After we have made our declaration, Jesus tests us by letting us know that the road is a difficult one. This journey is about surrender and sacrifice and service. Yet, there is joy in the midst of it all. Jesus tells us that finding ourselves begins with losing ourselves. How do we present the faith in all its seriousness, but also in all its fulfillment and joy?
Call to Worship
Give thanks to God with all your hearts.
We will hold nothing back from our God.
Sing full-throated praises to our God.
We will join in the chorus of thanksgiving for God's abiding love.
Glorify God and that Word we know as Jesus Christ.
We will worship our God with wonder and joy.
(c) 2014 Thom M. Shuman
God, you are made known to us in the rustling wind that blows,
in the blazing fire that does not consume,
in the face of the good,
in the deep of the unknown.
We meet you here. We accept your greeting. We welcome your inspiration.
We await the change you have in store for us.
Draw us in to you. Inhabit our spirits. Focus our attention.
Bring us to you – you who are already with us.
Help us to be as you would have us be.
Through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
here and everywhere, now and always. Amen.
© UCC 2017, https://www.ucc.org/worship_worship-ways
Precious Lord, strip away the mask I wear during the week to “get by.” Lay my soul bare before you today. Let me see genuine love. Show me the love that hates evil and holds on to what is good. Strip away the mask that holds my emotions in check when I should share your love with someone. Let me see the joy of giving to others. Show me the power of blessing those who persecute me. Strip away the mask that grins and lies and lets the world think otherwise about a child of God.
(Kwasi I. Kena, The Africana Worship Book: Year A, Discipleship Resources, 2006, p. 149.)
Words of Assurance
An altar, a pew, a seat on the bus, a kitchen table: all become holy places when we confess before God. Today, in this holy place, God meets us, hears us and forgives us. In this holy place, God empowers us with genuine love to share with a hurting world. Be for God, a holy loving people.
(Kwasi I. Kena, The Africana Worship Book: Year A, Discipleship Resources, 2006, p. 156.)