Liturgy / Jan 4, 2018

CALL TO WORSHIP

In the valley of dry bones, the Lord speaks:
“I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live.”
Praise be to God, who raises us from death to life!

Hear the voice of the Holy One:
“And I will lay sinews upon you,
and will cause flesh to come upon you,
and cover you with skin,
and put breath in you, and you shall live,
and you shall know that I am the Lord.”
Our bodies live and move and rejoice in the gift of salvation!

When hope is lost, he opens graves.
You, O Lord, are the source of all hope!

When ruin abounds, he makes makes his dwelling among us.
We look to you, our Lord and our life, for healing and peace.
Amen.

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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 stories of hope and sorrow in the world that will never be told; thank you that you see, know, and love your creation;
God of all mercy… hear our prayer.

For the Church in Chicago, help us remember that our fight is a fight for faith;
God of all mercy… hear our prayer.

For the families of those killed in our neighborhoods this week; be present in their grief; for those who wielded the weapon; bring them to repentance;
God of all mercy… hear our prayer.

For the people of Legacy Fellowship; grant them unity and love for one another;
God of all mercy… hear our prayer.

For marriages at The Painted Door; would they breathe grace and forgiveness;
God of all mercy… hear our prayer.

For those of us wrestling with doubts and questions; would we remember the freedom to wrestle before you;
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
Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.


The life of grace is not an effort on our part to achieve a goal we set ourselves. It is a continually renewed attempt simply to believe that someone else has done all the achieving that is needed and to live in relationship with that person, whether we achieve or not. If that doesn’t seem like much to you, you’re right: it isn’t. And, as a matter of fact, the life of grace is even less than that. It’s not even our life at all, but the life of that Someone Else rising like a tide in the ruins of our death.
— ROBERT FARRAR CAPON

THE ONE MAN: FROM LAW TO SPIRIT
ROMANS 7:1-12
Pastor Mark Bergin


God’s law is beautiful. And it describes a beautiful way of life. But God’s is powerless to produce the life it describes. In fact, when given to rebels, the law only provides an opportunity for more rebellion. If we are to discover a new way of life, a way of peace and love and hope, it will not be by finding some hidden measure of law-abiding decency in our fallen frames. We have no such decency within us. Rather, it will be by receiving a new Spirit altogether. We are hopelessly unable to live according to God’s law. But the Spirit of Christ has already lived out that life in the flesh. And God has now poured out that Spirit on all flesh. God’s beautiful law can only condemn us, but his beautiful Spirit ministers to us the forgiveness and obedience of his beautiful Son.


PRAYERS OF CONFESSION

Lord God, you promised us your Spirit, and have poured him out on all flesh.
You have called us your children and have never left us to find our way alone.
Yet we insist on our own way and go chasing fortune on foreign shores.
Forgive us, Father, for seeking life apart from you.

We are like wandering sheep, who have forgotten the safety and goodness of their shepherd.
Teach us, Father, what it is to trust you.

Your free gifts are never ending.
You withhold no good thing from us, even the very life of your Son.
Why do we pretend as though all good things must be earned?
Be patient with us, Father; your grace is alien to us.

We have prefered written codes to divine presence.
We trust laws to save us more than you.
We’d rather measure our performance than receive your love.
Make us new, Father; overwhelm our hearts with Christ,
and fill us to overflowing with his mercy and love.
Amen.