A More Light Congregation

Bethany Presbyterian Church

This Week in Worship

Centering Prayer

On this first Lord's Day of the new year, Creator God, we are mindful that we do not know what the future holds, but we do know that you will be with us as we navigate through it. Therefore, we come to acknowledge your love, and leadership, your grace and your power - all of which are available to us - whatever the times ahead may bring.


Call to Worship

For so long we have walked only in darkness, unable to see. But, behold a light, yes, a light has come! Not even the deepest darkness can keep out the dawn. "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Peace is here, upon us, with us, around us. It will never end. Celebrate the King of light, power and peace. He has come.


Prayer of Confession

Lord God of Christmas, we stand on the threshold of another year. We thank you for giving us another year of life. You have given us many gifts during the last year; and yet we realize that we have often failed to use those gifts, or our lives, as creatively and constructively as we might. Now give us the care to shape the moments of this next year into tender, gentle expressions of concern. May the year be fulfilled with achievements: wrongs corrected, friendships deepened, the disheartened encouraged. Help us to energize your love, even as you became love to us. For we ask these things in his name. Amen.


Response Hymn #110







Assurance of Pardon

As Mary, Joseph and Jesus settled in Nazareth, help us, God, to let you take up residence in each one of our hearts. Forgive us our fears and our doubts. In the name of the babe of Bethlehem, the Prince of Peace, we are now made new and whole. Amen.


Preparation for the Word Hymn #131



January 6, 2019

Epiphany and Service of Holy Communion

Sermon by Reverend Kathryn Pyke

"Home By Another Way"

Scripture  

Matthew 2:1-12

Love has come--a light in the darkness! 

Love explodes in the Bethlehem skies. 

See, all heaven has come to proclaim it; 

Hear how their song of joy arises: 

Love! Love! Born unto you, a Savior! 

Love! Love! Glory to God on high.      

Centering Prayer

Gracious and all loving God, you call to us across deep waters and dark places. Yours is the light that guides us, and the voice that we follow.  We pray that you would reveal yourself to us as we worship you. May those without hope be encouraged; those who are sad, cheered; those who are seeking, find you; and may all things be according to your will.  In the name of your beloved Son we pray.  Amen.


Call to Worship

ONE: In the very beginning, God separated the darkness and the light. God called the Light "Day" and the Darkness, God called "Night".

ALL: We were once people who dwelled in darkness, but God has given us the true Light, Jesus Christ.

ONE: God has blessed us and adopted us as God’s own beloved children, through the sacrament of Baptism.

ALL: The water of baptism brings to us healing and reconciliation; it is a symbol of nourishment and cleansing.

ONE: This day is the day of the remembrance of Jesus’ Baptism.

ALL: As we hear the words of his baptism, let us be reminded of our own adoption as children of God.


Prayer of Confession

We are incredibly stubborn, O Lord.  We have entered the season in which Your Light has been given to the world, your blessings have been poured out on the world, and yet all we can think about is our own problems, our own needs, our own desires. Help us to desire you, Lord. Help us to yearn for your presence.  Pour your baptismal waters over us again, cleansing us from our self-pity and arrogance.  Nourish and heal us so that we may joyfully serve you. Wash away our jealousy, greed, and all negative thoughts and behaviors that stand in the way of our truly being the people you have called us to be.  Again let us receive the blessings offered in creation, in the birth and baptism of Jesus, and in the ministry of the saints of light.  We ask this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.


Response Hymn #60




Assurance of Forgiveness

The love of God is always offered to us, freely, joyfully, for all eternity.  Rejoice, friends, this is the Good News of our Lord. Amen.


Preparation for the Word Hymn #161

January 13, 2019

Sermon by Reverend Kathryn Pyke

"Whose Child Are You?"

Come and join the song,

Women, children, men.

Jesus makes us free to live again!

(placeholder)

Centering Prayer

Come, Lord, come down, come in, come among us.  Enter into our darkness with your light.  Come fill our emptiness with your presence.  Dispel the clouds and reveal your glory.  Come refresh, renew, restore us.  Come Lord, come down, come in, come among us.  Amen.


Call to Worship

There is a a time for celebrating, and this is that time.

There is a time for mourning, and this is that time.

There is a time for confessing, and this is that time.

There is a time for dreaming, and this is that time.


Opening Prayer

ONE: God, we bring our stories to this place today and we wait to be held by yours.

ALL:  Shape it with grace.

ONE: We bring our success:

ALL: Shape it with generosity.

