Liturgy / Oct 1, 2017

My feeling about people in whose conversion I have been allowed to play a part is always mixed with awe and even fear: such as a boy might feel on first being allowed to fire a rifle. The disproportion between his puny finger on the trigger and the thunder and lightning which follow is alarming.
— C.S. Lewis

Continuing in our look at the book of Romans, this week we explore the intentions of its author, the Apostle Paul.
 
CALL TO WORSHIP
Joy to all creatures, honor, feasting, delight.
Dark death is destroyed and life is restored everywhere.
The gates of heaven are open.
God has shown himself man,
man has gone up to him a God
The gates of hell God has shattered,
the bars of Adam's prison broken.
From the earth comes singing and dancing
The light in the soul will never go out.
The fire of grace burns in us all.
Spirit, divine, in our bodies and our souls,
fed with the oil of Christ
 
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
Father thank you that you are a God who invites his children to speak. We pray for the whole people of God hidden in Jesus and for all people according to their needs.

For believers throughout the world who endure physical harm because they follow our Lord Jesus, shelter them this week;
God of all mercy... hear our prayer.
For the desperate plight of the Rohingya people fleeing Myanmar; grant them help, protection and peace;
God of all mercy... hear our prayer.
For our local, state, federal and international leaders; grant them humility, wisdom, and discernment;
God of all mercy... hear our prayer.
For schools in Chicago; would they be places of joy, imagination and learning, despite funding gaps and structural weaknesses;
God of all mercy... hear our prayer.
For the Church in Chicago; would we rejoice in the great beauty of the city where many eyes see only ugliness;
God of all mercy... hear our prayer.
For the congregation of Renewal Church; would they be a blessing to Wells High School;
God of all mercy... hear our prayer.
For the people of The Painted Door; would we cling to you in our sadness, despair and frustration;
God of all mercy... hear our prayer.
And for all who come to the feast of Jesus this morning, for the hearing of our ears, rejoicing of our minds, and stillness of our souls;
God of all mercy... hear our prayer.

Gracious Father, these are our requests. We trust in your mercy made known through your Son, Jesus, Christ our Lord. Amen.

THE ONE MAN: PAUL AMONG THE ROMANS / Pastor Mark Bergin
Acts 22:25 - 23:11
The Apostle Paul was born Saul of Tarsus, a Roman citizen educated in the most prestigious of Jewish schools. In his early adult life, he was a man of fierce conviction, who thought nothing of destroying others for the sake of advancing his cause. But meeting Jesus broke him. Mighty Saul became suffering Paul. And in the latter half of his adult life, he poured out his days not to trample others but to build them up. Paul lost reputation, comfort, freedom, and finally his life for the sake of one aim: to live in Christ and invite others to do the same.
 
Prayer of Confession
God, you are a generous Sovereign,
treating the last to come as you treat the first arrival.
You allow all your workers to rest --
those who began at the eleventh hour,
those who have worked from the first.
You are kind to the late-comer
and see the needs of the early.
You give to one, and you give to the other.
Join, then, all of you; join in our Master's rejoicing!
You who were the first to come, and you who came after,
Come and collect now your wages.
Rich men and poor men, sing and dance together.
You that are hard on yourselves, and you that are easy,
honor this day.
You that have fasted, and you that have not,
make merry today.
The meal is ready; come and enjoy it.
The calf is fat; you will not go away hungry.
There's kindness for all to partake of and kindness to spare.
Away with the pleading of poverty.
The kingdom belongs to us all.
Away with the bewailing of failures.
Forgiveness has come from the grave.
Away with your fears of dying.
The death of our Savior has freed us from fear.
Death played the master, but He has mastered death.
The shadows seized a body and found it was God;
they reached for earth and what they held was heaven.
They took what they could see; it was what no one sees.
Where is death's sting? Where is the shadow's victory?
Christ is risen; the world below is in ruins.
Christ is risen; the spirits of evil are fallen.
Christ is risen; the angels of God are rejoicing.
Christ is risen; the tombs are void of their dead.
Christ has indeed arisen from the dead, the first of the sleepers.
Glory and power are his, forever and ever. Amen.