Worship Elements: July 2, 2017 (Option 1)

May 25th, 2017

Fourth Sunday After Pentecost

COLOR: Green
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Genesis 22:1-14; Psalm 13; Romans 6:12-23; Matthew 10:40-42

Call to Worship:

L: We come together today to affirm our oneness in the Lord our God.

P: We affirm our oneness with the members of our family.

L: They who love brother or sister or father or mother more than me, says the Lord, are not worthy of me.

P: We affirm our oneness with all the citizens of our nation.

L: They who love their country more than me, says the Lord, are not worthy of me.

P: We affirm our oneness with all other Christians. They who love their religion more than me, says the Lord, are not worthy of me.

A: Give us the courage, O God; to take up the cross and follow you in the spirit of Jesus.

Invocation:

O God of Christ, in Jesus you came into the midst of the Galileans as one of them. You lived among them as a neighbor. You spoke to them as a friend. You welcomed them as members of your family. And you treated them as brothers and sisters. Come now into our midst, dear God, as you entered into Galilee, and give us the grace to welcome you as neighbor, friend, and Father.

Litany:

L: God has baptized us into Christ Jesus that we might walk in newness of life. Yet we are daily tempted to tread the old paths.

P: From this temptation, dear Lord, deliver us.

L: The grace of God increases in proportion to our sin. So we are tempted to enlarge our transgressions that grace might abound.

P: From this temptation, dear Lord, deliver us.

L: We were not worthy of the love with which God in Christ redeemed us from sin. Yet we are sorely tempted to reserve our love only for those who deserve it.

P: From this temptation, dear Lord, deliver us.

L: Jesus' victory over sin cost him shame, suffering, and a cross. Yet we are tempted to think that his followers can lead a risk-free life.

P: From this temptation, dear Lord, deliver us.

L: The cross was the cost of his obedience to God. Yet we are tempted to let him bear the cross alone, and let the rest of the world go free.

P: From this temptation, dear Lord, deliver us.

A: Give us the grace, dear Lord, to embrace the way of the cross even as we praise the Lord of the cross.

Prayer for One Voice:

Gracious God, you have not left yourself without a witness in any age or place. Wherever people have walked this earth, you have taken up residence among them and unveiled yourself to them. To Jacob you revealed yourself at the ford of the Jabbok. Even though he had deceived his father and betrayed his brother, you did not hide your face from him. To the Galileans you revealed yourself in Jesus' treatment of harlots and publicans. Upon perceiving that they were unworthy, Jesus showed them a love that would not let them go. We thank you, O God, that you do not hide yourself from the people who seem to merit your love. But we are even more grateful for your revelation to those who do not. We adore you, O God, for as the heavens are higher than the earth, your love is greater than our love. You shower it, like the rain, upon the just and the unjust. And you have given us in Jesus not only a summons to love as you love, but an example of both what it means and what it costs.

We long to love others as you do, but we seldom do. And our offense is compounded by the fact that we know better. We know that love can turn enmity into friendship, bitterness into acceptance, suspicion into understanding, and hostility into peace. But the love we would show to others we do not, and the hostility we would not show to others we do. Forgive us, O God, for bearing such shabby witness to you and for betraying our neighbors and ourselves.

Remind us of the love of Jesus Christ with which you claimed us as your own and we claimed you as our own. Rekindle in us the oneness we experienced when we accepted your invitation to joira you in covenant. And let us go forth, renewed and empowered, to enlarge the circle of your covenant people. Make us quick to greet hesitation with generosity, suspicion with acceptance, anger with gentleness, and defensiveness with friendliness. When people ask us who we are, let us reveal whose we are.

The world in which we live suffers for want of many things. But the one thing it needs above all others is the love with which you have loved us and for which you call us to become channels. Give us, O God, the will and the wisdom to heed this summons.

Benediction:

O God, in Jesus Christ you taught us that, if we are intent on saving ourselves, we cannot save others. Crucify us unto self that we might glorify you and become the channels of your life and love unto others.

From Litanies and Other Prayers Year A: Copyright © 1989, 1992 by Abingdon Press

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