A More Light Congregation

Bethany Presbyterian Church

This Week in Worship

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April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday Sunrise Service

Meditation by Reverend Kathryn Pyke

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April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday 10:00 a.m. Service & Celebration of Holy Communion

Sermon by Reverend Kathryn Pyke

"I Have Seen the Lord"

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Centering Prayer

Yes. It can happen.

Yes. It can take place.

Yes. God can do it.

After all, the angel said "Do not be afraid."

After all, the tomb was found empty.

After all, the Spirit, "will pray for you."  

After all, God wants peace and reconciliation.

After all, God's name is "justice."

After all, God is "liberation."

Yes. It can happen. Yes. It can take place. Yes. God can do it.


Call to Worship

We are not eyewitnesses to an event, as were Mary and the disciples; we have not journeyed through a dangerous city to seek answers or consolation; we have not seen angels gathering at the rim of this day, or wept in the garden this morning because we could not find Him.  But we are here to attest to a story that has not lost its power during twenty centuries of change and conflict.

We are here because those before us carried this story as if it were precious gold; cherished it as if it were the key to a hidden wisdom.  Sisters and brothers in Christ, take your places here today in celebration and in awe.  What you are about to hear again, has the capacity to change the world. Your very presence attests  to the rising up of life from the tomb of despair, and to the uncontrollable power of God.  It is Easter morning again, and we will celebrate.


Easter Prayer

If you were not risen, Lord Christ, to whom would we go to discover a radiance of the face of God?  If you were not risen, we would not be together seeking your communion.  We would not find in your presence forgiveness, wellspring of a new beginning.  If you were not risen, where would we draw the energy for following you right to the end of our existence, for choosing you again and anew? Praise God! Alleluia!


Response Hymn #247




Preparation for the Word Hymn #243


Now the green blade riseth, from the buried grain,

Wheat that in dark earth many days has lain;

Love lives again, that with the dead has been:

Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.

Be not afraid; sing out for joy!

Christ is risen, alleluia!

Be not afraid; sing out for joy!  

Christ is risen, alleluia!

Scripture  

Mark 16: 1-8

Call to Worship

ONE:  At the break of dawn, a bird sings.

ALL: The long night of darkness is over.

ONE: The stone is rolled away.

ALL: The tomb is empty.  

ONE: The sun begins to shine.

ALL: The Son has risen!

ONE: It’s a morning of glory,

ALL: Of love overcoming death,

ONE:  Of women spreading Good News,

ALL:  Of men turning from despair.

ONE: It’s a morning of joy.

ALL: For Easter has come again.

ONE:  Love is stronger than death,

ALL:  And we lift our voices in song.


Easter Prayer

Holy God, in the stillness of the dawn, with the sounds of nature awakening, open our ears and awaken our hearts that doubt might be rolled away and the bright light of Easter joy dawn within us and all around us. Today we celebrate the Risen Lord! Amen.


Easter Litany

ONE: Deep within ourselves we yearn to live fully each day.  

ALL: Deep within ourselves we hope death leads us into eternal life.  

ONE: Thank God for Jesus of Nazareth who faithfully followed his inner voice all the way through death into resurrection.

ALL: We appreciate God’s presence then and now.  

ONE:  In life and in death, we are God’s people; body and soul, we care about the earth and our neighbors.  

ALL: We are carried through dark places into bright ones, and we learn to practice divine peace.  

ONE:  Christ is alive in our minds and in our senses!

ALL:  Alleluia!  Alleluia, Alleluia! Give thanks to the living Christ! Alleluia, Alleluia! Give praise to our God.

Centering Prayer

The Lord God formed us out of clay and blew into our nostrils the breath of life.  Breathe upon us, again, O God. Guide your Holy Spirit into our lives.  Spread in us this year your Easter peace.  Let forgiveness become our name.  Amen.


Call to Worship

ONE: This is the message I have heard from him and now celebrate with you:  Christ is risen!

ALL: He is risen indeed!

ONE: Blessed are you who have not seen him, yet you truly believe and trust him.

ALL: See how good and delightful it is when Christians gather together as one.

ONE: The Lord has commanded a great blessing:

ALL: Life for evermore.


