These are worship materials for the 17th Sunday after Pentecost--Call to Worship, Prayer of Invocation, scripture, sermon, and a haiku. To subscribe to the preaching from Church on the Hill, Lenox, as a podcast, start your search here.
When all falls away,
this remnant of what’s real: Church.
Seek, hold its frayed hem.
Call to Worship Philippians 2 Adapted
One: If there is any encouragement in Christ,
All: any consolation from love,
One: any sharing in the Spirit,
All: any compassion and sympathy,
One: make Godly joy complete.
All: Let’s be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.
One: Let’s do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit,
but in humility regard others as better than ourselves.
All: Let’s each of us look not to our own interests, but to the interests of others.
One: Let the same mind be in us that was in Christ Jesus—
All: Jesus, who was in the form of God and so
did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited,
One: Jesus, who emptied himself, taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
All: Being found in human form, he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross.
One: Therefore, God also highly exalted him
and gave him the name that is above every name,
All: so that at the name of Jesus every knee might bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
One: and every tongue might, in joy, confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
so appealing will his love be.
All: This is to the glory of God the Father.
One: And by this it might be so, which we proclaim in greeting one another,
“The peace of the Lord be with you.”
All: And also with you.
Prayer of Invocation
Disruptive God, who abides with us through times of calm and of crisis, and who speaks even in the depth of silence which feels like it might swallow us, we pray to you and in you.
We’d built a stable society, but lately we’ve watched it wobble as it no longer inspires confidence, as it so little serves. Illness threatens. Loss pervades. Our governance, which relies on the consent of “we the people,” challenges this freely given consent.
Is this bad news, or good?
Is this crisis and desolation, or new freedom and opportunity?
Is this an end to our security, or a new chance to live in deeper trust?
Are you among us, or not?
For here we are. Here we’ve come—a gathered, if exiled, witness of your presence, even in felt absence; a, though scattered, speaking forth of our faith, even amidst your holy silence.
Speak to us in the silence.
Bless us with your presence, even as so much has fallen away.
In lament, we hope.
In our feeling lost, you find us, reassure us.
We begin again, here and now, having once died, now resurrected, in time, on this day, just as shall be in the forever after, just as is with your Son, Christ Jesus, whose presence undoes the world and ushers in your reign. Bless us to live amidst this reign, that you might truly and most assuredly be among us, now and forever. Amen.