Sermon--Do You Want to Come to Church with Me?
Here's the prayer of invocation from the 3rd Sunday of Epiphany.
Transcendent God, You are before us and above us; You create all that is and move in history as providential good will. By You, all coheres; by You, all is held in mind and heart. By You, nothing is forgotten or lost, laid to waste; by You, all is remembered and redeemed, put to good purpose though often beyond our perceiving. Help us to rest assured amidst this, Your eternal presence and persistence.
Imminent God, You are among us and within us; You enlighten our minds and kindle our curiosity. By You, our wonder might be blessed so to become wisdom; by You, the living of our days brings both constancy and surprise, continuity and transformation. During this time of retreat, worship as sanctuary from the world, grant us Your presence to be felt as close as our next breath, and grant that in our presenting ourselves to one another, your Church might be made real once again.
Incarnate God, You tell us to follow, not giving us a map but a lived way, not promising a plan but an aim, and not claiming control but demonstrating faithful response, which ever renews Your ancient promise to be our shepherd and guide. Gather us once again in this promise, and grant us a spirit for gathering others in as well.
Forgive us that we shy away from this commissioning. Forgive us our misunderstanding that to call others to join is an act of imposing religion rather than offering presence. Help us instead to discern what is distinct about your realm which we engage in worship, to recognize what here appeals to us, and to bring this distinct appeal to a world where it is missing—tenderness, expression of care, appreciation of beauty, reverence for one another, enjoyment in the spirit, the exaltation of love as exemplified in Your son.
Forgiven and filled once again with your hope, we gather our hearts for worship, open our minds to wonder, and promise our lives to life abundant for all creation which you so love. Amen.
And here's the sermon: