According to the Presbyterian Church (USA) planning calendar, this past Sunday was Immigration Sunday, so that was the theme of our worship. I’m the kind of pastor that likes to run the theme of the sermon throughout the worship service, and when it’s as important and central a topic as immigration, I’m including the rest of the service material this morning as well. So welcome to our worship …
GATHERING IN GOD’S WORD
Letting God In
During this time, we invite you to prepare your heart and your mind for worship. We want you to be able to use this quiet time to settle your thoughts, set aside any distractions that may be troubling you, and focus your whole self on God. Open your heart, your mind, and your spirit, and let God into your life.
Centering Prayer: Love thy neighbor.
As you breathe in and out, pray God’s command
to “Love thy neighbor.”
Consider this phrase.
What does “love” mean? Who does “neighbor” encompass?
* Gathering Hymn – God Welcomes All (insert) (sing through 3 times)
* Opening Praise (from the Oct. 2009 stated meeting of the Tres Rios Presbytery)
One: At God’s table of justice,
Many: Everyone has a place and none are turned away.
ALL: Here strangers are welcomed as friends, the poor sit alongside the rich, and the upside-down kingdom of God is revealed.
One: At God’s table of abundance,
Many: A banquet of righteousness and liberation is set for all.
ALL: Here the powerless are heard; the outcasts are showered with honor, and the inside-out kingdom of God is revealed.
One: At God’s table of life,
Many: All peoples know peace, and creation flourishes.
ALL: Here the hopeless are nourished with possibility, and the complacent are transformed into advocates for change. Here in our very midst, the kingdom of God is revealed.
* Opening Hymn #11 (NCH) – Bring Many Names
* Joining in Prayer (from the Oct. 2009 stated meeting of the Tres Rios Presbytery)
Creating and sustaining God, your great commandment in Christ is that we love one another as Christ has loved us. We confess that we fail to embrace your liberating love. We divide where you would have us unite. We exclude where you would have us embrace. We choke the breath from your Word when its truth does not accommodate our fears. Forgive our hardness of heart. Mend our broken human family. Breathe into us the living Word of all-inclusive love. (Please take a moment for personal confession and reflection.)
In the name of Jesus, the healer of our souls, we pray.
* God’s Promise of Grace
Passing of the Peace
* Song of Peace: Let There Be Peace on Earth (back of the NCH)
HEARING GOD’S WORD
Old Testament reading – Jeremiah 7:1-7
New Testament reading – Mark 6:1-13
Sermon: If You’re Not Welcomed
Hymn #394 (NCH) – In Christ There Is No East or West
Prayers of the People
Sharing our lives in prayer
Sung response (printed on bulletin)
RESPONDING TO GOD’S WORD
Celebrating the Lord’s Supper – Our tradition in this congregation is to partake of the bread whenever you feel prepared to do so and to hold the wine/juice until all have been served so that we can all partake together. This gives us the chance to participate in this holy mystery as we participate in our faith – both as individuals and as a community.
Invitation to the Table (based on communion liturgy written by Cláudio Carvalhaes): Friends, Abraham was a border crosser. Isaac was a border crosser. Jacob and Joseph and Moses were border crossers. Joseph, Mary, and Jesus were border crossers in the midst of a genocide. The Holy Spirit crossed borders to start the church and is still crossing borders today. Churches are border crossing places. We are border crossing people, all of us with no exception. This country and every country are made of border crossers. We are heirs of border crossing people – people who journey, people who seek, people who strive for freedom and safety, peace and home. And in the midst of every border crossing, straddling lines and breaking down barriers, is this table … Jesus’ table. Brothers and sisters, this is a table prepared for you and for me by loving human hands and by the grace of God alone. No matter who you are … no matter where you come from this morning … no matter what you bring with you … you are welcome here, at this table and in this community.
Affirmation of Faith – The Immigrant’s Creed by Jose Luis Casal (insert)
One: God be with you.
Many: And also with you.
One: Lift up your hearts.
Many: We lift them up to God.
One: Let us give thanks to God Most High.
Many: It is right to give our thanks and praise.
Communion Prayer: Holy God, Father and Mother of us all, we raise our thanks, our praise, and our love to you. The Grand Story of Life is made up of wandering threads – the stories and struggles, the tales and triumphs of those who crossed borders for you and for the preservation of their faith. When you called to Abraham and Moses, they crossed borders of cities and countries, cultures and faith traditions to testify to your good name. And your people followed them. When the people turned away again, you called to your prophets, and they crossed borders of the people’s apathy, complacency, and greed to renew your Spirit and the power of your holy Word within their hearts and minds. In Jesus Christ, you crossed even the borders of humanity and death itself to remind your people of the immenseness and unconditional nature of your love. Jesus sat with sinners and outcasts – those who were suffering in body, mind, and soul – to prove to us all just how powerful crossing borders could be. And by your great power and love, Christ’s resurrection shattered the barriers between life and death forevermore, making each and every person a natural citizen of your everlasting Kingdom. Each time we turn away from you, Holy One – each time we wander and stray, each time we sojourn and find ourselves lost – you cross the borders and barriers that surround us to reveal your love to us again – to shower us with your grace and open our hearts and minds to your forgiveness. As we gather at this table that straddles the borders and brings even the most powerful to their knees in supplication, God, we pray that you would pour out your Holy Spirit upon us and upon these gifts of bread and [wine/juice], that the bread we break and the cup we bless may be the communion of the body and blood of Christ. By your Spirit, make us one with Christ, that we may be one with all who share this feast, united in ministry in every place. As this bread is Christ’s body for us, send us out to be the body of Christ in the world. In union with your church in heaven and on earth, we pray, O God, as Jesus taught us to pray, saying:
Lord’s Prayer: 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 sins as we forgive those who sin 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.
Words of Institution
Sharing the Bread and the Cup
Prayer of Thanksgiving (from the Oct. 2009 stated meeting of the Tres Rios Presbytery): Thanks be to you, O God, for your presence and your purpose. At this table of life, nourished with possibility, may we leave here renewed and transformed, your living sanctuaries of love and justice. Amen.
* Hymn of Response #591 (PH) – Praise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow
* Prayer of Dedication
* Hymn #2177 (Sing the Faith) – Wounded World That Cries for Healing
BEING SENT OUT IN GOD’S WORD
* Charge & Benediction
* Sending Hymn #499 (NCH) – Pues si vivimos (In All Our Living)
We will sing verse 1 in Spanish, then verse 1 again in English.
* indicates please rise in body or spirit as you are able