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Reflections

One of the most interesting and remarkable things Christians learn is that laughter does not exclude weeping. Christian joy is not an escape from sorrow. Pain and hardship still come, but they are unable to drive out the happiness of the redeemed… joy comes because God knows how to wipe away tears, and, in his resurrection work, create the smile of new life. Joy is what God gives, not what we work up.

Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction:
Discipleship in an Instant Society


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Gathering Before God
April 7, 2019
5th Sunday of Lent
Center City Campus

Opening Sentences

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

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


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Greeting & Preparation

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


Call to Worship 


Leader: Let us worship God.
People: “He is our refuge and our fortress,
our God, in whom we trust.”

Leader: Let us confess with our mouths, “Jesus is Lord,”
and believe in our hearts that God raised him
from the dead. 
People: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Let us call upon our true God,
believing him in our hearts,
confessing him with our mouths,
worshiping him in spirit and in truth.

—based on Psalm 91:2; Romans 10:9, 13

Prayer of Invocation


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Father long before creation

Father long before creation
Thou had chosen us in love 
And that love so deep so moving
Draws us close to Christ above
Still it keeps us, still it keeps us
firmly fixed in Christ alone

Chorus:
And the world will sing His love, 
Yes the world will sing His love, 
And we'll all join hands, 
every woman, every man 
to sing his love
to sing His love.
 

Though the world may change its fashion
Yet our God is e're the same
His compassion and His covenant
Through all ages will remain
God's own children, God's own children
Must forever praise His name

God's compassion is my story
Is my boasting all the day
Mercy free and never failing
Moves our will directs my way
God so loved us, God so loved us
That His only Son He gave

Loving Father now before Thee
We will ever praise thy love
And our songs will sound unceasing
Til we reach our home above, 
Giving glory, giving glory
To our God and to the Lamb



© Public Domain
CCLI Song # 740352 -- CCLI License # 3040322


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Jesus I Come

Out of my bondage, sorrow and night,
Jesus, I come; Jesus I come.
Into Thy freedom, gladness and light,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of my sickness into Thy health,
Out of my wanting and into Thy wealth,
Out of my sin and into Thyself,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of my shameful failure and loss,
Jesus, I come; Jesus, I come.
Into the glorious gain of Thy cross,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of earth’s sorrows into Thy balm,
Out of life’s storms and into Thy calm,
Out of distress into jubilant psalm,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of unrest and arrogant pride,
Jesus, I come; Jesus, I come.
Into Thy blessed will to abide,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of myself to dwell in Thy love,
Out of despair into raptures above,
Upward forever on wings like a dove,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of the fear and dread of the tomb,
Jesus, I come; Jesus, I come.
Into the joy and light of Thy home,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of the depths of ruin untold,
Into the peace of Thy sheltering fold,
Ever Thy glorious face to behold,
Jesus, I come to Thee


© 2000 Music by Greg Thompson. Words by William Sleeper.


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Call to Confession

Leader: 3If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
Lord, who could stand?
4But there is forgiveness with you,
so that you may be revered.

—Psalm 130:3-4


Prayer of Confession


People:  Merciful God,
for the things we have done that we regret, forgive us.
For the things we have failed to do that we regret, forgive us.
For all the times we have acted without love, forgive us.
For all the times we have reacted without thought, forgive us.
For all the times we have withdrawn care, forgive us.
For all the times we have failed to forgive, forgive us.
For hurtful words said and helpful words unsaid,
for unfinished tasks and unfulfilled hopes,
God of all time,
forgive us and help us to lay down our burden of regret. Amen.


Silent Confession & Words of Pardon

Leader: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him
may not perish but may have eternal life.
Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world,
but in order that the world might be saved through him.” 

—John 3:16-17


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 126, NRSV

1When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, 

we were like those who dream.

2Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then it was said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”

3The Lord has done great things for us,
and we rejoiced.

4Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
like the watercourses in the Negeb.

5May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy.

6Those who go out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
carrying their sheaves.

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

Sermon
Sermon Series: A Praying Life
Sermon Title: Joy
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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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


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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Minister: May the love of the cross, 
the power of the resurrection, 
and the presence of the living Lord 
be with you always. 
And the blessing of the eternal God, 
creator and sustainer, 
risen and ascended Lord and Savior, 
giver of holiness and love, 
be upon you now and evermore.
People: Amen

Dismissal

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

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