(A main) reason for Christianity’s success is to be found in its absolute inclusiveness. More than any other of its competitor religions, it attracted all races and classes. The pagan deities, for example, were often tied and confined to certain regions and nations. And even in the days of its most active proselytizing activities, Judaism never overcame its racial boundaries because converts had to become culturally Jewish. Christianity, however, gloried in its appeal to Jew, Gentile, African, and barbarian. The philosophers of Greece and Rome, on the other hand, appealed to the educated only, and could never win the masses. It was one of the charges against Christianity, that it drew the lowly and uneducated multitude- that its essential teaching was so simple that anybody could understand. Yet Christianity also developed a philosophy that converted some of the greatest minds in the society. And Christianity, too, is for both sexes, and women were active in its work, while two of its main competitor religions were almost exclusively for men. Finally, the mystery religions were mainly for the rich- initiation was very expensive. There was no other religion that took in all groups and all stratas of society. The one tenable explanation of Christianity’s inclusiveness was probably its teaching of the uniqueness of Jesus Christ. For if Jesus was not a teacher showing the way of salvation but the Son of God who accomplished salvation, then members of both sexes and all races, the learned and the unlearned, the high and the low, the able and the non-able, might all be able to share in the salvation made possible in Christ.

Lamin Sanneh, from Whose Religion is Christianity?



Gathering Before God
June 17, 2018
4th Sunday after Pentecost
Center City Campus

Opening Sentences

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

—Psalm 124:8

Shout For Joy

Shout for joy to the Lord all the earth
Worship the Lord with gladness
Come before Him with joyful songs
And know that the Lord is good

It is He who has made us
And we are His
We are His people
The sheep of His pasture


Enter His gates with thanks
And His courts with praise
Give thanks to the Lord
And praise His Holy name


For the Lord is a good Lord
And His love endures
His faithfulness continues
Throughout all generations


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 your paths straight. 
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


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.


Authors, Mary Elizabeth Byrne and Eleanor Henrietta Hull



This Is My Father’s World

This is my Father’s world
And to my listening ears
All nature sings and around me rings

The music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world,
I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas,
His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father’s world
The birds their carols raise.
The morning light the lily white,
Declare their Maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world
He shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass, I hear Him pass,
He speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father’s world,
O let me ne’er forget:
That thought the wrong seems oft’ so strong,
God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world,
The battle is not done
Jesus who died shall be satisfied,
And the earth and heaven be one.




© 1901 Public Domain 1 [Adam/Donna] by Maltbie D. Babcock


Call to Confession

Leader:    God will not count our trespasses against us, 
                instead longing for us to be reconciled.
                Let us therefore confess our sins to God. 

—based on 2 Corinthians 5:19-20

Prayer of Confession

People:      Almighty God, have mercy on us, 
forgive us all our sins through the Lord Jesus Christ, 
strengthen us in all goodness, 
and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep us in eternal life; Amen.

Silent Confession & Words of Pardon

Leader:     If anyone is in Christ,
                there is a new creation: 
                 everything old has passed away; 
                 see, everything has become new! 

—2 Corinthians 5:17-18

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


The Word of God

Prayer for Illumination & Scripture Reading
Romans 15:5-13, NRSV

5May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, 6so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

7Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. 8For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the circumcised on behalf of the truth of God in order that he might confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, 9and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Therefore I will confess you among the Gentiles, and sing praises to your name”; 10and again he says, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people”; 11and again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples praise him”; 12and again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse shall come, the one who rises to rule the Gentiles; in him the Gentiles shall hope.”

13May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.


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

Sermon Series:        One Another
Sermon Title:           Welcome One Another
Speaker:                  Jared Ayers


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

                  (1that is, the true Christian church of all times and all places).


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


Minister:   Most righteous God…  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… 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. 

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.


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. 


Nothing But The Blood 

What can wash away my sin?
 Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Oh, precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow,
No other fount I know
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

For my pardon, this my plea! 
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
For my cleansing this I see
 Nothing but the blood of Jesus.


Nothing can for sin atone,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Naught of good that I have done,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.


This is all my hope and peace
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
This is all my righteousness
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.




Music and lyrics by Robert Lowry and William Doane, 1876.


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.


Sending into God’s World


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
To 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 a cross
My sin upon His shoulders
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 gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I  know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom


© 1995 Thankyou Music



Minister:    May God bless you with new life,  
                  Christ tend you in grace, 
                  and the Holy Spirit guide your steps, 
                  as you walk by faith now and forever. 

—based on 2 Corinthians 5:7

People:      Amen.


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