Liturgy 4-7-2019

This blog is a record of the call to worship, Scripture readings, and prayers from our Sunday liturgies.  If you are interested in writing something for the liturgy, or if you have a concern about any aspect of our liturgy, please email jamie@ubcwaco.org.

Call to Worship

we have gathered to worship the Living God

the One who draws rivers in the desert,
who makes a way where there isn’t one

and to enter God’s embrace

to find rest
renewal
and strength

as we invite the Spirit of God
to transform our hearts and our minds

teaching us to live, to love, and to die
in the way of Christ

Amen

Scripture

Isaiah 43:16-21

Thus says the Lord,
who makes a way in the sea,
a path in the mighty waters,
who brings out chariot and horse,
army and warrior;

they lie down, they cannot rise,
they are extinguished, quenched like a wick:
Do not remember the former things,
or consider the things of old.

I am about to do a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.

The wild animals will honour me,
the jackals and the ostriches;
for I give water in the wilderness,
rivers in the desert,
to give drink to my chosen people,
the people whom I formed for myself
so that they might declare my praise.

Philippians 3:4b-14

If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.

Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.

For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith.

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.

Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.

Liturgy 3-24-2019

This blog is a record of the call to worship, Scripture readings, and prayers from our Sunday liturgies.  If you are interested in writing something for the liturgy, or if you have a concern about any aspect of our liturgy, please email jamie@ubcwaco.org.

Call to Worship

we have gathered to worship the Eternal One

the One who created and sustains all that is,
our Desert Stream and Storm Shelter,

to enter into the Story of God

and find our own stories there

that our hearts might be formed in the way of Christ

and our lives might carry the hope
of the Kingdom of God

amen.

Scripture

Exodus 3:1-15

Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed.

Then Moses said, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.” When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” He said further, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

Then the Lord said, “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them.

So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.” But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” He said, “I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.”

But Moses said to God, “If I come to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am.”

He said further, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, 'I am has sent me to you.'” God also said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, 'The Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you':

This is my name forever,
and this my title for all generations.”


Luke 13:1-9

At that very time there were some present who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. He asked them, "Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans?

No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did. Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them--do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did."

Then he told this parable: "A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none. So he said to the gardener, 'See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none.

Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?' He replied, 'Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it. If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.'"

Prayer

This prayer written and read by Vanessa Zuck:

Lord, Thank you that we know you and can love you. Thank you for being God three-in-one, for being YHWH, the I Am, the yet to come, the always. Thank you for the all the ways we can know you as our God, our truest love, and thank you for always seeking and reaching out to us.

Help us to keep reaching out to you too. May we continue to find you in familiar and new ways. Open our eyes to see you in all of faces of your beloved, and teach us how to trust that you are who you say you are. May we continue to abide in the light of your love, precious in your sight. Thank you that we are seen and that we can see you. We love you, in Jesus' name, Amen. 

Liturgy 3-17-2019

This blog is a record of the call to worship, Scripture readings, and prayers from our Sunday liturgies.  If you are interested in writing something for the liturgy, or if you have a concern about any aspect of our liturgy, please email jamie@ubcwaco.org.

Call to Worship

we have gathered to worship the Living God,

the One who is with us,
before us,
and behind us

to enter into the story of God,
who is in us, beneath us, and above us,
on our right, and our left

to find our stories formed in the way of Christ,
in our lying down in our getting up

that the Spirit might shape our minds

to find Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of us
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of us,
Christ in every eyes that sees us
and Christ in every ear that hears us

Amen

Scripture

Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18

The word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, “Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?”

And Abram said, “You have given me no offspring, and so a slave born in my house is to be my heir.” But the word of the Lord came to him, “This man shall not be your heir; no one but your very own issue shall be your heir.” He brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them.”

Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed the Lord; and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness.

Then he said to him, “I am the Lord who brought you from Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess.” But he said, “O Lord God, how am I to know that I shall possess it?” He said to him, “Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.”

He brought him all these and cut them in two, laying each half over against the other; but he did not cut the birds in two. And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.

As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram, and a deep and terrifying darkness descended upon him.

When the sun had gone down and it was dark, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates.”

Philippians 3:17-4:1

Brothers and sisters, join in imitating me, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us. For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ; I have often told you of them, and now I tell you even with tears.

Their end is destruction; their god is the belly; and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

He will transform the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, by the power that also enables him to make all things subject to himself. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.

Prayer

This prayer accompanied a time of silence for the victims of the mosque shootings in New Zealand:

Living God, we are for you, and it is to you that we return. 

We come to you grieved by the display of evil that claimed the lives of 50 of your children in Christchurch this week.

We pray for the community that is learning to live in a world without some people that they love in it, and ask that you would grant them comfort and peace.

For those who are still in intensive care, we ask that you would grant them healing and strength.

We pray for the shooter, that the Light of your love would pierce the veil of the hatred he has embodied.

We ask also that you would care for our Muslim neighbors, both in New Zealand, and Waco, as they carry this story with them. Protect them from harm, unjust aggression and discrimination, breathe healing into their wounds, and teach us what it means to be Christ to them.

We are aware of the overwhelming scope of that which we cannot do about the evil in our world, but we ask that you would give us eyes to see the scope of that which we can.

Amen.