Prayer of Illumination

Resurrected God, though we have hidden ourselves in a locked room and huddled together as ones who build barriers, send your Living Word through our locked doors and into our guarded hearts that we might be witnesses of your grace and couriers of your goodness.  By the power of your Holy Spirit, grant us the trust to believe the Gospel not because we see it, but because we have been seen by it, and transformed through it. Amen.


Response Hymn #247




Preparation for the Word Hymn #243


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April 8, 2018

Sermon by Reverend Kathryn Pyke

"I Believe. Help My Unbelief, Lord"

Scripture  

John 20:19-30

Now the green blade riseth, from the buried grain,

Wheat that in dark earth many days has lain;

Love lives again, that with the dead has been:

Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.

Be not afraid; sing out for joy!

Christ is risen, alleluia!

Be not afraid; sing out for joy!  

Christ is risen, alleluia!

Centering Prayer

Meet us, Lord, on the road to Emmaus.  Guide us on the path toward our destination, and renew our strength as we continue to walk and commune with you. Open our eyes, so we see the signs of your presence around us; open our hearts, so we may receive your peace and love; and empower us to pass on to others the grace you have shared with us so freely.  Amen.


Call to Worship

We need your presence on the long road, Lord. The road between fear and hope, the road between the place where all is lost and the place of resurrection.  Like the disciples walking the road to Emmaus, we are in need of your company! Jesus, stand among us, in your risen power,

let this time of worship be a hallowed hour.


Prayer of Lament

We had hoped.  

Lord, we voice our despair.

We had hoped you were our victory.

We had hoped you were our earthly leader.

We had hoped you would remove the pain and the sorrow once and for all.

But then we saw suffering.

Then we saw injustice.

We saw blood on the ground.

We saw death.

And doubt swelled in our throats and choked off our praise.

We had hoped.

Risen Lord, revitalize our hope.

Open our eyes to see your victory.

Amen.


Response Hymn #247




Preparation for the Word Hymn #243


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April 15, 2018

Sermon by Reverend Kathryn Pyke

"We Had Hoped..."

Scripture  

Luke 24:13-49

Now the green blade riseth, from the buried grain,

Wheat that in dark earth many days has lain;

Love lives again, that with the dead has been:

Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.

Be not afraid; sing out for joy!

Christ is risen, alleluia!

Be not afraid; sing out for joy!  

Christ is risen, alleluia!

Centering Prayer

Holy God, you are deserving of the very best we have to offer - the devotion of our hearts, the place of honor in our priorities and the first fruits of our labors. We enter this place and space of

worship, asking you to be in our midst, to speak your message of love and mercy, conviction and challenge to us. We welcome your Spirit, knowing that in so doing, we abandon control and open ourselves in faith and trust to your purposes and plan, rather than our own. Come, Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer, we pray, and may our worship be acceptable in your sight. Amen.


Call to Worship

LEADER: For just this hour --

PEOPLE: Follow me;

LEADER: Listen to my word --

PEOPLE: Follow me;

LEADER: Think about your life as my disciple every day --

PEOPLE: Follow me;

LEADER: Pray --

PEOPLE: Follow me;

LEADER: Sing --

PEOPLE: Follow me;

LEADER: Come let us worship God!


Prayer of Invocation

God of great love, in this season of resurrection, we remember all those who have lived and died in unswerving faith. Like Jesus, no matter what life asked of them, they answered in faith. Help us to follow in their footsteps ever aware of the One whom they have followed. Together then let us be sanctuaries of love and hope to each person we meet, living out our faith true to our calling as a resurrection people.  Amen.


Response Hymn #247




Preparation for the Word Hymn #243


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April 22, 2018

Sermon by Reverend Richard Pyke

"The Ultimate Question"

Scripture  

John 21:1-19

Now the green blade riseth, from the buried grain,

Wheat that in dark earth many days has lain;

Love lives again, that with the dead has been:

Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.

Be not afraid; sing out for joy!

Christ is risen, alleluia!

Be not afraid; sing out for joy!  

Christ is risen, alleluia!

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

Ascribe to the Lord the glory of his name; worship the Lord in holy splendor.  The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord, over mighty waters.  The voice of the Lord is powerful;  the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.

It’s your voice we long for this morning, Lord, thundering into our lives, mighty and powerful. The voice of wisdom instructing us, the voice of justice inspiring us, the voice of hope encouraging us,  the voice of love calling us home.  Give us ears to hear this morning,  we pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

(From Psalm 29)


Prayer of Invocation

Lord God, our Creator, you keep speaking your Word to us through your Son Jesus Christ.