ONE: We bring our weaknesses:

ALL: Shape them with compassion.

ONE: We bring our possibilities:

ALL: Shape them with hope.

ONE: We confess, God, that the way is hard and we are tired.

ALL: Speak into our tiredness with your story of grace.

ONE: We confess that the way is unclear and we do not know the path.

ALL: Speak into our wandering with your story of vision.

ONE: We confess that we are tired of waiting and we just want to make it happen.

ALL: Speak into our impatience with your story of wisdom.

ONE: Let your story be wour story, and we pray this is Jesus' name.  Amen.


Response Hymn #675





Preparation for the Word Hymn #161

January 20, 2019

Sermon by Reverend Kathryn Pyke

"Timing is Everything"

Scripture  

John 2:1-11

Come and join the song,

Women, children, men.

Jesus makes us free to live again!

(placeholder)

Forgive me, Lord, for this I pray,

The wrong that I have done this day.

May peace with God and neighbor be,

Before I sleep restored to me.

Centering Prayer

Be silent.

Be still.

Alone.

Empty

Before your God.

Say nothing.

Ask nothing.

Be silent.

Be still.

Let your God look upon you. That is all.

God knows.

God understands.

God loves you

With an enormous love, And only wants

To look upon you

With that love.

Quiet.

Still.

Be.

Let your God—

Love you.  Amen.


Call to Worship

ONE: The Spirit of the Lord is upon us!

ALL: God has anointed us to bring good news to the poor,

ONE: To proclaim freedom for the prisoners  and recovery of sight for the blind,

ALl: to set the oppressed free.

ONE: Let us worship the God of justice and peace!


Morning Prayer

In a cynical and despairing world, O God, give us a quietly prophetic voice to proclaim your hope. In a violent and angry world, O God, give us a quietly prophetic voice to proclaim your peace.  In a dismissive and disinterested world, O God, give us a quietly prophetic voice to proclaim your compassion.  In a lonely and inhospitable world, O God, give us a quietly prophetic voice to proclaim your love.  In a grieving and weeping world, O God, give us a quietly prophetic voice to proclaim your joy.  May we be so captivated by your hope, O God, that we cannot help but to whisper, to sing, and to enact, the message of your reign which is always coming into our world; and may our quietly prophetic lives be channels of your restoring grace wherever we may go.  Amen.


Response Hymn #675





Preparation for the Word Hymn #161

January 27, 2019

Sermon by Reverend Kathryn Pyke

"A Life Changing Experience - Today!"

Scripture  

Luke 4:14-21

(placeholder)

Forgive me, Lord, for this I pray,

The wrong that I have done this day.

May peace with God and neighbor be,

Before I sleep restored to me.

Come and join the song,

Women, children, men.

Jesus makes us free to live again!

Centering Prayer

Lord God, the source of all good things,   we pause in your presence and hold our day before you. Still us, calm us, guide us as we enter this day.  Amen.


Call to Worship

ONE: With powerful words and dramatic gestures, with a quiet conversation and a gentle touch,

ALL: we respond to God’s call to offer  healing and hope to our world.

ONE: With courage to face the injustices around us, with the willingness to go into the brokenness,

ALL: we fulfill the call of Jesus to engage in faithful obedience.

ONE: With the patience of a teacher of six-year-olds, with the gentleness of a nurse helping a patient,

ALL: we become the Spirit’s refuge  for all who live in worry and fear.


Prayer of the Day

In you, God of love, we find that panic room when our terrors try to break down the doors of our hearts. In you, we discover the patience to keep our expectations from getting in the way of the fulfillment of your kingdom. With you, Lord of our hearts, we find the One we have leaned on every step of our uncertain journey even when we thought we walked alone. With you, we discern the passion to speak up for the voiceless and the forgotten who are all around us. Through you, Gentle Spirit, we can offer a hand to partner with those trapped in the tight grasp of oppression. Through you, we can catch on to the arrogance, which too often is our attitude, and replace it with your humility. In you, with you, through you, God in Community, Holy in One, we can seek to be your people. Amen.


