Here’s a new thing: as I work ahead on worship planning, I’ll post the materials I’ve found and prepared for each Sunday’s bulletin (and some of the prayers and blessings that don’t get printed). You can use it in your personal preparation for worship, or if you happen to be a worship planner yourself, or however else you see fit. Blessings! – Nathan
Cover Art: Picture of a copy of the Gutenberg Bible owned by the US Library of Congress, taken by Mark Pellegrini and released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Preparation for Worship
* Call to Worship
Come, people of God, and take your place in God’s great family.
We come by the grace poured out in Jesus Christ.
Come, you who question and doubt, and seek the ever-abiding truth.
We come with the gifts and the hope of the Holy Spirit.
Come, all who seek freedom from fear and want, for our God is faithful.
We come in faith, to dwell in the arms of the Eternal One.
* Gathering Hymn: # 288 I Sing the Mighty Power of God or # 260 A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
* Prayer of the Church
One great gift of the Reformation was the insight that our worship is always a response to God’s Spirit acting in the church. Let us call on that Spirit to guide our worship today, singing: # 126 Come, Holy Spirit, Heavenly Dove
* Words of Grace
We don’t worship by our own merit or even by our own power. We gather in the knowledge that we do not, in ourselves, measure up to the fullness of God’s glory. Instead, we trust in the love of Christ our Savior, who sets us free.
Friends, we are free again: free from bondage to sin and guilt, free from alienation, free from the need to prove ourselves.
We are freely welcomed into God’s family, claimed as God’s own in the gift of God’s Beloved, Christ Jesus. Thanks be to God!
* Gloria: Glory Be to the Father…
Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 31:31-34
Scripture Reading: John 8:31-36
Time With Young People: on knowing something by heart (and having the Scripture where you can memorize it)
Affirmation of Faith: The Apostles’ Creed
* Invitation Hymn: # 499 Wonder of Wonders, Here Revealed (vv. 1, 2, 4) or # 403 What a Friend We Have in Jesus (one of Hope’s favorites)
Prayers of the Community:
Pastoral Prayer (based on Psalm 46)
O God, our refuge and our strength, our ever-present help in trouble: Quiet our fears, even when the earth shakes and the mountains topple into the sea. In the roaring chaos of violence, poverty, and anger, let us trust in your strength and dwell in your safety.
Pour out your waters to make this community glad. Pour out healing on the ill, sustenance for the hungry, and compassion for the grieving. When voices sound alarm, when beloved lives vanish in tragedy, when pink slips and IV pumps assail us, speak your word of grace.
God of strength, our eternal shelter, come and make peace in our world: in our communities, in our families, and in our hearts. Still our hearts, that we may know you are God, and that our lives may lift you up with joy. Guard us and keep us, Mighty One.
For we pray by your grace, in the words your Incarnate Love taught, as we say together…
Invitation to Sharing
God doesn’t want your money. God wants your heart – your love, gratitude, and service. Therefore, I don’t command you to give; instead, I invite you to live out your faith, joyfully.
* Doxology: Praise God from whom…
* Prayer of Dedication
Gracious God, giver of all blessings, we praise you for the gifts you have poured out on us, and we offer this portion of your goodness back to you. Bless it to your service, and bless our lives to your worship, now and forever. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
* Sending Hymn: # 260 A Mighty Fortress Is Our God or # 443 O Christ, the Great Foundation
* Charge and Blessing
Go out into the world in peace.
Love the Lord your God
with all your heart,
with all your soul,
with all your mind;
and love your neighbor as yourself.
And may the Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord be kind and gracious to you.
The Lord look upon you with favor
and give you peace. Amen.