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Reflections

(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?


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Gathering Before God
June 17, 2018
4th 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

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


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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 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


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One Thing Remains

Higher than the mountains that I face
Stronger than the power of the grave
Constant in the trial and the change
One thing remains
One thing remains

CHORUS:
Your love never fails,  never gives up
Never runs out on me
Your love never fails, never gives up
Never runs out on me
Your love never fails, never gives up
Never runs out on me


On and on and on and on it goes

It overwhelms and satisfies my soul
And I never, ever, have to be afraid
One thing remains

In death, In life,  I’m confident and
covered by the power of Your great love
My debt is paid, there’s nothing that can
separate my heart from Your great love

 

 

 

 

© 2010 Bethel Music, Mercy / Vineyard Publishing, and ChristaJoy Music Publishing CCLI Song # 5508444 -- CCLI License # 3040322


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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!   (x2)

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.

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.

 

 

Fernando Ortega


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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


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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
Sermon Series:        One Another
Sermon Title:           Welcome One Another
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 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 of the 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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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 (2x)

 

 

 

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

There is a Fountain

There is a fountain filled with blood, drawn from Immanuel's veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood, lose all their guilty stains
Lose all their guilty stains, lose all their guilty stains
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood, lose all their guilty stains

The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day
And there have I, as vile as he, washed all my sins away; 
Washed all my sins away, washed all my sins away; 
And there have I, as vile as he, washed all my sins away

E'er since by faith I saw the stream your flowing wounds supply
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die
And shall be till I die, and shall be till I die
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die

Then in a nobler, sweeter song, I’ll sing your power to save,
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave
Lies silent in the grave, lies silent in the grave;
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue lies silent in the grave.

Dear dying Lamb, your precious blood shall never lose its power
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved to sin no more
Be saved, to sin no more, be saved to sin no more
Till all the ransomed church of God be saved, to sin no more

 

 

Authors Keith Getty and Stuart Townend, 2005.


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Benediction

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.

Dismissal

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

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