Liturgy 3-10-2019

This blog is a record of the call to worship, Scripture readings, and prayers from our Sunday liturgies.  If you are interested in writing something for the liturgy, or if you have a concern about any aspect of our liturgy, please email jamie@ubcwaco.org.

Call to Worship

we have gathered to worship the One is gracious and merciful, abounding in steadfast love

to find rest for our weariness,
and a balm for our aches,
in this wilderness of Lent

at this seam between seasons,
this space between death and new life,

we trace the stitches with our hearts
and invite the Spirit to trace the seams within us

to find our loose threads and pull them

that we might begin again
our journey on the way of Christ

amen

Scripture

Deuteronomy 26:1-11

Once you enter the land that God, your God, is giving you as an inheritance and take it over and settle down, you are to take some of all the firstfruits of what you grow in the land that God, your God, is giving you, put them in a basket and go to the place God, your God, sets apart for you to worship him.

At that time, go to the priest who is there and say, “I announce to God, your God, today that I have entered the land that God promised our ancestors that he’d give to us.” The priest will take the basket from you and place it on the Altar of God, your God. And there in the Presence of God, your God, you will recite:

A wandering Aramean was my father,
he went down to Egypt and sojourned there,
he and just a handful of his brothers at first, but soon
they became a great nation, mighty and many.
The Egyptians abused and battered us,
in a cruel and savage slavery.

We cried out to God, the God-of-Our-Fathers:
He listened to our voice, he saw
our destitution, our trouble, our cruel plight.
And God took us out of Egypt
with his strong hand and long arm, terrible and great,
with signs and miracle-wonders.

And he brought us to this place,
gave us this land flowing with milk and honey.
So here I am. I’ve brought the firstfruits
of what I’ve grown on this ground you gave me, O God.

Then place it in the Presence of God, your God. Prostrate yourselves in the Presence of God, your God. And rejoice! Celebrate all the good things that God, your God, has given you and your family; you and the Levite and the foreigner who lives with you.

Luke 4:1-13

After his baptism, Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread." Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'One does not live by bread alone.'"

Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And the devil said to him, "To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours."

Jesus answered him, "It is written,
'Worship the Lord your God,
and serve only him.'"

Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written,

'He will command his angels concerning you,
to protect you,'

and

'On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.'"

Jesus answered him, "It is said, 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"

When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.

Prayer

This week’s prayer was from Gill Le Fevre:

Merciful God, You see deep into our hearts and know us better than we know ourselves. Forgive us we pray. For the times we turn away from Your word, remind us that You are the Lord our God, our eternal protector and guide. For our impulses of anger and jealousy, scorn or spite, grant us Your healing peace. For our resistance to forgiveness, generosity and mercy, inspire us with Your compassionate love.

Liturgy 3-3-2019

This blog is a record of the call to worship, Scripture readings, and prayers from our Sunday liturgies.  If you are interested in writing something for the liturgy, or if you have a concern about any aspect of our liturgy, please email jamie@ubcwaco.org.

Call to Worship

we have gathered to worship the Eternal One

to direct our attention toward
the Creator and Sustainer of all
,

offering our songs, our prayers,
our silence, and our listening

that the Spirit of God might illuminate our ordinary lives,
renewing our hearts and minds
and shaping our imaginations

that, as a Body held together in the Word-made-flesh,

we might carry the light
of the love
of the Living God
together

Amen

Scripture

Psalm 99

The Lord is king; let the peoples tremble!
   the Lord sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake!
The Lord is great in Zion;
   the Lord is exalted over all the peoples.
Let them praise your great and awesome name.
   Holy is the Lord!

Mighty King, lover of justice,
   you have established equity;
you have executed justice
   and righteousness in Jacob.
Extol the Lord our God;
   worship at the Lord’s footstool.
   Holy is the Lord!

Moses and Aaron were among the Lord’s priests,
   Samuel also was among those who called on the name of the Lord.
   They cried to the Lord, and the Lord answered them.

The Lord spoke to them in the pillar of cloud;
   they kept the Lord’s decrees,
   and the statutes that the Lord gave them.

O Lord our God, you answered them;
   you were a forgiving God to them,
   but an avenger of their wrongdoings.
Extol the Lord our God,
   and worship at the Lord’s holy mountain;
   for the Lord our God is holy.


1 Corinthians 15:50-58

What I am saying, brothers and sisters, is this: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.

For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality.

When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled:

“Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
“Where, O death, is your victory?
   Where, O death, is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

Luke 9:28-36

Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him.

They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah"--not knowing what he said.

While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, "This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!" When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.

Prayer

This week’s prayer was from Christine Jerrett:

We wait for you, God of truth and freedom.
We wait for you, Holy Spirit.
We wait for you, Lord Jesus, full of the glory of God.

God of goodness and grace,
you summon us into a world
made large by your expansive, creative salvation.
Open our eyes and ears and hearts
to your unexpected presence in our lives.

You know the ways we wander from your love and your truth:
the fears that drive us to make our world small and manageable;
the selfishness that shuts down our hearts;
the arrogance that limits our reach towards the ones you love.

Immerse us again and again
in your lavish grace.
Bathe us once more in the
cleansing stream of your truth.
Send your Spirit flowing through the
dried-up, worn out places.
Bring life — your life,
your wondrous, abundant life,
for we pray in the name of Jesus,
the Way, the Truth, the Life,
your Word made flesh,
your love that transfigures our world.
Amen.

