PDF for print version HERE. For permission to print and redistribute, comment below.
Preparation for Worship
Songs: Ask yourself and the people who will be worshipping with you (kids included), “What are some of the songs we sing about God being our strength and protector?” Play them on Spotify, sing them acapella, or create your own instrumental arrangement.
Bible: You will need a Bible to read from the scriptures. You can use this doc or your phone as well…but I’d recommend using an actual Bible.
This week’s liturgy is based on the following texts:
Exodus 1:8-2:10 and Psalm 124, Isaiah 51:1-6 and Psalm 138, Romans 12:1-8, Matthew 16:13-20.
You can decide who will lead the different movements of this gathering. It would be great for every person to have a part.
In the Bible, in Matthew 18:20, the scripture says, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I’m there with them.” We believe that the church is not a building. The church is made up of people. So, we have gathered here in the spaces in which we live to be the church. We will worship God together. We trust that God is here with us, and God is at work among us.
Call to Worship
Leader: Hear the word of the Lord from Isaiah 51,
Listen to me,
you who look for righteousness,
you who seek the Lord:
Look to the rock from which you were cut
and to the quarry where you were dug.
Look to Abraham your ancestor,
and to Sarah, who gave you birth.
They were alone when I called them,
but I blessed them and made them many.
The Lord will comfort Zion;
he will comfort all her ruins.
He will make her desert like Eden
and her wilderness like the Lord’s garden.
Happiness and joy will be found in her—
thanks and the sound of singing.
God is with us! Let us worship our great God!
All: Great is the Lord! Let us worship God!
Song of Praise
Sing one song that focuses on God’s faithfulness.
Reading of the Psalm
The psalmist writes in Psalm 124,
If it had not been the Lord who was on our side
—let Israel now say—
if it had not been the Lord who was on our side,
when our enemies attacked us,
then they would have swallowed us up alive,
when their anger was kindled against us;
then the flood would have swept us away,
the torrent would have gone over us;
then over us would have gone
the raging waters.
Blessed be the Lord,
who has not given us
as prey to their teeth.
We have escaped like a bird
from the snare of the fowlers;
the snare is broken,
and we have escaped.
Our help is in the name of the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
Exhortation from the New Testament
An interpretation of Romans 12:1-8 (The Message)
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.
In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.
If you preach, just preach God’s Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don’t take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don’t get bossy; if you’re put in charge, don’t manipulate; if you’re called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don’t let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face.
Prayer of Preparation
we gather together in Your name.
We come as living sacrifices,
to offer You our worship and thanksgiving,
our praise and our prayers.
Move among us, living Lord.
Through the power of Your Holy Spirit,
transform our hearts and minds
so that we may recognize Your presence,
hear Your voice,
know Your will,
and walk in Your way.
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ,
our Lord and Savior. Amen.
(The time of listening is a series of reading the scripture, re-telling the story, and paying attention to where God is stirring your hearts as you listen. Invite everyone to listen to the words of the scriptures and to be ready to re-tell the story. You may want to read/act out one or both of the following readings)
Hear the word of the Lord from Exodus 2:1-10 (CEB).
Now a man from Levi’s household married a Levite woman. 2 The woman became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She saw that the baby was healthy and beautiful, so she hid him for three months. 3 When she couldn’t hide him any longer, she took a reed basket and sealed it up with black tar. She put the child in the basket and set the basket among the reeds at the riverbank. 4 The baby’s older sister stood watch nearby to see what would happen to him.
5 Pharaoh’s daughter came down to bathe in the river, while her women servants walked along beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds, and she sent one of her servants to bring it to her. 6 When she opened it, she saw the child. The boy was crying, and she felt sorry for him. She said, “This must be one of the Hebrews’ children.”
7 Then the baby’s sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Would you like me to go and find one of the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?”
8 Pharaoh’s daughter agreed, “Yes, do that.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother. 9 Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child and nurse it for me, and I’ll pay you for your work.” So the woman took the child and nursed it. 10 After the child had grown up, she brought him back to Pharaoh’s daughter, who adopted him as her son. She named him Moses, “because,” she said, “I pulled him out of the water.”
A reading from the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 16.
13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
Let’s remember together what happened in this story. You may want to read/act out one or both of the following readings. What happened first? What happened next? (go around the circle and tell the story to each other. Try to remember as many details as possible.). Perhaps your group would like to act out this story…
What part of this reading stood out to you? Why do you think that part stood out?
Let each person in the circle take a turn to wonder about something in this text…a word, a phrase, something that happened in the text, something that you’re thinking about… Start out by saying “As we read these scriptures, it made me wonder…”
What will we carry into this week from this text?
How can we be praying this week?
Prayers of the People
God of Grace, you call us to be different from the world,
but the world lures us in, and so we come here to be strengthened. (pause)
God of Vision, you hold before us a different way of life,
different priorities, different loyalties, different values.
But we know that the world is not only seductive but powerful,
and so we are drawn in to following its priorities,
accepting its values, showing loyalty to its gods. Help us to be people who reflect your kingdom. (pause)
God who blesses the meek, the peacemakers, the merciful,
forgive us when we lose sight of these qualities,
when we misunderstand their role in the world.
God who heals and restores the broken. May we see your power at work in our world, in our relationships, in our lives.
…time of silent prayer…
May we be the hands and heart of Christ.
As we pray the prayer you taught us to pray saying,
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
Go with confidence into the days ahead,
trusting in God’s unfailing love and faithfulness.
God will not abandon you,
for you are the work of His hands—His own creation—
and His love endures forever.
Go in joy to love and serve the Lord!