I don't actually know the title of this song, but it's a familiar upbeat song: "I will sing a song to the God . . . Hallelu, hallelu, hallelujah, glory to the God." [I'm fairly certain the original is "Lord;" I can't swear to the "the," but the choir definitely sang "God."] Munir played tambourine.
The Silent Prayer of Preparation was v. short, which annoyed me (since I always feel like I don't have enough time during these silent prayer moments anyway).
Call to Worship:
Give thanks to God, for God is good.
The steadfast love of God endures forever.
Ever loving God, our hearts long for you, our spirits yearn for you; we desire to know your presence, we seek your face. Open our eyes to behold your coming, cleanse our minds to accept your presence, touch our hearts to accept your love, that we have give ourselves in love to you as you give yourself to us. Amen. (David Adam)
Hymn: "When Morning Gilds the Skies"
Choral Call to Prayer:
I don't know this hymn, but it was really well-done. I wanna say it sounded like a requiem, but I don't know if that's the word I want. It was like an organ and really professional voices.
Prayer of Confession:
Eternal God, in whom we live and move and have our being, whose face is hidden from us by our sins, and whose mercy we forget in the blindness of our hearts: Cleanse us from all our offenses, and deliver us from proud thoughts and vain desires, that with reverent and humble hears we may draw near to you, confessing our faults, confiding in your grace, and finding in you our refuge and strength; though Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen. (BCW)
Dude, the passing of the peace took forever, and I counted literally 20 or 21 people. Not a big crowd. How did we manage to traffic jam?
Time for our Children:
David talked about when we want something we ask for it, right? and how "God wants us to ask God."
The closing prayer included: "help me God to ask for the right things"
The first Scripture reading was Genesis 18:20-32, and it opened: "Then the Lord said, 'How great is the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah.' "
I was jarred, but remembered that yes, this is one of the lectionary readings this week. In my blogroll wandering earlier in the week, I had read a sermon on that passage, but I had forgotten about that having been distracted by Tiffany's posts on the Luke reading.
Also, the guy reading it (Trevor, of Trevor and Keri)? Boring. Not a bad reading, certainly competent, but there really wasn't much there. I can see why people appreciated my reading (wow that sounds egotistical) and suspect I'm gonna be particularly attentive to (read: critical of) this in the future.
Again, I don't know this song, but it was a really nice slow melodic piece.
The NT reading was Luke 11:1-13, which I was expecting (see above). I hadn't realized, however, that the prayer isn't quite the version we recite nowadays.
David opened by saying there's a phrase one hears a lot on ESPN and at the office which really gets on his nerves: the phrase "he hasn't got a prayer." "What an indictment of the speaker and his view of the world," he said, to believe that there are situations that are so hopeless that even God can't help. I thought Joe F. would appreciate that.
He said that prayer is about building a relationship with God.
He talked about the Genesis passage, how the conversation is presented as just a conversation, no fancy language or anything.
Then he went through the prayer Jesus outlines in Luke. There wasn't anything unexpected or profound, but I did like that he mentioned that we are to pay honor/respect as to a beloved parent rather than distant a far-off ruler.
He mentioned that sometimes he thinks God gives us what we ask for so that we keep coming back, so that eventually we learn to ask for the one thing we truly need: The Holy Spirit (cf. the end of the Luke reading).
I was uncomfortable with the idea that if we're persistent God will give us what we ask for, 'cause it just doesn't always work like that -- plus that brings us in to the uncomfortable logic of God helping those who have a lot of people praying for them over people who don't have very many people praying for them.
Hymn: "O God, Our Help in Ages Past"
At Coffee Hour, Tim was asking me about why I picked CHPC and what my church background (if any) was. I explained, and said I might check out the Congregational church this fall. He mentioned (not in a pressuring kind of way) that Sarah'll be the new intern this fall, will be up in the pulpit. I would like to be around for that. I am seriously considering doing a "longitudinal study" at the local Congregational church this fall, though. (It and CHPC were my top choices after my most recent ecumenical Advent, and CHPC won out 'cause attending there would allow me to sleep later -- a 5-minute walk starting at 10:30 versus a 20-minute walk starting at 10.)