Welcome and Announcements
Announcing the Ash Wednesday service, Karl said, "Lent begins next Sunday," which threw me because I think of Lent starting on Ash Wednesday. I assume he meant that next Sunday is the First Sunday in Lent.
I have to decide if I'm changing my joy sadhana verse for Lent. I also have to really make a decision about whether I'm taking on any Lenten disciplines. I'm somewhat uncomfortable with using Lent as a trial run for self-improvement stuff. Since the point is, at core, to grow closer to God, I should probably just carve out a real morning prayer time or something.
Sarah G. announced a Leap Year young adult party at Sarah D's. Sarah D. said you just have to "feel like a young adult." Karl said, "Aren't we carrying our inclusiveness a little too far?"
Call to Worship
[One] In the name of the triune God: the Creator, the Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
Opening Prayer (unison)
God of power and grace, creator and renewer of all that is, we praise you for all the gifts that you have showered upon us. We praise you for the beauty we see around us, for the infinite variety of your creation, and for the unexpected and the surprising which add richness to our daily life. We praise you for your love which sustains and renews us, and we offer you our worship and our love; in the Name of Christ our Lord. Amen.
Hymn "Our God, to Whom We Turn"
I was meh on this, the tune particularly, but I did like verse 2:
You are indeed the truth; though we, who deign to find you,
have tried, with thought uncouth, in feeble words to bind you.
It is because you are we're driven to the quest;
till truth from falsehood part, our souls can find no rest.
Choral Call to Prayer
Prayer of Confession (unison)
Faithful and merciful God, we know that you offer us new life in Christ, but still we shut your Spirit out of our hearts and our lives. We have tried to live in our own way, and in our own strengths; we have strayed far from the paths that you want us to walk.
Forgive us. Take our failures, our half-hearted efforts, and our selfish prayers; and by the power of your Holy Spirit transform us into faithful members of your kingdom. Amen.
(N. Dixon, adapted)
Words of Assurance
Passing of the Peace of Christ
Karl said that someone once said that if the Passing of the Peace and/or Prayers of the People take up more time than the sermon then it's a good church :)
Scripture Reading Matthew 6:25-34
I was slated to be the lay reader, and for once I actually read the possible lectionary texts listed in the newsletter in advance. So I was like, "Okay, Transfiguration Sunday." So I was surprised when I got to church and read what was actually in the bulletin. I literally checked in two different Bibles (the Inclusive Bible I took off the pulpit and the regular pew Bible) to make sure.
Karl said he hadn't marked the reading, so I could use whichever Bible. I skimmed the Inclusive Bible and it didn't weird me out, so I went with that. However, it was small print, so I barely looked up for fear of losing my place, which made me a little sad.
Sermon "What, Me Worry?"
Karl asked us if we're anxiety-driven. He said he is, but that sometimes he surprises himself with an "underlying confidence that life will find a way, God will find a way, I will find a way." He said that he was looking through some older Presbyterian lectionaries and found this Matthew reading for the Sunday before the beginning of Lent and thought it was a message a lot of us, himself included, needed to hear.
He said that as Christians, we know two essential things: (1) God is good and God is full of grace. (2) God will provide for us what is needed for us to live faithfully and for us to live well. He said one word we can use to summarize this is: Providence, a big concept in the Reformed Tradition.
Affirmation of Faith: The Apostle's Creed
Hymn: "I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say" (vss. 1-4)
Prayers of Concern and Celebration
The Prayer of Christ (ecumenical version, in unison) Last week Karl said he was gonna start using a different version if that was okay with us.
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and forever. Amen.
Prayer of Dedication
Sacrament of Holy Communion
One of the unison bits (which threw me, because it starts out similar to CWM's -- "Pour out your Holy Spirit on us gathered here and on these gifts of bread and fruit of the vine. Make them be for us the bread of life and the quenching cup of blessing so that we may be the Body of Christ for the world, co-creating God's vision of peace and justice until all are reconciled and feast together at your table forever. Amen.") focused on Communion being about being in communion with the particular church community one is partaking with, which is often the resonance that Communion has had for me and which often disinclines me to take Communion (because I don't really feel like I am really part of that particular body).
Gracious God, pour out your Holy Spirit upon us and upon these your gifts, that the bread we break and the cup we take may be the communion of the body of Christ. By your spirit make us one with Christ, that we may be one with all who share this meal, 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. Amen.
Hymn: "O Holy Spirit, Root of Life"
Response: "Joy to the World!" (v. 1)