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REFLECTIONS
 

He hath a daily beauty in his life
That makes me ugly.

                      -Iago, from William Shakespeare’s Othello

Why is it that the self- though it professes to be loving, caring, to prefer peace to war, concord to discord, life to death; to wish other selves well, not ill- in fact secretly relishes wars and rumors of war, news of plane crashes, assassinations, mass murders, obituaries, to say nothing of local news about acquaintances dropping dead in the streets, gossip about neighbors getting in fights or being detected in sexual scandals, embezzlements and other disgraces?

 

           -Walker Percy, from Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book


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GATHERING BEFORE GOD
February 28, 2016
Third Sunday of Lent
Center City Campus


OPENING SENTENCES
Leader: Bless the Lord who forgives all of our sins; His mercy endures forever. Amen. 

 

O LOVE THAT WILL NOT LET ME GO
 

O Love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

O light that followest all my way,
I yield my flickering torch to thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.

O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.

O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.


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GREETING AND PREPARATION
Leader: The Lord be with you. 
People: And also with you!

CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader: Our help is in the name of our God,
People: Who made heaven and earth. Amen. 
Leader: Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving. 
People: Make music upon the harp. 
Leader: How good it is to celebrate God's presence and sing praise throughout each day!
People: How good it is to sing praise and give honor to our God! 

-based on Psalm 147, NRSV

PRAYER OF INVOCATION


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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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JESUS, I MY CROSS HAVE TAKEN
 

Jesus, I my cross have taken, all to leave and follow Thee.
Destitute, despised, forsaken, Thou from hence my all shall be.
Perish every fond ambition, all I’ve sought or hoped or known.
Yet how rich is my condition! God and Heaven are still mine own.

Let the world despise and leave me, they have left my Savior, too.
Human hearts and looks deceive me; Thou art not, like them, untrue.
And while Thou shalt smile upon me, God of wisdom, love and might,
Foes may hate and friends disown me, show Thy face and all is bright.

Go, then, earthly fame and treasure! Come, disaster, scorn and pain!
In Thy service, pain is pleasure; with Thy favor, loss is gain.
I have called Thee, “Abba, Father”; I have set my heart on Thee:
Storms may howl, and clouds may gather, all must work for good to me.

Man may trouble and distress me, ’twill but drive me to Thy breast.
Life with trials hard may press me; heaven will bring me sweeter rest.
Oh, ’tis not in grief to harm me while Thy love is left to me;
Oh, ’twere not in joy to charm me, were that joy unmixed with Thee.

Take, my soul, thy full salvation; rise o’er sin, and fear, and care;
Joy to find in every station something still to do or bear:
Think what Spirit dwells within thee; what a Father’s smile is thine;
What a Savior died to win thee, child of heaven, shouldst thou repine?

Haste then on from grace to glory, armed by faith, and winged by prayer,
Heaven’s eternal day’s before thee, God’s own hand shall guide thee there.
Soon shall close thy earthly mission, swift shall pass thy pilgrim days;
Hope soon change to glad fruition, faith to sight, and prayer to praise.


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CALL TO CONFESSION
Leader: No one who conceals transgressions will prosper, but one who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. 

                                                                                                                     -Proverbs 28:13, NRSV
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
People: Almighty Father, you have called us to be your people and have made us one body, yet we do not live as such. We do not love each other as we should. Jealousy grips us and we fail to look out for others interests above our own. Conceit grips us and we fail to associate and care for those different from ourselves. Forgive us our offenses, Father, and subdue everything in us that is contrary to your purpose. By the power of your Spirit make us a community that reveals the acceptance, kindness and love found only in you. Amen.

SILENT CONFESSION
Leader: "If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
                                                                                                                                    -I John 1:9, NRSV
SONG OF RESPONSE-LORD HAVE MERCY
Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy
Lord have mercy on us
REPEAT

PASSING THE PEACE & ANNOUNCEMENTS


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THE WORD OF GOD
SCRIPTURE READING
Genesis 4:1-16, NRSV

Now the man knew his wife Eve, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, ‘I have produced a man with the help of the Lord.’ Next she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a tiller of the ground. In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel for his part brought of the firstlings of his flock, their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. The Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.’
 Cain said to his brother Abel, ‘Let us go out to the field.’ And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Where is your brother Abel?’ He said, ‘I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?’ And the Lord said, ‘What have you done? Listen; your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground! And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you till the ground, it will no longer yield to you its strength; you will be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.’ Cain said to the Lord, ‘My punishment is greater than I can bear! Today you have driven me away from the soil, and I shall be hidden from your face; I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and anyone who meets me may kill me.’ Then the Lord said to him, ‘Not so!* Whoever kills Cain will suffer a sevenfold vengeance.’ And the Lord put a mark on Cain, so that no one who came upon him would kill him. Then Cain went away from the presence of the Lord, and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.

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

SILENT REFLECTION
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION & SERMON

Sermon Series: What Lies Beneath: Recovering the Lost Language of Sin
Sermon Title: Fight and Flight
Speaker: Jared Ayers
 


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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.


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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!

Minister: With joy we praise you, gracious God, for you have created heaven and earth, made us in your image, and kept covenant with us— even when we fell into sin. We give you thanks for Jesus Christ, our Lord, by whose grace we may triumph over temptation, be more fervent in prayer, and be more generous in love. Therefore we join our voices with all the saints and             angels and the whole creation to proclaim the glory of your 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: You are holy, O God of majesty, and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord. He took upon himself the weight of our sin and carried the burden of our guilt. He shared our life in every way, and, though tempted, was sinless to the end. Baptized as your own, he went willingly to his death and by your power was raised to new life. In his dying and rising, you gave birth to your church, delivered us from slavery to sin and death and made with us a new covenant by water    and the Spirit.


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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:     God of all power, send your Holy Spirit upon us,
that in sharing the bread we may share in the body of Christ,
that in sharing the cup we may share in his blood.
Grant that, being joined together in Christ Jesus, we may become united in faith
and in all things become mature in the one who is our head. 
 
 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. 

HOLY COMMUNION
        
Minister:      The gifts of God for the people of God.     


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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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LORD I NEED YOU
 

Lord I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You, I fall apart
You're the one that guides my heart

CHORUS
Lord, I need You, oh I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

Where sin runs deep, Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are Lord I am free
Holiness is Christ in me

Lord, I need You, oh I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You


BRIDGE
So teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
when I cannot stand I'll fall on You
Jesus You're my hope and stay

You are my one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You


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COMMUNION PRAYER

People: Almighty God, we thank you that in your great love you have fed us with the spiritual food and drink of the body and blood of Christ, and have given us a foretaste of the heavenly banquet. Grant that this sacrament may be to us a comfort in affliction, and a pledge of our        inheritance in that kingdom where there is no death, neither sorrow nor crying, but the fullness of joy with all your saints; through Jesus Christ our Savior. 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
 

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.


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BENEDICTION

Minister: May Christ, the Son of God, be manifest in you, that your lives may be a light to the world; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. 

People: Amen. 

 

 

     

 

 

 

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