Liturgy / Jan 28, 2018

CALL TO WORSHIP

God, who created the Earth, is our Father
Bless the Lord, oh my soul!

He set the Earth on its foundations,
he put the mountains in place, and sends forth water that we may drink.
Oh my soul, bless the Lord!

He causes plants to grow,
and feeds both man and beast.
All look to you for food, oh Lord, and for life.

And food and life he gives!
Bless the Lord, oh my soul, oh my soul, praise him.

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 leadership and citizens of Cape Town, South Africa, as they face the crisis of no water in the next few months; grant them wisdom, provision and safety; God of all mercy… Hear our prayer.

For Mexico, grappling with more than 25,000 homicides this past year; grant our countries cooperation and hope; God of all mercy… Hear our prayer

For the violence in our own city; give us strong neighborhoods, wise leadership, and peace; God of all mercy… Hear our prayer

For the people of Renewal Church; give them unity with one another and love for their neighbors; God of all mercy… Hear our prayer

For those sick, or caring for sick loved ones; bring healing and endurance; God of all mercy… Hear our prayer

For the people of The Painted Door; especially those of us who are discouraged and afraid; remind us of your love, that we are never out of the palm of your hand; God of all mercy… Hear our prayer.

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


The paradox is that God must destroy in us all illusions of righteousness before he can make us righteous.
— Martin Luther

There are objective aspects to our faith and there are subjective aspects to our faith. It is both safe and dangerous. Free and spoken for. The free gift of union with Jesus Christ is not meant to belittle, or make void, the moment by moment mess that is the individual experience of grace. It makes experience safe. It makes experience alive. It makes experience begin and end in the love of our heavenly Father, not a Divine taskmaster. But also dangerous. This union with Christ does not take away from our upward call into glory, rather, the Cross unleashed the very Divine Lifeblood that makes us alive and carries us upward. This Divine Life is Cross shaped, heals through death, saves souls by losing lives. Surrender and be sanctified.


PRAYERS OF CONFESSION

Father, we confess that we do not trust you to give us good things,
we look at the roads you set before us and panic sets in,
like dogs, we want nothing more than to return to our vomit, and we so often do just that.
We don’t believe your way is really better. Father, forgive us.

Though you promise us joy in giving ourselves up for one another, we squirm around and look for ways out.
We don’t believe your way is really better. Father, forgive us.

Though you have bestowed honor on the shameful things of the world,
we are wary to attach ourselves to anyone we perceive as less than ourselves.
We honor ourselves at the expense of one another.
We don’t believe your way is really better. Father, forgive us.

But every path we have taken,
each attempt we have made to get away from you, has failed.
You have followed us down into each of our deaths
and continue to offer us yourself, continue to honor us for the price of your shame.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Amen.