A More Light Congregation

Bethany Presbyterian Church

This Week in Worship

March 1, 2020

Ash Sunday

Celebration of Holy Communion

Sermon by Reverend Debra McGuire

"And So It Begins"

Centering Prayer

God with whom we walk this Lenten path, bless us this day as we begin the long journey to the cross.  Come to this place and remember your covenant with us.  Remember the promise you made with us mere mortals to remain with us despite our dust.  Shower your Spirit upon us for we need direction on this long road ahead.  Care for us, your children, as we weather this winding road, following the faithful path of your Son, Jesus Christ.   Amen.


Call to Worship

ONE: The season of Lent calls us to journey along the edge, to anticipate that final trip to Jerusalem.

ALL: Lent calls us to the cutting edge, when the wheat falls to the ground and new life comes forth.

ONE: Lent not only calls us to give up something, but also invites us to participate in the mystery of God-with-us.

ALL: By your grace, call us from grief into gladness, despair into hope, estrangement into right relations with each other and with the earth. Let us worship God.


Prayer of Confession

Facing temptation, Jesus refused to turn stones into bread. Facing temptation, we too often turn bread into stones. Facing temptation, Jesus refused to use power for its own sake. Facing temptation, we too often take power that belongs to someone else. Facing temptation, Jesus refused to test the promises of God. Facing temptation, we too often want God to do what we should do ourselves.


Response: Hymn #577




Words of Assurance

As Lent begins, know that God understands how we struggle to stay open and compassionate. The invitation is not to focus on our inadequacies, but on God’s gift of grace and love which transforms our hearts and minds. That gift is given to us again, here and now. Be encouraged and assured of God’s love and forgiveness. Amen.


Response: Hymn #161


Imposition of Ashes and Communion

(You will be invited to come forward to the first station to be marked with ashes, and then move to the second station for the cup and bread. If you do not wish to participate in one or the other, feel free to either skip a station, or remain seated and enjoy the communion of our hearts.)


Closing Benediction

Created from dust, held together by God’s extravagant love, we turn away from sin, and leave today embracing God’s love. Fill our hearts with reminders of our connection to Christ. Let us live those connections throughout this Lenten season.   Amen.

1 Stephen Fearing

2 from the Seekers Church community

3 adapted from Tim Graves

Live in charity and steadfast love.

Live in charity; God will dwell with you.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

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Scripture  

Matthew 4:1-11

Hymns

#250 In the Bulb There is a Flower

#428 Before I Take the Body of My Lord

#168 Within Your Shelter, Loving God

March 8, 2020

Celebrating the Gifts of Women

Sermon by Reverend Debra McGuire

"We Are Called to Something New"

In 2020, on Celebrate the Gifts of Women Sunday, we honor women of faith, those who may have felt their faith falter at times and those who held fast to faith. We give thanks for their persistence—their witness, their words, their actions. We know we stand on their shoulders.


Centering Prayer

Generous God, you gave us our voices, no two the same.  As you did with Abraham and Sarah, you take and touch our lives and they can become extraordinary.  And in your Church you have gathered us, in your community of common folk and complainers, prophets and puzzled people, you have called us and made a place for us.  So let what we say and do here, what we ponder and decide here, be real for us and honest to you, as you prepare us for the life of the world in which you are praised.  Amen.


Call to Worship

ONE: We are met in the presence of God

ALL: And we do not meet alone.

ONE: With the angels in the highest heaven, with Abraham and Sarah and with the saints of every age,

ALL: We gather to worship the Lord.

ONE: We journey in the presence of God.

ALL: And we do not journey alone.


Prayer of Confession

The words we speak all too often do not show you in our lives, God of our pilgrimage.  We spend so much time boasting to others, they imagine we have no need for you.  We grumble impatiently when you don't respond immediately to our requests, but are slow to sing your praises.  We mutter under our breath about the behavior of those around us, when we could be asking them if there is some way we could serve them.

It is on our journey to the cross and the tomb that you fill us with the riches of your mercy.  You do so, not because of any thing we have done, but because of the compassion which flows from your heart.  As we open our lives to receive your forgiveness, may we turn to the Light which brings us life, following Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, every step of the way.  Amen.


