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GATHERING BEFORE GOD
February 15, 2015
Sixth Sunday of Epiphany

PRELUDE

GREETING AND PREPARATION

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

CALL TO WORSHIP

Leader: Shout for joy, O heavens. Rejoice, O earth. Burst into song, O mountains.
People: For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.

Leader: But we said, “The Lord has forsaken us. The Lord has forgotten us.”
People: Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?

Leader: But the Lord has said, “Though she may forget I will not forget you!”
People: The Lord has said, “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands. You are always before me.”

- Isaiah 49

PRAYER OF INVOCATION


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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,
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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BLESSED ASSURANCE

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine
Heir of salvation, purchase of God
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

CHORUS
This is my story, this is my song,
praising my Savior all the day long
This is my story, this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long

Perfect submission, perfect delight;
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight
Angels descending bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

CHORUS

Perfect submission, all is at rest;
I in my Savior am happy and blessed
Watching and waiting, looking above
Filled with His goodness lost in His love.

CHORUS


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LORD I NEED YOU

Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You're the One that guides my heart

CHORUS
Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are, Lord, I am free
Holiness is Christ in me

CHORUS

Teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand I'll fall on You
Jesus, You're my hope and stay

CHORUS

You're my one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You


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CALL TO CONFESSION

Leader: For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with great compassion I will gather you. In overflowing wrath for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you, says the Lord, your Redeemer.

— Based on Isaiah 54:7-8, NRSV

PRAYER OF CONFESSION

People: God of transfiguration, you meet us in the ordinary as well as the extraordinary moments of life. We seek you in the valleys and on the mountaintops. Yet we admit that too often our eyes are blind to your presence, too often our ears are deaf to your call. When you reach out to us through the cries of the hungry and homeless, too often our hearts shrink from your touch. Forgive us, we pray, and set us free to love and serve. Amen.

SILENT CONFESSION

WORDS OF PARDON

Leader: Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another, for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.

— Based on 2 Corinthians 3:17-18, NRSV

SONG OF RESPONSE - GLORIA PATRI  

Glory be to the Father, Glory be to the Son
Glory be to the Spirit Three in One
As it was in the beginning it will be forever. Amen. 
Amen. Amen.
(REPEAT)

PASSING THE PEACE


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THE WORD OF GOD

SCRIPTURE READING     

Matthew 17:1-13, 22-23, NRSV  

1Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. 2And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. 3Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. 4Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 5While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” 6When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. 7But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.” 8And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.
 
9As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” 10And the disciples asked him, “Why, then, do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” 11He replied, “Elijah is indeed coming and will restore all things; 12but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but they did to him whatever they pleased. So also the Son of Man is about to suffer at their hands.” 13Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them about John the Baptist.
 
22As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into human hands, 23and they will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised.” And they were greatly distressed.  

Minister: This is the gospel of the Lord. 
People: Praise to you O Christ!  

PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION  

Sermon Series: The One: Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew
Sermon Title: The Mountain
Speaker: Jared Ayers


REFLECTIONS

How can you live with the terrifying thought that the hurricane has become human, that fire has become flesh, that Life itself came to life and walked in our midst?  Christianity means either that, or it means nothing.  It is either the most devastating disclosure of the deepest reality in the world, or it’s a sham, a nonsense, a bit of deceitful play-acting.  Most of us, unable to cope with either of those things, condemn ourselves to live in the shallow world in-between.

- NT Wright, from For All God’s Worth

O God,
who before the passion of your only-begotten Son
revealed his glory upon the holy mountain:
Grant to us that we, beholding by faith the light of his countenance,
may be strengthened to bear our cross,
and be changed into his likeness from glory to glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

- Prayer for Transfiguration Sunday from The Book of Common Prayer


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NICENE CREED 

Minister: Let us say what we believe.

People: We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven, was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became truly human. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. 

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father [and the Son], who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. 

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. 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: With joy we praise you, gracious God, for you have created heaven and earth, made us in your image, and kept covenant with us — even when we fell into sin. We give you thanks for Jesus Christ, our Lord, who came among us as the Word made flesh to show us your glory, full of grace and truth. Therefore we join our voices with all the saints and angels and the whole  creation to proclaim the glory of your 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: You are holy, O God of majesty, and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, in whom you have revealed yourself, our light and our salvation. Baptized in Jordan’s waters, Jesus took his place with sinners, and your voice proclaimed him your Beloved. Your Spirit anointed him to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim release to captives, to restore sight to the blind, to free the oppressed.


