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REFLECTIONS

later that night
i held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole world
and whispered
where does it hurt?
it answered
everywhere
everywhere
everywhere.

—Warsan Shire, from the poem “What They Did Yesterday Afternoon”

 

Think it over: exaltation on a cross. It’s like being enthroned on an electric chair. It’s like being celebrated by a firing squad… in this horror the Gospel finds its glory… for all these centuries, people have gazed at the dying Lord and found that they were pulled to him like a magnet. In awe these people see God at work. They see God sweating and straining to overcome human evil by suffering the worst of it… The central event in the Christian faith is obscene beyond telling: God in the hands of butchers. But even further beyond telling is a strange glory in the cross… The glory here lies in a love so fierce, so undignified, so determined that Jesus Christ is willing to be mocked and maimed and hung out there to suffer for the sin of the world.

—Cornelius Plantinga, Jr., from Beyond Doubt

 


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GATHERING BEFORE GOD
March 25, 2018
Passion Sunday
Main Line Campus

OPENING SENTENCES

Leader: The Lord is full of compassion and mercy: Come, let us adore him.

BLESSED ASSURANCE

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of his Spirit, washed in his blood.

CHORUS

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.

Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending bring from above,
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

CHORUS

Perfect submission, all is at rest;
I in my Savior am happy and blessed,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with his goodness, lost in his love.

CHORUS

 

Fanny Jane Crosby and Phoebe Palmer Knapp.
Public Domain.


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GREETING AND PREPARATION

Leader:     The Lord be with you.

People:     And also with you!


CALL TO WORSHIP

Leader:      Let us worship God, who has done great things.

People:      We rejoice in our God, who made a way through the desert of this world.

Leader:      Let us worship God, who has caused streams of mercy to flow in the wasteland.

People:      We are the people God has formed through Christ; we worship him, and we rejoice!

Leader:      Let us worship God in spirit and in truth.

People:      We praise God for the grace that has saved us. Alleluia! We rejoice!

—based on Isaiah 43:19-21

PRAYER OF INVOCATION


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GO TO DARK GETHSEMANE

Go to dark Gethsemane
Ye that feel the tempter’s pow’r
Your Redeemer’s conflict see
Watch with Him one bitter hour
Turn not from His griefs away
Learn of Jesus Christ to pray
Learn of Jesus Christ to pray
Learn of Jesus Christ to pray

See him at the judgement hall
beaten, bound, reviled arraigned
O the wormwood and the gall!
O the pangs His soul sustained!
Shun not suffering, shame, or loss;
Learn of Christ to bear the cross
Learn of Christ to bear the cross
Learn of Christ to bear the cross

Calvary’s mournful mountain climb
There, adoring at His feet
Mark that miracle of time,
God’s own sacrifice complete
“It is finished!” hear Him cry;
Learn of Jesus Christ to die
Learn of Jesus Christ to die
Learn of Jesus Christ to die

Early hasten to the tomb
Where they laid His breathless clay
All is solitude and gloom
Who has taken Him away?
Christ is risen! He meets our eyes;
Savior, teach us so to rise
Savior, teach us so to rise
Savior, teach us so to rise

Author James Montgomery, 1991. Music by Kevin Twit.


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JESUS PAID IT ALL

I hear the Savior say,
Thy strength indeed is small
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in me thine all in all

Lord, now indeed I find
Thy power, and Thine alone
Can change the lepers spots,
and melt the heart of stone

CHORUS
Jesus paid it all,
All to him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow

And when before the throne,
I stand in him complete
Jesus died my soul to save,
my lips shall still repeat

CHORUS

O praise the One who paid my debt,
and raised this life up from the dead.
O praise the One who paid my debt,
and raised this life up from the dead.

CHORUS

 

Words by Elvina M. Hall, 1865. Music by John T. Grape.


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IN COVENANT MEMBERSHIP 

STORIES OF GOD’S WORK & VOWS 

CANDIDATES

Minister: Do you renounce sin and the power of evil in your life and in the world?

Candidate: I renounce them.