Response Hymn #701





Prayer of Confession

One: Arrogance, envy, harsh words, empty hands, pleasure in doing what we know is wrong – these are what we often use to fill our lives. Let us confess in faith, trusting in the hope that God’s love restores us and makes us whole. Please join me, praying:


All: Ah, Lord God, we do not know how to speak words of hope, because we listen to the purveyors of fear. We do not know how to be loving, because our role models are ridicule and anger. We do not know how to be faithful to you, because at an early age, we learned to trust the promises of all the false prophets who entice us with their simple thoughts. But you know how to forgive, God of kindness, so we pray you would pour out your mercy upon us. May faith abide in us, so we may serve others even as you have served us; may hope abide in us, so we may surround the broken with your compassion and grace; may love abide in us, not only in these moments of brokenness, but in every moment of our life with Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, who abides in us.


     (silence)

Assurance of Pardon

ONE: The good news is that, in our God, we find that safe place for our lives. In God’s forgiveness, we are offered the healing we need.  

ALL: In God’s acceptance, we discover the love in which we may abide in every moment of our lives. Thanks be to God! Amen.


Preparation for the Word Hymn #161

February 3, 2019

Celebration of Holy Communion

Sermon by Reverend Kathryn Pyke

“Something There is That Doesn’t Love a Wall”

(placeholder)

Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary,

Pure and holy, tried and true.

With thanksgiving,

I'll be a living sanctuary for you.

Come and join the song,

Women, children, men.

Jesus makes us free to live again!

Your endless love, your mighty acts surpass what words can tell;

Lord, may the joys your people know

Be mine to share as well.

In the heavens shone a star,

Vanquishing the gloom of night,

Heralding a wondrous birth;

God's own son now comes to earth,

Jesus Christ is born today, Christmas Day!

Centering Prayer

We come convinced of many things but trusting very few.  Holy God of limitless surprises, meet us here in this place as we touch that which we can not see, that which we have not dared to hope.  Amen.


Call to Worship

ONE: The invitation is given to every person by Jesus Christ: "Come to me! Follow me! Be my disciples!"

ALL: We come to this place, to this time, at the invitation of Jesus Christ.

ONE: In the name of Christ,

ALL: we accept the invitation to discipleship.

ONE: In the name of Christ,

ALL: as his disciples, we worship and praise God.

ONE: In the midst of a world where cruelty abounds,

ALL: we proclaim the God of Compassion.

ONE: In the midst of despair that threatens to swallow up whole lives, whole peoples,

ALL: we proclaim the God of Hope.

ONE: In the midst of indifference and apathy,

ALL: we proclaim the God of Love.

ONE: Come, let us worship together and share our witness of God's living presence in the world.


Morning Prayer

O God, giver of all good gifts, you have given me life.  You have bestowed upon me your love

and that love includes your plans for me.  What am I to do?  All life is a call and a response.  I pray for grace to hear God’s voice and a heart to respond.  I am ready to listen.  Help me to listen to the rhythm of each day, day by day, so that I am not overwhelmed with thoughts of the future.  Yet guide me into that future so that I know who and whose I am.  I shall listen.  I shall listen to the voices of those witnesses who have lived before me.  I shall listen to those who are here

to give me guidance and encouragement, for it is clear that whatever plans you have for me, I will never journey alone.  I will listen to my feelings as I grow and change, processes that I know will be lifelong.  I shall listen to you.  And even though I want easy answers, I know that what you want is a relationship. So when I answer you, may my response be to my potential and to your love of all creatures on your good earth.  Let me serve with the gifts you give me.  O God, I know that vocation is truly a gift of your love. What am I to do?  I am ready to listen.  Amen.


Response Hymn #701






Preparation for the Word Hymn #161

February 10, 2019

Sermon by Reverend Kathryn Pyke

“Going a Little Deeper”

Scripture  

Luke 5:1-11

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Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary,

Pure and holy, tried and true.

With thanksgiving,

I'll be a living sanctuary for you.

Come and join the song,

Women, children, men.

Jesus makes us free to live again!

Centering Prayer

Holy God, we give thanks to you, we call upon your name. We sing to you, we sing praise to you, telling of all your wonderful acts.  We give glory to your holy name.  Our hearts rejoice as we seek you.  We look to you as our strength.  We remember all the wonder you have done for us. In your presence we worship you and seek your face.  Amen.


Call to Worship

Sisters and brothers – arise.

Arise and lift your hearts.

Arise and lift your eyes .

Arise and lift your voices.

The living God,

The living, moving Spirit of God has called us together -

In witness, in celebration, in struggle.

Reach out toward each other.

Our God reaches out toward us!

Let us worship God!


