Liturgy / Mar 4, 2018

CALL TO WORSHIP

Children of God, welcome to this place.
Our Father is a good and loving God.
Slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
He offers you freedom this day.
Father, we love you. Let us see you today.
Though our souls are full of groaning,
we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship.
Father, we love you. Teach us to obey you.
Though our spirits are full of groaning, we wait eagerly for the redemption of our bodies.
Father, we love you. We offer our bodies to you.
All of creation groans in the pains of childbirth, awaiting our true redemption.
Father, we too groan with it.
Help us wait faithfully for you. Amen

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PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE

Father thank you that you are a God who invites us 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 110 Nigerian girls stolen from their school by militants last week; would you protect them, preserve them, and bring them home; God of all mercy… hear our prayer.

For world leaders facing complex problems in and between nations; we ask for wisdom and humility; God of all mercy… hear our prayer.

For the families of those killed by violence in our neighborhoods this week; comfort them, and bring us peace; God of all mercy… hear our prayer.

For the students of Chicago, many of whom feel the effects of budget shortfalls and a lack of leadership; would you provide for them; God of all mercy… hear our prayer.

For the people of Legacy Fellowship as they gather today; grant them grace for one another; God of all mercy… hear our prayer.

For your people at The Painted Door; remind us that in a world driven by fear of scarcity, you are the source of never-ending abundance; 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.


Men are never convinced of your reasons, of your sincerity, of the seriousness of your sufferings, except by your death. So long as you are alive, your case is doubtful; you have a right only to their skepticism.
— Albert Camus

THE ONE MAN: GROANING & HOPING
Romans 8:18-25
Pastor Mark Bergin


The only sure things in life are pain and death. And our Christian faith does not offer a way around these hardships. In fact, our Lord promised we would face great trials as we follow him. Yet he also promised to be a great source of hope. This is the tension of life in Christ. It is simultaneously full of groaning and full of hope. Indeed, we cannot have one without the other. Hope can only exist within groaning. To ignore or mask our groaning then is to ignore or mask our hope. But to face our trials and endure the suffering with Christ is to live in the place of hope. These birth pangs will not be long now. Our head has broken through. His body is sure to follow soon.


PRAYERS OF CONFESSION

Lord, this creation is under the subjugation of frustration.
It longs in hope for liberation from the bondage of decay.
We have been given the hope of the Gospel, yet we shun it for our jaded grumbling.
Forgive us Lord. We fail to trust you.

We have been given the firstfruits of salvation,
yet we scrounge around for whatever nourishment we can concoct on our own.
Forgive us Lord. We fail to wait for you.

Rather than putting our hope in what has not yet been given to us,
we put our hope in the concrete.
We trust in what we can see, instead of what you have said.
Forgive us Lord. We fail to place our hope in You.

Every moment of discomfort, we cry out in disgust.
Where is justice? Where is God here? Why is this happening to me?
Forgive us Lord. We fail in patience.

Our God has made a way through the desert.
A cool stream awaits all those who will come and drink.
Wait patiently upon the Lord. Renew your strength.
Without you Lord, we are nothing. Come live within us now.