Prayer as We Gather: O God of powerful mystery, blast through our ordered worship calculations the way your fiery chariot swept prophet Elijah up to heaven in a windstorm. Nothing less is likely to get our attention. Amen.*(Mitchell Simpson, inspired by 2 Kings 2)
Call to Worship:
God welcomes the sun in the east,
Farewells the disappearing sun in the west.
God blazes into view, makes an entrance,
Not shy in coming, preceded by starbursts of fireworks.
God summons heaven and earth as a jury,
Taking God’s people to court:
“Round up my saints who swore their loyalty to me.”
The cosmos attests that God is judge, God’s court is fair. (Psalm 50, The Message)
Morning Prayer: Thank you, Lord, when we as people of faith seem to be speaking a different language than the world about us, for so it was with the earliest followers of Jesus. Help us embody apostle Paul’s description of the church: “God’s slaves for Jesus’ sake, a light that should shine out of the darkness.” May your light shine in our hearts, piercing the veil Caesar is so desperate to place around the gospel, for we make our appeal through him whose death on a cross tore that veil in half, saying …*(Mitchell Simpson, inspired by 2 Corinthians 4)
Prayer of Confession: Lord, forgive our “Simon Peter Moments,” when we stammer in the presence of your dangerous wonder as Simon did when Jesus was transfigured, clothed in amazing brightness in front of his disciples. We’ve always found it easier to build shrines in Jesus’ honor than become living shrines of obedience to his commands. Instead of fretting over “What Would Jesus Do?”, help us ask “What Did Jesus Do?” and then just do it. Amen.*(Mitchell Simpson, inspired by Mark 9)
Assurance of Pardon: I have good news. It turns out God did leave us an instruction book on faith, after all. Actually, it’s more like an instruction sentence, when God spoke from the cloud after Jesus’ transfiguration: “This is my Son, whom I dearly love: Listen to him!” Thanks be to God for keeping it simple.*(Mitchell Simpson, inspired by Mark 9)