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Reflections



I want atheism to be true, and I am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that. My guess is that this cosmic authority problem is not a rare condition. . . . I am curious, . . . whether there is anyone who is genuinely indifferent as to whether there is a God.

—Thomas Nagel, from The Last Word

The Divine mercy ordained that a doubting disciple should, by feeling in his Master the wounds of the flesh, heal in us the wounds of unbelief. The unbelief of Thomas is more profitable to our faith than the belief of the other disciples.

—Gregory the Great


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Gathering Before God
November 18, 2018
 26th Sunday after Pentecost
Main Line Campus


Opening Sentences

Leader: Our help is in the name of the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.

—Psalm 124:8


Jesus, Everlasting King

Chorus:
Jesus, everlasting King,
Accept the tribute which we bring;
Accept the well deserved renown,
And wear our praises as Your crown.


O send Your Spirit to impart
Rest and repentance to our hearts,
Like the dear hour when from above
We first received Your pledge of love.

Chorus

The gladness of redemptions day,
Our hearts would wish it long to stay,
Nor let our faith forsake its hold,
Nor comforts sink, or love grow cold.


Chorus

May every time of worship see
Your grace revealed more rich and free,
Till we are raised to sing Your name
At the great supper of the Lamb.

Chorus

O that the months would roll away
And bring the coronation day;
The King of Grace shall fill the throne
With all His Fathers glories on.


Chorus


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Greeting & Preparation

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

Call to Worship 

Leader: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and be not wise in your own sight. 
People: Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and be not wise in your own sight.

Leader: In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths. 
People: Trust in the Lord with all your heart. 

Leader: Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; 
People: trust in the Lord with all your heart;
and be not wise in your own sight. 

—from Proverbs 3

Prayer of Invocation


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Wonderful Merciful Savior

Wonderful, merciful Savior,
Precious Redeemer and Friend;
Who would have thought that a Lamb
Could rescue the souls of men?
Oh, You rescue the souls of men.

 Chorus:  
You are the One that we praise,
You are the One we adore.
You give the healing and grace
Our hearts always hunger for,
Oh, our hearts always hunger for.

 Counselor, Comforter, Keeper,
Spirit we long to embrace;
You offer hope when our hearts
Have hopelessly lost the way,
Oh, we hopelessly lost the way. 

Chorus

 Almighty, infinite Father,
Faithfully loving Your own;
Here in our weakness You find us
Falling before Your throne,
Oh, we're falling before Your throne.

Chorus (2x)


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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

Chorus

Bridge:
Teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand I'll fall on You
Jesus, You're my hope and stay
Jesus, You're my hope and stay

Chorus

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

Music and lyrics by Matt Maher, 2013. 


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Call to Confession

Leader: “Come now, let us reason together,” 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

Prayer of Confession


People: Awesome and compassionate God,
you have loved us with unfailing, self-giving mercy,
but we have not loved you.
You constantly call us, but we do not listen.
You ask us to love,
but we walk away from neighbors in need,
wrapped in our own concerns.
We condone evil, prejudice, warfare, and greed.
God of grace, as you come to us in mercy,
we repent in spirit and in truth,
admit our sin,
and gratefully receive your forgiveness through Jesus Christ,
our Redeemer.  Amen.

Silent Confession & Words of Pardon

Leader: Hear the good news: thanks to Christ, 
our guilt has departed and our sin is blotted out! 

—based on Isaiah 6:7

Song of Response- Gloria Patri

Glory be to the Father
Glory be to the Son
Glory be to the Spirit Three in One
As it was in the beginning
It will be forever
Amen, Amen, Amen


Passing the Peace & Announcements


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The Word of God

Prayer for Illumination & Scripture Reading
John 20:24-31, NRSV

24But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

26A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” 28Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” 30Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

Minister:    This is the gospel of the Lord.
People: Praise to you, O Christ!

Sermon

Sermon Series: Encountering Jesus
Sermon Title: Jesus and Doubt
Speaker: Don Overton


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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 catholic1 church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
Amen.
                                                     

(1that 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… 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!
(2x)

Minister:   Most righteous God…  Together, we proclaim the mystery faith.  

Your death, O Christ, we proclaim.
Your rising celebrate! 
Your coming Lord we await, to make all things new
(2x)
                                                      

Minister:   Send your Holy Spirit upon us… Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Praise to the Father,
praise to the Son, 
praise to the Spirit, 
Our God the Three in One. 


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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.

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.


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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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Reckless Love

Before I spoke a word, 
You were singing over me
You have been so, so good to me
Before I took a breath, 
You breathed Your life in me
You have been so, so kind to me

Chorus:
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending,
 reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights 'til I'm found,
leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn't earn it, and I don't deserve it, 
 still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending,
 reckless love of God.

When I was Your foe, 
still Your love fought for me
You have been so, so good to me
When I felt no worth, 
You paid it all for me
You have been so, so kind to me

Chorus

There’s no shadow You won't light up
Mountain You won't climb up
Coming after me
There's no wall You won't kick down
Lie You won't tear down
Coming after me

Chorus

by Cory Asbury


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Prayers of the People 

Minister: Lord, in your mercy,
People: hear our prayer

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

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



© DO NOT VERIFY: SEE COMBO RECORD
CCLI Song # 2754679 -- CCLI License # 3040322


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Benediction

Minister: To the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be glory forever! 
People: Amen. 

—from Romans 16:27

Dismissal

Minister:  Let us go forth in the name of Christ. 
People:  Thanks be to God.

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