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Sunday, February 16, 2020

Sixth Sunday of Epiphany

Organ PreludeSursum corda (Gregorian Proper)

Welcome and Announcements John Strawbridge

Choral IntroitO Come, Let Us Sing Unto The Lord (Moore)

O come, let us sing unto the Lord, to Him our voices raise. O come, with joyful voices praise. Amen.

* Call to Worship

As we offer a welcome to stranger and friend,
as we are embraced in their kindness,
we choose to be people of life and blessing.
As we serve others in God’s name,
as we receive blessings from those we do not know,
we choose to walk in God’s way.
As we forgive those who have hurt us,
as we reach out to those we have harmed,
we choose to be reconciled to our sisters and brothers.

* Opening Hymn Heralds Of Christ UMH 567

1. Heralds of Christ, who bear the King’s commands, immortal tidings in your mortal hands, pass on and carry swift the news you bring; make straight, make straight the highway of the King.

2. Through desert ways, dark fen, and deep morass, through jungles, sluggish seas, and mountain pass, build now the road, and falter not, nor stay; prepare across the earth the King’s highway.

3. Lord, give us faith and strength the road to build, to see the promise of the day fulfilled, when war shall be no more, and strife shall cease upon the highway of the Prince of Peace.

Prayer of Invocation (All)

Lord, we all have done our share of traveling down the wrong path. May this day be a fresh start, this hour be a time to turn toward you, this moment be like the first step in the right direction. This we pray in that name of the One who was your love in human form, and who lives in us today through your Holy Spirit. Amen.

Sharing Joys and Concerns

Pastoral Prayer

Lord’s Prayer

Children’s Moments

AnthemRejoice, Ye Pure In Heart (Dirksen)

Rejoice, ye pure in heart; Rejoice, give thanks and sing.
Your glorious banner wave on high, The Name of Christ, your King.

Hosanna, Rejoice, give thanks and sing.

With all the angel choirs, With all the saints of earth,
Pour out the strains of joy and bliss, True rapture, noblest mirth.

Your clear hosannas sing, And alleluias loud;
While answering echoes upward float, Like wreaths of incense cloud.

Then on, ye pure in heart! Rejoice, give thanks and sing!
Your glorious banner wave on high, The Name of Christ, your King.

Epistle Lesson – II Corinthians 3:1-9 (The Message)   Kristie Weimar, Liturgist

Does it sound like we’re patting ourselves on the back, insisting on our credentials, asserting our authority? Well, we’re not. Neither do we need letters of endorsement, either to you or from you. You yourselves are all the endorsement we need. Your very lives are a letter that anyone can read by just looking at you. Christ himself wrote it—not with ink, but with God’s living Spirit; not chiseled into stone, but carved into human lives—and we publish it.

We couldn’t be more sure of ourselves in this—that you, written by Christ himself for God, are our letter of recommendation. We wouldn’t think of writing this kind of letter about ourselves. Only God can write such a letter. His letter authorizes us to help carry out this new plan of action. The plan wasn’t written out with ink on paper, with pages and pages of legal footnotes, killing your spirit. It’s written with Spirit on spirit, his life on our lives!

The Government of Death, its constitution chiseled on stone tablets, had a dazzling inaugural. Moses’ face as he delivered the tablets was so bright that day (even though it would fade soon enough) that the people of Israel could no more look right at him than stare into the sun. How much more dazzling, then, the Government of Living Spirit?

If the Government of Condemnation was impressive, how about this Government of Affirmation?

Call to Confession

With every choice we make, we show how faithful we are to God’s hopes for us. Yet, despite the mistakes we make, the missteps we take, God remains forgiving and gracious.
Let us come to our God, speaking honestly about our lives, as we pray,

Prayer of Confession

How often we make the wrong choices, God of our lives! We look at others through the prism of lust, distorting who they really are. We let our ‘mad’ feed us with bitterness and hurt. We toss about harmful words like so many snowballs on a winter’s day. We would rather insult those around us, than to lift them up.

Have mercy on us, God who is everywhere. May we set aside our quarreling natures to be united in common worship, common service, and a common purpose, as we follow Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Assurance of Forgiveness

Christ came, so we might be healed by God’s tender touch. Christ came, so we might be reconciled to one another.

