Prayer as We Gather: As we assemble ourselves for worship, God of mysterious grace, offer us the twin counsel you offered Moses on Mt. Sinai: No gods before you, no need to be afraid. Amen.*(Mitchell Simpson, inspired by Exodus 20)
Call to Worship:
God’s glory is on tour in the skies,
The revelation of God pulls our lives together.
The life-maps of Godare right,
Showing the way to joy.
Clean the slate, God, so we can start the day fresh!
Keep us from thinking we can take over your work.
These are the words in my mouth;
Accept them when I place them on the morning altar.*(Psalm 19, The Message)
Morning Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the gift of both heaven and earth to declare the glory of your Name. With all the rage, anger, shame, blustering, and downright foolishness swirling about our daily lives, it is good to remember that which is truly important. By your law and reason, we are given purpose in following Christ Jesus, and for that purpose how can we have any other response but to praise you along with the creation you made to delight in? In the words of the Psalmist, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.” Let us thank God in the prayer given to us by Jesus of Nazareth himself when he taught his closest friends and followers to pray:*
“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 trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.” *(Paul Yoder, inspired by Psalm 19)
Prayer of Confession: Forgive us, God when we so often mistake religious zeal for worship, and constant work for the Christian life. The culture we take part in now is just as the apostle Paul’s was in his time of writing, with no time or appreciation given to those who humble themselves to serve others. We are told every day the only way to make anything of ourselves is to yell the loudest, stomp hardest, and run the fastest, or we’ll be left behind. Paul writes to remind us that all these things he once counted as the greatest gain, he now counts as naught but loss in Jesus’ eyes. Protect us from ourselves and our own races and desires, and point us in the direction of true life, rather than the pale shadows of it here on earth. These things we humbly ask for, and pray.* (Paul Yoder, inspired by Phil. 3:3-14)
Assurance of Pardon: Take heart, little flock, for the Lord our God has made himself known to us and has given direction to the children he loves. He has given us freedom, and a chance to take part in the life he has planned for us. The Commandments on Mount Sinai were given in order to prepare those who heard and lived them out to have life, and have it abundantly. We all too often fail to notice the freedom these laws give, foolishly hearing only the “thou shalt not” opening to each statement. Rather, how wide and open is God’s love for us that he did not tell us what we must always do, but rather only gave a list of those things that are to be avoided. The rest of how to live out the Christian life is up to us, and praise God for the freedom he has given us in his love!* (Paul Yoder, inspired by Ex. 20:1-17)