Help us listen to that word and welcome it with all that is in us. Let that word change our mentality and our ways, that it may direct our life to make it a lived message of Good News for all to see, to be inspired by, and to follow.  Let it be the living power that leads all to give you praise and glory, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Response Hymn #247




Preparation for the Word Hymn #243


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April 29, 2018

Sermon by Reverend Kathryn Pyke

"God is Still Speaking"

Scripture  

Acts 8:26-40

Now the green blade riseth, from the buried grain,

Wheat that in dark earth many days has lain;

Love lives again, that with the dead has been:

Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.

Be not afraid; sing out for joy!

Christ is risen, alleluia!

Be not afraid; sing out for joy!  

Christ is risen, alleluia!

Centering Prayer

O Christ, the Risen One, ascended into heaven, yet closer than our own breath, draw us into your presence.  Be near to us — near to our praises, our prayers, our words, our songs; near to our wonderings, our tentative answers, our hidden doubts, our deepest affirmations.  Be near to us this day, Risen Lord.  Amen.


Call to Worship

Our God reigns! Robed with majesty and armed with strength, God holds our world and our lives securely. This is the God to whom we have given our lives— the God who deserves our worship and our praise!


Morning Prayer

Where did you go Jesus? Where did you go?

We stand, necks craning back, looking heavenwards, but we cannot see you.

Where did you go?  Did you leave us?

Hush my child,  Listen, listen,

Listen for the breeze

Listen for the breath

Listen for the Holy Wind's whispered promise: you are not alone

You are not alone

You are never alone

My love is yours

My strength is yours

My wisdom... all yours for the taking

Listen, listen, listen....

It comes, a gentle breeze, caressing your spirit

It comes, building, energizing, filling the spaces until you are full

O Holy Spirit! Come!


(silence)


Breath of God

Spirit of God

Our wise counselor

Our constant companion

Helps us to remember that you are always with us

In persecutions, and turmoil, and dread

In excitements, and joy and love

In the mundane and everyday

You are. Here.

O God, our God

We praise you

We call on you

We rely on you

As we stand and stare

As we wait again,

for the reminder that Pentecost only needed to happen once as you promised,

for now the Spirit is always with us

Creator, Brother, Breath

Amen and amen.


Response Hymn #247




Preparation for the Word Hymn #243


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May 6, 2018

Celebration of Holy Communion

Sermon by Reverend Kathryn Pyke

"A New Way of Knowing"

Now the green blade riseth, from the buried grain,

Wheat that in dark earth many days has lain;

Love lives again, that with the dead has been:

Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.

Be not afraid; sing out for joy!

Christ is risen, alleluia!

Be not afraid; sing out for joy!  

Christ is risen, alleluia!

Centering Prayer

Gathering God, you have promised that if we draw near to you, you will draw near to us. In this time, prepare our hearts and minds that we might receive your wisdom and understanding. Relieve our bodies and souls from all the desires and cravings shaped by this world, that we might be filled with your peace. Pour out your Spirit upon us as we worship you this day.


Call to Worship

We’ve come to worship God, who breathed God’s very breath into us, who knows us even better than we know ourselves, whose presence never leaves us, and whose love for us never ceases.  This is our God. Let’s worship together!


Prayer of Thanksgiving

For the mothering of mothers

And the mothering of fathers

For the mothering of others:

Mother God, we give you thanks.

For those who act as midwife to our hopes,

For those who nurse us through our pain,

For those who nurture, strengthen and guide us:

Mother God, we give you thanks.

For those who gently push us from the nest,

For those who welcome us home,

For those who become our family,

For the motherhood of the Church:

Mother God, we give you thanks.


Response Hymn #247




Preparation for the Word Hymn #243


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May 13, 2018

Sermon by Reverend Dr. Robin Crawford

"Happy Mother's Day"

Scripture  

Psalm 1: 1-6

Now the green blade riseth, from the buried grain,

Wheat that in dark earth many days has lain;

Love lives again, that with the dead has been:

Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.

Be not afraid; sing out for joy!

Christ is risen, alleluia!

Be not afraid; sing out for joy!  

Christ is risen, alleluia!

Archive - Eastertide 2018