Minister: Who is your Lord and Savior?

Candidate: Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior

Minister: Will you be a faithful covenant member of Liberti Church, and through a life of worship, community, and mercy seek to advance God’s purposes here and throughout the world?

Candidate:  I will, and I ask God to help me. 

Minister: Do you promise to accept the spiritual guidance of the church and its leaders, to walk in a spirit of Christian love with this congregation, and to seek those things that make for unity, purity, and peace?

Candidate: I do. 

LIBERTI CHURCH 

Minister: Do you promise to love, encourage, and support these brothers and sisters by teaching them the gospel, by being an example of Christian faith and character, and by giving the strong support of God’s family in fellowship, prayer, and service?

People:        We do.

 


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CONFESSION OF FAITH—THE APOSTLES’ CREED 

Minister:    Let us affirm our faith together in the words of the Apostles’ creed: Do you believe in God the Father? 

People:     We believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth. 

Minister:    Do you believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God? 

People:     We believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried. He descended into hell The third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven, and is         seated on the right hand of God the Father almighty. From there He will come to judge the living and the dead. 

Minister:    Do you believe in God the Holy Spirit? 

People:     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) 

PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING

Minister:    Almighty God, by the love of Jesus Christ you draw people to faith, and welcome them into the church family. May we show your joy by embracing new brothers and sisters, who with us believe and with us will work to serve you. Keep us close together in your Spirit, breaking bread in faith and in love, one with Jesus Christ our Lord and Master. Amen. 

PASSING THE PEACE & ANNOUNCEMENTS


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THE WORD OF GOD

PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
SCRIPTURE READING
Matthew 27:27-54, NRSV

27Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole cohort around him. 28They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on his head. They put a reed in his right hand and knelt before him and mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. 31After mocking him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him. 32As they went out, they came upon a man from Cyrene named Simon; they compelled this man to carry his cross.

33And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), 34they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall; but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. 35And when they had crucified him, they divided his clothes among themselves by casting lots; 36then they sat down there and kept watch over him. 37Over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.”38Then two bandits were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads 40and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” 41In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking him, saying, 42“He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. 43He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he wants to; for he said, ‘I am God’s Son.’” 44The bandits who were crucified with him also taunted him in the same way. 45From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 46And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 47When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “This man is calling for Elijah.” 48At once one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink. 49But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.”

50Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last. 51At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised.53After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many. 54Now when the centurion and those with him, who were keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were terrified and said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!”

 

Minister:  This the Gospel of the Lord.

People: Praise to you, O Christ!

SERMON
Sermon Series: Journey to the Cross
Sermon Title: The Coronation Ceremony
Speaker: Jared Ayers


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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:  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. And so, together we proclaim the mystery of the faith: 


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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.     

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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PSALM 126

Our mouths, they were filled, filled with laughter.
Our tongues, they were loosed, loosed with joy.
Restore us, O Lord! Restore us, O Lord!

CHORUS
Although we are weeping,
Lord, help us keep sowing
The seeds of Your Kingdom
For the day You will reap them!
Your sheaves we will carry;
Lord, please do not tarry!
All those who sow weeping
Will go out with songs of joy!

The nations will say “He has done great things!”
The nations will sing songs of joy.
Restore us, O Lord! Restore us, O Lord!

CHORUS X2


 

Music & lyrics by Isaac Wardell, 2012.


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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

THE OLD RUGGED CROSS

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
the emblem of suffering and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
for a world of lost sinners was slain.

So I'll cherish the old rugged cross,
till my trophies at last I lay down.
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
and exchange it some day for a crown.

O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
to bear it to dark Calvary.

In the old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
a wondrous beauty I see,
For 'twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
to pardon and sanctify me.

To the old rugged cross I will ever be true,
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He'll call me some day to my home far away,
where His glory forever I'll share.

 

Text and Music by George Bennard, 1999


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BENEDICTION

Minister:    The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us all evermore. 

—2 Corinthians 13:14


People:     Amen.

DISMISSAL

Minister:    Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

People:     Thanks be to God!

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