All posts by pastorndecker

I give what I have received. Please use all worship resources on this site at no cost. I only ask that you give credit to where they have come from by adding the following line: (CC) Nathan Decker, Worship's Wake

A Service of Remembrance of Baptism

When nothing but the chaos of the deepest darkness and the despair of the desert existed…

There was God and the flow of love.

God was there lovingly birthing creation.

God was there weaving salvation and redemption.

God was there dreaming of who the Church would be.

We gather today to remember the free gift of God’s action in our baptism.

God is here, sprinkling new birth and new creation in our midst.

God is here, pouring acceptance and forgiveness in new beginnings in our lives.

God is here, immersed in the many hues of our faces, the diversity of ripples in our being, and in the varied expressions of the Body of Christ.

On behalf of Christians everywhere I ask you:

Do you promise to do no harm, to let love’s waters flow in your words and actions toward those you love, those you hate, and those who hate you. We do.

Do you promise to do good, to let love’s waters flow so every person you encounter knows you recognize the divine image in them just as you recognize the divine image in yourself. We do.

Do you promise to follow Jesus, to let love’s waters flow through the church welcoming and affirming everyone as Christ is all and in all! We do.

Optional use of Apostle’s Creed or other catechism here.

Let us pray:

God, your love flows and is always more than enough.

When Moses and the wandering Israelites thirsted asking for just a trickle,

Your love flowed and provided a stream of life from the rock.

When Amos cried out for justice to roll down like an ever flowing stream,

Your love flowed and provided endless rivers of opportunities for mercy.

When Jesus came and was baptized by John in the River Jordan,

Your love flowed and opened up an ocean of grace to all people everywhere!

God, your love flows and is always more than enough.

Come, Holy Spirit, Come…

Let your love flow in these waters and be more than enough.

Let your love flow through those who recieve these waters.

Remind us You are Love.

Remind us we are loved.

Remind us to embrace one another in love.

God, your love flows and is always more than enough.  AMEN.

-Acts of Remembrance such as dipping hand in water and making the sign of the cross on the forehead –

Once everyone is finished…

God the Creator has birthed in you a new beginning.

Christ is all and in all.

Go now as Spirit-filled disciples

to let the world know God’s love flows and is more than enough.  AMEN.

(C) 2019 Nathan Decker, worshipswake.wordpress.com

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Our God-Given Rights

God Given Right

By Nathan Decker

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

US Declaration of Independence

 

Occasionally I’ll hear someone use the phrase, “It’s my God-given right.”  Our Founding Fathers used this as a part of their argument justifying their right to revolt, declare independence, and set up a new government.  Immediately following the American Revolutionary War, the phrase was again invoked by the Anti-Federalists who would not ratify the Constitution without the promise a Bill of Rights would be added to it to again protect our “God-given rights.”  Today, I hear people who don’t even seem to believe there is a God using the phrase as a defense of their own policies, behavior, life-style, and tendency to buck the system.

What are our “God-given rights”?  At first glance, the Bible doesn’t seem all that interested in the rights of humanity.  The context of the Bible was the experience of generous kings, despotic tyrants, and a Roman Republic that had devolved into an empire.  But a deeper reading shows that God is indeed interested in human rights.

In Genesis, God creates us male and female in the image of God.  This sets up a God-centered ethic on how we treat one another.  Treating each other as God-inspired individuals of equal and divine worth changes our behavior.  As Jesus would later illustrate, when we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and help those in need – we have done it to God.

In Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy, God’s people are given the Ten Commandments and a long list of instructions or laws about building a community and relating to God and one another.  In many ways this part of the Bible is the story of a God’s people trying to figure out how to live out what it means to be God’s people.  The emphasis here was “be holy as God is holy” or put another way, “be different than everyone else.  In Christianity, the Apostle Paul called this sanctification or the way that God’s grace continually reshapes us to be more Christ-like again returning us to the image of God.

What then is our God-given right?  We have been given the awesome responsibility to treat all human beings the same way we would treat our Lord and Savior, and to be treated in no less than the same divine light.  We have been given God-like dominion and power over science, medicine, and the environment; we are called to take care of this garden as a way of taking care of one another.  We have been given one another, and we are called to develop a sacred trust as a community.