Thanks be to God! As risky, as hard as it may be, we will choose to be God’s people. Amen.

* Hymn of Preparation Happy Are Those who Walk in Your Ways (Blessed Assurance Jesus is Mine)

Happy are those who walk in your ways;
Happy are those, Lord, who keep your decrees.
By our obeying, we give you praise!
We find your path that blesses and frees!

Grace is a gift that comes from your hand.
How can we thank you? What can we do?
Fixing our eyes on what you command,
We can live each day faithful to you.

How can the young ones keep their way pure?
How can the stranger find blessings of home?
How can your people never be poor?
By gladly making your way their own.

Grace is a gift that comes from your hand.
How can we thank you? What can we do?
Fixing our eyes on what you command,
We can live each day faithful to you.

Sweeter than honey, reason for joy,
Lamp to our feet and a light to our way,
Comfort and shield when sin would destroy —
All your commandments guide us each day.

Grace is a gift that comes from your hand.
How can we thank you? What can we do?
Fixing our eyes on what you command,
We can live each day faithful to you.

Reading from the Gospel – Matthew 5:17-26 (The Message)

“Don’t suppose for a minute that I have come to demolish the Scriptures—either God’s Law or the Prophets. I’m not here to demolish but to complete. I am going to put it all together, pull it all together in a vast panorama. God’s Law is more real and lasting than the stars in the sky and the ground at your feet. Long after stars burn out and earth wears out, God’s Law will be alive and working.

“Trivialize even the smallest item in God’s Law and you will only have trivialized yourself. But take it seriously, show the way for others, and you will find honor in the kingdom. Unless you do far better than the Pharisees in the matters of right living, you won’t know the first thing about entering the kingdom.

“You’re familiar with the command to the ancients, ‘Do not murder.’ I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother ‘idiot!’ and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell ‘stupid!’ at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill.

“This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God.

“Or say you’re out on the street and an old enemy accosts you. Don’t lose a minute. Make the first move; make things right with him. After all, if you leave the first move to him, knowing his track record, you’re likely to end up in court, maybe even jail. If that happens, you won’t get out without a stiff fine.

Sermon – “What Matters”   Rev. Debbie Scott

Invitation to Offering

OffertoryLord, My God (Psalm 13, Mendelssohn)

Lord, my God, behold and hear me,
While I draw this fleeting breath.
On mine eyes shed light and healing,
Lest I sleep the sleep of death,
Lest my foe should triumph, saying “I against him have prevailed!”
Lest he, in my fall exalting, See me by despair assailed.

Presentation of Tithes and Offerings

* Presentation of OfferingPraise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow UMH 95

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; praise him, all creatures here below;
praise him above, yet heavenly host; praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

* Offering Prayer (All)

When we could choose to be selfish, may we share from our abundance;
when we could choose to be hoarders, let us give away all we have;
when we could choose to be broken, let us be reconciled with those around us.
Bless our lives, as well as these gifts, we pray. Amen.

* Closing Hymn God of Grace and God of Glory UMH 577

1. God of grace and God of glory, on thy people pour thy power; crown thine ancient church’s story; bring her bud to glorious flower. Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, for the facing of this hour, (of this hour) for the facing of this hour.

2. Lo! the hosts of evil round us scorn thy Christ, assail his ways! Fears and doubts too long have bound us; free our hearts to work and praise. Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, for the living of these days, (of these days) for the living of these days.

3. Cure thy children’s warring madness, bend our pride to thy control; shame our wanton, selfish gladness, rich in things and poor in soul. Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, lest we miss thy kingdom’s goal, (kingdom’s goal) lest we miss thy kingdom’s goal.

4. Save us from weak resignation to the evils we deplore; let the search for thy salvation be our glory evermore. Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, serving thee whom we adore, (we adore) serving thee whom we adore.

* Benediction

Go now, with God’s love,
we will choose to be a blessing to others.
Go now, with Christ’s hope,
we will choose to serve all in need.
Go now, with the Spirit’s peace,
we will choose to share life in every moment.

* Choral ResponseMay the Grace Of Christ Our Savior (Stainer)

May the grace of Christ our Savior
And the Father’s endless love
With the holy Spirit’s favor

* Ringing of the Bicentennial Bell

Organ PostludeRex in Coelo (Thomson)

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