Tag Archives: God

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

Communion focusing on Justice for Women, Minorities and LGBTQ

Jesus, Lord of Love, we hear your invitation.

All are Loved by God and welcomed.

This Love changes how we see one another.

This Love embraces broken hearts and creates peace.

 

Encountering you, Great Love, causes us

to admit where we got it wrong

to own our part actively or in apathy allowing evil to thrive

to see how we have hurt you.

 

Great Love,

                We have not loved you,

                and we have not seen the image of your Love in one another.

                We have stripped humanity from one another in language and action.

                We have put our brothers and sisters in slavery

making them things to be owned, used, sold, abused

instead of siblings to be embraced.

                We have discriminated against your diversity of being.

                We have weaponized shame and minimalized the gift of difference.

                We have violently attacked the beauty of the Creator’s creation

                                with cat calls slandering women as the weaker sex

                                and turning acts of intimacy into rape and power.

                We blamed the Gays for AIDS while we beat them bloody at Stonewall Inn.

                We have not loved you in one another.

Lord of Love, have mercy on us.

Forgive us, we pray.

Free us to see your Great Love in each child of God

Through Jesus Christ our Lord,

Amen.

 

Beloved, hear the good news:

Christ died for us while we were still captive to hatred and apathy.

This proves God’s Great Love toward us.

In the Name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven!

In the Name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven!

Glory to the God of Love!  Amen.

 

God’s Great Love is with you.

And also with you.

Lift up your broken hearts that God might heal them.

We lift them up to the Lord.

Give thanks to the God of Love.

It is right to give our thanks and praise.

 

Holy Love,

You are other, different, and unlike anything we will ever encounter.

And yet, you created us in your image.

We hear you in the dream of Martin Luther King.

We see you in the rainbow flag of Harvey Milk and Gilbert Baker.

We are shaped by your Words of Love

from Marjorie Matthews, Leontine Kelley, and Karen Oliveto.

You, Love, just won’t stop.

You, Love, continue as a persistent wind of prophetic change.

Our love is fickle, flagrant, and fails.

You, Love, have never failed.

 

You, Love, travel across the cosmos on the lips of your prophets,

the songs of your peoples, and all the saints of glory as they sing:

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of Love and Beauty,

Heaven and Earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the Highest!

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!

Hosanna in the Highest!

 

Holy Love,

You are among us as Jesus Christ, Word in Flesh.

You came welcoming the outcasts and scorning the in-crowd.

You kissed the leper, helped the lame to walk, the blind to see.

You, Jesus, broke human traditions to teach the Divine Traditions:

Compassion, Mercy, Grace, Jubilee.

By your own life, suffering, death, and resurrection

You gave us Love as community, as fellowship, as church.

You delivered us from hate and apathy.

You made with us a new promise of life in water and Spirit.

 

On the night in which Christ gave himself up for us,

he took the bread, gave thanks, broke it,

and gave it to his disciples, saying:

“Take eat, this is my body given for you.

Do this in remembrance of me.”

When the meal was over

he took the cup, gave thanks, gave it to all of his disciples,

and said:

“Drink from this all of you;

This is my blood of the new covenant,

Poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Do this as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

 

Love makes us remember.

Love causes our hearts to change.

Love awakens in us a spirit of giving.

So we offer ourselves to you, to be a part of your selfless giving,

as we proclaim the mystery of faith:

 

Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again.

 

Holy Love,

Come among us as the Holy Spirit.

Come as the great Comforter.

Come as the great Sustainer.

Come, make this bread and this cup be for us the body and blood of Christ.

Come, make us be the body of Christ, diverse in grain and united in love.

Come, redeem us by the blood of Christ, crushed in suffering and poured out in love.

 

Give us the vision, the perspective, and the dream of the Kingdom of God here on earth.

Reveal your presence as we take each other’s hands and join in one voice.

Unite us all in You, Great Love,

in the name of the Creator, Redeemer, and Guide, Amen.

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

Thanksgiving Table Prayer

Thanksgiving Table Prayer
God of Abundance,
As we gather around this table,
We remember
   that this table is connected to your table,
   the one where you broke bread and gave it to your disciples.
We remember
   that all we have been given is a gift from you,
   a gift we are called to share.
We remember
   that Thanksgiving for us is not just a day
   but a way of living our lives in constant prayer to you.
We remember and give thanks today.
<Everyone around the table shares for what they are thankful>
We remember and give thanks today,
through Jesus who gave himself for each of us.  Amen.
(C)2018 Nathan Decker, worshipswake.wordpress.com

Call to Worship Psalm 100

—-Call to Worship adapted from Psalm 100—-
On your feet now, let’s give God a round of applause!
<Congregation Claps>
Bring God your joy.
Let God know you appreciate his presence.
Hear our Songs!
We love you GOD!
Know this:  God is God.
God made us, we didn’t make him.
We’re God’s people.  We the Shepherd’s sheep.
There is only one way to enter into God’s presence:
We come with a Spirit of Thanksgiving.
Thank you God!  Make your home inside our giving thanks!
Worship God.
For God is sheer beauty,
an overwhelming generosity of love,
faithful forever and ever.
(C) 2018 Nathan Decker, worshipswake.wordpress.com

Ten Commandments Confession

Forgive us, Lord, too often we have broken your commandments:

Our priorities begin everywhere but with you,

Placing of faith in idols and self,

Using your name carelessly for power and gain,

We have not followed your example and had a day of rest.

We dishonor our parents,

We treat other people as less than human, murdering your image in them.

We lust.  We steal.  We lie. 

Our hunger is unsatisfied as we crave earthly things.

Forgive us, Lord, too often we have broken your commandments.

 

Hear the Good News,

Just as God gave his only Son to save us,

God gave us these commandments to guide us as a community.

The compassion of God is overwhelming our sin.

In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven.

In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven.

Hallelujah!  Amen.

 

(C)2018, Nathan Decker, worshipswake.wordpress.com