sermon audio only:
Please participate in the following liturgy, reading aloud all the parts in bold italics.
Call to Worship:
Friends, we know what God desires of us:
That we do justice, and love kindness, and walk humbly with God.
We gather this morning to remind each other about that,
To remember that now is always the right time to do these things.
So with thanks in our hearts, let us worship God.
We gather as God’s beloved children –
However glad we are, however out of sorts we are.
We come together as a people whom Jesus calls into community –
So this becomes a place where all are welcome.
We have come to give thanks, to pray and sing –
Let us worship God.
As the sun rises in the morning,
As the cool breeze ushers in the evening,
As the heat of the noonday sun spreads across the land:
God is present with us.
Let us worship God.
Friends, let us worship God today, for God is great –
God has blessed us with life, with faith, and with community.
Let us worship God today, for God is good –
God forgives us, and encourages us, and loves us.
Let us worship God today –
Because we are God’s people.
Let us worship God.
To know the warmth of love,
To have the assurance that someone cares,
To be confident of our worth,
To be bold to love in return,
To be washed over with grace,
To be accepted as we are:
This is to know a bit of God.
Then let us worship our God.
Song: The Way
Through every battle
Through every heartbreak
Through every circumstance
I believe that You are my fortress
Oh, You are my portion
And You are my hiding place, oh
I believe You are
The way, the Truth, the Life
And it’s a new horizon and I’m set on You
And You meet me here today with mercies that are new
All my fears and doubts, they can all come too
Because they can’t stay long when I’m here with You
“Together, they charged at Stephen, threw him out of the city, and began to stone him. The witnesses placed their coats in the care of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Then he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ When he had said this, he died. Saul was in full agreement with Stephen’s murder. ”
“Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’
He asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ The reply came, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.’
The men who were traveling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one. Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. For three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, ‘Ananias.’ He answered, ‘Here I am, Lord.’ The Lord said to him, ‘Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul. At this moment he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.’
But Ananias answered, ‘Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name.’ But the Lord said to him, ‘Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel; I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.’
So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said, ‘Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’ And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength. For several days he was with the disciples in Damascus, and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, ‘He is the Son of God.’
Everyone who heard him was baffled. They questioned each other, “Isn’t he the one who was wreaking havoc among those in Jerusalem who called on this name? Hadn’t he come here to take those same people as prisoners to the chief priests?”
The Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God
This New Life: Good News for the Wayward
Song: Since Your Love
You are the light
Song of my life
You always lead me
You are the voice inside
You are my love
No one before You
All that I am
Longs for You
And I was made by You
I was made for You
I am unfulfilled
Without full communion
Since Your love got a hold of me
Since Your love got a hold of me
I’m a new creation
I’m forever changed
In You, is all I need
You’re my breath, You’re my life,
You’re my everything
Confession & Assurance
Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor:
Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you
in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
For the sake of Your Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on us and forgive us;
that we may delight in Your will,
and walk in Your ways, to the glory of Your Name.
Silent confession (space to confess our sins and wait in God’s presence).
The Lord has already shown you mercy.
The Lord has already had compassion on you.
The cross of Jesus has turned mourning into dancing,
And washed clean the ashes of repentance.
Jesus strengthens our weak knees
When we still have a long way to go.
Be free! We are forgiven.
Laugh out loud! We are forgiven.
Love God with everything! We are loved.
Silent assurance (space to receive God’s merciful love and say “thank you” in response)
Eucharist and Sacrament of Desire
Now let’s draw near in the presence of our Savior.
The Lord be with you!
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts!
We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.
On the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying,
“This is my body given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way he took the cup saying,
“This cup is the new covenant sealed in my blood, poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this as often as you drink it in remembrance of me.”
Is the Father with us?
Is Christ among us?
Is the Spirit here?
This is our God.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
We are his people.
We are redeemed.
Therefore by taking this bread & drinking this cup, we proclaim the mystery of our faith:
Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.
These are the gifts of God for the People of God. Take them in remembrance that Christ died for you, And feed on him in your hearts by faith, with thanksgiving.
Alternatively, for those who are not receiving communion, the Sacrament of Desire may be prayed.
Sacrament of Desire
Now, in union, O Lord with the faithful at every altar of Your Church,
I present to You my soul and body
with the earnest prayer that I will remain united to you.
And since I cannot now receive You sacramentally,
I pray that you would come to me spiritually.
I unite myself to you, and embrace you with my soul’s affection.
Let nothing separate me from you,
that I may live and die in Your love.