january 2018

Liturgy 1-28-2018

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 Word who became flesh
and dwelt among us

to find ourselves transformed
by God’s story

formed more fully
in the way of Christ

that we might be Lights in the darkness

that the darkness
will not overcome.

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scripture

Deuteronomy 18:15-20

Moses said: The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you shall heed such a prophet. This is what you requested of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said: “If I hear the voice of the Lord my God any more, or ever again see this great fire, I will die.”

Then the Lord replied to me: “They are right in what they have said. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their own people; I will put my words in the mouth of the prophet, who shall speak to them everything that I command.

Anyone who does not heed the words that the prophet shall speak in my name, I myself will hold accountable. But any prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, or who presumes to speak in my name a word that I have not commanded the prophet to speak—that prophet shall die.”

1 Corinthians 8:1-13

Now concerning food sacrificed to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. Anyone who claims to know something does not yet have the necessary knowledge; but anyone who loves God is known by him.

Hence, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “no idol in the world really exists,” and that “there is no God but one.”

Indeed, even though there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as in fact there are many gods and many lords— yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

It is not everyone, however, who has this knowledge. Since some have become so accustomed to idols until now, they still think of the food they eat as food offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. “Food will not bring us close to God.”

We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if others see you, who possess knowledge, eating in the temple of an idol, might they not, since their conscience is weak, be encouraged to the point of eating food sacrificed to idols?

So by your knowledge those weak believers for whom Christ died are destroyed. But when you thus sin against members of your family, and wound their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ.

Therefore, if food is a cause of their falling, I will never eat meat, so that I may not cause one of them to fall.

 

 

 

Human Trafficking Awareness Liturgy

This week, we read a declaration and prayer prepared by the Heart of Texas Human Trafficking Coalition:

Declaration:

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention & Awareness Month, a time for us to take a moment to recognize the prevalence of this modern day slavery both around the world and in our own community. There are nearly 30 million slaves worldwide, and there are currently an estimated 313,000 victims of human trafficking in Texas alone. Our region’s high poverty rates, location on a major interstate, and a number of kids involved in child welfare all contribute to the growing problem here at home.

Human trafficking of all kinds and in all locations capitalizes on the sinful desire of one person to control and maintain power over other human beings, often those who find themselves in vulnerable situations. As people of faith, we must adamantly denounce such behavior as sinful and contrary to God’s will. God created us to love each other selflessly and with constant concern for other’s well-being. Human trafficking defaces human dignity and affronts the image of God. When people anywhere are bought, sold, and enslaved, we are enslaved with them. Violence against one of God’s people is violence against us all.

Human trafficking destroys families and communities. This is an issue that concerns all of us, and it is occurring in our cities. For too long the voices of the most vulnerable have been marginalized, ignored, or silenced. But silence is not spiritual. So this morning, we stand in solidarity with the victims and survivors of human trafficking of all kinds. Forgive us for ignoring you. Help us to open our eyes to these acts of injustice, and to seek ways to compassionately and thoughtfully serve you.

We denounce the sinful actions of traffickers, and we denounce our own silence in the face of suffering.

And we mourn the loss of life and the loss of freedom that has occurred because of human trafficking. We commit ourselves to labor toward a better future, one free from the violence and evil of human trafficking. 

Prayer:

God of peace, there are many places and many people who do not experience your peace. Right now, around the world and in the cities we call home, men, women, and children are living under the oppressive evil and darkness of human trafficking. Help them, Lord, and give them strength, courage, and protection. Turn their terror and fear into hope.

Lord, we confess that as a church we have often been silent in the face of the suffering that is human trafficking. Open our hearts to the pain of others. Remind us of your love for all people, and impress upon us ways that we can actively work against this injustice. Give the law enforcement and community organizations who serve victims, survivors, and perpetrators strength and courage.

We acknowledge, Lord, that this battle will be long. But we commit ourselves to be bold in our actions, in our words, and in our prayers. We put our trust in You. Amen. 

Setlist 1-28-2018

Yesterday was the fourth Sunday of Epiphany, and the songs were gathered with that in mind.  Below, you’ll find the list of the songs and artists. Clicking the song titles will take you to the lyrics.  Below the songs, you can find a brief example of one way you might think of these songs. If you want to talk about any of these, feel free to comment at the bottom of this page or email me at jamie@ubcwaco.org.