Response: Hymn #577




Words of Assurance

How much does God love us?  Enough to send the divine heart, hope, and spirit to us, not to condemn us, but to save us.  Not by our speaking or doing, but by God's good and precious grace are we saved.  Thanks be to God!  Amen..


Response: Hymn #161


Closing Benediction

We go now with faith, trusting God’s Spirit to guide us; we go now with hope, waiting for the fullness of Christ’s reign.  We go now with love, resting in God’s care and the care of God’s people.  Amen.


Live in charity and steadfast love.

Live in charity; God will dwell with you.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Hymns

#412 God Reveal Your Presence

#410 “God is Clling Through the Whisper

#324 For All The Faithful Women

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March 15, 2020

Sermon by Reverend Debra McGuire

"What Will We Leave Behind?"

Centering Prayer

Come, all who are thirsty says Jesus, our Lord, come, all who are weak, taste the living water that I shall give. Dip your hands in the stream, refresh body and soul, drink from it, depend on it, for this water will never run dry. Come, all who are thirsty says Jesus, our Lord.


Call to Worship

ONE: O come let us worship and lift our hearts ... not because the world is good and last week was awesome, but because the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the God of the whole earth.

ALL: O come let us worship and raise our hands ... Not because our lives are all sweetness and light, but because even those who walk in darkness can see a great light, the Bright and Morning Star.

ONE:  O come let us worship and bow down...

ALL: Not because God gives us what we want, but because God gives us what we need –

the holy child Jesus, God’s Unspeakable Gift.


Prayer of Confession

ONE: God of Living Water, you call us to come and drink.

ALL: So why do we sit here and complain that there is not enough water?

ONE: You call us to strike the rocks of our world and let your Living Water flow.

ALL: But we do not trust enough that the spring is there. We want to find the water on our own, using our own wisdom.

ONE: You call us to share the Water of Life with the world around us.

ALL: But we believe that the water is limited, not abundant and so we are tempted to save it for ourselves.

ONE: For all the times we turn away from your Water, for all the times we sully the Water by misusing it, for all the times we let others go thirsty instead of offering a drink,

ALL: Forgive us we pray.


Response: Hymn #577




Words of Assurance

The Water of Life flows with abundance to fill us with hope, to cleanse us of our guilt, to float us to a new life. Washed in the Living Water, we are forgiven and set free to live abundant life.  Thanks and praise to God. Amen.


Response: Hymn #205


Closing Benediction

Let us rejoice: God so loves the world! May God our Maker send us back into the world with creative energies refreshed. May Christ the Light illuminate our darkest moments. And may the Holy Spirit of steadfast love guide us until we worship together again, this day and forevermore. Amen!

1 Katherine Hawker

2 Leonard Sweet

3 Rev. Gord

4 Rev. Dr. Ginny Brown Daniel

Live in charity and steadfast love.

Live in charity; God will dwell with you.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Hymns

#339 Lift Every Voice and Sing

#479 Ho, All Who Thirst

#547 Go, My Children, with My Blessing


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March 22, 2020

Sermon by Reverend Debra McGuire

"God Does Not See as the World Sees"

Prelude                                                                                   Introit











Opening Prayer

Lord, help me to relax. Take from me the tension that makes peace impossible. Take from me the fears that do not allow me to venture. Take from me the worries that blind my sight. Take from me the distress that hides your joy. Help me to know that I am with you, that I am in your care, that I am in your love, that you and I are one.  Amen.


Silence


Call to Worship

ONE: When we pass through the waters,

ALL: God is there with us.

ONE:  When we suffer and feel hopeless,

ALL: God is there with us.

ONE: When we are joyful and celebratory,

ALL: God is there with us.

ONE:  Whether we feel triumphant or defeated,

ALL: God is there with us, always.

ONE: Come, let us worship together with Emmanuel, God with us.


Hymn












Affirmation of Faith

We are not alone, we live in God's world.  We believe in God: who has created and is creating, who has come in Jesus, the Word made flesh, to reconcile and make new, who works in us and others by the Spirit.


We trust in God.


We are called to be the Church: to celebrate God's presence, to live with respect in Creation, to love and serve others, to seek justice and resist evil, to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen, our judge and our hope.