A Blessing

Come to Galilee, and be blessed. Come, see, and be blessed. Hear him calling, and be blessed. Stay with the Lord, and be blessed.  Take root in his land, and be blessed.  Walk along the lakeshore, and be blessed.  Bathe your feet in the water, and be blessed.  Listen to his words, and be blessed. "Be merciful and be blessed."  "Be a peacemaker and be blessed."  Marvel at the crowds that follow him, and be blessed.  "Feed them yourselves", and be blessed.  "But I have only five loaves and two fish", and be blessed.  Watch the sunrise together, and be blessed.

Know the darkness and the light, and be blessed.  Say "I love you, Lord", and be blessed.  Say "you know I love you", and be blessed.  Throw out your nets, and be blessed.  Confront your fears, and be blessed.  Cross over to the other side, and be blessed.  Face into the storm, and be blessed.  Accept your weakness, and be blessed.  Acknowledge your sin, and be blessed.  Ask for healing, and be blessed.  Come to the water of life, and be blessed.  Drink deep of the Lord, and be blessed.  Walk with him on Tabor, and be blessed.  Know yourself beloved, and be blessed.  Live in the Lord, and be blessed.  Give him space to hold you, and be blessed.  Breathe in his Spirit, and be blessed.  Let go of past pain, and be blessed.  Celebrate your joy, and be blessed.  Sing out your praises, and be blessed.  Stay a while in this place, and be blessed.  Know too when it is time to move on, and be blessed.  Take his love with you, and be blessed.  Set your face for Jerusalem, and be blessed.


Response Hymn #701






Preparation for the Word Hymn #161

February 17, 2019

Sermon by Reverend Kathryn Pyke

"Bless You"

Scripture  

Luke 6:17-26

(placeholder)

Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary,

Pure and holy, tried and true.

With thanksgiving,

I'll be a living sanctuary for you.

Come and join the song,

Women, children, men.

Jesus makes us free to live again!

Centering Prayer

Living God, we come to worship you with our whole hearts.  We’re here to be built up by your Spirit, strengthened at Christ’s table, and challenged by scripture. So stand with us, hear our prayers, and  work in our lives, that together we might go from this place as living witnesses to your amazing love.  Amen.


Call to Worship

ONE: We gather together in the name of the One who bids us come.

ALL: We gather together to hear the words of the One who is Love.

ONE: We gather together to sing praises of the One who teaches peace.

ALL: Come, let us worship!


Prayer of Confession

Merciful God, You call us to deal honorably with one another, even those who have hurt or offended us.  You call us to work through our disagreements with love and integrity, and so to build up the Body of Christ.  We confess the times when we have failed, finding it easier to simply walk away from hurtful relationships, or to talk behind people’s backs, rather than to work towards reconciliation and community.  Lord, in Your mercy, forgive us.  Teach us how to live with love and integrity.  Amen.


Response Hymn #701






Assurance of Forgiveness

Even when we try and fail again and again, God loves us still.  In the richness of God’s grace, we accept the peace of Christ, which passes all understanding.  Amen.


Preparation for the Word Hymn #161

February 24, 2019

Sermon by Reverend Kathryn Pyke

"The Toughest Thing to Do"

Scripture  

Genesis 45:3-11, 15

Luke 6:27-38

Hymns

#267 “Come, Christians, Join to Sing”

#318 “In Christ There Is No East or West”

#353 “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less”

Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary,

Pure and holy, tried and true.

With thanksgiving,

I'll be a living sanctuary for you.

Come and join the song,

Women, children, men.

Jesus makes us free to live again!

(placeholder)

Centering Prayer

God, you bring us together in this place, we come to be fed, to be renewed, to seek understanding.

God, you challenge us in this place, we embrace the challenge, trusting that through challenge we grow in faith.

God, you are revealed in this place, sometimes in shining glory, sometimes in tears and struggle.

God as we worship in this place,  refresh, renew, and challenge us so that we would see your awesomeness. Amen.


Call to Worship

Let’s go up the mountain. Let’s go up to the place where the land meets the sky, where the earth touches the heavens, to the place of meeting, to the place of mists, to the place of voices and conversations, to the place of listening.


Morning Prayer

O God, we open our eyes and we see Jesus, the months of ministry transfigured to a beam of light, the light of the world, your light.  May your light shine upon us.  We open our eyes and we see Moses and Elijah, your word restoring us, showing us the way, telling a story, your story, his story, our story.  May your word speak to us.  We open our eyes and we see mist, the cloud of your presence which assures us of all we do not know and that we do not need to fear that.

