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Reflections

Felix culpa!
O happy sin!

—Augustine of Hippo

People are really good at self-deception. We attend to the facts we like and suppress the ones we don’t. We inflate our own virtues and predict we will behave more nobly than we actually do… In centuries past, people built moral systems that acknowledged this weakness. These systems emphasized our sinfulness. They reminded people of the evil within themselves. Life was seen as an inner struggle against the selfish forces inside. These vocabularies made people aware of how their weaknesses manifested themselves and how to exercise discipline over them. These systems gave people categories with which to process savagery and scripts to follow when they confronted it. They helped people make moral judgments and hold people responsible amidst our frailties. But we’re not Puritans anymore. We live in a society oriented around our inner wonderfulness. So when something atrocious happens, people look for some artificial, outside force that must have caused it… Commentators ruthlessly vilify all involved from the island of their own innocence. Everyone gets to proudly ask: ‘How could they have let this happen?’ The proper question is: How can we ourselves overcome our natural tendency to evade and self-deceive?

—David Brooks, “Let’s All Feel Superior,” in
The New York Times, Nov. 14, 2011


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Gathering Before God
March 31, 2019
4th Sunday of Lent
Center City Campus

Opening Sentences

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


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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Greeting & Preparation

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


Call to Worship 


Leader: O give thanks to the Lord, who is good; 
People: God's steadfast love endure forever. 

Leader: Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; 
People: God's steadfast love endures forever. 

—from Psalm 107

Prayer of Invocation


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Love Divine All Loves Excelling 

Love divine, all loves excelling 
Joy of heaven, to earth come down 
Fix in us thy humble dwelling 
All Thy faithful mercies crown 
Jesus, Thou art all compassion 
Pure, unbounded love Thou art 
Visit us with thy salvation 
Enter every trembling, every trembling heart

Breathe, oh, breathe Thy loving Spirit 
Into every troubled breast 
Let us all in Thee inherit 
Let us find the promised rest 
Take away the love of sinning 
Alpha and Omega be 
End of faith, as its beginning 
Set our hearts at liberty, at liberty

Come, Almighty, to deliver 
Let us all Thy life receive 
Suddenly return, and never 
Nevermore Thy temples leave 
Thee we would be always blessing 
Serve Thee as Thy hosts above 
Pray and praise Thee without ceasing 
Glory in Thy perfect, in Thy perfect love

Finish, then, Thy new creation 
Pure and spotless let us be 
Let us see Thy great salvation 
Perfectly restored in Thee 
Changed from glory into glory 
Til in heaven we take our place 
Til we cast our crowns before Thee 
Lost in wonder, love, in wonder, love and praise

 Wonder, love and praise 
Wonder, love and praise

© DO NOT VERIFY: SEE COMBO RECORD
CCLI Song # 1038991 -- CCLI License # 3040322


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10,000 Reasons

Chorus:
Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name

The sun comes up, it's a new day dawning
It's time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

Chorus

You're rich in love, and You're slow to anger
Your name is great, and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find

Chorus

And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years and then forevermore

Chorus (2X) 



Words and Music by Jonas Myrin and Matt Redman, 2011.
© 2011 Shout! Publishing.



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Call to Confession

Leader: Light has come into the world,
but people have loved darkness rather than light
because their deeds were evil. 

—John 3:19


Prayer of Confession


People:  Everlasting God,
fountain of all life and the true home of every heart:
our hearts are restless until they rest in you.
Yet we confess that our hearts have been enslaved
by selfish passion and base desire.
We have sought after many things
and have neglected the one thing needful.
We have not loved you with our whole hearts;
help us to turn to you and find forgiveness.
Lead us home, that we may again find in you
our life and joy and peace. Amen.


Silent Confession & Words of Pardon

Leader: God did not send the Son into the world
to condemn the world,
but in order that the world might be saved through him.
In the name of Christ, you are forgiven! 

—John 3:17


Song of Response-  Kyrie Eleison


Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy
Lord have mercy, on us.
(Repeat)


Passing the Peace & Announcements


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The Word of God

Prayer for Illumination & Scripture Reading
Psalm 32, NRSV

1Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.

2Happy are those to whom the Lord imputes no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

3While I kept silence,
my body wasted away through my groaning all day long.

4For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; 
my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah

5Then I acknowledged my sin to you,
and I did not hide my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah

6Therefore let all who are faithful offer prayer to you;
at a time of distress,
the rush of mighty waters shall not reach them.

7You are a hiding place for me;
you preserve me from trouble; 
  you surround me with glad cries of deliverance. Selah

8I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

9Do not be like a horse or a mule,
without understanding,
     whose temper must be curbed with bit and bridle,
else it will not stay near you.

10Many are the torments of the wicked,
but steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the Lord.

11Be glad in the Lord and rejoice,
O righteous, and shout for joy,
     all you upright in heart.



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

Sermon
Sermon Series: A Praying Life
Sermon Title: Confession
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: 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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Jesus, Lover of My Soul

Jesus, lover of my soul,
Let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll,
While the tempest still is high.
Hide me, O my Savior, hide,
’Til life’s storm is past;
Safe into the haven guide;
Receive my soul at last.

Other refuge have I none,
I helpless, hang on Thee;
Leave, oh leave me not alone,
Support and comfort me.
All my trust on Thee is stayed,
All help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head
In the shadow of Thy wing.

Thou, O Christ, are all I want,
Here more than all I find;
Raise the fallen, cheer the faint,
Heal the sick, and lead the blind.
Just and holy is Thy Name,
I am all unrighteousness;
False and full of sin I am;
Thou art full of truth and grace.

Plenteous grace with Thee is found,
Grace to cover all my sin;
Let the healing streams abound;
Make and keep me pure within.
Thou of life the fountain art,
Let me take of Thee;
Spring Thou up within my heart;
For all eternity.



©2000 Greg Thompson.  Words:  Charles Wesley.  Music:  Greg Thompson.


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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


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


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Minister: May God, who gives us a new vision of life through the cross, enlighten our understanding,
inflame our affections, and enable us to walk the way of the cross.
And may the love of God—the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit—
surround us as we seek to discern that love.
People: Amen

Dismissal

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

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