Liturgy 2-24-2019

This blog is a record of the call to worship, Scripture readings, and prayers from our Sunday liturgies.  If you are interested in writing something for the liturgy, or if you have a concern about any aspect of our liturgy, please email jamie@ubcwaco.org.

Call to Worship

we have gathered to worship the Living God

to offer our songs, our prayers, our attention, and our listening
to the One in whom all things hold together

to enter the story of God and the people of God

and find our own stories there

and to find our hearts and minds transformed by the Spirit of God

that we might learn to love, to live, and to die,
carrying the Light of Christ in our ordinary lives

Amen

Scripture

Psalm 37:1-12, 41-42

Do not fret yourself because of evildoers;
do not be jealous of those who do wrong.
For they shall soon wither like the grass,
and like the green grass fade away.

Put your trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and feed on its riches.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he shall give you your heart's desire.

Commit your way to the Lord and put your trust in him,
and he will bring it to pass.
He will make your righteousness as clear as the light
and your just dealing as the noonday.

Be still before the Lord
and wait patiently for him.
Do not fret yourself over the one who prospers,
the one who succeeds in evil schemes.

Refrain from anger, leave rage alone;
do not fret yourself; it leads only to evil.
For evildoers shall be cut off,
but those who wait upon the Lord shall possess the land.

In a little while the wicked shall be no more;
you shall search out their place, but they will not be there.
But the lowly shall possess the land;
they will delight in abundance of peace.

But the deliverance of the righteous comes from the Lord;
he is their stronghold in time of trouble.
The Lord will help them and rescue them;
he will rescue them from the wicked and deliver them,
because they seek refuge in him.

Luke 6:27-38

If you’re listening, here’s My message: Keep loving your enemies no matter what they do. Keep doing good to those who hate you. Keep speaking blessings on those who curse you. Keep praying for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, offer the other cheek too. If someone steals your coat, offer him your shirt too. If someone begs from you, give to him. If someone robs you of your valuables, don’t demand them back. Think of the kindness you wish others would show you; do the same for them.

Listen, what’s the big deal if you love people who already love you? Even scoundrels do that much! So what if you do good to those who do good to you? Even scoundrels do that much! So what if you lend to people who are likely to repay you? Even scoundrels lend to scoundrels if they think they’ll be fully repaid.

If you want to be extraordinary—love your enemies! Do good without restraint! Lend with abandon! Don’t expect anything in return! Then you’ll receive the truly great reward—you will be children of the Most High—for God is kind to the ungrateful and those who are wicked. So imitate God and be truly compassionate, the way your Father is.

If you don’t want to be judged, don’t judge. If you don’t want to be condemned, don’t condemn. If you want to be forgiven, forgive. Don’t hold back—give freely, and you’ll have plenty poured back into your lap—a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, brimming over. You’ll receive in the same measure you give.

Philippians 1:21

For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain.

Liturgy 2-17-2019

This blog is a record of the call to worship, Scripture readings, and prayers from our Sunday liturgies.  If you are interested in writing something for the liturgy, or if you have a concern about any aspect of our liturgy, please email jamie@ubcwaco.org.

Call to Worship

we have gathered to worship
the Creator and Sustainer

to direct our attention
toward the One in whom we live
and move and have our being

to find comfort for the afflicted
in the Story of God and the people of God

and to find our stories formed
in the way of Christ

so, may the Spirit of God carve the love of God into our hearts,

and may we learn to embody
the Kingdom of the Living God
in our ordinary lives

amen.

Scripture

Genesis 48:1-20

Soon after this, Joseph was brought word that his father was gravely ill; so he took his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, to see Jacob. When Jacob was told that his son Joseph had come to see him, he gathered his strength and sat up in bed.

Jacob (to Joseph): The All-Powerful God appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan many years ago and spoke His blessing over me, telling me, “I am going to make you fruitful and multiply your descendants so that you will give rise to nation after nation. I will give this land to them after you to have as their possession forever.”

So Joseph, your two sons who were born to you in Egypt before I came here are mine. I claim Ephraim and Manasseh as my own, just as Reuben and Simeon are mine. As for any children you father after them, you may regard them as your own. When it comes time for your other children to gain their inheritances, they will be given land within the regions granted to their brothers, Ephraim and Manasseh.

When I left Paddan, your mother Rachel died on our journey in the land of Canaan. We were not far from Ephrath, so I buried her there on the way to Ephrath (which is also known as Bethlehem).

Just then Israel noticed Joseph’s sons.

Jacob: And who are these?

Joseph: These are my sons, Father, whom God has given to me here in Egypt.

Jacob: Please bring them here to me, so I can lay my hands on them and bless them.

Israel’s eyes were dim because of his old age, so he couldn’t see well. Joseph brought the boys near to him, and Israel kissed them and hugged them warmly.

Jacob (to Joseph): I didn’t know if I would ever see your face again, but now God has given me more than I hoped: He has let me see your children too.

Then Joseph moved the boys aside—they had been at his father’s knees—and he bowed down low with his face to the ground. Then Joseph took his sons and brought them near to his father. He took his younger son Ephraim in his right hand and put him to the left hand of Israel, and he took Manasseh in his left hand and put him to the right hand of Israel. But Israel stretched out his hands and crossed his arms, laying his right hand on the head of Ephraim, the younger, and his left hand on the head of Manasseh, the firstborn. And he spoke this blessing over Joseph.

