Call to Worship
One: We are a people of the great commandment
All: We are a people of love
One: Always calling one another
All: Always called by our God
One: The body of Christ with its many members
All: The body of Christ with its many miracles
One: We are a people of the Spirit
All: We are a people for today
One: Let us lift our voices as one
All: We lift them in worship and praise
Divine Mystery, Loving God: We are a people gathered together in your name, in the name of your Son, our savior, in the power of the Holy Spirit. We are a people gathered, threads on a loom, woven into this amazing church, this witness, this hope.
Loving Father, we are both the weaving and weavers. We pray that our weaving is pleasing to you even as we become, even as we are transformed together in your great work.
Weave from us, we ask, a garment of love, of joy, of praise. Weave from us a cloak of comfort, strong cloth for hard labor, beautiful cloth for miraculous days, warm cloth for cold nights, and even, we pray, a shroud for the journey.
Weave from us, we ask, weave from us all, a shimmering garment of many colors, a Joseph coat, a miracle, a masterwork. Bind and tie us one to another, each strengthened by those around us, each unique, amazing, loved.
As your Son selected his disciples, Peter and Mary and Salome and John, and turned them into a church, woven into the fabric of your kingdom, so you turn us into a church, living, growing, weaved and woven. And so we pray as your church, your kingdom, in the words he taught us saying: “Our Father… trespasses… for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.”
Prayer of Confession
You call us a covenant people, a people gathered, but we are alone. Alone behind walls of our own construction. My rights, my property, my privacy. Mine. And yet you call, again and again, calling us out from that small life that hides behind those walls. You call and we emerge, only to retreat, convinced that this is what you want from us, for us: human justice, personal salvation. Mine.
And so we call to mind those times when we have forgotten your radical call to love, to love God, to love each other, remembering only to love ourselves. We call to mind these moments when we have hidden behind the walls of selfishness, of selfness, when we have missed opportunities to be more ourselves by forgetting ourselves.
We are a people called, forgiven and forgiving. Call us still, forgive us still, even as we reflect upon our failures, growing from them into our true selves, a great choir of worship and love. Amen.
Assurance of Pardon
Know this: God will never fail to reach for us, God will never fail to call to us, infinite patience and infinite love calling us into communion, into the kingdom, into a romance with one another, with life, with this blessed creation. Dare and God will dare with you. Fall and God will reach out. Be amazing, be love, be the church the changes the world, be with me in this radical love, and God will be with us. Amen.
Imperfectly Perfect: Our Lives Together
Most of us know the story. The Allies were within hours of reaching the camp when Prisoner Bonhoeffer was taken from his cell, escorted to the gallows, and executed. His crime was treason against the Third Reich, specifically, he had joined a plot to assassinate Hitler. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Reformed pastor and committed pacifist, had become a modern martyr, a witness to Christ. Most of us know these facts. His letters from prison are widely read, as is his thin volume titled “Life Together.” We know this Bonhoeffer, the man of courage who returned from London to lead an underground seminary.
There is another Dietrich Bonhoeffer we often neglect, the committed theologian who struggled with this beautiful church situated in an ever-changing world. In his dissertation, Sanctorum Communio, Bonhoeffer wrote about sacred community, and he made one very bold claim. You do not stand alone. God did not execute a covenant with individuals. God executed a covenant with a people. You are not a person without others, we only become ourselves in the context of community, we are only in relationship when the God-called in us is connected to the God-called other. Now, this should make perfect sense to us, after all, Jesus promises to be with us if two or more are gathered in his name. He tells us to baptize one another and to break bread together, to feed and clothe and visit. Of course, Jesus also tells us to sometimes enter seclusion, to go off and pray in quiet. We are at once together and alone. Continue reading →