As a people of faith, Christians don’t belong to any one nation or tribe.  Our allegiance is always first to our heavenly citizenship.  That’s why we are always so difficult.  As faithful disciples, we have a God-given responsibility to look out for humanity.  It doesn’t matter how you vote, whether you are pro-life or pro-gun, or even what side of the border you were born.  Because you are a human being, you are the image of God and deserving of certain God-given rights that we have the God-given responsibility to protect.  So often our arguments are about what we can take from each other, let’s not forget to focus on the rights and responsibilities God gave us.  After all, it’s what Jesus would do.

“Treat people in the same way that you want them to treat you.”

Jesus teaching in Luke 6:31

Beginning of School

God who lights the flame of knowledge,

This week a mom and dad cried as they dropped off their kindergartener.

Lord, watch over our children.

This week a new teacher stood in front of her class for the first time.

Lord, watch over our teachers.

This year a bus driver will have to go out in the cold and dark to start their route.

Lord, watch over our bus drivers.

This year a principal will have to make hard decisions.

Lord, watch over our schools administrators.

This year a mom and dad cried as they watched their senior drive to school.

Lord, watch over our children.

Challenge us with questions.

Bless us with safety.

Lead us to faith.

Lord, watch over us, your children.  Amen.

(C)2019, Nathan Decker, worshipswake.wordpress.com

Tears into Rainbows, Congregational Confession

There are two versions.  One for all to say the confession together, the other parsed for differing contexts of a diverse congregation.

 

Version 1 – as a congregational confession

 

God through painful rain and redeeming light:

Have mercy on us.

 

We bring our tears in our hands.

 

Tears wept upon the middle passage where humanity was ripped from us.

Tears wept in cotton fields, on bridges and in diners,

     in court rooms and in dreams the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

 

Tears wept by those who long held power.

Tears wept out of recognition

     the world we take for granted was built on the whipped backs of our enslaved brothers and sisters.

 

Tears because in order to gain freedom, some returned to a land they never knew as home.

Tears because we all are still seeking home today.

 

Tears wept in a repeating unrepentant history of blame, arrogance, hatred and apathy.

 

We have not loved You, Jesus.

We have not loved You in one another.

We have not loved You beyond skin, beyond language, and beyond borders.

 

Forgive us, we pray.

Shine your redeeming light through our tears

     so rainbow sight might come into our blind eyes

     so we can see the promise of Your presence

     so we can see You in everyone.

 

Children of God,

Christ came in the midst of our broken skies as light.

God has made his home among all people,

And God, himself, will wipe away every tear.

In the Name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven.

 

In the Name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven.

 

Celebrate visions of God in each of us!  Amen!

 

©2019, Nathan Decker.  Worshipswake.wordpress.com

 

 

Version 2 – as separate confessions

 

God through painful rain and redeeming light:

Have mercy on us.

 

(all)

We bring our tears in our hands.

 

(descendants of slaves)

Tears wept upon the middle passage where humanity was ripped from us.

Tears wept in cotton fields, on bridges and in diners,

     in court rooms and in dreams the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

 

(descendants of slave-owners)

Tears wept by those who long held power.

Tears wept out of recognition

     the world we take for granted was built on the whipped backs of our enslaved brothers and sisters.

 

(descendants of those who came from other lands)

Tears because in order to gain freedom, some returned to a land they never knew as home.

Tears because we all are still seeking home today.

 

(all)

Tears wept in a repeating unrepentant history of blame, arrogance, hatred and apathy.

 

We have not loved You, Jesus.

We have not loved You in one another.

We have not loved You beyond skin, beyond language, and beyond borders.

 

Forgive us, we pray.

Shine your redeeming light through our tears

     so rainbow sight might come into our blind eyes

     so we can see the promise of Your presence

     so we can see You in everyone.

 

Children of God,

Christ came in the midst of our broken skies as light.

God has made his home among all people,

And God, himself, will wipe away every tear.

In the Name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven.

 

In the Name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven.

 

Celebrate visions of God in each of us!  Amen!