Jacob: May the God before whom my ancestors Abraham and Isaac walked,
       the God who has been my shepherd all of my life and still to this day,
   The messenger who has rescued me from all harm,
       bless these boys.
   And let my name be perpetuated through them,
       as well as the name of my ancestors Abraham and Isaac,
   And let them grow into a great multitude of people
       throughout the world.

When Joseph saw that his father had laid his right hand on Ephraim’s head, he was troubled, and so he took his father’s hand to move it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s.

Joseph: No, Father! Since this one is the firstborn, put your right hand on his head.

But Israel refused.

Jacob: I know, my son, I know. Manasseh will also become a people, and he will be great. Nevertheless, his younger brother will be greater than he, and his children will give rise to many nations.

So it was that Israel blessed Joseph and his sons that day.

Jacob: When the people of Israel speak blessings, they’ll remember you: “May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.”

So this is how Israel ranked Ephraim ahead of Manasseh.

Luke 6:17-26

Jesus came down with the twelve apostles and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon. They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all in the crowd were trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them.

Then he looked up at his disciples and said:

“Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.

“Blessed are you who are hungry now,
for you will be filled.

“Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.

“Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets."

"But woe to you who are rich,
for you have received your consolation.

"Woe to you who are full now,
for you will be hungry.

"Woe to you who are laughing now,
for you will mourn and weep.

"Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets."





Liturgy 2-10-2019

This blog is a record of the call to worship, Scripture readings, and prayers from our Sunday liturgies.  If you are interested in writing something for the liturgy, or if you have a concern about any aspect of our liturgy, please email jamie@ubcwaco.org.

Call to Worship

we have gathered to worship
the Lord of all the earth

with our songs, our prayers,
our silence, and our listening

to enter into the story of God
and the people of God

that we might find our own stories there

hoping the Spirit of God
will transform our hearts and minds

and set to light
the Kingdom of God
in our midst

amen.

Scripture

Isaiah 6:1-13

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. And one called to another and said:

"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory."

The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke. And I said: "Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!"

Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. The seraph touched my mouth with it and said: "Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out." Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I; send me!" And he said, "Go and say to this people:

`Keep listening, but do not comprehend;
keep looking, but do not understand.'
Make the mind of this people dull,
and stop their ears,
and shut their eyes,
so that they may not look with their eyes,
and listen with their ears,
and comprehend with their minds,
and turn and be healed."

Then I said, "How long, O Lord?"

And he said:
"Until cities lie waste
without inhabitant,
and houses without people,
and the land is utterly desolate;
until the Lord sends everyone far away,
and vast is the emptiness in the midst of the land.

Even if a tenth part remain in it,
it will be burned again,
like a terebinth or an oak
whose stump remains standing
when it is felled."

The holy seed is its stump.

Luke 5:1-11

Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore.

Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch." Simon answered, "Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets." When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break.

So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!" For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon.

Then Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people." When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.

Prayer

This week's prayer was from Howard Thurman:

Our little lives, our big problems—these we place upon Your altar!
The quietness in Your temple of silence again and again rebuffs us:
For some there is no discipline to hold them steady in the waiting,
And the minds reject the noiseless invasion of Your spirit.
For some there is no will to offer what is central in the thoughts—
The confusion is so manifest, there is no starting place to take hold.
For some the evils of the world tear down all concentrations
And scatter the focus of the high resolves.
We do not know how to do what we know to do.
We do not know how to be what we know to be.
Our little lives, our big problems—these we place upon Your altar!
Pour out upon us whatever our spirits need of shock, of life, of release
That we may find strength for these days—
Courage and hope for tomorrow.
In confidence we rest in Your sustaining grace
Which makes possible triumph in defeat, gain in loss, and love in hate.
We rejoice this day to say:
Our little lives, our big problems—these we place upon Your altar!

Liturgy 2-3-2019

This blog is a record of the call to worship, Scripture readings, and prayers from our Sunday liturgies.  If you are interested in writing something for the liturgy, or if you have a concern about any aspect of our liturgy, please email jamie@ubcwaco.org.

Call to Worship

we have gathered to worship
the Creator and Sustainer of all that is

to seek refuge in the rock of the Eternal

to enter into the story of God
and the people of God

that our own stories might be transformed

as we are drawn together by the Spirit of God

into the peace of Christ,
grafted into the Body
of resurrection hope

amen

Scripture

Psalm 71:1-6

In you, O Lord, I take refuge;
   let me never be put to shame.
In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me;
   incline your ear to me and save me.
Be to me a rock of refuge,
   a strong fortress, to save me,
   for you are my rock and my fortress.
Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked,
   from the grasp of the unjust and cruel.
For you, O Lord, are my hope,
   my trust, O Lord, from my youth.
Upon you I have leaned from my birth;
   it was you who took me from my mother’s womb.
My praise is continually of you.

Ephesians 2:13-22

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us.

He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father.

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.

Prayer

This week's prayer was from W. E. B. Du Bois:

Give us grace, O God, to dare to do the deed which we well know
cries to be done. Let us not hesitate because of ease, or the
words of men’s mouths, or our own lives. Mighty causes are
calling us—the freeing of women, the training of children, the
putting down of hate and murder and poverty—all these and
more. But they call with voices that mean work and sacrifices
and death. Mercifully grant us, O God, the spirit of Esther, that
we say: I will go unto the King and if I perish, I perish.

