"To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever." (1 Timothy 1:17, NRSV)
TextWeek.com gives a lot of lectionary readings, so I got to CHPC ten minutes early to see which ones we were doing since I was the lay reader and I want to have read the passage(s) through myself at least once before getting up in front of a congregation and reading them aloud. However, I got talking to Rachel (who sits in the next to first row, because she's hard of hearing, and I ended up sitting next to her) and ended up not actually reading until during a viola(?) solo during the Introit or something.
In the Announcements, Karl talked about Advent beginning next week and noted that today is November 25 so in exactly one month it is Christmas Day. (Four weeks and two days.)
Call to Worship:
One: Let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before God, our Maker.
All: Let us come into God's presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to God with songs of praise.
(Psalm 95, v.3&2)
Infinite and everlasting God, whose will is to restore all things in your well-beloved Son: Grant that the people of earth may be freed and brought together under his gentle and loving rule. Grant as well that our worship may bring us to a greater love for you and a deeper understanding of your authority in our lives. Amen.
Hymn: "Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise"
Choral Call to Prayer
In the invitation to Silent Prayer, Sarah G. invited us to think about our bodies, to notice all the tension and restlessness and such that prevents us from being in a worshipful frame of mind, and then to let go of all that. While I was thrown by the opening, I really liked it. It's so easy for us to focus on internal stuff (mental, spiritual) at church, but we are embodied individuals.
Prayer of Confession (unison):
Righteous God, you gave Jesus to the world to both savior and ruler. We confess that we have not acknowledged his rule. We give our allegiance to the powers of this world and fail to be governed by justice and love.
In your mercy forgive us. Raise us to acclaim him as ruler of all, that we may be loyal and faithful citizens of the new community he has begun and you will complete. Amen.
Words of Assurance, The Gloria, Passing of the Peace of Christ
Scripture Reading: 1 Timothy 6:12-16
Anthem: "It Is Well With My Soul"
Scripture Reading: Luke 22:66-23:3
During Jesus' response to the elders, I thought the quotation marks ended sooner than they actually did, so I changed my inflection and then felt stupid when I realized my error. I told this to both Liz and Alex when after service they commented positively on my reading (Liz said when I read she can tell I'm really thinking about what I'm reading) and they said they hadn't noticed at all, which was comforting.
Sermon: "Christ The Center of Authority"
Karl talked about two "problematic" (his word) terms: Authority and Autonomy
He said we like our autonomy and don't want anyone to have authority over us, to make rules for us. I thought, "No, if that were true, everyone would be libertarians, and I would be a lot happier." But as he continued talking, I thought about how there is some push for government to save us from ourselves (banning trans fats in restaurants, for example) but mostly it is that we want rules to circumscribe other people.
He talked about how there are some advantages to authority -- an orderly world, etc. -- which I appreciated, since hi, we are not sufficiently evolved for anarchy to work.
He said some people do like the language of kingship for Jesus because it's traditional and therefore comforting, but they often don't actually try to live their lives as if Jesus were the central authority in their lives, said they like the trappings but not implications. And people who don't like the language of kingship, he challenged them to come up with new language/imagery rather than just rejecting the idea of Christ as being the central authority in their lives.
Affirmation of Faith:
AN AFFIRMATION OF FAITHHymn: "We Hail You God's Anointed" (v. 1,2,3 -- yeah, I was amused that the verse we omitted begins "O'er every foe victorious...")
We believe in a bright and amazing God,
who has been to the depths of despair on our behalf;
who has risen in splendor and majesty;
who decorates the universe
with sparkling water, clear white light,
twinkling stars and sharp colors,
over and over again.
We believe that Jesus is the light of the world;
that God believes in us, and trusts us,
even though we make the same mistakes
over and over again.
We commit ourselves
to one another as brothers and sisters,
and to the Maker’s business in the world.
God said: Let There Be Light.
(The Iona Community)
Focus on Mission:
Dave(?) said he was a missionary kid, so while people generally think of missionary work as something that happens "over there," for him it was always happening "right here;" and he challenged us to think of mission that way, to try to model our lives on Christ in our day-to-day lives.
Offering, Prayer of Dedication
Hymn: "Come Now, Almighty God" (v. 1 &4)
I hadn't realized until I went to CyberHymnal.org this at home that the hymnal has PC-ified the original hymn ("Come, Thou almighty King").