In life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us.  We are not alone.  


Thanks be to God.  Amen.


Old Testament Reading: 1 Samuel 16:1-13

New Testament Reading: John 9:1-41


Sermon: "God Does Not See as the World Sees"


Anthem                                                                                   Offertory












Call to the Offering Reminder and Dedication

You call us to be your light in the darkness, your voice in the wilderness, your hope for the hopeless. You give us strength in our weakness, peace and gentleness, words and boldness, to proclaim more of you and of us, less.


Prayers of the People

ONE: First of all, let us pray for the world-wide church: By the inflowing of the Holy Spirit may we become in practice more truly what we already are in faith and hope: the body of Christ and new family God.

ALL: Let there be truth, healing, compassion and joy, God of our salvation.

ONE: Now let us pray for our country; that the values of the kingdom of God may become less unusual in the way we care for the weak and the neglected, the foolish and the disgraced.

ALL: Let there be truth, healing, compassion and joy, God of our salvation.

ONE: Let us pray for the strong and the wealthy, the powerful and the ruthless; the famous and the idolized; that they may realise how easy it is to gain the whole world yet lose the soul.

ALL: Let there be truth, healing, compassion and joy, God of our salvation.

ONE: And let us pray for all suffering, broken, and forlorn people around us in church and community; that the healing of Christ may reach into the soul’s depths where no human hand can touch or human word console.

ALL: Let there be truth, healing, compassion and joy, God of our salvation.

ONE: And now unto the loving God who is always doing far better than we can think or pray or do,

ALL: be glory in the church through Christ Jesus, now and beyond the end of time. Amen!


Hymn












Benediction and Charge: Blessing of Mud (unison) inspired by John 9:1-41

Lest we think the blessing is not in the dirt.

Lest we think the blessing is not in the earth beneath our feet.

Lest we think the blessing is not in the dust like the dust that God scooped up at the beginning and formed with God’s two hands and breathed into with God’s own breath.

Lest we think the blessing is not in the spit.

Lest we think the blessing is not in the mud.

Lest we think the blessing is not in the mire, the grime, the muck.

Lest we think that God cannot reach deep into the things of earth, cannot bring forth the blessing that shimmers within the sludge, cannot anoint us with a tender and grimy grace.

Lest we think that God will not use the ground to create us once again,

to cleanse us of our unseeing,

to open our eyes upon this ordinary and stunning world.


Postlude









1 David Adam in “The Open Gate”

2 John Birch

3 Bruce Prewer

4 Jan L. Richardson

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March 29, 2020

Sermon by Reverend Debra McGuire

"Where Do You Need Life?"

Chimes











Introit











Opening Prayer

Compassionate God, the wind of your Spirit is the very sign of life for all who long for you. One breath from you and we are rescued from the arid valley of dry bones, given muscles and sinews and joy with which to praise you, and filled with the holy hope you grant to all your faithful children. Let our whole lives be filled with the life-breath of the Spirit, that what has lain dormant may burst into bloom, and what looks to us to be death may be revealed as but sleep before the emergence of new life. Amen.


Silence


Call to Worship

ONE: The prophet asks: Can our soul-weary bones live again?

ALL: O God, you know!

ONE: We ask: Can we dance again after mourning, loss and grief?

ALL: O God, you know!

ONE: The gift is sure and unmistakable:

ALL: God’s breath poured out as new life for weary souls!

ONE: Let us celebrate the gift of God’s new life,

ALL: And come to worship God in laughter and dancing!



Hymn 157 “I Danced in the Morning”












Affirmation of Faith

Into the silence of the void the Creator spoke, and the world came into being. The Word of God in the vastness brought light from darkness, matter from nothing, flesh from dust, life from lifelessness.

In the quiet of a small town in Palestine the Word of God came to us. Even though of one being with the Creator, Jesus our Christ, taking on human form, was born, lived and walked among us, speaking the words of life. He was crucified, died, and was buried. He rose from the dead and speaks to us today. He is the one who saves us from ourselves.

In the stillness of our souls the Spirit of God, who is one with the Creator and the Christ, whispers the Word, and calls us back to the Creator, back to the Christ, back to the wholeness of everlasting life in the unity of the Creator, Christ and Spirit.