Amen.

Liturgy 1-13-2019

This blog is a record of the call to worship, Scripture readings, and prayers from our Sunday liturgies.  If you are interested in writing something for the liturgy, or if you have a concern about any aspect of our liturgy, please email jamie@ubcwaco.org.

Call to Worship

we have gathered to worship the Living God

the One who was, who is, and is to come,
revealed in the Word who became flesh
and dwelt among us

with our attention, our songs,
our prayers, and our listening

that we might be formed in the way of Christ,
the One in whom all things hold together

hoping that this same one might hold us together

in the great mosaic family of God

Amen

Scripture

Isaiah 43:1-7

Thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.

For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you.

Because you are precious in my sight,
and honored, and I love you,
I give people in return for you,
nations in exchange for your life.

Do not fear, for I am with you;
I will bring your offspring from the east,
and from the west I will gather you;
I will say to the north, "Give them up,"
and to the south, "Do not withhold;
bring my sons from far away
and my daughters from the end of the earth—
everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made."

Colossians 1:15-19

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him.

He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything.

For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.

Prayer

This week's prayer was from An Iona Prayer Book, and is credited as an "Australian Aboriginal Prayer."

Rainbow God,
you have created people of many different colors,
and given us different cultures.
But in you
each has its source and fulfillment.
In Jesus Christ you have made us one,
breaking down the walls we make to protect ourselves.
By your Holy Spirit you have joined us in one body,
giving to each part its special gift.
We pray that in the church and in the world,
we may experience, more and more,
the love of your Holy Spirit,
love which honors and respects each one,
which is sensitive to our hurts and hopes,
which values the gifts we bring,
and shares its own treasures with us.
And, to you, O God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
be all honor and glory, now and to ages of ages.

Amen

 

Liturgy 1-7-2019

This blog is a record of the call to worship, Scripture readings, and prayers from our Sunday liturgies.  If you are interested in writing something for the liturgy, or if you have a concern about any aspect of our liturgy, please email jamie@ubcwaco.org.

Call to Worship

we have gathered to direct our attention to the Light of the World

to orient our hearts and minds
toward the Word-made-flesh

that in our singing, our praying,
our silence, and our listening

we might be caught up in the Story of God

and be formed more fully in the way of Christ

bearing the radiant love of God in our ordinary lives

amen

Scripture

Isaiah 60:1-6

Arise, shine; for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples;

but the Lord will arise upon you,
and his glory will appear over you.
Nations shall come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

Lift up your eyes and look around;
they all gather together, they come to you;
your sons shall come from far away,
and your daughters shall be carried on their nurses' arms.

Then you shall see and be radiant;
your heart shall thrill and rejoice,
because the abundance of the sea shall be brought to you,
the wealth of the nations shall come to you.

A multitude of camels shall cover you,
the young camels of Midian and Ephah;
all those from Sheba shall come.

They shall bring gold and frankincense,
and shall proclaim the praise of the Lord.

Matthew 2:1-12

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, "Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage."

When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born.

They told him, "In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:

`And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who is to shepherd my people Israel.'"

Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, "Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage." When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was.

When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

Prayer

This Sunday’s prayer was from Thandiwe Dale-Ferguson:

Quietly the New Year slips in.
Are we now more fearful, the radio asks?
More careful?
More tired?
Are we now more aware of the suffering, the violence,
the inequality, the injustice in our world?

Holy God,
In this New Year,
We seek you
As we have always sought you.
We need you
As we have always needed you.
We hunger for your presence, your peace, your justice and your love.

Open our hearts afresh and anew.
Open our minds that we may know you.
Open our hands that we may care for you.
Open our ears and eyes that we may hear and see you
In our neighbor, in the foreigner, in the refugee,
Even in our enemy,
And, perhaps especially, in ourselves.

That we may know in the deepest part of ourselves
That you call us
And that we are capable
Of seeing and naming, doing and being
Your love, your peace, your hope and your justice
In this your world.

Amen.

 

Liturgy 12-16-2018

This blog is a record of the call to worship, Scripture readings, and prayers from our Sunday liturgies.  If you are interested in writing something for the liturgy, or if you have a concern about any aspect of our liturgy, please email jamie@ubcwaco.org.

Call to Worship

we have gathered to direct our attention
to the One who made all things

to worship the One
who is making all things new

to enter into the story of God
and the people of God

and find our own stories transformed

into places where the dry land is glad,
where the desert rejoices and blossoms

where a Lights shines in the darkness
and the darkness does not overcome it

Amen

Joy Candle Liturgy

Here in the middle of the darkest days of the year, our Advent journey invites us to grasp for Joy; to embrace the truth that reality precedes and reaches beyond the present darkness.  The joy of Advent is a way of seeing where we stubbornly refuse to call the way things are “the way things will always be.” It’s a way of looking back to look forward, knowing that God is still working to reconcile all things to Godself, and raising this as a light in defiance of the dark.  It is for this joy that we light a candle this week.

[Light Joy Candle]

Hear now of the Lord coming into the darkness of Exile to lead us home in Isaiah 35:1-10.

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,
the desert shall rejoice and blossom;
like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly,
and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
the majesty of our God. 

