Scriptures;
        he ascended into heaven
        and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
        He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
        and his kingdom will have no end. 

        We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
        who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
        With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.
        He has spoken through the Prophets.
        We believe in one holy catholic1 and apostolic Church.
        We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
        We look for the resurrection of the dead,
        and the life of the world to come. Amen. 

(1 That is the true Christian church of all times and all places)


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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.


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Minister: 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. 
REPEAT

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. 


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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.  


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JESUS I COME  

Out of my bondage, sorrow and night,
Jesus, I come; Jesus I come.
Into Thy freedom, gladness and light,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of my sickness into Thy health,
Out of my wanting and into Thy wealth,
Out of my sin and into Thyself,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of my shameful failure and loss,
Jesus, I come; Jesus, I come.
Into the glorious gain of Thy cross,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of earth’s sorrows into Thy balm,
Out of life’s storms and into Thy calm,
Out of distress into jubilant psalm,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of unrest and arrogant pride,
Jesus, I come; Jesus, I come.
Into Thy blessed will to abide,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of myself to dwell in Thy love,
Out of despair into raptures above,
Upward forever on wings like a dove,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of the fear and dread of the tomb,
Jesus, I come; Jesus, I come.
Into the joy and light of Thy home,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of the depths of ruin untold,
Into the peace of Thy sheltering fold,
Ever Thy glorious face to behold,
Jesus, I come to Thee.


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COMMUNION PRAYER

People: Eternal God, we give you thanks for this holy mystery in which you have given yourself to us. Grant that we may go into the world in the strength of your Spirit, to give ourselves for others in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. 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 against us. 
             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. 
 


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SENDING INTO GOD'S WORLD

OFFERING
 

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.


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Minister: Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be our God forever and ever!
                                                                                                   -Revelation 7:12, NRSV

People: Amen. 








                        

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