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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 serving within the body of Christ?” 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:
Revelation 7:9-17, Psalm 34:1-10, 22, 1 John 3:1-3, Matthew 5:1-12.
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 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: And I looked,
and there was a great crowd that no one could number.
They were from every nation, tribe, people and language.
They were standing before the throne and before the Lamb,
wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.
And they cried out with a loud voice:
All: Victory belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!
Leader: And the angels fell facedown before the throne and worshipped God, saying:
All: Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving
and honor and power and might
be to our God forever and ever. Amen!
Leader: Come, let us worship God! Amen!
Song of Response
Song of Praise
Sing one song that focuses on God’s love and God’s call.
Reading of the Psalm
The psalmist writes in Psalm 34 (CEB/NRSV),
1 I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise will always be in my mouth.
2 I praise the Lord—
let the suffering listen and rejoice.
3 Magnify the Lord with me!
Together let us lift his name up high!
4 I sought the Lord and he answered me.
He delivered me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to God will shine;
their faces are never ashamed.
6 This suffering person cried out:
the Lord listened and saved him from every trouble.
7 On every side, the Lord’s messenger protects those who honor God; and he delivers them.
8 Taste and see how good the Lord is!
The one who takes refuge in him is truly happy!
9 You who are the Lord’s holy ones, honor him,
because those who honor him don’t lack a thing.
10 Even strong young lions go without and get hungry,
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
22The Lord redeems the life of his servants;
none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.
Exhortation from the New Testament
1 John 3 (CEB) says, 1 See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he[a] is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. 3 And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
Prayer of Preparation
Maker of heaven and earth,
we come into your presence
and we know ourselves to be recipients of
great and wonderful gifts.
Don’t let our comfort blind us to the newness
you are making in our midst —
Give us ears to hear and eyes to see
As you speak to us and move among us.
Take us in our uncertainties
and make us new.
We pray in the name of your Son, 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.)
A reading from Matthew 5 (NRSV).
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2 Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Pause for a moment of quiet reflection…
Hear an interpretation of Matthew 5 according to The Message,
When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:
3 “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
4 “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
5 “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.
6 “You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.
7 “You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.
8 “You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
9 “You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.
10 “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.
11-12 “Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.
Let’s remember together what was said in these readings. You may want to read/act out the readings. What was said first? What happened next? (go around the circle and tell the story to each other. Try to remember as many details as possible.).
What part of these beatitudes 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 texts, it made me wonder…”
What are we challenged by in these texts? Is there a message you’re hearing from the text?
What will we carry into this week from this text?
How can we be praying this week?
Prayers of the People
There is no part of life
you do not touch, O God,
infusing your rich grace
getting in beneath the surface,
drawing out and lifting up
winding love around
until barriers are broken down.
We lift to you the things that weigh on us today.
…the upcoming election (pause)
…financial challenges (pause)
…concerns about our health and/or the health of others (pause)
We pray, O God, for your spirit to be poured out on us.
That we might be salt and light in this world.
May our actions draw attention to you,
to the richness you bring to all life
and the abundance you share,
setting the scene for us to share too.
May you be glorified and magnified in our world, in our country, in our communities, in our homes, in our lives.
To the glory of your great name.
And now we pray together the prayer you have 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,
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
We go in peace to love and serve the Lord,
In the name of Christ. Amen.