liturgy

Liturgy 9-15-2019

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

(contributed by Kerri Fisher)

we have gathered to worship the God of the ages, 

who is filled with compassion and overflowing with grace.

we come with joy and expectation, 

with stiff-necks and mixed motivations,             

hoping to give and receive, 

ready to lose, to find, and to be found.
that we might be transformed here together 
by lovingkindness from above, within, and beside. 
 

amen.

Scripture

Exodus 32:7-14

The Lord said to Moses, "Go down at once! Your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have acted perversely; they have been quick to turn aside from the way that I commanded them; they have cast for themselves an image of a calf, and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, `These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!'" 

The Lord said to Moses, "I have seen this people, how stiff-necked they are. Now let me alone, so that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them; and of you I will make a great nation."

But Moses implored the Lord his God, and said, "O Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, `It was with evil intent that he brought them out to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth'? 

Turn from your fierce wrath; change your mind and do not bring disaster on your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, how you swore to them by your own self, saying to them, `I will multiply your descendants like the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.'" 

And the Lord changed the Lord’s mind about the disaster that the Lord planned to bring on the people of the Lord.

Luke 15:1-11

All the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to Jesus. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, "This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them."

So he told them this parable: "Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. 

And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, `Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.' Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

"Or what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, `Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.' 

Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."

Prayer

This week’s prayer was written by Kerri Fisher (adapted from the Book of Common Prayer)

Create in us clean hearts, oh God. Clear new paths. Call forth what is good. 

As we reflect on the last week, we admit that we have been foolish and faithless in big and small ways. We confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed,

 by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We have lost our way---again—

still—

all-of-a-sudden. 

Renew our spirits oh God--our creator, redeemer, and sustainer.

Amen

Liturgy 9-8-2019

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 from whom nothing is hidden

the Creator and Sustainer of us all, 
who traced our frames before we had frames

to enter the story of God and the people of God

and find our own stories there 

hoping the Spirit of God would transform 
our hearts and minds

leaving hope where despair had been,
love where fear had been,
drawing us further into the way of Christ. 

amen

Scripture

Jeremiah 18:1-11

The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: "Come, go down to the potter's house, and there I will let you hear my words."

So I went down to the potter's house, and there he was working at his wheel. The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter's hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him.

Then the word of the Lord came to me: Can I not do with you, O house of Israel, just as this potter has done? says the Lord. Just like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. 

At one moment I may declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, but if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will change my mind about the disaster that I intended to bring on it. 

And at another moment I may declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, but if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will change my mind about the good that I had intended to do to it. 

Now, therefore, say to the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: Thus says the Lord: Look, I am a potter shaping evil against you and devising a plan against you. Turn now, all of you from your evil way, and amend your ways and your doings.

Philemon 1-21

Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother,

To Philemon our dear friend and co-worker, to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

When I remember you in my prayers, I always thank my God because I hear of your love for all the saints and your faith toward the Lord Jesus. 

I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective when you perceive all the good that we may do for Christ. I have indeed received much joy and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, my brother.

For this reason, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do your duty, yet I would rather appeal to you on the basis of love-- and I, Paul, do this as an old man, and now also as a prisoner of Christ Jesus. 

I am appealing to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I have become during my imprisonment. Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful both to you and to me. I am sending him, that is, my own heart, back to you. I wanted to keep him with me, so that he might be of service to me in your place during my imprisonment for the gospel; but I preferred to do nothing without your consent, in order that your good deed might be voluntary and not something forced. 

Perhaps this is the reason he was separated from you for a while, so that you might have him back forever, no longer as a slave but more than a slave, a beloved brother-- especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.

So if you consider me your partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. If he has wronged you in any way, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand: I will repay it. I say nothing about your owing me even your own self. 

Yes, brother, let me have this benefit from you in the Lord! Refresh my heart in Christ. Confident of your obedience, I am writing to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say.