 

©2019, Nathan Decker.  Worshipswake.wordpress.com

 

Prayer from 1 Corinthians 13

Love be patient; Love be kind.
Love teach us faithfulness; Love teach us humility.
Love show us gentleness; Love show us joy.
Love help us forgive; Love help us keep no score.
Love lead us to justice; Love lead us to truth.
Love endure, trust, and hope when we cannot.
Love never fail.  We’re depending on You.  
God, You are Love.  Amen.
(C)2019, Nathan Decker, Worshipswake.wordpress.com

There is God – Responsive Reading

We have cause to pause and ask:

Where is God in all of this?

Our world is filled with ill news of hate, cages of control, powers and principalities of evil.

Where is God in all of this?

When a woman is told she can’t possibly preach because she’s not a man.

Where is God in all of this?

When the color of our skin overrules the content of our character.

Where is God in all of this?

When who we are born to love excludes how we are loved.

Where is God in all of this?

Dramatic pause…

But…

There is God in all of this.

We can give the world the Good News,

release to the captives, sight to the blind,

liberty for the oppressed,

the time has come when You will save your people!           Isaiah 61:1

There is God in all of this.

Sons and Daughters will prophecy and preach!

The young will see visions, the old will dream dreams!             Acts 2:17

There is God in all of this.

All the nations, tribes and peoples:  Praise God!                    Psalm 117:1

There is neither Jew nor Greek;

there is neither slave nor free;

nor is there male and female,

for you are all one in Christ Jesus.                                             Galatians 3:28

There is God in all of this.

When our love reflects your love

There is God in all of this.

When our story becomes a part of your story

There is God in all of this.

When we share

There… that’s where God is in all of this.  Amen.

-©2019, Nathan Decker, worshipswake.wordpress.com

Rainbow Prayer

Holy God of Noah,

Whose love brought salvation to all from the floods of chaos and hatred:

In the Rainbow you gave your promise to all your creation-

A promise of love for the animals tall and small, spots and stripes, lion and lamb,

A promise of acceptance for the diversity and variety of your creation,

A promise of affirmation, belonging, and grace.

Like light shining through the prism,

Refract us to be the rainbow promise of love to the world.

Refocus our lives around your Gospel message of hope.

Redirect our vision to be the reflection of You, Jesus.

For you are the one who rises

Above the crowd’s violence,

Out of death’s dark tomb,

And to bring the rainbow light of resurrection, Amen.

-©2019, Nathan Decker, worshipswake.wordpress.com

The Voice – Call to Worship

From across the sands of the desert came the still small Voice.

Gentle Wind, Breath of God, Holy Spirit

The Voice found home in the Prophets, “thus says the Lord.”

Let my people go.                                                                                          Exodus 9:1

Let justice roll down like waters                                                        Amos 5:24

     and righteousness like an ever flowing stream.

Do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.                                                                                                                                                                         Micah 6:8

The Voice came among us in the flesh.

Just as I have loved you, so you should love one another.                                                                                                                                                         John 13:34

As we worship today, the Voice grows within us

in our praying, in our singing, in our telling.

Speak, Lord, for we, your people, are listening.

-©2019, Nathan Decker, worshipswake.wordpress.com

Lord Help Us Focus

Lord, help us focus.
There are so many distractions.
Lord, help us focus on you.
Housework, yard work, the project at work.
Lord, help us focus on one another.
Baby crying, kids fighting, parents yelling.
Lord, help us focus on your Word.
Smart phone, Smart tablet, smart watch, smart all!
Lord, slow us down.
Help us unplug.
Guide us to the stillness we need
     so we can rest in you and simply say
          Lord, help us focus.  Amen.  
 
(C)2019, Nathan Decker Worshipswake.wordpress.com

Prayer about our Marriage to Christ

Lord who binds us together,
   who helps us with our knotted lives,
     and who breaks the bonds of sin and brokenness.
       We the church are your Bride.
As we gather together,
  We thank you for the gift of relationships.
     We thank you for the challenge to love in our relationships.
       We thank you for the forgiveness and new beginnings born in relationships.
Help us see one another as you see us.
Free us to trust in one another as we trust in you.
Guide us in life as our loving Groom, Jesus Christ, Amen.
(C)2019, Nathan Decker