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Minister: He lived among us in power and grace, touching broken lives with your healing peace. By the baptism of his suffering, death, and resurrection, you gave birth to your church and made with us a new covenant by water and the Spirit. 

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

Minister: Gracious God, pour out your Holy Spirit upon us and upon these your gifts of bread and wine, that the bread we break and the cup we bless may be the communion of the body and blood of Christ. By your Spirit make us one with Christ, that we may be one with all who share this feast, united in ministry in every place. As this bread is Christ’s body for us, send us out to be the body of Christ in the world.

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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THIS IS MY FATHER’S WORLD

This is my Father’s world,
And to my listening ears
All nature sings and round me rings
The music of the spheres.

This is my Father’s world,
I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas,
His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father’s world
The birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white,
Declare their Maker’s praise.

This is my Father’s world
He shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass, I hear Him pass,
He speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father’s world,
O let me ne’er forget:
That though the wrong seems oft’ so strong,
God is the ruler yet.

This is my Father’s world,
The battle is not done
Jesus who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and heaven be one.


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COMMUNION PRAYER
    
People: Almighty God, we thank you that in your great love you have fed us with the spiritual food and drink of the body and blood of Christ, and have given us a foretaste of the heavenly banquet. Grant that this sacrament may be to us a comfort in affliction, and a pledge of our inheritance in that kingdom where there is no death, neither sorrow nor crying, but the fullness of joy with all your saints; through Jesus Christ our Savior. 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  

THE CHURCH’S ONE FOUNDATION

The church’s one foundation
Is Jesus Christ her Lord,
She is His new creation
By water and the Word.
From heaven He came and sought her
To be His holy bride;
With His own blood He bought her,
And for her life He died.

Elect from every nation,
Yet one over all the earth;
Her charter of salvation,
One Lord, one faith, one birth;
One holy Name she blesses,
Partakes one holy food,
And to one hope she presses,
With every grace endued.

Mid toil and tribulation,
And tumult of her war,
She waits the consummation
Of peace forevermore;
’Til, with the vision glorious,
Her longing eyes are blessed,
And the great church victorious
Shall be the church at rest.

Yet she on earth hath union
With God the Three in One,
And mystic sweet communion
With those whose rest is won.
O happy ones and holy!
Lord, give us grace that we
Like them, the meek and lowly,
On high may dwell with Thee.


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BENEDICTION

Minister: May the light of the glorious gospel of Christ shine in our hearts, transform our lives, and brighten the world. And the blessing of God almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, rest upon you always.
People: Amen.

DISMISSAL

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


FOR THE CITY MEETING
Join us tonight at 6:00 PM here at the First Baptist Building - we’ll be updating progress on the For the City initiative, and providing project information, next steps, project timelines, and more! Coffee and refreshments, and free parking will be provided.  
 
LENT AT LIBERTI CHURCH
Join us on February 18, as we mark the beginning of Lent with Ash Wednesday services. We will be doing an abbreviated daytime service at 12:15 PM, and an evening service at 7:00 PM here at the First Baptist Church Building. Both services are family-friendly, and free parking will be available. For our more info and our Lent Prayerbook, please visit libertichurch.org/lent-and-easter.
 
SPRING CLEANING DAY
Join us at 9:00 AM on Saturday, 2/21 at the First Baptist Building (17th & Sansom), as we begin cleaning out spaces and preparing for renovation! We’ll also be doing some other light maintenance work. Lunch and free parking will be provided. Click here to sign up.

EASTER OUTREACH 2015
This year, we’re partnering with over 20 other churches throughout the region to distribute 3,000 Easter dinners to neighbors and build three wells in South Sudan. To do this, we're hoping to raise $75,000. For more information on serving, giving, and more, please visit easteroutreach.org.

PRAYER REQUESTS
This week, please pray alongside us...

Our Church — For our community to know Christ more intimately during this Lenten season.

Our City — For our government officials, that they might lead us wisely.

Our World — For Belgium and the Netherlands, giving thanks for the Protestant Church in that region, that it may continue to serve as a witness towards the visible unity of the church.

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