Strengthen the weak hands,
and make firm the feeble knees. 
Say to those who are of a fearful heart,
‘Be strong, do not fear!
Here is your God.
He will come with vengeance,
with terrible recompense.
He will come and save you.’

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped; 
then the lame shall leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.
For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert; 
the burning sand shall become a pool,
and the thirsty ground springs of water;
the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp,
the grass shall become reeds and rushes. 

A highway shall be there,
and it shall be called the Holy Way;
the unclean shall not travel on it,
but it shall be for God’s people;
no traveller, not even fools, shall go astray. 
No lion shall be there,
nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it;
they shall not be found there,
but the redeemed shall walk there. 

And the ransomed of the Lord shall return,
and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain joy and gladness,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. 

Scripture

Zephaniah 3:14-20

Sing aloud, O daughter Zion;
shout, O Israel!
Rejoice and exult with all your heart,
O daughter Jerusalem!

The Lord has taken away the judgments against you,
the Lord has turned away your enemies.
The king of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst;
you shall fear disaster no more.

On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
Do not fear, O Zion;
do not let your hands grow weak.
The Lord, your God, is in your midst,
a warrior who gives victory;

the Lord will rejoice over you with gladness,
the Lord will renew you in his love;
the Lord will exult over you with loud singing
as on a day of festival.

I will remove disaster from you,
so that you will not bear reproach for it.
I will deal with all your oppressors
at that time.

And I will save the lame
and gather the outcast,
and I will change their shame into praise
and renown in all the earth.

At that time I will bring you home,
at the time when I gather you;
for I will make you renowned and praised
among all the peoples of the earth,
when I restore your fortunes
before your eyes, says the Lord.

Luke 3:7-18

John said to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits worthy of repentance. Do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our ancestor'; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire."

And the crowds asked him, "What then should we do?" In reply he said to them, "Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise." Even tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, "Teacher, what should we do?" He said to them, "Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you."

Soldiers also asked him, "And we, what should we do?" He said to them, "Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages."

As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, "I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire."

So, with many other exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people.

Liturgy 12-2-2018

This blog is a record of the call to worship, Scripture readings, and prayers from our Sunday liturgies.  If you are interested in writing something for the liturgy, or if you have a concern about any aspect of our liturgy, please email jamie@ubcwaco.org.

Call to Worship

we have gathered to learn to wait
for the Light in the Darkness

to tune our hearts to hope

to step into God’s story

and find our own stories transformed

that our lives might bear wonder and love
in the midst of uncertainty and fear 

like flames against the gloom

 

Amen

Hope Candle Liturgy

On this first Sunday of Advent, we are reminded that we live by Hope.  Hope in the coming of the Messiah.  Hope that God will bring Light into our present darkness.  Hope that those pinned in by anxiety will find rest. Hope that those who feel worthless will find their true Value.  Hope that the poor, the homeless, the refugee, and all those trampled by systems of power will be caught up in the mercy and justice of God.  And hope that Love will cast out every fear.

For now, we wait, trusting that God is faithful and at work redeeming all things.  

[Light the Hope candle]

Hear God’s promise of hope from Isaiah 2:2-4: 

In days to come
   the mountain of the Lord’s house
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
   and shall be raised above the hills;
all the nations shall stream to it. 
   Many peoples shall come and say,
‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
   to the house of the God of Jacob;
that he may teach us his ways
   and that we may walk in his paths.’
For out of Zion shall go forth instruction,
   and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. 
He shall judge between the nations,
   and shall arbitrate for many peoples;
they shall beat their swords into ploughshares,
   and their spears into pruning-hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
   neither shall they learn war any more.

Scripture

Jeremiah 33:14-16

The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: "The Lord is our righteousness."

Luke 21:25-36

Jesus said, "There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 

Then they will see 'the Son of Man coming in a cloud' with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."

Then he told them a parable: "Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 

Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

"Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day catch you unexpectedly, like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth.

Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man."

Liturgy 11-11-2018

This blog is a record of the call to worship, Scripture readings, and prayers from our Sunday liturgies.  If you are interested in writing something for the liturgy, or if you have a concern about any aspect of our liturgy, please email jamie@ubcwaco.org.

Call to Worship

we have gathered to worship the One
who made heaven and earth
the seas and all that is in them

the One who gives justice to the oppressed
and food to those who hunger

to enter the Story of God,
and find the Eternal One there

the One who loves the righteous,
cares for the stranger,
and sustains the orphan and widow,
but frustrates the way of the wicked

hoping that the Spirit of the Living God

would form us in the way of Christ
and teach us to live to the fullest.

Amen.

Scripture

1 Kings 17:8-16

The word of the Lord came to Elijah, saying, “Go now to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and live there; for I have commanded a widow there to feed you.” So he set out and went to Zarephath.

When he came to the gate of the town, a widow was there gathering sticks; he called to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel, so that I may drink.”

As she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” But she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of meal in a jar, and a little oil in a jug; I am now gathering a couple of sticks, so that I may go home and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.”

Elijah said to her, “Do not be afraid; go and do as you have said; but first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterwards make something for yourself and your son.

For thus says the Lord the God of Israel: The jar of meal will not be emptied and the jug of oil will not fail until the day that the Lord sends rain on the earth.”

