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Reflections

For Christians are no different from other people in terms of their country, language, or customs. Nowhere do they inhabit cities of their own, use a strange dialect, or live life out of the ordinary... They inhabit both Greek and barbarian cities, according to the lot assigned to each. And they show forth the character of their own citizenship in a marvelous and admittedly paradoxical way by following local customs in what they wear and what they eat and in the rest of their lives... Every foreign territory is a homeland for them, every homeland foreign territory. They marry like everyone else and have children, but they do not (abandon) them once they are born. They share their meals but not their sexual partners... They love everyone and are persecuted by all... To put the matter simply, what the soul is in the body, this is what Christians are in the world.

from The Epistle to Diognetius, 2nd century


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Gathering Before God
March 3, 2019
8th Sunday of Epiphany
Center City Campus

Opening Sentences

Leader: The Lord has shown forth his glory: Come, let us adore him!

A Mighty Fortress is Our God

A mighty Fortress is our God,
A Bulwark never failing;
Our Helper He amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide,
Our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side,
The Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabbaoth His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo! his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers,
No thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours
Through Him who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His Kingdom is forever.


by Martin Luther



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Greeting & Preparation

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


Call to Worship 

Leader: The glory of God shines like a consuming fire. 
People: We have seen the glory of God
in the face of Jesus Christ. 

Leader: The voice of God thunders like a mighty storm. 
People: We have seen the glory of God
in the face of Jesus Christ. 

Leader: Glory to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit; 
People: we have seen the glory of God
in the face of Jesus Christ. 


—based on Psalm 50:1; 2 Corinthians 4:6

Prayer of Invocation


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Man Of Sorrows

“Man of Sorrows” what a name
For the Son of God, Who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim
Hallelujah what a Savior

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with his blood
Hallelujah what a Savior

Guilty, vile, and helpless we;
Spotless Lamb of God was He
Full atonement can it be
Hallelujah what a Savior

Lifted up was he to die,
“It is finished” was His cry
Now in heaven exalted high
Hallelujah what a Savior

When he comes our glorious King
All His ransomed home to bring
Then anew this song we’ll sing
Hallelujah what a Savior


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 It Is Well (With My Soul)


When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, You have taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul

Chorus:
It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come
Let this blest assurance control
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate
And has shed His own blood for my soul

Chorus

My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

Chorus

And Lord haste the day, when my faith shall be sight
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend
Even so, it is well with my soul

Chorus


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Call to Confession

Leader: God alone is righteous;
God alone is perfect;
God alone is judge.
Rejoicing in God's grace, let us confess our sin. 

—based on Psalm 50:2, 6


Prayer of Confession


People: God of all glory, 
we have tried to hide our faces from you, 
yet you have never hidden your love for us. 
We have tried to search for you, 
yet your have already revealed yourself to us
in the face of Jesus Christ. 
Forgive us, and transform us 
so that our lives may shine with your beauty, glory, and grace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord- Amen. 


Silent Confession & Words of Pardon

Leader: This is the good news of the Gospel:
in Jesus Christ, we are forgiven!

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
Exodus 19:1-6, NRSV

On the third new moon after the Israelites had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that very day, they came into the wilderness of Sinai. 2They had journeyed from Rephidim, entered the wilderness of Sinai, and camped in the wilderness; Israel camped there in front of the mountain. 3Then Moses went up to God; the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the Israelites: 4You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. 5Now therefore, if you obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession out of all the peoples. Indeed, the whole earth is mine, 6but you shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the Israelites.”

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

Sermon
Sermon Series: It Takes Practice
Sermon Title: Mission
Speaker: Jared Ayers


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Nicene Creed

Minister: Let us say what we believe.
People: We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
  he came down from heaven,
was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became truly human.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord,
the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father [and the Son],
who with the Father and the Son is worshiped
and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic
1 and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come. 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: With joy we praise you, gracious God… 
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!
(2x)

Minister: You are holy, O God of majesty… So, 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:  Gracious God, pour out your Holy Spirit…As this bread is Christ’s body for us,
send us out to be the body of Christ in the world.

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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Beams of Heaven

Beams of heaven as I go, 
through the wilderness below, 
guide my feet in peaceful ways, 
turn my midnights into days. 
When in the darkness I would grope, 
faith always sees a star of hope, 
and soon from all life's grief and danger 
I shall be free someday. 
I shall be free someday.

Often times my sky is clear, 
joy abounds without a tear; 
though a day so bright begun, 
clouds may hide tomorrow's sun. 
There'll be a day that's always bright, 
a day that never yields tonight, 
and in its light the streets of glory 
I shall behold someday.
I shall behold someday.

Harder yet may be the fight; 
right may often yield to might; 
wickedness a while may reign; 
Satan's cause may seem to gain. 
But there's a God that rules above 
with hand of power and heart of love; 
and if I'm right, he'll fight my battle, 
I shall have peace someday. 
I shall have peace someday.

Burdens now may crush me down, 
disappointments all around; 
troubles speak in mournful sigh, 
sorrow through a tear-stained eye. 
There is a world where pleasure reigns, 
no mourning soul shall roam its plains, 
and to that land of peace and glory 
I shall want to go someday. 
I shall want to go someday. 
I shall want to go someday.



 2004 Christopher Miner


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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

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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Minister: May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely;
and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord
Jesus Christ.
People: Amen

—1 Thessalonians 5:23, NRSV

Dismissal

Minister: Go in peace to love and serve the Lord. 
People: Thanks be to God!

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