Liturgy / Nov 5, 2017

CALL TO WORSHIP

Brothers and sisters, may the word of the Lord be near you, in your mouth, and in your heart.
We proclaim the word of faith.

Let every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord.
Let every heart believe that God raised him from the dead.
For with the heart we believe and are justified. With the mouth we confess and are saved.

Let the name of the Lord be proclaimed throughout the world.
May the earth know of his power and glory.
For the mercy and love of the Lord is infinite, sacrificing his Son for our salvation.
Our Lord is a God of great power and great mercy, ruling over all creation.

His ways are mysterious and unknowable, but we trust in his word, his wisdom, and his grace.
Let us give praise to the One who is righteous, who is God over all, and blessed forever.

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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 arc of the story of the world, as it bends in ways unforeseen by us, your limited creations; thank you that you are sovereign, gracious and good; God of all mercy... hear our prayer

For those in our city who struggle with hopelessness; would you be present with them; God of all mercy... hear our prayer

For the Church in Chicago; would we boldly and graciously testify to the hope that does not disappoint; God of all mercy... hear our prayer

For the people of Renewal Church, as they gather this morning at Wells High School; would their presence bless the students and staff; God of all mercy... hear our prayer

For the particular beauty of this season, as summer has wasted away into autumn; would we find loveliness in the small, quiet and slumbering things of creation; God of all mercy... hear our prayer

For The Painted Door; would we grow deeply in a faith that weathers all circumstances; 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.


For years I had instructed students on the different aspects of the spiritual life, trying to help them see the importance of living it. But had I, myself, really ever dared to step into the center, kneel down, and let myself be held by a forgiving God?
— Henri Nouwen

Jesus brought divine life into the human story. And he offers this life to all peoples. That means peoples of privileged status in the world have no advantage over marginalized peoples in receiving Christ. In fact, privilege often turns out to be a great disadvantage in receiving a kingdom wherein the last shall be first and receiving a king who came only for the sick, poor, lost, and oppressed. The only means to receive this kingdom and its king is by faith, that is, by empty-handed dependence and trust. This sort of faith is humiliating and dignifying all at the same time -- humiliating in that we must acknowledge our neediness, dignifying in that we are invited to participate in divine life. All who embrace this faith find themselves on equal footing, equally in need, equally beloved. Could this be the great source of solidarity our world craves?


PRAYER OF CONFESSION

Heavenly Father, we are a people who forget that Christ died for our sins. Each day we strain to earn your love, making much of our good deeds, hoping to make ourselves good enough.
We forget that you have done the work, that while we were still sinners you gave us your Son. 

We try to put you in a box of earthly context, limiting our belief to what we can see and understand. We wonder daily at your actions and question your story. But you are telling a story much larger than ourselves.
Lord, give us hearts of faith, that we may rest in the comfort of your wisdom. 

Remind us, Lord, of your infinite grace and love. That while we see ugliness in the world and commit sins against our neighbors, we can have hope in you.
Lord, give us hearts of faith, that we may rest in the arms of your grace.

Thank you for the gift of your Son Jesus. His sacrifice is our salvation.
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.