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REFLECTIONS

If only there were evil people somewhere, insidously committing evil deeds, and it were neccessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?

-Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn


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GATHERING BEFORE GOD
March 6, 2016
Fourth Sunday of Lent
Center City Campus


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

FATHER LONG BEFORE CREATION
 

Father long before creation
Thou had chosen us in love And that love
so deep so moving Draws us close to Christ above
Still it keeps us, still it keeps us firmly fixed in Christ alone

Chorus
And the world will sing His love,
Yes the world will sing His love,
 And we'll all join hands, every woman, every man
to sing his love
to sing His love.


Though the world may change its fashion
Yet our God is e're the same
His compassion and His covenant Through all ages
will remain God's own children, God's own children
Must forever praise His name

CHORUS

God's compassion is my story Is my boasting
all the day Mercy free and never failing
Moves our will directs my way
God so loved us, God so loved us
That His only Son He gave

CHORUS

Loving Father now before Thee
We will ever praise thy love
And our songs will sound unceasing
Til we reach our home above,
Giving glory, giving glory
To our God and to the Lamb

CHORUS


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

CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader: Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. 
People: Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. 
Leader: For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. In His hands are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. 
People: Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker, for he is our God and we are the people under his pasture, the flock under his care. 

-Psalm 95, NRSV

PRAYER OF INVOCATION
 


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O LOVE THAT WILL NOT LET ME GO


 


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THY MERCY MY GOD

Thy mercy, my God, is the theme of my song,
The joy of my heart. and the boast of my tongue;
Thy free grace alone, from the first to the last,
Hath won my affections, and bound my soul fast.

Without Thy sweet mercy I could not live here;
Sin would reduce me to utter despair;
But, through Thy free goodness, my spirits revive,
And He that first made me still keeps me alive.

Thy mercy is more than a match for my heart,
Which wonders to feel its own hardness depart;
Dissolved by Thy goodness, I fall to the ground,
And weep to the praise of the mercy Ive found.

Great Father of mercies, Thy goodness I own,
And the covenant love of Thy crucified Son;
All praise to the Spirit, Whose whisper divine Seals mercy,
and pardon, and righteousness mine.
All praise to the Spirit, Whose whisper divine
Seals mercy, and pardon, and righteousness mine. 
 


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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: God of Grace, you placed my sin on my substitute,
You placed his righteousness over me.
You gave me the bridegroom’s robe,
You placed on me the jewels of his holiness.

But in my life I am still in rags,
My best prayers are stained with sin; even my tears are filled with impurity;
My confessions often mask my true sin.

I need to repent of my repentance; I need my tears to be wept over;
I have no robe to cover my sins,
no righteousness of my own;
I am always standing clothed in filthy garments. Yet by grace am always receiving
Christ’s robe of righteousness.
For you are a God who justifies the ungodly. Amen.

SILENT CONFESSION & WORDS OF PARDON
Leader: All the prophets testify about Christ that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name. 
-from Acts 10:45, 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 6:5-22, NRSV

 The Lord saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that he had made humankind on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the Lord said, ‘I will blot out from the earth the human beings I have created—people together with animals and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.’ But Noah found favour in the sight of the Lord. These are the descendants of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation; Noah walked with God. 10And Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw that the earth was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted its ways upon the earth. And God said to Noah, ‘I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence because of them; now I am going to destroy them along with the earth. Make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. Make a roof* for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above; and put the door of the ark in its side; make it with lower, second, and third decks. For my part, I am going to bring a flood of waters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die. But I will establish my covenant with you; and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. And of every living thing, of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground according to its kind, two of every kind shall come in to you, to keep them alive. Also take with you every kind of food that is eaten, and store it up; and it shall serve as food for you and for them.’ Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him.

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: Corruption
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 PAID IT ALL

I hear the Savior say
Thy strength indeed is small
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me, thine all in all

Lord, now indeed I find
Thy pow'r and Thine alone
Can change the leper's spots
and melt the heart of stone

CHORUS
Jesus paid it all
All to Him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow


And when before the throne
I stand in Him complete
Jesus did my soul to save,
My lips shall still repeat

CHORUS

BRIDGE
O Praise the One who paid my debt
and raised this life up from the dead
O Praise the One who paid my debt
and raised this life up from the dead

CHORUS


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COMMUNION PRAYER
People: Father, as we thank you for the promise that you will make all things new, we thank you especially for the anticipation of this renewal which we enjoy as we share the banquet of your Son. Grant us understanding of this mystery, but above all the knowledge of your presence and love which passes understanding: through Jesus Christ 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

HOW FIRM A FOUNDATION
 

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
To You, who who for refuge to Jesus have fled?

“Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.”

“When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee;
I only design Thy dross to consume,
and thy gold to refine.”

“When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of grief shall not overflow
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee to thy deepest distress.”

“The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to break,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.”
 


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BENEDICTION
Minister: May God the Father strengthen you with the power of his glorious riches so that Christ would dwell in your hearts through faith. May you have power, together with all God's people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.
-from Ephesians 3:16-18, NRSV


People: Amen. 

DISMISSAL

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

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