She went and did as Elijah said, so that she as well as he and her household ate for many days. The jar of meal was not emptied, neither did the jug of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by Elijah.

Mark 12:38-44

As Jesus taught, he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets! They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”

He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury.

For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

Prayer

This week’s prayer was from An Iona Prayer Book (p. 102):

Spirit of God,
your power alone
can lead us from death to life.
Hover over the chaos of our lives
and create a new moment
for each of us
in which we hear your call
to live again

Fill us with the breath of life
when we are immersed
in human heart
and cosmic pain.

Then raise us
in baptismal joy
to proclaim
your resurrection day.

Liturgy 11-4-2018

This blog is a record of the call to worship, Scripture readings, and prayers from our Sunday liturgies.  If you are interested in writing something for the liturgy, or if you have a concern about any aspect of our liturgy, please email jamie@ubcwaco.org.

Call to Worship

we have gathered to worship the Eternal One

to learn to love God with all our heart,
with all our soul,
with all our mind,
and with all our strength
.

to enter the story of God and the people of God

to learn to see as God sees
to embrace life’s beauty
and live fully

that we might be formed in the way of Christ

and learn to love our neighbor as ourselves

Amen.

Scripture

Ruth 1:8-18

But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back each of you to your mother’s house. May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. The Lord grant that you may find security, each of you in the house of your husband.”

Then she kissed them, and they wept aloud. They said to her, “No, we will return with you to your people.”

But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters, why will you go with me? Do I still have sons in my womb that they may become your husbands? Turn back, my daughters, go your way, for I am too old to have a husband.

Even if I thought there was hope for me, even if I should have a husband tonight and bear sons, would you then wait until they were grown? Would you then refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, it has been far more bitter for me than for you, because the hand of the Lord has turned against me.”

Then they wept aloud again. Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.

So she said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.”

But Ruth said,

“Do not press me to leave you
   or to turn back from following you!
Where you go, I will go;
   where you lodge, I will lodge;
your people shall be my people,
   and your God my God.

Where you die, I will die—
   there will I be buried.
May the Lord do thus and so to me,
   and more as well,
if even death parts me from you!”

When Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more to her.

Mark 12:28-34

One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that Jesus answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’

The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Then the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that ‘he is one, and besides him there is no other’; and ‘to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,’ and ‘to love one’s neighbor as oneself,’ —this is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that no one dared to ask him any question.


Liturgy 10-21-2018

This blog is a record of the call to worship, Scripture readings, and prayers from our Sunday liturgies.  If you are interested in writing something for the liturgy, or if you have a concern about any aspect of our liturgy, please email jamie@ubcwaco.org.

Call to Worship

we have gathered to worship the Eternal One

the One who draws near to us but evades our grasp
the One who outshines our greatest hopes

to direct our attention to the story of God and the people of God

to enter the Story
and find our own stories transformed

seeking the Spirit of God to form us more fully in the way of Christ

to hold us together in our uncertainty
to hold us together in our love
to hold us together

Amen.

Scripture

Job 2:11-13; 3:1-10, 20-26

Now when Job’s three friends heard of all these troubles that had come upon him, each of them set out from his home—Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite.

They met together to go and console and comfort him. When they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him, and they raised their voices and wept aloud; they tore their robes and threw dust in the air upon their heads.

They sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great.

After this Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. Job said:

“Let the day perish in which I was born,
   and the night that said,
   ‘A man-child is conceived.’
Let that day be darkness!
   May God above not seek it,
   or light shine on it.

Let gloom and deep darkness claim it.
   Let clouds settle upon it;
   let the blackness of the day terrify it.
That night—let thick darkness seize it!
   let it not rejoice among the days of the year;
   let it not come into the number of the months.

Yes, let that night be barren;
   let no joyful cry be heard in it.
Let those curse it who curse the Sea,
   those who are skilled to rouse up Leviathan.

Let the stars of its dawn be dark;
   let it hope for light, but have none;
   may it not see the eyelids of the morning—
because it did not shut the doors of my mother’s womb,
   and hide trouble from my eyes.

“Why is light given to one in misery,
   and life to the bitter in soul,
who long for death, but it does not come,
   and dig for it more than for hidden treasures;
who rejoice exceedingly,
   and are glad when they find the grave?

Why is light given to one who cannot see the way,
   whom God has fenced in?
For my sighing comes like my bread,
   and my groanings are poured out like water.
Truly the thing that I fear comes upon me,
   and what I dread befalls me.
I am not at ease, nor am I quiet;
   I have no rest; but trouble comes.”

Mark 10:35-45

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to Jesus and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.”

But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They replied, “We are able.” Then Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. So Jesus called them and said to them, “You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them.

But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

Prayer

This week’s prayer was from Søren Kierkegaard (The Prayers of Kierkegaard, p. 30):

Father in Heaven! Draw our hearts to Thee, that our heart may be where our treasure must be, that our thoughts may aspire to Thy kingdom where our citizenship is so that our departure when Thou shalt call us may not be a painful separation from this world but a blissful reunion with Thee. Still we do not know the time or the season; perhaps it is still far from us. But when at times our strength is taken from us, when lassitude overcomes us like a kind of fog in which our visions plunged as into a dark night, when our desires, our impatience, and our anger are stirred up, when our hearts tremble in anxiety awaiting what is to come, then, O Lord our God, teach us and strengthen this conviction in our hearts, that also in this life we belong to Thee. Amen.

