I will extol the LORD at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.
I will glory in the LORD;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the LORD with me;
let us exalt his name together.
Almighty God, we exalt Your name! May Your praise be always on our lips. And may it be good news to the afflicted. In the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus the Christ, God, You have said that we are Yours; We are forgiven and freed; and we are called by You to be about Your business in the world. You are not bound by our visions, our structures, our doctrine, our rules. We cannot predict Your coming or going. Yet You have given us Your story, Your family, Your work to do. Meet us here. Shape us for your service in the world, for we carry the name of Jesus and we live by the power of Your breath. Amen.
Sermon Title - Serving God with All Five Senses - Sight
Hymn - Open My Eyes, That I May See
(adapted slightly from Feasting on the Word Worship Companion, copyright 2014, Westminster John Knox Press)
You know the complicated histories that have carried us to this moment.
You know the names of all our generations, for You are there in each story of falling away and returning home, in our long years of wandering, and in the shining moments when we recognize Your presence and find the grace to worship You.
You are no stranger to the striving or the listlessness of humanity.
Incarnate God, all of creation is groaning, and so we dare to ask that You would come to us; be born again in this place. In the midst of our boredom, our distractions, our self-centeredness, our closed off vision, startle us with the cry of the first breath of life, life that will not be restrained. Strengthen in us the fruits of Your Spirit, and teach us to pray for all those who are in need:
We pray for all who flee from pasts by which they are haunted.
We lift up all who feel abandoned by a future for which they hoped, afraid of a future without hope, or overwhelmed by a future that seems uncertain.
We plead for all who do not know they they are loved and chosen. May Your love be made known to all.
We intercede for our own divided souls and communities.
Help us to trust that You are at work in every mingled heart and conflicted community.
Nourish the life You plant within us, that we might spread Your truth and Your grace wherever we go.
As your church, though still divided, we embody our unity by joining our voices in the words of Jesus who taught us to pray ...
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 debts, as we forgive our debtors.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever.
Go in the grace, mercy, and peace of God, the Father
the love of Jesus Christ, His one and only Son
and the fellowship of His Holy Spirit
both now and forever