Call to Worship

Advent liturgy 11-29-2015

Posted by on Nov 29, 2015 in Call to Worship | Comments Off on Advent liturgy 11-29-2015

Today we prepare this place for worship – Today we prepare our hearts to worship – ~ and our souls to survive. We are only at the beginning of Advent, so we are still easily able to settle our minds and bodies. Soon it will become more difficult to sit still. Today we recognize what’s real – We can focus on the main thing  – ~but how long will that last? As we prepare the sanctuary for Advent, Happily sharing our traditions, And the stories of light and health and hope, We have choices to make — Will we blossom, bend or break this year? Let’s keep the main thing – the main thing! As we respond together:  Prepare for Love!   Today we will prepare our hearts. We look for meaning and validation that we “got it right.” We come expecting to be set free – to find hope and peace in this most holy season. Will we find the ever-elusive REST we also need? Will we shine in the dark? We crave relationship – We need each other. Let’s keep the main thing – the main thing! As we respond together:  Prepare for Love!   Today we will prepare to live in the light. Will a single candle be enough light? As we light one candle, then two, then three,  then four – We are given more and more help – Just when we need it – as the holiday season gears up and tries to distract us. We’ll come back here each week and light another candle – Hope, Love, Joy, Peace, … Guiding principles to get us through the night. We have only to say (or sing) “I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light” – As we light the final Christ Candle on Christmas Eve, That’s when we’ll finally fit all the pieces together! Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus!” Help us to keep the main thing – the main thing! As we respond together:  Prepare for...

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Liturgy 11-15-15

Posted by on Nov 23, 2015 in Call to Worship | Comments Off on Liturgy 11-15-15

“Our lips are dry. Our stomachs growl.” John 4:6-14, John 6:48-51 Theme: Filling the Hunger! Quenching the thirst!!   We have an entire life style of repeatedly getting our needs met.  Even something basic like having milk to drink, has a repeatable routine that helps us ensure that we satisfy our need for a beverage the kids will drink, that wets our cereal, and that provides for some of the nutrition that our bodies need.    When we run out, we might put it on our shopping list, then search it out in the store, buy it, bring it home and consume it.    Here’s the interesting thing— that no matter what beverage or how much of it we consume, at some point we will become thirsty again!   This is why we need to recognize when…”Our lips are dry. Our stomachs growl.”   Have you seen the commercial that depicts a lifestyle where people only need to have one of something to meet our lifetime need of it?  It makes quite a statement, except for the fact that I can’t remember (or don’t care to remember) what they are advertising.  But it does a lovely job of capturing our imagination about what life would be like to only need one apple to benefit from its nutrients and feel satisfied. Or one spear of asparagus — our daughter Sofia would love that, since asparagus is on her list of least favorite foods.  The one I like the best is when the woman goes to an exercise class and does one sit up and then gets up and walks out of class with the core strength she needs to support her upper body well into her 90’s.   Yet we know this is not our human plight—we will always need to repeat the process of eating when we get hungry again, repeatedly doing the things that help us stay healthy.   This is why we need to recognize when… “Our lips are dry. Our Stomachs growl.”   Go a bit deep than our physical needs and consider our need for meaning. Tabloids, news reels,  & Facebook, can feed our minds with proverbial junk food.  But even resources of substance have a shelf life.  This past week, when scientist found the new planet Kepler-452b, I doubt that their curiosity was completely satisfied.  In fact, it likely spurred on an entire new level of desire to KNOW MORE!  Think of how many scientists will have sleepless nights thinking about their unfinished work instead of feeling complete in their discovery.  But on a more serious note, we know that we live in a world where meaning is missing from our daily diet for purpose.  We are painfully aware of how humanity is so starved for meaning that we will let ourselves be seduced into cheap versions of fulfillment that waste our time, our talent, our opportunity to know our value without question.   This is why we need to recognize when…”Our lips are dry. Our stomachs...

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Liturgy July 26, 2015

Posted by on Aug 1, 2015 in Call to Worship | Comments Off on Liturgy July 26, 2015

“There is plenty for all” Theme: The Bread of Life: Breaking John 6:1-26   In our culture, we have a habit of paying attention to things that we worry about … We pay attention to our money, our food, our work, transportation, and our health–things that could expire, run out or cease to exist if we don’t pay attention. And when does the worry end? Well, it ends when we have enough…. Or does it?   We are blessed with so many gifts in life that do not run out, that we don’t need to worry about loosing, that when we pay attention to them, enriches our lives.   For instance…   There is always an opportunity to be more aware… In any situation, under any condition, each of us has the ability to raise our awareness and create a richer appreciation for what is.   Try it now…. In this moment pay attention to what IS (not what was, or what might be, but what IS right now). Breath, stillness…. Feel that you are alive, in this place, here together, assured of God’s love.   Praise God for endlessly abundant awareness of what IS And say together, “There is plenty for all”!     There is always an opportunity to be in relationship… In any situation, under any condition, each of us has the ability to engage in some sort of relationship. Just by paying attention, we can engage in relationship with ourselves, with an idea, with nature, with people we know and with people we don’t know, and we can be in relationship with God.   Praise God for the endlessly abundant gift of relationship, And say together, “There is plenty for all”!     In any situation, under any condition, each of us has the ability to make a meaningful contribution. A loving thought, a loving word, and a loving action all instantly contributes to the wellbeing of humanity. Paying attention to choose loving actions creates meaningful living. And that sense of making a contribution is a blessing.   Praise God for the endlessly abundant gift of loving contributions and meaningful living, and say together, “There is plenty for all”!   -Liz...