Liturgy 10-7-2018

This blog is a record of the call to worship, Scripture readings, and prayers from our Sunday liturgies.  If you are interested in writing something for the liturgy, or if you have a concern about any aspect of our liturgy, please email jamie@ubcwaco.org.

Call to Worship

we have gathered to worship the Living God

the one in whom we live and move and have our being

to enter the story of God and the people of God

and find our own stories changed

hoping the Spirit of God shape our imaginations and rewire our hearts

that we might be formed in the way of Christ
and learn to be the presence of Christ in our time and place

amen.

Scripture

Job 1:1; 2:1-10

There was once a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job. That man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.

One day the heavenly beings came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the Lord. The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”

Satan answered the Lord, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” The Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and turns away from evil. He still persists in his integrity, although you incited me against him, to destroy him for no reason.”

Then Satan answered the Lord, “Skin for skin! All that people have they will give to save their lives. But stretch out your hand now and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.” The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, he is in your power; only spare his life.”

So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord, and inflicted loathsome sores on Job from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. Job took a potsherd with which to scrape himself, and sat among the ashes.

Then his wife said to him, “Do you still persist in your integrity? Curse God, and die.” But he said to her, “You speak as any foolish woman would speak. Shall we receive the good at the hand of God, and not receive the bad?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

Mark 10:13-16

People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.

Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.


Liturgy 9-30-2018

This blog is a record of the call to worship, Scripture readings, and prayers from our Sunday liturgies.  If you are interested in writing something for the liturgy, or if you have a concern about any aspect of our liturgy, please email jamie@ubcwaco.org.

Call to Worship

we have gathered to worship the One who made all things

the One who is making all things new

bringing the whole of our selves

our joy and our pain
our hopes and broken dreams
our hearts and our minds

  

trusting that the Spirit of the Living God is in our midst

healing us in the love of Christ
sustaining us in the hope of Christ
and forming us in the way of Christ

 

Amen.

Scripture

Exodus 2:1-6

Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was a fine baby, she hid him three months.

When she could hide him no longer she got a papyrus basket for him, and plastered it with bitumen and pitch; she put the child in it and placed it among the reeds on the bank of the river. His sister stood at a distance, to see what would happen to him.

The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her attendants walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to bring it. When she opened it, she saw the child. He was crying, and she took pity on him. “This must be one of the Hebrews’ children,” she said.

Mark 9:38-50

John said to Jesus, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” But Jesus said, “Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. Whoever is not against us is for us. For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward.

“If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire.

And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell, where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched.

“For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”

Liturgy 9-23-2018

This blog is a record of the call to worship, Scripture readings, and prayers from our Sunday liturgies.  If you are interested in writing something for the liturgy, or if you have a concern about any aspect of our liturgy, please email jamie@ubcwaco.org.

Call to Worship

we have gathered to worship the Living God

to direct our attention toward the One
who liberates the trampled of the world,
and whose righteousness is everlasting

hoping to be formed more fully in the way of Christ

to learn how to relate to God,
our neighbor, and ourselves

and to embrace the Spirit of God in our midst

that we might carry the Kingdom of God
in our ordinary lives

Amen

Scripture

Psalm 54

Liberate me, O God, by the authority of Your name.
Vindicate me through Your legendary power.
Hear my prayer, O God;
let the words of my mouth reach Your sympathetic ear.

The truth is, these strangers are rallying against me;
cold-blooded men seek to slay me;
they have no respect for You.

But see now! God comes to rescue me;
the Lord is my valiant supporter.
the Lord will repay my enemies for the harm they have done; they are doomed!

According to Your faithful promises, silence them.
I will sacrifice to You willingly;
I will lift Your name by shouts of thanksgiving, O Eternal One, for Your name is good.

God has pulled me out from every one of the troubles that encompass me,
and I have seen what it means to stand over my enemies in triumph.

Mark 9:30-37

Jesus and his disciples passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it; for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.” But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him.

Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest. He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.”

Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”

Liturgy 9-16-2018

This blog is a record of the call to worship, Scripture readings, and prayers from our Sunday liturgies.  If you are interested in writing something for the liturgy, or if you have a concern about any aspect of our liturgy, please email jamie@ubcwaco.org.

Call to Worship

we have gathered to worship the One
who is righteous and full of compassion

the One who brings rest for the weary,
and whose love is stronger than the grip of the grave

to enter into the story of God and the people of God

and be formed in the way of Christ

that we might be people of the Spirit

who walk with the Eternal
in the land of the living

Amen.

Scripture

Psalm 116:1-8

I love the Lord, because the Lord has heard the voice of my supplication,
because the Lord has inclined the Lord’s ear to me whenever I called.

The cords of death entangled me;
the grip of the grave took hold of me;
I came to grief and sorrow.
Then I called upon the Name of the Lord:
"O Lord, I pray you, save my life."

Gracious is the Lord and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.

The Lord watches over the innocent;
I was brought very low, and the Lord helped me.
Turn again to your rest, O my soul,
for the Lord has treated you well.

For you have rescued my life from death,
my eyes from tears, and my feet from stumbling.
I will walk in the presence of the Lord
in the land of the living.

Mark 8:27-38

Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?”

And they answered him, “John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.” And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him.

Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.

He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.

For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life?

Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”