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Reflections

Forgiveness is God’s invitation for coming to terms with a world in which, despite their best intentions, people are unfair to each other and hurt each other deeply. He began by forgiving us. And he invites us all to forgive each other.

—Lewis B. Smedes, Forgive & Forget  

Then the years pass. The more impotent the relationship the more vivid the memory of the wrong. Instead of diminishing, the memory - the pain of it all- grows stronger every year. This is weeping wound, festering with time, a scar on the heart, acid in the belly. and time is passing. Only forgiveness can stem such pain in us. An apology alone can’t possibly do it. This kind of pain, held to the breast all these years, licked and nurtured, fed by time and polished by the ages, can be healed only by the wounded, not the offender, because it is the wounded who is maintaining it. 

—Joan Chittister, The Gift of Years

To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.  This is hard.  It is perhaps not so hard to forgive a single person great injury.  But to forgive the incessant provocations of daily life — to keep on forgiving the bossy mother-in-law, the bullying husband, the nagging wife, the selfish daughter, the deceitful son — how can we do it?  Only, I think, by remembering where we stand, by meaning our words when we say our prayers each night "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us."  We are offered forgiveness on no other terms. To refuse is to refuse God's mercy for ourselves.


—C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, "On Forgiveness”


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Gathering Before God
July 8, 2018
7th 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

Solid Rock

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly lean on Jesus' name 

CHORUS:
On Christ the solid rock I stand

All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand

When darkness seems to hide His face, 
I rest on His unchanging grace
In every high and stormy gale, 
My anchor holds within the veil

CHORUS

His oath, His covenant, His blood
Support me in the whelming flood
When all around my soul gives way, 
He then is all my hope and stay

CHORUS

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found
Dressed in His righteousness alone, 
Faultless to stand before the throne

CHORUS

 

 

Music & lyrics by Isaac Wardell, 2012.


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Greeting & Preparation

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


Call to Worship

Leader:     Sing praises to the LORD, O you his faithful ones; 
People:     give thanks to his holy name! 

Leader:     For his anger is but for a moment,
                 his favor is for a lifetime. 
                 Weeping may linger for the night,
                 but joy comes with the morning. 
People:     give thanks to his holy name! 

Leader:     Glory to the Father, 
                 and to the Son, 
                 and to the Holy Spirit; 
People:     give thanks to his holy name!

Prayer of Invocation


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Holy Holy Holy

Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty! 
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee; 
Holy, Holy, Holy, Merciful and Mighty!
God in three persons, blessed Trinity!

Holy, Holy, Holy, all the saints adore Thee. 
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea; 
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee, 
Who wert and art and ever more shall be. 

Holy, holy, holy, Though the darkness hide Thee, 
Tho' the eye of sinful man your glory may not see, 
Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee
Perfect in power, in love and purity. 

Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty! 
All Thy works shall praise
Thy name in earth and sky and sea.
Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and Mighty! 
God in three persons, blessed Trinity! 

 

 

 

Words and Music by Reginald Heber.


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The Church’s One Foundation

The church’s one foundation
Is Jesus Christ her Lord,
She is His new creation
By water and the Word.
From heaven He came and sought her
To be His holy bride;
With His own blood He bought her,
And for her life He died.

Elect from every nation,
Yet one over all the earth;
Her charter of salvation,
One Lord, one faith, one birth;
One holy Name she blesses,
Partakes one holy food,
And to one hope she presses,
With every grace endued.

Mid toil and tribulation,
And tumult of her war,
She waits the consummation
 Of peace forevermore;
’Til, with the vision glorious,
Her longing eyes are blessed,
 And the great church victorious
Shall be the church at rest.

Yet she on earth hath union
With God the Three in One,
And mystic sweet communion
With those whose rest is won.
O happy ones and holy!
Lord, give us grace that we
Like them, the meek and lowly,
On high may dwell with Thee. 



© Music by Samuel S. Wesley, 1864. Lyrics by Samuel J. Stone, 1866.


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Call to Confession

Leader:    Let us confess our sins to God, whose power is made perfect in weakness. 

—from 2 Corinthians 12:9

Prayer of Confession


People:      Holy God, you call us to boldly proclaim your name,
                  
yet we are stubborn and rebellious and heedless of your call.  
                  By the power of your Spirit, 

                  raise us to new life that we may return to faithful living,
                  in Christ's name; Amen. 

Silent Confession & Words of Pardon

Leader:    God's grace is sufficient for us, 
                and Christ's power dwells in us; 
                we are forgiven! 
 

—from 2 Corinthians 12:9

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
 

Matthew 18:21-35, NRSV

 

21Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” 22Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times. 23“For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. 24When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; 25and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. 26So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. 28But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. 31When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. 32Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ 34And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. 35So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

 

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

Sermon
Sermon Series:        One Another
Sermon Title:           Forgive One Another
Speaker:                  Vito Baldini


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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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Instrumental Reflection


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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

Doxology

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow
Praise Him, All creatures here be - low
Praise Him Above, Ye Heavenly Host
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost

Amen, Amen,
Amen, Amen.


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Benediction

Minister:    The LORD bless you and keep you;
                  the LORD make his face to shine upon you
                  and be gracious to you;
                  the LORD turn his face toward you
                  and give you peace. 

—Numbers 6:24-26

People:      Amen.

Dismissal

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

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