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REFLECTIONS

Master, I am in great distress! The spirits that I conjured up I cannot now get rid of. 

                                                                    -Goethe, from The Sorcerer's Apprentice

My general belief is that we've accidentally left the moral tradition behind. Over the last several decades, we've lost this language, this way of organizing life. We're not bad. But we are morally inarticulate. We're not more selfish or venal than people in other times, but we've lost the understanding of how character is built. The "crooked timber" moral tradition-based on the awareness of sin and the confrontation with sin-was an inheritance passed down from generation to generation..Without, there is a certain superficiality to modern culture, especially in the moral sphere. 

                                                                    -David Brooks, from The Road to Character
 


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GATHERING BEFORE GOD
February 14, 2016
First Sunday of Lent
Center City Campus

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

GRACE THAT IS GREATER

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary's mount outpoured-
there where the blood of the Lamb was spilt

CHORUS
Grace, grace, God's grace
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within
Grace, grace, God's grace
Grace that is greater than all our sin


Sin and despair like the sea waves cold
Threaten the soul with infinite loss
Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold
Points to the refuge, the mighty cross

CHORUS

Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace
Freely bestowed on all who believe!
You that are longing to see His face,
Will you this moment His grace receive?

CHORUS

 


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

CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader: If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?
People: But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared.
Leader: I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. 
People: My soul waits for the Lord more than the watchmen wait for the morning. More than watchmen wait for the morning. 
-Psalm 130:3-6, NIV

PRAYER OF INVOCATION


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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
2x


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GOD BE MERCIFUL TO ME

God, be merciful to me, on Thy grace I rest my pleas;
Plenteous in compassion Thou, blot out my transgressions now;
Wash me, make me pure within, cleanse, O cleanse me from my sin

My transgressions I confess, grief and guilt my soul oppress;
I have sinned against Thy grace and provoked Thee to Thy face;
I confess Thy judgement just, speechless, I Thy mercy trust.

I am evil, born in sin; Thou desirest truth within.
Thou alone my Savior art, teach Thy wisdom to my heart.
Make me pure, Thy grace bestow, wash me whiter than the snow.

Broken, humbled to the dust, by Thy wrath and judgment just,
Let my contrite heart rejoice, and in gladness hear Thy voice;
From my sins O hide Thy face, blot them out in boundless grace.

Gracious God, my heart renew, make my spirit right and true;
Cast me not away from Thee, let Thy Spirit dwell in me;
Thy salvation's joy impart, steadfast make my willing heart.

Sinners then shall learn from me and return, O God, to Thee;
Savior, all my guilt remove, and my tongue shall sing Thy love;


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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: Righteous Father, 
             we who own more than we use,
             proclaim more than we experience,
             and request more than we need,
             come asking your forgiveness.
             We seek your salvation, then act like we save ourselves.
              We beg your forgiveness, then repeat our errors.
              We experience your grace, then act defeated.
              We rely on your power, but only in hard times.
              We have become confused and misguided. 
              Forgive our every defection.
              Bring us to an unbroken commitment
              and a steady trust,
              through Jesus Christ, who is the way of hope,
              the truth of God,
              and the life of love,
              now and always. Amen

SILENT CONFESSION & WORDS OF PARDON
Leader: Through Jesus Christ forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. In Christ we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace. 
-from Acts 13:38; Ephesians 1;7, NRSV


SONG OF RESPONSE-GLORIA PATRI

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

PASSING THE PEACE & ANNOUNCEMENTS


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THE WORD OF GOD

SCRIPTURE READING
Genesis 2:15-17, 3:1-9 NRSV

 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.’

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God say, “You shall not eat from any tree in the garden”?’ The woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; but God said, “You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.” ’ But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.
 They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, ‘Where are you?’

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: The Anatomy of Temptation
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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JESUS I COME

Out of bondage, sorrow and night,
Jesus, I come; Jesus I come.
Into Thy freedom, gladness and light,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of my sickness into Thy health,
Out of my wanting and into Thy wealth,
Out of my sin and into Thyself,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of my shameful failure and loss,
Jesus, I come; Jesus I come.
Into the glorious gain of Thy cross,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of earth's sorrows into Thy balm,
Out of life's storms and into Thy calm,
Out of distress into jubilant psalm,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of unrest and arrogant pride,
Jesus, I come; Jesus, I come.
Into Thy blessed will to abide,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of myself to dwell in Thy love,
Out of despair into raptures above,
Upward forever on wings like a dove,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of the fear and dread of the tomb,
Jesus, I come; Jesus, I come.
Into the joy and light of Thy home,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of the depths of ruin untold,
Into the peace of Thy sheltering fold,
Ever Thy glorious face to behold,
Jesus, I come to Thee.


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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
 

I HAVE DECIDED

I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
No turning back, no turning back.

Though I may wonder, I still will follow;
Though I may wonder, I still will follow;
Though I may wonder, I still will follow;
No turning back, no turning back.

The world behind me, the cross before me;
The world behind me, the cross before me;
The world behind me, the cross before me;
No turning back, no turning back. 

Though none go with me, still I will follow;
Though none go with me, still I will folllow;
Though none go with me, still I will follow;
No turning back, no turning back.

Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
No turning back, no turning back.


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

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