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Liturgy July 12

Posted by on Jul 20, 2015 in Call to Worship | Comments Off on Liturgy July 12

There is an often-asked question among theologians: Does the Bible tell of humanity’s response to God or of God’s response to humanity? The obvious answer is: both. Yet theologians enjoy debating this kind quandary, right up there with how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Although I went to seminary, and have a Master’s Degree in Divinity, I am not a theologian. I appreciate what theologians do, but I am a pastor through and through. To me, this means that I don’t spend too much time evaluating the nuances of theological specificities. What I love is the story. We come to tell the story. I love your story. I love hearing about how God has worked in your life. I love listening to your stories of faith. Were you born into a Christian family? Did you come to faith at a later age? What drew you to God? To the church? Or what drew you back after a time away? What is your favorite book, or chapter, or verse in the Bible? Where have you met Jesus in your life? What God moments did you experience today? This week? This month? All of these stories, all of your stories, are part of The Story that we share together as a community of faith. We come to tell the story. We are a people of The Story. We learn from the story of Abraham to trust when all seems lost. We learn from the story of David that sometimes the little guy wins. We learn from the story of Nicodemus that it is okay to question Jesus in the dark of night. We learn from the story of Paul that no matter how bad or how plentiful our sins, God can use us. And, most of all, we learn from the story of Jesus that this life is not the end of The Story. There is more to look forward to, that we can’t even begin to imagine. We come to tell the story. Some people look at the pastor, in robe and stole, and imagine that she or he has everything figured out, is the perfect spiritual person, can quote the Bible chapter and verse, and prays twenty four hours a day. Now I know you know that’s not true. We’ve been together long enough for you to see my cracks and foibles.   Just as I hope your faith is sustained by some of the things I share on Sunday mornings, my faith is sustained by your stories.   The Bible is not a book of history. It is a book of living stories of which we get to be apart. Among you I’ve witnessed amazing acts of generosity, gentle acts of kindness, moments of deep despair, feats of courage, seasons of terrible grief, and surprising moments of grace. Among you I know the story lives on. We are people of the story. We are the story. We come to tell the...

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Liturgy – June 28

Posted by on Jul 1, 2015 in Call to Worship | Comments Off on Liturgy – June 28

Flaws and all, God continues to bless us… In spite of humanity, we can name blessings of relationships, blessings of safety and care, and blessings of joy that warm the heart.  Knowing that these blessings are a sign of God’s love for us, how can we contain our gratitude?   How is it possible to keep quiet? Turn up the volume of our gratitude, as we say together, “We share what God has done for us”!     Against the odds and sometimes against logic, God makes us successful… When there is no money; when time has run out; when hope has left us, too often we expect the worse.  And still, we have story after story that demonstrates God’s love for us in the darkest hours.  We have witness to the help of the Holy Spirit.  We have redemption by the grace of Christ.   How is it possible to take these moments for granted? Respond with awe and wonder, as we say together, “We share what God has done for us”!     This is our Faith experience….   That the sick are made well; the homeless have homes; the hungry are fed; the lonely have connection; grieving are comforted; and real needs are met in ways that only God knows exits!   How is it possible to sit back and wither on the vine? Let the love of Christ propel us to serve and love each other, as we say together, “We share what God has done for us”!   written by Liz...

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Pentecost liturgy 2015

Posted by on May 26, 2015 in Call to Worship | Comments Off on Pentecost liturgy 2015

“The Spirit has come!” Theme: Pentecost-Spirit for All Acts 2:1-8, 12-21   It is written that we are made in God’s image; each of us is uniquely gifted, each of us is beautifully created to manifest the glory of God in our very being.   On this Pentecost Sunday, let us recognized that in the coming of the Holy Spirit each one of us is well equipped for service — to heal, to teach, to witness, to lift up, to encourage, to know, to speak, to hear, to welcome in, to make music, to rejoice!   Praise God that we are alive in these gifts acting in the world because… “The Spirit has come!”     It is the Spirit flowing through us that makes us alive.  Like Ezekiel’s Old Testament vision, what starts out as trickles of water flowing from the temple entrances, our Christian ministry becomes rushing rivers of life for the world.   And like Acts’ New Testament account of rushing winds and the tongues of fire, each of us is a vessel through which the Holy Spirit makes the world whole for the Glory of God.   So let us…   Praise God that the sick are made well because… “The Spirit has come!”   Praise God that ignorance is replaced by knowledge because… “The Spirit has come!”   Praise God that the downtrodden are lifted up because… “The Spirit has come!”   Praise God that broken relationships are reconciled because… “The Spirit has come!”   Praise God that despair turns to hope because… “The Spirit has come!”     Amen!   By Liz...

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