Liturgy 8-11-2019

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

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

to enter the story of God and the people of God

and find our own stories reimagined

hoping the Spirit of God would form 
our hearts and minds in the way of Christ

making torches of our lives,
and drawing us into the work of God in the world

Amen

Scripture

Psalm 50:1-5

The mighty one, God the Lord,
speaks and summons the earth
from the rising of the sun to its setting.
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, 
God shines forth.

Our God comes and does not keep silence,
before God is a devouring fire,
and a mighty tempest all around God.
God calls to the heavens above
and to the earth, that God may judge God’s people:

“Gather to me my faithful ones,
who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!”
The heavens declare God’s righteousness,
for God Godself is judge. Selah

“Hear, O my people, and I will speak,
O Israel, I will testify against you.
I am God, your God.
Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you;
your burnt offerings are continually before me.

I will not accept a bull from your house,
or goats from your folds.
For every wild animal of the forest is mine,
the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know all the birds of the air,
and all that moves in the field is mine.

“If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
for the world and all that is in it is mine.
Do I eat the flesh of bulls,
or drink the blood of goats?
Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and pay your vows to the Most High.
Call on me in the day of trouble;

I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”

Luke 12:32-40

Jesus said to his disciples, "Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

"Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks. 

Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them. If he comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.

"But know this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour."

Liturgy 8-4-2019

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 in whom we live and move and have our being 

to enter into God’s story

and find our own stories transformed 

and to invite the Spirit to shape our hearts and minds 

into the way of Christ,
that we might come alongside the work of God in the world
with our whole lives.  

amen

Scripture

Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14; 2:18-23

Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity.

I, the Teacher, when king over Israel in Jerusalem, applied my mind to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven; it is an unhappy business that God has given to human beings to be busy with. I saw all the deeds that are done under the sun; and see, all is vanity and a chasing after wind.

I hated all my toil in which I had toiled under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to those who come after me --and who knows whether they will be wise or foolish? Yet they will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. 

So I turned and gave my heart up to despair concerning all the toil of my labors under the sun, because sometimes one who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave all to be enjoyed by another who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. 

What do mortals get from all the toil and strain with which they toil under the sun? For all their days are full of pain, and their work is a vexation; even at night their minds do not rest. This also is vanity.

Luke 12:13-21

Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me." But he said to him, "Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?" 

And he said to them, "Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one's life does not consist in the abundance of possessions." Then he told them a parable: "The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, `What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?' 

Then he said, `I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, `Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.' 

But God said to him, `You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?' So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God."

Prayer

God, we come to you bearing the grief of yesterday’s act of terror in El Paso.

We come to you grieving the loss of life—the stopped hearts and the scarred hearts.

We grieve the anti-Christ poison of white nationalism, and that those who harbor it within themselves feel emboldened by our public discourse about immigration in general, and the rhetoric of the president in particular.

We grieve that black and brown bodies are sacrificed at the altar of inaction as this hate perpetuates itself.

We bear also the grief of this morning’s shooting in Ohio. We grieve the stopped hearts and the scarred hearts.

And we grieve that something so unthinkable has become so commonplace.

We grieve that a country so self confident in its own power is seemingly impotent to deal meaningfully with gun violence.

We grieve that so many lives have been sacrificed at the altar of inaction as this violence perpetuates itself.

We ask that you would continue to be present in both of these newly grieving communities, that you would bring comfort, peace, and healing to all those who are learning what it’s like to live in a world without some of the people they love in it.

And we ask that you would bring this same comfort, peace, and healing to all those who are learning what it’s like to live in a world where someone they love has done a terrible thing.

We ask also that you would be with the countless hospital workers and neighbors who are becoming the agents of that comfort, peace, and healing, that you would give them strength.

We confess that the scope of this evil in our culture is overwhelming, and there are days where we feel helpless. But we cling to the hope that you are emphatically not helpless. And so, we ask that you would bless us with the foolishness to think we can make a difference in the world, and that your Spirit would drive us to do just that.