Sharing the Peace

Response Hymn 205













Old Testament Reading: Ezekiel 37:1-14

New Testament Reading: John 11:1-45


Sermon: "Where Do You Need Life?"


Hymn 793

























Invitation to the Offering and Prayer of Dedication


Prayers of the People

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen.


Announcements


Closing Benediction

ONE: Come out! Jesus commands,

ALL: And calls us from the tombs of our existence into the brightness of a new day.

ONE: Come out! Jesus cries,

ALL: And unbinds us from the chains of our past.

ONE: Come out! Jesus cries,

ALL: And entices us into a world filled with grace and possibility.

ONE: So: Go out!

ALL: Into a world that needs our life, our breath, our spirit!

ONE: Go out!

ALL: Into a world that needs the Spirit of God, carried on our lips and in our loving arms.

ONE: Go out!

ALL: Into the world to live as God’s resurrected people!

ONE: Go out: and go on the breath of God’s holy wind!


Postlude











1  Rev. Elizabeth Dilley

2 Copyright © 2007 Lisa Frenz. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.


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Live in charity and steadfast love.

Live in charity; God will dwell with you.

April 5, 2020

Palm Sunday

Celebration of Holy Communion

Chimes

Centering Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, on the first Palm Sunday you entered the rebellious city where you were to die. Enter our hearts, we pray, and subdue them to yourself. And as your disciples blessed your coming and spread garments and branches in your way, make us ready to lay at your feet all that we have and are, that we too may bless your coming

In the name of the Lord.  Amen.


Welcome

Introit: "The Palms" by John Baptiste Fauré


Call to Worship

ONE: Jesus entered into Jerusalem humbly on a donkey, seeking to transform the people.

ALL: People gathered from everywhere to wave palm branches and praise him as royalty.

ONE: Jesus enters into our lives humbly, seeking to transform our hearts and lives.

ALL: Let us worship Jesus Christ together, and receive him into our presence. Hosanna in the

highest!


Hymn 197 “Hosanna, Loud Hosanna”


Affirmation of Faith

We share one faith, have one calling, are of one soul and one mind; have one God and Father, are filled with one Spirit, are baptized with one baptism, eat of one bread and drink of one cup, confess one Name, are obedient to one Lord, work for one cause, and share one hope.

Together we come to know the height and the breadth and the depth of the love of Christ; are built up to the stature of Christ, to the new humanity; know and bear one another’s burdens, thereby fulfilling the law of Christ that we need one another and up build one another, admonishing and comforting one another; that we suffer with one another for the sake of righteousness.  Together we pray; together we serve God in this world.


Sharing the Peace

ONE: The peace of Christ be with you.

RESPONSE:  And also with you.


Response Hymn 205 (sung twice)



Gospel Reading: Matthew 21:1-11


Sermon


Anthem "Hosana filio David" (Gregorian)


Invitation to the Offering and Prayer of Dedication

The Sacrament of Holy Communion

Invitation and Great Prayer of Thanksgiving

LEADER: The Lord be with you

PEOPLE: And also with you

LEADER: Lift up your hearts

PEOPLE: We lift them up to the Lord

LEADER: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God

PEOPLE: It is right to give our thanks and praise.

LEADER: Let us pray.  Almighty and ever-living God...


Words of Institution

Sharing of the Cup and Bread

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Prayers of the People

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen.


Hymn 196 “All Glory, Laud and Honor”


Announcements


Closing Benediction

And now we lay down the palm branches.  And with them we lay down our belief that there is another way for you to be God.  As the last echo of the final alleluia fades, so does our hope that this journey can end in any other way.  The week stretches ahead glory-less and pain-full. Whether we walk with all faith or none we look towards the cross, knowing it is both the most human and most divine of all journeys travel the road with courage, with love, and with the uneasy peace that is the gift of faith into this holiest of weeks.  Amen.


Postlude "Triumphal March" by Giuseppe Verdi.


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Live in charity and steadfast love.

Live in charity; God will dwell with you.

April 10, 2020

Good Friday Meditation

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Archive - Lent 2020