The Presbyterian Church at Woodbury
September 5, 2021
15th Sunday after Pentecost
PRAYER OF PREPARATION
Heavenly Father, we know that You have made us for Yourself, to love You and to love our neighbors. Yet still we cannot help but live for ourselves, and every day we justify ourselves by our own standards, not Yours. But Lord, you have found us in the ditch, and You have rescued us. Now soften our hearts to Your will, and make us to love others as You have loved us; especially those who are most in need, whom we pass by every day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
PRELUDE “I Love the Lord” James Southbridge
CALL TO WORSHIP
Gather us in, Lord, and hear our prayers.
We have come to this place in need for healing and hope.
Gather us in, Lord, and heal our spirits.
We come here seeking guidance and strength.
Gather us in, Lord, and open our hearts to receive your word.
Open our hearts, our spirits, our souls to comprehend your word and follow you faithfully. AMEN.
CALL TO RECONCILIATION
Do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. The Lord is not slow about this promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.
PRAYER FOR FORGIVENESS
Lord, sometimes we are confused. We hear the bad news continually shouted on TV, radio, in the newspapers, magazines. The whole world seems to be shrieking in pain. Innocent people are being destroyed by the whims of the wicked. Disease and pestilence reign supreme in too many parts of the world. We turn an indifferent ear to the cries of others, often because we are so overwhelmed by the needs and feel helpless in the face of such chaos. We close our eyes. We walk away, often crossing over to the side of self-importance and indifference because we are afraid to become involved. Our society is quick to sue and slow to heal. We succumb to those pressures in our fear. Help us, O Lord. Heal our spirits as well as our bodies. Open our hearts and our eyes to see you, O Christ, that we may be empowered to service rather than apathy. Forgive us, Lord, forgive us. Make us ready to truly become your disciples. For we ask these things in Jesus’ name. AMEN.
Silence is observed
ASSURANCE OF PARDON
Do not be afraid. God’s love is reaching out to you, to touch your hurt and wounds and to provide healing. Receive God’s blessing and be assured of God’s eternal love for you. AMEN.
RESPONSE “Gloria Patria”
PASSING OF THE PEACE OF CHRIST
Our peace comes from knowing how much God loves us in Jesus Christ. With God’s help, we try to love and forgive one another as Christ loves and forgives us.
“The peace of Christ be with you,”
“And also with you.”
ANTHEM “A Canticle of Hope” Joseph Martin
(all children will remain in the sanctuary)
PRAYER OF ILLUMINATION
4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.[a] 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. 6 Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. 7 Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. 8 Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem[b] on your forehead, 9 and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
25 Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus.[a] “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” 27 He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.”
29 But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii,[b] gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
SERMON “What do you mean by love?” Mr. David LaMotte *
AFFIRMATION OF FAITH The Apostles’ Creed
I BELIEVE in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth,
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.
THE SACRAMENT OF HOLY COMMUNION
Come to the Lord’s Table, all you who love him. Come to the Lord’s Table, confess your sin. Come to the Lord’s Table, be at peace.
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to you, Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to praise you, Lord.
It is right, and a good and joyful thing, Always and everywhere to give thanks to you, Holy Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. From the rising of the sun to its setting your name is praised among all peoples. Therefore, we praise you, joining our voices with your people on earth and all the company of heaven who forever sing this hymn to the glory of your name:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord, God of power and might Heaven and earth are full…Full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest! Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is the One who comes In the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest! Hosanna in the highest!
You are holy, Almighty One! Blessed are you, Jesus Christ! In the power of the Spirit you created all things, blessed them, and called them good. You called to yourself a people To make your mercy and truth known in all the world. We betrayed your calling;
You were faithful.
We wandered from the way;
You called us to return, and led us home.
And still we turned from your ways, abused your creatures, and made ourselves slaves to sin and death. At the right time you came and dwelt among us, as one of us, bringing good news to the poor, healing the sick, raising the dead, sharing table with the unrighteous, and teaching the way that leads to life. By your incarnation, life, suffering, execution and resurrection You gave birth to your church, delivered us from slavery and made a new covenant with us by water and the Spirit. Blessed Trinity, in remembrance of all you have done to save us, we offer ourselves to you in praise and thanksgiving as a holy and living sacrifice, in union with Christ’s offering for us, as we proclaim the mystery of our faith:
Christ has come among us. Christ has died.
Christ has risen. Christ abides with us.
Christ will come again.
Pour out your Spirit on us
Pour out your Spirit on us
Pour out your Spirit on these gifts
Pour out your Spirit on these gifts
Make these gifts the body and blood of Christ
Make us, through them, Christ’s body alive in the world.
Let your kingdom come!
Glory to you!
Come, Lord Jesus!
Be our daily bread.
Glory to you!
Send us to the world.
Glory to you!
As we offer glory to Triune God, we lift our prayers in the name of the one who taught us to pray, saying…
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen.
Breaking Bread & Pouring Cup
On the night of your betrayal, Lord Jesus, you took bread, blessed it, broke it, gave it to your disciples and said, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
You did the same with the cup after the supper, saying, “This cup that is poured out is the new covenant in my blood.”
Communion & Musical Interlude
Lord, you now have set your servants free to go in peace as you have promised. For these eyes of ours have seen the Savior whom you have prepared for all the world to see! Blessing and honor and glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.
OFFERING OF TITHES & OFFERINGS
The first words of the Bible are about God’s own generosity. God gave us the gifts of a beautiful creation, our home, the good green earth and the animals that live here with us.
On this fall morning, we come together to thank God and to offer our gifts so that the ministry of this church will continue to grow and be a blessing to the world. Let us gather our gifts together and offer them to God in gratitude and praise.
* PRAYER OF DEDICATION
God of grace, we hear your call to generous giving in the way you meet our needs each day, and in the peace you give which passes understanding. Having received so much, we offer all we have, our time, talents and money for your kingdom. Bless these gifts for the work of your church. Amen
“Love Divine, All Loves Excelling”
David LaMotte is an award-winning songwriter, speaker and writer. He has performed over 3000 concerts and released twelve full-length CDs of primarily original music, touring in all of the fifty states, as well as five of the seven continents. The Boston Globe Belfast writes that his music “pushes the envelope with challenging lyrics and unusual tunings, but he also pays homage to folk tradition,” while BBC Radio Belfast lauds his “charm, stories, humour, insightful songs, sweet voice and dazzling guitar ability.”
His dense speaking and workshop calendar has included presenting at the PC(USA) Mission to the United Nations, keynoting peace conferences in Berlin and at the Scottish Parliament, as well as offering the baccalaureate for 2016 graduates of Columbia Seminary. As a keynote speaker, and then Critical Conversations Coordinator, he has facilitated conversations about race, privilege, and positive change for thousands of college students at the Montreat College Conference. His TEDx talk on what music can teach us about peacemaking was published in 2018.
David makes his home in Black Mountain, North Carolina, with his wife Deanna and son Mason. He is currently looking forward to returning to speaking and performing, post-pandemic, hosting a digital community on Patreon.com, writing songs, and writing his next book, tentatively titled, “Harmony: What Music can Teach Us About Peacemaking In a Troubled Time.”