Songs:

Hope by Jameson McGregor

House of God Forever by Jon Foreman

Future/Past by John Mark McMillan

For All That I Don't Know by Jameson McGregor

There's A Wideness in God's Mercy by Jameson McGregor (adapted from F. Faber)

Doxology

How They Fit In:

There are many ways to think about the significance of songs and the way they fit together–-this is simply one way you can look at these songs in light of this week’s theme. 

Hope: Among the things we come to find revealed in Jesus is how far God is willing to go to set things right with us.  In the incarnation, long before we reach the love revealed in the Passion, we find an act of radical love and empathy: the self-emptying of God into humanity.  This song gives voice to a hope rooted in God having demonstrated God's decision to set things right in Creation.

House of God Forever: We sang this song to proclaim the care and belonging that permeate the life and ministry of Jesus, which embodied aspects of the character of God already articulated in Psalm 23.

Future/Past: We sang this song to proclaim God's having chosen to be God-with-us in Christ.

For All That I Don't Know: This song is about the difficulty of believing in God--the One who is love, at least--when the world seems to be getting darker, but finds room for the twilight hope of faith in the midst of the long night of human history.

There's A Wideness In God's Mercy: We sang this song to look over our shoulder at last week's songs.  This is what we said about There's A Wideness in God's Mercy then: We sang this song to remind ourselves that our best ideas of God's love fall short of grasping it in fullness.  During Epiphany, we hope to suspend our assumptions about God's love along with everything else we think we know about the Person of Jesus, in hopes of encountering Jesus anew.

Doxology: We close our time together each week with this proclamation that God is worthy of praise from every inch of the cosmos.

-JM

Liturgy 1-21-2018

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 One
in whom we live and move and have our being

to devote our attention to the One
who is making all things new

hoping to find our living, moving,
and being, transformed

and our heart remade

into torches bearing Kingdom light

revealing life where there was once only darkness

Amen.

Scripture

Jonah 3:1-5, 10

The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying, “Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord.

Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days' walk across. Jonah began to go into the city, going a day's walk. And he cried out, “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth.

When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.

Mark 1:14-20

After John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” 

As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him.

As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.

Prayer

This week's prayer was from A New Zealand Prayer Book (582):

God of all mercy,
your Son brought good news to the despairing,
freedom to the oppressed
and joy to the sad;
fill us with your Spirit,
that the people of our day may see in us his likeness
and glorify your name.

Jesus, our Redeemer,
give us your power to reveal and proclaim the good news,
so that wherever we may go
the sick may be healed, lepers embraced,
and the dead and dying given new life.

Almighty God,
your Son revealed in signs and wonders
the greatness of your saving love;
renew your people with your heavenly grace,
and in all our weakness
sustain us by your mighty power;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Setlist 1-21-2018

Our last liturgy was the second Sunday of Epiphany, and the songs were gathered with that in mind.  Below, you’ll find the list of the songs and artists. Clicking the song titles will take you to the lyrics.  Below the songs, you can find a brief example of one way you might think of these songs. If you want to talk about any of these, feel free to comment at the bottom of this page or email me at jamie@ubcwaco.org.

Songs:

Bonfire by Jameson McGregor

All the Poor and Powerless by All Sons & Daughters

There's A Wideness in God's Mercy by Jameson McGregor (adapted from F. Faber)

Shadow by Jameson McGregor

How Great Thou Art

Doxology

How They Fit In:

There are many ways to think about the significance of songs and the way they fit together–-this is simply one way you can look at these songs in light of this week’s theme. 

Bonfire: This song explores the contrast between God and humanity, and looks forward to the coming reconciliation of all things to God; the reconciliation that is sometimes glimpsed in the world around us in justice, redemption, and love. You can hear an album version of this song here.

All the Poor and Powerless: This song is about the hope of Christ in the lives of the oppressed, trampled, criminal, and hopeless, and more broadly about the love of God for God's creatures.

There's A Wideness In God's Mercy: We sang this song to remind ourselves that our best ideas of God's love fall short of grasping it in fullness.  During Epiphany, we hope to suspend our assumptions about God's love along with everything else we think we know about the Person of Jesus, in hopes of encountering Jesus anew.

Shadow: This song is about the impossibility of dying to self and the vision for humanity embodied in the person of Christ. You can hear an album version of this song here.

How Great Thou Art: We sang this song to look over our shoulder at last week's songs.  This is what we said about How Great Thou Art then: As we travel through Epiphany, most of the gospel readings will depict someone acknowledging Jesus as Lord.  This song offered us language to join in this posture of acclamation. 

Doxology: We close our time together each week with this proclamation that God is worthy of praise from every inch of the cosmos.

-JM