Teach us to trust.  We open our eyes and we see Peter’s constructions, his best plans, our best plans, our missing the point, our missing the way.  Forgive our foolishness and sin.  We open our eyes and we see Jesus, not casting us off, but leading us down, leading us out - to ministry, to people.  Your love endures forever.  We open our ears and we hear your voice, "this is my beloved Son, listen to him!"  And we give you thanks.  Amen .


Response Hymn #701






Preparation for the Word Hymn #161

March 3, 2019

Celebration of Holy Communion

Sermon by Reverend Kathryn Pyke

"Holding On While Letting Go"

Hymns

#662 “Christ, Whose Glory Fills the Skies”

#521 “In Remembrance of Me”

#193 “Jesus, Take Us to the Mountain”

Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary,

Pure and holy, tried and true.

With thanksgiving,

I'll be a living sanctuary for you.

Come and join the song,

Women, children, men.

Jesus makes us free to live again!

(placeholder)

Centering Prayer

Loving God, you formed us from the dust of the Earth and brought us to new life in Christ through the waters of baptism.  We ask you to change our hearts as we journey through these forty days of Lent.  Help us to see Jesus in everyone we meet, and to serve him in all persons, especially the poor, the sick, and the lonely.  By your grace, may our prayers and service this Lent help us grow closer to one another and to you.  We make this prayer to you in His name.  Amen.


Call to Worship

ONE: For just such a time as this, we were made.  In the image of God, loving, grace-giving, and wise, we are created to be the hands, hearts, and feet of divinity.

ALL: We gather on this Ash Sunday, not because we must, not to puff ourselves up, but to start out on the journey leading to the resurrection.


Prayer of Confession

O God of life, we confess the ways we turn away from the fullness of life that you offer.

(Silence)

God of love, we confess the hatred we hold in our hearts.

(Silence)

God of compassion, we confess our indifference.

(Silence)

God of justice, we confess that our lives are linked to oppressive systems.

(Silence)

God of peace, we confess the violent movements of our hearts, the violent realities of our world. (Silence)

Holy God, we confess our sins to you.

(Silence)


Response




Assurance of Forgiveness

When we are joined to Christ, the past is finished; everything has become new. Every day our life is given back to us with hope. Accept the forgiving, renewing action of God in your life – and fully live. Amen.


Response Hymn #626




Imposition of Ashes


Preparation for the Word Hymn #205


March 10, 2019

Ash Sunday

Sermon by Reverend Kathryn Pyke

"Wilderness Living"

Lord have mercy,

Christ have mercy,

Lord have mercy

As the deer pants for the water,

so my soul longs after you.

You alone are my heart's desire,

and I long to worship you.

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Centering Prayer

In this sacred space, in these moments of stillness, our thoughts and silence are like incense.

Holy God, whose glory touches and transfigures the mind and the material, whose intimate, gentle Spirit embraces our vulnerability and fills our empty spaces with hope, may we know the deep calm that only You can give.  Through the mystery of absence and presence, come, fill us with Your emptiness, Your eternal silence.  Amen.


Call to Worship

ONE: Called to be God’s people, we gather in joy-filled celebration of our Creating God.

ALL:  We celebrate the Godly miracles of creation we experience every day and night.

ONE: Called to be a people of faith, we gather to praise our Eternal and Loving God.

ALL: Faithful God, we gather to give our thanks that your promises are totally reliable.

ONE: Called to be a people of hope and trust, we gather to give thanks for God’s care and compassion towards people who are vulnerable to life’s fears and stresses.

ALL: Justice-loving God, we give thanks that your love and mercy are the source and power behind God’s commitments to the created world and towards all humanity; and especially towards vulnerable, dispossessed, and isolated people in our midst. Amen.


Prayer of Invocation

O Wise God, You have come to us in the form of a vulnerable child; You teach us that the last are first and the first, last; You lead us on a Way to new life that leads through death. Truly your wisdom is different than ours!  Meet us in this place and teach us your foolish wisdom and your vulnerable power; give us joy to receive it fully and courage to live it foolishly, through Jesus Christ, your Wisdom and Word. Amen.


Response Hymn #205



Preparation for the Word Hymn #626


March 17, 2019

Sermon by Reverend Kathryn Pyke

"How Are You?"

Live in charity and steadfast love,

Live in charity; God will dwell with you.

As the deer pants for the water,

so my soul longs after you.

You alone are my heart's desire,

and I long to worship you.

(placeholder)

Live in charity and steadfast love,

Live in charity; God will dwell with you.