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GATHERING BEFORE GOD
March 1, 2015
Second Sunday of Lent 

PRELUDE  

GREETING AND PREPARATION

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


CALL TO WORSHIP

Leader: Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer us, for we are poor and needy.
People: Save us, your servants who trust in you — you are our God.

Leader: Be gracious to us, O Lord, for to you do we cry all the day.
People: Gladden the soul of your servants, for to you, O Lord, do we lift up our souls.

Leader: For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
People: Give ear, O Lord, to our prayer; listen to our pleas for grace.

Leader: In the day of trouble we call upon you.
People: For you answer us.

— From Psalm 86

PRAYER OF INVOCATION 


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FOR THE BEAUTY OF THE EARTH

For the beauty of the earth,
For the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies.
Lord of all to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the wonder of each hour
of the day and of the night,
hill and vale, and tree and flower,
sun and moon, and stars of light;
Lord of all to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth and friends above,
For all gentle thoughts and mild.
Lord of all to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the church, that evermore
Lifteth holy hands above,
Offering up on every shore
Her pure sacrifice of love.
Lord of all to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For Thyself, best Gift Divine.
To our race so freely given,
For that great, great love of Thine,
Peace on earth and joy in Heaven.
Lord of all to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.


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OUR GREAT GOD

Eternal God, unchanging, mysterious and unknown.
Your boundless love unfailing, in grace and mercy shown.
Bright seraphim in endless flight around your glorious throne.
They raise their voices day and night in praise to you alone.

CHORUS
Hallelujah! Glory be to our great God!
Hallelujah! Glory be to our great God!


Lord, we are weak and frail, helpless in the storm.
Surround us with your angels, hold us in your arms.
Our cold and ruthless enemy, his pleasure is our harm.
Rise up, oh Lord, and he will flee before our Sovereign God.

CHORUS

Let every creature in the sea and every flying bird;
Let every mountain, every field and valley of the earth;
Let all the moons and all the stars in all the universe
Sing praises to the living God, who rules them by His word.

CHORUS


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COME YE SINNERS

Come, ye sinners, poor and needy, 
weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you,
full of pity, love and power.

REFRAIN
I will arise and go to Jesus.
He will embrace me in His arms!
In the arms of my dear Savior,
oh, there are ten thousand charms.

Come, ye thirsty, come and welcome!
God’s free bounty glorify:
True belief and true repentance —
every grace that brings you nigh.

REFRAIN

Let not conscience make you linger,
nor of fitness fondly dream.
All the fitness He requireth
is to feel your need of Him.

REFRAIN

Come, ye weary, heavy laden,
lost and ruined by the fall!
If you tarry till you’re better,
you will never come at all.

REFRAIN


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CALL TO CONFESSION 

Leader: If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

— 1 John 1:8-9, NRSV

PRAYER OF CONFESSION

People: Eternal God, whose promise to us is never broken, we confess that we fail to follow you. Though you have bound yourself to us, we run from your embrace. In Jesus Christ you serve us freely, but we refuse your love and withhold ourselves from others. We do not love you fully or love one another as you command.

In your mercy, forgive and cleanse us. Lead us once again to your arms and unite us to Christ, who is the bread of life and the vine from which we grow in grace. Lord, have mercy on us for Christ’s sake. Amen.

SILENT CONFESSION 

WORDS OF PARDON

Leader: For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.

— 2 Corinthians 8:9

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)


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THE WORD OF GOD

SCRIPTURE READING

Matthew 20:1-16, NRSV  

1“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. 3When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; 4and he said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. 5When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. 6And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, ‘Why are you standing here idle all day?’ 7They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard.’ 8When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.’ 9When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage. 10Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. 11And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, 12saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ 13But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? 14Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. 15Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ 16So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

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

PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION

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


REFLECTIONS

A visionary light settled in [Mrs. Turpin’s] eyes. She saw the streak as a vast swinging bridge extending upward from the earth through a field of living fire. Upon it a vast horde of souls were rumbling toward heaven. There were whole companies of white-trash, clean for the first time in their lives, and bands of [black people] in white robes, and battalions of freaks and lunatics shouting and clapping and leaping like frogs. And bringing up the end of the procession was a tribe of people whom she recognized at once as those who, like herself and Claud, had always had a little of everything and the God-given wit to use it right. She leaned forward to observe them closer.  They were marching behind the others with great dignit, accountable as they had always been for good order and common sense and respectable behavior. They alone were on key. Yet she could see by their shocked and altered faces that even their virtues were being burned away. She lowered her hands and gripped the rail of the hog pen, her eyes small but fixed unblinkingly on what lay ahead. In a moment the vision faded but she remained where she was, immobile.

At length she got down and turned off the faucet and made her slow way on the darkening path to the house. In the woods around her the invisible cricket choruses had struck up, but what she heard were the voices of souls climbing upward into the starry field and shouting hallelujah.
 

— Flannery O’Connor, from “Revelation”


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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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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: God of compassion, we praise you that you look at our frail lives with love and understanding, and that you desire for us all new life in Jesus Christ. We are overwhelmed by your love, which goes to the cross for us, endures the grave, and leads us to new life. Thank you for speaking to us, embracing us, and strengthening us both in your Word and in this Sacrament. We pray in Jesus name. 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,
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 love of the cross, the power of the resurrection, and the presence of the living Lord be with you always. And the blessing of the eternal God, creator and sustainer, risen and ascended Lord and Savior, giver of holiness and love, be upon you now and evermore.
People: Amen.

DISMISSAL

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


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ANNOUNCEMENTS
 
LENT AT LIBERTI CHURCH
This Lent, our community is walking together through Christ’s journey to the cross with a prayerbook of scripture, prayers, and meditations. For your free copy, and for more information on Lent at Liberti, please visit libertichurch.org/lent-and-easter.

IN COVENANT CLASS
The first step in becoming a member at Liberti Church is to attend an in-covenant class, an informal time to meet with church leaders to discuss Liberti's mission and vision. If you attend Liberti and are considering becoming a member, we'd love to have you join us at our next in-covenant class, which will be held after church on March 15, 2015. For more information, and to sign up, email administrator@liberti.org.

EASTER OUTREACH 2015
This year, we’re partnering with 30 other churches throughout the region to distribute 3,000 Easter dinners to neighbors and build three wells in South Sudan. To do this, we need to raise $75,000 and recruit hundreds of volunteers. Our $5,000 matching grant ends today, so donate soon! For more information on serving, giving, and more, please visit easteroutreach.org.

FINANCE UPDATE   

 

PRAYER REQUESTS
This week, please pray alongside us for…
 
Our Church — Praise God for all of the leaders that came to help clean out the First Baptist Building last weekend to get the building ready for the upcoming renovation!
 
Our City — For those who fight for justice for the oppressed.
 
Our World — For the witness of such ecumenical centers as the Taizé community, which has revitalized worship, particularly among young people in France and Germany.

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