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REFLECTIONS

He hath a daily beauty in his life That makes me ugly.
                                                                                      -Iago, from William Shakespeare’s Othello

Why is it that the self- though it professes to be loving, caring, to prefer peace to war, concord to discord, life to death; to wish other selves well, not ill- in fact secretly relishes wars and rumors of war, news of plane crashes, assassinations, mass murders, obituaries, to say nothing of local news about acquaintances dropping dead in the streets, gossip about neighbors getting in fights or being detected in sexual scandals, embezzlements and other disgraces?
 
                                                    -Walker Percy, from Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book


GATHERING BEFORE GOD
February 28, 2016
Main Line Campus

OPENING SENTENCES: Bless the Lord who forgives all our sins; His mercy endures forever. Amen. 
 

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 the 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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GREETING AND PREPARATION
Leader: The Lord be with you. 
People: And also with you!

CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader: Our help is in the name of our God, 
People: Who made heaven and earth.Amen.
Leader: Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving.
People: Make music upon the harp.
Leader: How good it is to celebrate God's presence and sing praise throughout the day!
People: How good it is to sing praise and give honor to our God!

-based on Psalm 147, NRSV

PRAYER OF INVOCATION


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GOD IS ABLE

God is able He will never fail
He is Almighty God
Greater than all we seek,
greater than all we ask
He has done great things

Lifted up He defeated the grave
Raised to life our God is able
In His Name we overcome
For the Lord our God is able

God is with us God is on our side
He will make a way
Far above all we know,
far above all we hope
He has done great things

God is with us He will go before
He will never leave us,
He will never leave us
God is for us, He has open arms
He will never fail us, He will never fail us

For the Lord our God is able
(REPEAT)


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WE WILL FEAST IN THE HOUSE OF ZION

We will feast in the house of Zion
We will sing with our hearts restored
He has done great things, we will say together
We will feast, and weep no more.

CHORUS
We will not be burned by the fire
He is the LORD our God
We are not consumed, by the flood
Upheld, protected, gathered up

In the dark of night, before the dawn
My soul, be not afraid
For the promised morning, oh how long?
Oh God of Jacob, be my strength

CHORUS

Every vow we've broken and betrayed
You are the Faithful one
And from the garden to the grave
Bind us together, bring shalom

CHORUS
 


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CALL TO CONFESSION

Leader: No one who conceals transgressions will prosper, but one who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. 
                                                                                                                     -Proverbs 28:13, NRSV

PRAYER OF CONFESSION
People: Almighty Father, you have called us to be your people and have made us one body, yet we do not live as such. We do not love each other as we should. Jealousy grips us and we fail to look out for others interests above our own. Conceit grips us and we fail to associate and care for those different from ourselves. Forgive us our offenses, Father, and subdue everything in us that is contrary to your purpose. By the power of your Spirit make us a community that reveals the acceptance, kindness and love found only in you. Amen. 

SILENT CONFESSION & WORDS OF PARDON
Leader: "If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
                                                                                                                                  -I John 1:9, NRSV
SONG OF RESPONSE-LORD HAVE MERCY

Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy
Lord have mercy on us
REPEAT

PASSING THE PEACE & ANNOUNCEMENTS


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THE WORD OF GOD
SCRIPTURE READING
Genesis 4:1-16, NRSV

Now the man knew his wife Eve, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, ‘I have produced a man with the help of the Lord.’ Next she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a tiller of the ground. In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel for his part brought of the firstlings of his flock, their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. The Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.’
 Cain said to his brother Abel, ‘Let us go out to the field.’ And when they
were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. Then
the Lord said to Cain, ‘Where is your brother Abel?’ He said, ‘I do not know;
am I my brother’s keeper?’ And the Lord said, ‘What have you done?
Listen; your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground! 11And now
you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your
brother’s blood from your hand. When you till the ground, it will no longer
yield to you its strength; you will be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.’
Cain said to the Lord, ‘My punishment is greater than I can bear! Today
you have driven me away from the soil, and I shall be hidden from your face;
I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and anyone who meets me
may kill me.’ Then the Lord said to him, ‘Not so!* Whoever kills Cain will
suffer a sevenfold vengeance.’ And the Lord put a mark on Cain, so that no
one who came upon him would kill him. Then Cain went away from the
presence of the Lord, and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.

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

SILENT REFLECTION
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION & SERMON

Sermon Series: What Lies Beneath: Recovering the Lost Language of Sin
Sermon Title: Fight and Flight
Speaker: Jared Ayers
 


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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: 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, by whose grace we may triumph over temptation, be more fervent in prayer, and be more generous in love. 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. He took upon himself the weight of our sin and carried the burden of our guilt. He shared our life in every way, and, though tempted, was sinless to the end. Baptized as your own,
he went willingly to his death and by your power was raised to new life. In his dying and rising, you gave birth to your church, delivered us from slavery to sin and death and made with us a new covenant by water
and the Spirit.


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Minister: Together we proclaim the mystery of the faith. 

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

Minister: God of all power, send your Holy Spirit upon us, that in sharing the bread we may share in the body of Christ, that in sharing the cup we may share in his blood. Grant that, being joined together in Christ Jesus, we may become united in faith and in all things become mature in the one who is our head.

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. 


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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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HOW DEEP THE FATHER'S LOVE FOR US
 

How deep the Father’s love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
And make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away.
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory.

Behold the Man upon the cross
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished.
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished.

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom.
But I will boast in Jesus Christ,
His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward?    
   I cannot give an answer.      
        But this I know with all my heart,
His wounds have paid my ransom.


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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

GOOD GOOD FATHER

I’ve heard a thousand stories of what they think you’re like
But I’ve heard the tender whisper of love in the dead of night
You tell me that Your pleased and that I’m never alone

CHORUS
You’re a good, good father
It’s who You are, it’s who You are, its who You are
And I’m loved by you
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am


I’ve seen many searching for answers far and wide
But I know we’re all searching for answers only you provide
Because You know just what we need before we say a word

You are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways to us


Love so undeniable I can hardly speak
Peace so unexplainable I can hardly think
As You call me deeper still
As You call me deeper still
Into love, love, love


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BENEDICTION

Minister: May Christ, the Son of God, be manifest in you, that your lives may be a light to the world; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. 

People : Amen. 

DISMISSAL

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


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