November 14, 2021
As we move towardtheculmination of the church year on Christ the Sovereign Sunday, our scriptures begin to look toward the end of things as they are, and God’s new Creation.
In 1 Samuel 1. 4-20 Hannah is one of a man’s two wives. She has borne no children, and the other wife provokes her. At the temple she prays for a child. The priest belittles her, but she stands up for her prayer—which in due time is answered.
1 Samuel 2.1-10 Is Hannah’s prayer of thanks. God is great. The prayer celebrates God’s reversal of the fate of the lowly and the rich, which will be echoed in Mary’s Magnificat on the fourth Sunday of Advent. [Alternate: Psalm 113 gives thanks that God raises up the poor and gives barren women children.]
Hebrews 10.11-25 says that through Jesus’ sacrifice our sins have been removed once for all. Therefore rather than worry about our forgiveness, our faith can focus on bearing witness, doing good, and encouraging one another.
In Mark 13. 1-8 Jesus warns that the temple will be destroyed, frightening changes will occur and his followers will be persecuted. But he describes this not as the end of the world, but as “birthpangs.”
Call to Worship
Leader: Eternal God, we praise you!
All: Amidst all that changes, you are present.
You have been here forever, waiting for us.
We are here, to be present for you.
Let all that is passing fall away.
With open hands, we let go of all but you.
Alleluia! Spirit of Life, transform us by your grace. Alleluia!
Leader: Eternal God, Creator of all that is and all that is to come, we praise you.
All: Risen Christ, you who hold the door open for us into this world, and into the next,
we greet you, and we listen for your voice.
Holy Spirit, you who transform all things, we open our hearts to your presence.
Holy One, Breath of Life, Flesh of Love and Bone of Faithfulness, we thank you.
You are the turning of the world; you are the Mysterious Unfolding within us.
We come to you to worship, to be blessed, to be changed.
Alleluia! Come, Spirit of Grace, and transform us according to your will. Alleluia!
Collect / Prayer of the Day
Eternal God, so much changes around us. So much is passing. So much is frightening. But you are present with us, steadfast and solid in your love. We open our hearts to your presence, to your Word, to your Spirit living in us. Help us to hear, to be healed, and to be made new. We pray in the spirit of Christ, who has died and is risen and is with us always. Amen.
Holy God, you make this world, and remake it according to your grace. You move this world toward your will. Help us to move with you. Speak to us, and strengthen our hearts, so that we can be faithful to you always. Amen.
Prayer of Confession
The grace of God be with you.
And also with you.
Trusting in God’s tender mercy, let us confess our sin to God with one another.
Gentle God, we confess that we have left your ways
and followed the ways of the world
ways that will fail and not endure.
We have fit in with the culture
rather than staying true to your Spirit in us.
Forgive us; re-root us in your Spirit,
and remake us in the image of Christ. Amen.
SILENT PRAYER… THE WORD OF GRACE
Response / Creed / Affirmation
Holy God, we know you as the Creator of all that is and all that is to come, who makes and remakes the world in love and wisdom. You are moving this world toward perfect love, transforming all Creation by grace.
We look to Jesus, your Christ, the embodiment of your presence among us. He taught and healed, proclaimed your Word, gathered a community, and announced the coming of your Realm of Grace. In his death and resurrection you have shown us the end of the world to which we cling and the coming of a new heaven and earth. He lives among us, accompanying us in faithful living and prophetic witness.
We live by the power of the Holy Spirit, your transforming energy within and among us. As one church, the Body of Christ, we bear witness to your grace, practice your forgiveness, work for justice, rely on your promise of resurrection, and see all things in light of the eternity of all that is rooted in you. We devote ourselves to proclaiming your good news to all peoples, for the sake of the transformation of the world. Amen.
When the towers fell
“Do you see these great buildings?
Not one stone will be left here upon another.”
When the towers fell
it seemed the center of the world had vanished,
but the center, it turns out, is elsewhere.
When the towers fell
it seemed the end of the world,
but wars and rumors
have come and gone, and here we are.
They said everything changed
but nothing changed.
Empires come, and pass. Stones fall.
Hate and anger are still unable to build, but only destroy.
Still some people harm; some bless.
We seek stones unfallen, but stones still fall.
Even stones are made of smoke.
Listen. Things happen, things pass;
but they don’t express God’s love for you.
That’s constant. And so is God’s invitation.
Now—before the tower of this moment falls—
is the time to decide whether to be kind and how,
whether to show mercy.
This is the moment—unchanging—
and always has been, the moment
(Click on titles to view songs on the Music page.)
God of the Future [Tune: SLANE – Be Thou My Vision]
God of our dark night, and God of our day,
God of our journey, whose will is our way,
when our path dims and the future’s unknown,
still you walk with us; we’re never alone.
Though the familiar should fade and turn strange,
your steady love for us never will change.
So when we worry and can’t see the way
Love, still your grace is enough for today.
All that is taken and all that we lose,
all of the cost of the path that we choose
never compares with the grace you impart:
faithful and gracious, you give us your heart.
Bless all the journeys we still are to make.
May they shed mercy and light for your sake
Lead us with courage on journeys unknown,
walking in blessing, and never alone.
Be our companion, our courage, our nerve,
You, the heart in us, to love and to serve.
Blessings you promise, whatever befall.
Still you walk with us, O lover of all.
In All that Changes (Tune: Breathe on Me, Breath of God)
In all that changes, God, all that will fail or fall,
your loving presence still abides, and will not fade at all.
In all that changes, God, your love is strong and sure.
Therefore we give in thanks for grace, and trust it will endure.
Through raging storm and sea, you are the rock that stands.
Free from all else, we give ourselves into your loving hands.
Love Will Bear Us Over (Tune : Holy Manna)
When our world is changing ‘round us and we long for good old days,
what that lasts will bear us over to new earth, new heaven, new ways?
Love will lead us when the path is unfamiliar, come what may:
set our heart to love our neighbors and our feet will find the way.
Christ gives us a new commandment: “Share the love that you’ve been given.”
When we do we’re resurrected, entering new earth and heaven.
When we love our neighbor more than caring for what used to be,
then our love will bear us over, then our love will set us free.