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GATHERING BEFORE GOD
September 7, 2014
Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost  

PRELUDE

GREETING AND PREPARATION

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

CALL TO WORSHIP

Leader: Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, you are very great!
People: You set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved.

Leader: You covered it with the ocean as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains
People: The mountains rose, the valleys sank down to the place that you appointed for them.

Leader: O Lord, how numerous are your works! In wisdom have you made them all.
People: I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.

 - From Psalm 104

PRAYER OF INVOCATION


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IN CHRIST ALONE

In Christ alone my hope is found.
He is my Light, my Strength, my Song.
This Cornerstone, this Solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

There in the ground His body lay,
light of the world by darkness slain.
Then bursting forth, in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
sin's curse has lost its grip on me.
For I am His, and He is mine,
Bought in the precious blood of Christ.

 No guilt in life, no fear in death;
this is the power of Christ in me.
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man
can ever pluck me from His hand.
‘Til He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ, I'll stand. 


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NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD 

What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Oh, precious is the flow that makes me white as snow,
no other fount I know - nothing but the blood of Jesus.

For my cleansing this I see - nothing but the blood of Jesus.
For my pardon, this my plea! Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Oh, precious is the flow that makes me white as snow,
no other fount I know - nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Nothing can for sin atone, nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Naught of good that I have done, nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Oh, precious is the flow that makes me white as snow,
no other fount I know - nothing but the blood of Jesus.

This is all my hope and peace - nothing but the blood of Jesus.
This is all my righteousness - nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Oh, precious is the flow that makes me white as snow,
no other fount I know - nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Now by this I'll overcome! Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Now by this I'll reach my home! Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Oh, precious is the flow that makes me white as snow,
no other fount I know - nothing but the blood of Jesus.


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CALL TO CONFESSION

Leader: The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. 

 Psalm 51:17, NRSV

PRAYER OF CONFESSION

People: Father eternal, giver of light and grace, we have sinned against you and against our neighbor, in what we have thought, in what we have said, and in what we have done, through ignorance, through weakness, through our own deliberate fault.  

We have wounded your love, and marred your image in us. We are sorry and ashamed, and repent of all our sins. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, who died for us, forgive us all that is past; and lead us out from darkness to walk as children of light. Amen.

SILENT CONFESSION

WORDS OF PARDON

Leader: God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 

 — Romans 5:8, NIV

 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

1 Corinthians 15:1-8, NRSV

1Now I would remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand, 2through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you - unless you have come to believe in vain. 3For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, 4and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. 7Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.

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: The Need for Creed
Speaker: Jared Ayers


REFLECTIONS

We need narrative like we need space-time; it’s a built-in thing.  

 — David Foster Wallace, from “Fictional Futures and the   Conspicuously Young,” in The Review of Contemporary Fiction 

In a world that celebrates individuality, (Christians) are actually doing something together (when they say the Creed). In an age that avoids commitment, they pledge themselves to a set of convictions and thereby to each other. In a culture that rewards novelty and creativity, they use written by others long ago. In a society where accepted wisdom changes by the minute, they claim that some truths are so critical that they must be repeated over and over again. In a throwaway, consumerist world, they accept, preserve, and continue tradition. Reciting the creed at worship is thus a countercultural act. 

 — Luke Timothy Johnson, from
The Creed: What Christians Believe and Why It Matters


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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

PRAYER OF 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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JUST AS I AM

Just as I am without one plea
But that Thy blood was shed for me
And that Thou bidd'st me come to Thee 
Oh Lamb of God, I come. I come.

Just as I am, and waiting not
to rid my soul of one dark blot,
to Thee, whose blood can cleanse each spot,
Oh Lamb of God, I come. I come.

Just as I am, though tossed about
with many a conflict many a doubt,
fightings and fears within, without,
Oh Lamb of God, I come. I come.

Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
sight, riches, healing of the mind,
yeah, all I need, in Thee to find,
Oh Lamb of God, I come. I come.

Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
wilt welcome pardon, cleanse relieve;
because Thy promise I believe,
Oh Lamb of God, I come. I come.

Just as I am, Thy love unknown
has broken ev'ry barrier down;
now, to be Thine, yea, thine alone,
Oh Lamb of God, I come. I come.


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COMMUNION PRAYER
    
People: Gracious God, we thank you for the love that brings us food from heaven, gives us the life of your dear Son, and assures us that we belong to the company of all his faithful people in heaven and on earth. Grant that, strengthened by this fellowship and by the power of his Holy Spirit, we may continue his work in the world, until we come to the glory of your eternal kingdom; through the same Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord. 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,
Steadfast 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,
Yes 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: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

 — Romans 15:13, NRSV

People: Amen.

DISMISSAL

Minister: Let us go forth in the name of Christ. 
People: Thanks be to God!


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ANNOUNCEMENTS 

HOME GROUPS ARE RESUMING NEXT WEEK!

The primary way which the Liberti community connects together is in neighborhood-based groups that meet throughout the week. In home groups, we seek to know and be known by others, develop honest relationships, and work together to follow Jesus. The new semester of home groups begins this week, so now is a great time to sign up for one! To find a group near you and to sign up, please click here

IN-COVENANT CLASS 
At Liberti Church, we call membership being “in covenant,” and the first step of coming in-covenant at Liberti is to attend an in-covenant class. Our next in-covenant class will take place after church on Sunday, September 21. If you have been coming to Liberti for a little while and would like to learn more about our church and our beliefs, we especially invite you to attend. For more information and to sign up, please email administrator@liberti.org

LIBERTI BLOCK PARTY
Mark your calendars for the afternoon of Sunday, September 28! We’re throwing a block party in Center City to celebrate the purchase and renovation of the First Baptist Building. You won’t want to miss it! Click here to learn more.

COLLEGE LUNCH
Undergraduates - join us after church on Sunday, September 21 for lunch. This is a great chance to meet other students at Liberti and get connected to our church. If you plan to come, please rsvp to Jen Wise at jen@liberti.org.

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