And so in these next few moments of silence, we ask that the Spirit would intercede for us with groans too deep for words, as we grieve with our brothers and sisters. And that the Spirit would begin to shape our imaginations to build a world where the unthinkable isn’t a daily or weekly occurrence.

Amen.

Liturgy 7-28-2019

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 draws near to the lowly
and defends the weak

with our songs, our prayers, our listening

to enter the story of God and the people of God,
and find our own stories there
 

hoping that the Spirit of God will form our hearts and minds
in the way of Christ

 and draw the full complexity of our lives 
into God’s work in the world 

amen

Scripture

Psalm 138

I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;
before the gods I sing your praise;
I bow down toward your holy temple
and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness;
for you have exalted your name and your word
above everything.

On the day I called, you answered me,
you increased my strength of soul.
All the kings of the earth shall praise you, O Lord,
for they have heard the words of your mouth.
They shall sing of the ways of the Lord,
for great is the glory of the Lord.

For though the Lord is high, the Lord regards the lowly;
but the haughty the Lord perceives from far away.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve me against the wrath of my enemies;
you stretch out your hand,
and your right hand delivers me.

The Lord will fulfill the Lord’s purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands.

Luke 11:1-13

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples." He said to them, "When you pray, say:

Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.
And do not bring us to the time of trial."

And he said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, `Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.' 

And he answers from within, `Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.' I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.

"So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 

Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? 

If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"

Prayer

This week’s prayer is from The Iona Community Worship Book (81):

O Christ, your cross speaks both to us and tour world.

In your dying for us you accepted the pain and hurt
Of the whole of creation.

The arms of your cross stretch out across the
Broken world in reconciliation.

You have made peace with us.
Help us to make peace with you by sharing in your
Reconciling work.

May we recognize your spirit disturbing and
Challenging us to care for creation and for the
Poor who most feel the effects of its abuse.

O Christ, the whole of creation groans,
Set us free and make us whole.

Liturgy 7-21-2019

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 Rest moving to pierce our busyness
the Holding-Together surrounding our brokenness 

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

with our songs, our prayers, and our listening 

hoping the Spirit of God would form 
our hearts and minds in the way of Christ

teaching us to love God
and love our neighbor
with our whole lives. 

Amen

Scripture

Psalm 15

O Lord, who may abide in your tent?
    Who may dwell on your holy hill?

Those who walk blamelessly, and do what is right,
    and speak the truth from their heart;
who do not slander with their tongue,
    and do no evil to their friends,
    nor take up a reproach against their neighbors;

in whose eyes the wicked are despised,
    but who honor those who fear the Lord;
who stand by their oath even to their hurt;
who do not lend money at interest,
    and do not take a bribe against the innocent.

Those who do these things shall never be moved.

Luke 10:38-42

As Jesus and his disciples went on their way, Jesus entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to what he was saying. 

But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me." 

But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her."

Prayer

This week’s prayer was from An Iona Prayer Book (98):

Lord of Life
we celebrate your countless gifts,
in days and nights,
in rainbows and rain,
in touch, dream and smile,
in partners who love,
in kids who cuddle,
in grannies who listen,
in friends who care,
in dogs that lick,
in hands that sew,
in food on the table;
yet above all,
in your coming among us,
walking our roads,
calling our names,
enfolding our lives,
inviting us home.

Liturgy 7-14-2019

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 Refuge of the weary
the defender of the weak
 

to enter the story of God with our songs, 
our prayers, our silence, and our attention 

and find our own stories changed

hoping the Spirit of God will transform our hearts and minds

that we might learn to love God,
 and to love our neighbors,
to be formed in the way of Christ
in our time and place 

Amen

Scripture

Psalm 82

God takes God’s stand in the council of heaven; 
God gives judgment in the midst of the gods:

"How long will you judge unjustly, 
and show favor to the wicked?

