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GATHERING BEFORE GOD
October 5, 2014
Seventeenth Sunday After Pentecost  

PRELUDE

GREETING AND PREPARATION

Leader: The Lord be with you. 
People: And also with you!

CALL TO WORSHIP

Leader: How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty!
People: My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.

Leader: Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in tents of the wicked.
People: For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold. O Lord Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you. 

 — From Psalm 84

PRAYER OF INVOCATION


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PRAISE TO THE LORD (PRAISE HIM)

  Praise to the Lord, The Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise Him, For He is thy health and salvation!
All ye who hear, Now to His temple draw near;
Praise Him in glad adoration.

CHORUS
Praise Him, Praise Him, Praise Him 
Praise Him, Praise Him, Praise Him

Praise to the Lord, Who over all things so wondrously reigneth,
Shelters thee under His wings, Yea, so gently sustaineth!
Hast thou not seen how all your longings have been
Granted in what He ordaineth? 

CHORUS

Praise to the Lord, Who doth prosper thy work and defend thee;
Surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend thee.
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,
If with His love He befriend thee.  

CHORUS   

Praise to the Lord, O let all that is in me adore Him!
All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before Him.
Let the Amen sound from His people again,
Gladly for aye we adore Him. 

CHORUS X 2


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PSALM 126

Our mouths, they were filled, filled with laughter.
Our tongues, they were loosed, loosed with joy.
Restore us, O Lord! Restore us, O Lord!

CHORUS
Although we are weeping, Lord, help us keep sowing
The seeds of Your Kingdom, For the day You will reap them!
Your sheaves we will carry; Lord, please do not tarry!
All those who sow weeping, Will go out with songs of joy!


The nations will say “He has done great things!”
The nations will sing songs of joy.
Restore us, O Lord! Restore us, O Lord!

CHORUS x2


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CALL TO CONFESSION

Leader: The LORD is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.  

 — Psalm 34:18

PRAYER OF CONFESSION

People: O promised Christ: We are a world at war. Our peace depends on your coming. We are a sinful people. Our pardon depends on your coming. We are full of good intentions but weak at keeping promises; our only hope of doing God’s will is that you should come and help us do it. Lord Christ, Word made flesh, our world waits for your peace, for your pardon, and for your grace. Even so: come, Lord Jesus. Amen.

SILENT CONFESSION

WORDS OF PARDON

Leader: The Lord God said: A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Hear the good news: Through Christ, our minds and hearts are cleansed, healed, and renewed!  

 — Based on Ezekiel 36:26

 SONG OF RESPONSE - TRISAGION  

Holy God. Holy and mighty.
Holy immortal One, have mercy, have mercy on us. 
(Repeat)

Holy God. Holy and mighty.
Holy immortal One, have mercy, have mercy
Have mercy, have mercy on us.

 PASSING THE PEACE


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THE WORD OF GOD

SCRIPTURE READING  

Isaiah 9:2-7, NRSV  

2The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness — on them light has shined. 3You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder. 4For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. 5For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire. 6For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

Minister: This is the word of the Lord.
People: Thanks be to God! 

PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION 

SERMON
Sermon series: The Story of Everything (Apostles' Creed)
Sermon title: What if God Were One of Us?
Speaker: Jared Ayers


REFLECTIONS

This is for us the hardest point, not so much to believe that He is the son of the Virgin and God himself, as to believe that this Son of God is ours.

 — Martin Luther, from a Christmas sermon

The very first thing that I liked about Christianity, long before it ever occurred to me to go to church, or to say the Creed, or call myself a Christian, was the Incarnation: the idea that God lowered himself and became a man, so that we could relate to him better. In Christianity, God got to be both a distant and transcendent Father-God, and a present and immanent Son-God who walked among us. Christians spend their time talking to God who knew from experience what it was like to get hungry, to go swimming, to miss a best friend. 

 — Lauren Winner, in Girl Meets God


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THE APOSTLES' CREED

Minister: Let us say what we believe.
People: We believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. We believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty. From there he will come to judge the living and the dead. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.


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 THE LORD’S TABLE

THE GREAT THANKSGIVING  

The Lord be with you. 
And also with you.

Lift up your hearts now!  
We lift them to the Lord. 

Let us give thanks to the Lord our saving God.
It is right and good, always and everywhere.
To give thanks, to the Lord. 

Minister: Holy and right it is, and our joyful duty to give thanks to you at all times and in all places, O Lord our Creator, almighty and everlasting God! You created heaven with all its hosts and the earth with all its plenty. You have given us life and being, and preserve us by your providence. But you have shown us the fullness of your love in sending into the world your Son, Jesus Christ, the eternal Word, made flesh for us and for our salvation. For the precious gift of this mighty Savior who has reconciled us to you we praise and bless you, O God. With your whole Church on earth and with all the company of heaven we worship and adore your glorious name, saying: 

Holy, holy, holy, God of power and might.
The whole earth is full of Your glory,
hosanna in the highest! 
Holy, holy, holy, God of power and might.
The whole earth is full of Your glory,
hosanna in the highest! 

Minister: Most righteous God, we remember in this Supper the perfect sacrifice offered once on the cross by our Lord Jesus Christ for the sin of the whole world. In the joy of his resurrection and in expectation of his coming again, we offer ourselves to you as holy and living sacrifices. Together we proclaim the mystery of the faith.


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Your death, O Christ, we proclaim.
        Your rising celebrate!
Your coming Lord we await, to make all things new.
(REPEAT)

Minister: Send your Holy Spirit upon us, we pray, that the bread which we break and the cup which we bless may be to us the communion of the body and blood of Christ. Grant that, being joined together in him, we may attain to the unity of the faith and grow up in all things into Christ our Lord. And as this grain has been gathered from many fields into one loaf, and these grapes from many hills into one cup, grant, O Lord, that your whole Church may soon be gathered from the ends of the earth into your kingdom. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! 

 Praise to the Father,
praise to the Son, 
praise to the Spirit, 
Our God the Three in One.  

WORDS OF INSTITUTION

Minister: Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.         
People: Therefore, let us keep the feast. 

HOLY COMMUNION        

Minister: The gifts of God for the people of God.     

Gluten-free communion wafers are available at the welcome table in the front lobby of the church. Please pick one up prior to coming forward to take communion. 

Holy Communion, also called the Lord’s Supper or the Eucharist, is the family meal of Christians. We invite all committed followers of Jesus Christ to partake of this sacrament: those who are baptized members of a congregation that proclaims the Gospel, who are at peace with God and their neighbor, and who seek strength to live more faithfully for Christ.


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PRAYERS FOR REFLECTION

If you are not a Christian, or if you are not prepared to share in this meal, we encourage you to spend this time in prayer. We hope that this time is helpful to you as you consider your relationship with Jesus Christ and with his people, the church. If you are unable to receive Communion, we invite you to meditate on one of the following prayers: 

PRAYER FOR THOSE SEARCHING FOR TRUTH: Lord Jesus, you claim to be the way, the truth, and the life. Grant that I might be undaunted by the cost of following you as I consider the reasons for doing so. If what you claim is true, please guide me, teach me, and open to me the reality of who you are. Give me an understanding of you that is coherent, convincing, and that leads to the life that you promise. Amen.

PRAYER OF BELIEF: Lord Jesus, I admit that I am weaker and more sinful than I ever before believed, but through you I am more loved and accepted than I ever dared hope. I thank you for paying my debt, bearing my punishment on the cross, and offering forgiveness and new life. Knowing that you have been raised from the dead, I turn from my sins and receive you as Savior and Lord. Amen.

PRAYER OF COMMITMENT: Lord Jesus, you have called us to follow you in baptism and in a life of committed discipleship in your church. Grant that I may take the necessary steps to be one with your people, and live in the fullness of your Spirit. Amen.


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 JESUS, LOVER OF MY SOUL

Jesus, lover of my soul, let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll, while the tempest still is high.
Hide me, oh my Savior, hide, ’til life’s storm is past;
Safe into the haven guide; receive my soul at last.

Other refuge have I none, I helpless, hang on Thee;
Leave, oh leave me not alone, support and comfort me.
All my trust on Thee is stayed, all help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head in the shadow of Thy wing.

Thou, O Christ, are all I want, here more than all I find;
Raise the fallen, cheer the faint, heal the sick and lead the blind.
Just and holy is Thy Name - I am all unrighteousness!
False and full of sin I am; Thou art full of truth and grace.

Plenteous grace with Thee is found, grace to cover all my sin.
Let the healing streams abound; make and keep me pure within.
Thou of life the fountain art, let me take of Thee
Spring Thou up within my heart, for all eternity.


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COMMUNION PRAYER
    
People: Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you that in this wonderful sacrament you have given us the memorial of your passion: grant us so to reverence the sacred mysteries of your body and blood that we may know within ourselves and show forth in our lives the fruit of your redemption 
for you are alive and reign, now and forever. Amen.

THE LORD’S PRAYER

Minister: Let us pray as our Lord Jesus has taught us:     
People: Our Father in heaven,
              hallowed be your name,
              your kingdom come,
              your will be done,
              on earth as it is in heaven.         
              Give us today our daily bread.
              Forgive us our sins
              as we forgive those who sin
              against us.
              Save us from the time of trial,
              and deliver us from evil.
              For the kingdom, the power,
              and the glory are yours, now
              and forever. Amen.


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SENDING INTO GOD’S WORLD

OFFERING   

ALL MUST BE WELL

  Through the love of God our Savior, all will be well;
Free and changeless is His favor; all is well.
Precious is the blood that healed us;
Perfect is the grace that sealed us;
Strong the hand stretched out to shield us;

All must be well.
Though we pass through tribulation, all will be well;
Ours is such a full salvation; all is well.
Happy still in God confiding,
Fruitful, if in Christ abiding,
Holy through the Spirit’s guiding,

All must be well.
We expect a bright tomorrow; all will be well;
Faith can sing through days of sorrow, all is well.
On our Father’s love relying,
Jesus every need supplying,
Or in living, or in dying,
All must be well.

On our Father’s love relying,
Jesus every need supplying,
Yes in living, or in dying,
All must be well.


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BENEDICTION

Minister: I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to         grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

 — Ephesians 3:16-19

People: Amen.

DISMISSAL

Minister: Go in peace to love and serve the Lord! 
People: Thanks be to God!


ANNOUNCEMENTS

FOR THE CITY INITIATIVE 
We’re excited to have launched For The City this fall - our church’s initiative to pray, serve, and give to raise funds to restore the First Baptist building in Center City that our church recently purchased. To learn more, and sign up to pray, serve, and give, simply visit libertichurch.org/forthecity

MUSICIANS NEEDED
If you are an excellent musician, especially a drummer or bassist, we would love for you to join us in serving here on Sunday mornings. For more information, please email Brian Savage at brian@liberti.org

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