Sermon--The Ethereal and the Earthy Real
Updated: Mar 22
Once again, we are worshiping on line rather than in person. So, here are the Call to Worship and the Prayer of Invocation as text, which you can join in the recitation of with this recording of it. (Scripture begins at 4:45; sermon begins at 13:00.) Below you'll find a link to the text of the scripture and sermons, and a link to a recording of all four elements of our service.
* Call to Worship Ephesians 5 adapted.
One: Once we were darkness,
All: but now in the Lord we are light.
One: Let us live as children of light—
All: for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true.
One: Let us try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord.
All: We will take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness,
One: Instead, we will offer our lives to the light.
All: For what we do secretly becomes shameful,
One: But everything brought to light becomes visible, redeemable.
All: We are as sleepers aroused.
One: “Awake! Rise from the dead!”
All: Rise to the life that truly is life.
One: So it will be as we now proclaim in greeting one another,
“The peace of the Lord be with you.”
All: And also with you.
Prayer of Confession (in unison)
Gracious God, in whom we live and move and have our being: we pray that in our mandated isolation, we might know your presence within us and all about us; we pray that in our quarantining we might express love for our neighbors as ourselves. These are uncertain times, unlike any we’ve ever known. We brace for calamity and hope that we’ll prove to be the sort of people our practice of faith would have us be—magnanimous, self-giving, imaginative, responsive, faithful, persistent, showing forth love if from a distance.
We pray this amidst a world that is yet in the making—this realm yet to be perfected, yet to be made whole. We pray this that we might recognize in Christ your creative will at work and our way as well into such happy labor. Bless us to be attuned to what’s real. Bless us that our hopes, high as they are, might find grounding in the world where they’re to be manifest.
Wake us up to life’s demands. Shake us from the sleepy ideologies that defy or deny the actual. Assure us that, as unnerving as things are, they are also the seedbed for blessing, the realm for your revelation of the power of love even amidst hardship, or especially amidst hardship.
On this 4th Sunday of Lent, as we close in on the cross, help us to know that the pains you call us to in this created order of things are the very place of your outpouring of grace upon grace.
This we pray in the faith and work of Christ, your Son and our Savior. Amen.
Words of Assurance
Faith has been thought an escape from the world. The Christian faith is an imperative to engage the world, to work as Christ worked that all might be saved, that all might be whole and perfect and complete. We are not there yet. But Christ is, and he beckons to us from the end, walks with us amidst this middle, and graces us with the creative power as seen in the beginning. With him, we face an unfinished world and we get to work in love. Thanks be to God.