Save the weak and the orphan; 
defend the humble and needy;
Rescue the weak and the poor; 
deliver them from the power of the wicked.

They do not know, neither do they understand;
they go about in darkness; 
all the foundations of the earth are shaken.

Now I say to you, 'You are gods, 
and all of you children of the Most High;
Nevertheless, you shall die like mortals, 
and fall like any prince.'"

Arise, O God, and rule the earth, 
for you shall take all nations for your own.

Luke 10:25-37

Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he said, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" He said to him, "What is written in the law? What do you read there?" 

He answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." And he said to him, "You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live."

But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"

Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 

So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 

But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. 

Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, `Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.' 

Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?" 

He said, "The one who showed him mercy." Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."

Prayer

O Christ, kindle in our hearts within
A flame of love to our neighbor,
To our foes, to our friends, to our kindred all

O Christ of the poor and the yearning,
From the humblest thing that lives
To the name that is highest of all,
Kindle in our hearts within
A flame of love

Amen

Liturgy 5-6-2019

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 direct our attention to the Risen Christ

to enter the story of God and the people of God

and find our own stories changed

seeking the Spirit of God
to form us into Resurrection people

that we might reflect the light of Christ
in our ordinary lives

amen

Scripture

Psalm 30

I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up,
and did not let my foes rejoice over me.
O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
and you have healed me.

O Lord, you brought up my soul from Sheol,
restored me to life from among those gone down to the Pit.
Sing praises to the Lord, O you his faithful ones,
and give thanks to his holy name.

For his anger is but for a moment;
his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may linger for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.

As for me, I said in my prosperity,
“I shall never be moved.”
By your favor, O Lord,
you had established me as a strong mountain;
you hid your face;
I was dismayed.

To you, O Lord, I cried,
and to the Lord I made supplication:
“What profit is there in my death,
if I go down to the Pit?

Will the dust praise you?
Will it tell of your faithfulness?
Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me!
O Lord, be my helper!”

You have turned my mourning into dancing;
you have taken off my sackcloth
and clothed me with joy,
so that my soul may praise you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever.

Acts 9:1-20

Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.

Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" He asked, "Who are you, Lord?" The reply came, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do."

The men who were traveling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one. Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. For three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias." He answered, "Here I am, Lord." The Lord said to him, "Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul. At this moment he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight."

But Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name." But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel; I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name."

So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit." And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength.

For several days he was with the disciples in Damascus, and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, "He is the Son of God."

Liturgy 4-28-2019

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 whom death could not contain

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

and find our own stories there

that we might learn to love our neighbor as our self

and to join in the work of Resurrection
in our ordinary lives

Amen

Scripture

Psalm 118:14-29

The Lord is my strength and my might;
   the Lord has become my salvation.

There are glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous:
“The right hand of the Lord does valiantly;
   the right hand of the Lord is exalted;
   the right hand of the Lord does valiantly.”

I shall not die, but I shall live,
   and recount the deeds of the Lord.
The Lord has punished me severely,
   but did not give me over to death.

Open to me the gates of righteousness,
   that I may enter through them
   and give thanks to the Lord.

This is the gate of the Lord;
   the righteous shall enter through it.
I thank you that you have answered me
   and have become my salvation.

The stone that the builders rejected
   has become the chief cornerstone.
This is the Lord’s doing;
   it is marvelous in our eyes.

This is the day that the Lord has made;
   let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Save us, we beseech you, O Lord!
   O Lord, we beseech you, give us success!

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
   We bless you from the house of the Lord.
The Lord is God,
   and he has given us light.
Bind the festal procession with branches,
   up to the horns of the altar.

You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
   you are my God, I will extol you.
O give thanks to the Lord, for the Lord is good,
   for the steadfast love of the Lord endures forever.

John 20:19-31

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you."

After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you."

When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."

But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe."

A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe."

Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe."

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

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.