Sunday, January 28, 2018

Prayer as We Gather:  Lord, we enter your tent of meeting this day grateful for men whose actions reflect respect for the women and girls in their lives.  May our worship of you consistently mirror ancient Biblical principles of mercy-tinged justice, and may this congregation continue to produce fathers, sons, brothers, and husbands worthy of the trust you invest in them.  Hold us accountable when we ignore the prophetic words of those you send among us to speak your truth.  Amen.*(Mitchell Simpson, inspired by Deuteronomy 18)

Call to Worship: 

I give thanks to God with everything I’ve got.

God’s works are worth a lifetime of study, endless enjoyment!

God’s generosity never gives out.

This God of grace and love remembers to keep the ancient promise.

God manufactures truth and justice,

Never out-of-date, never obsolete, rust-proof.

God is so personal and holy, worthy of our respect.

The life of faith is grounded in respectful awe toward God. (Psalm 111, The Message)

Morning Prayer:  Thank you, Lord, for continuing to raise up from among your children prophetic voices like Moses and Hannah.  Grant each of us discernment to recognize your truth and courage to live it, wisdom to expose deceit in high places.  As with the ancient Biblical prophets, hold us accountable when we do not listen to your voice or arrogantly speak a word in your name which you haven’t commanded, for we make our appeal in the name of him who taught us to pray, saying …*(Mitchell Simpson, inspired by Deuteronomy 18)

Prayer of Confession:  Forgive our forgetting, Lord, that “knowledge makes people arrogant, but love builds people up.”  Our self-concept is more often grounded in what we know, what degrees we’ve earned, what facts we can marshal, than in our capacity for loving others just as they are.  Our masks of pride betray our deep insecurity, right down to the way we worship and the folks we deny our compassion. Have mercy on our pretending to know more than we do. Amen.*(Mitchell Simpson, inspired by 1 Corinthians 8)

Assurance of Pardon:  I have good news:  Our Galilean Lord, who bids us deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow him, amazed onlookers by his teaching, “for he was teaching them with authority, not like the legal experts” with their vaunted knowledge.  If you are willing to be his disciple, you too can amaze people by the sheer mystery of God’s grace.  All around you, people are hurting, longing for hope.  They do not need one more self-appointed expert, they need the Lord.  If you know the Lord, why not share him?  If you don’t know him, this very day you can decide to follow him.  Rejoice!*(Mitchell Simpson, inspired by Mark 1)