Training Camp for Christians: Practicing the Realm of God


August 27, 2017 —12th Sunday after Pentecost

 “Who do you say I am?”
-Matthew 16:15

    _______We Gather as the Body of Christ_______

[As we listen to the music we quiet our minds and bodies,
listen for our hearts’ deepest desires,
and become present to the Holy One who is lovingly present for us.
* CALL TO WORSHIP    (adapted from Romans 12:1-8)
Leader:  We who are many are one body in Christ.
All:   We are members of one another.
We have gifts that differ according to the grace given us:
prophecy, in proportion to faith;
ministry in ministering; the teacher in teaching;
the exhorter in exhortation;  the giver in generosity;
the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.
We who are many are one body in Christ.


* SONG      The Church’s One Foundation         Blue hymnal # 545


__________We Attend to the Word_________


Loving Creator, you made us for yourself.  Through your beloved, Jesus, you call us to be your witnesses of love in the world. We give you thanks for the faithful Christians who have gone before us. We ask you to bind us together so that your Church may be united in love and service in our time and in all generations to come. Amen.

OLD TESTAMENT       Exodus 1:15-2:10
[Pharaoh instructs the midwives of Egypt to kill all of the Hebrew boys born.  But the mother and sister of Moses trust in God’s plan and the save Moses through adoption to Pharaoh’s daughter. ]

The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, “When you act as midwives to the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, she shall live.” But the midwives feared God; they did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but they let the boys live. So the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this, and allowed the boys to live?” The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women; for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them.” So God dealt well with the midwives; and the people multiplied and became very strong. The  midwives feared God, and God gave them families. Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, “Every boy that is born to the Hebrews you shall throw into the Nile, but you shall let every girl live.”

Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a Levite woman.  The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was a fine baby, she hid him three months.  When she could hide him no longer she got a papyrus basket for him, and plastered it with bitumen and pitch; she put the child in it and placed it among the reeds on the bank of the river.  His sister stood at a distance, to see what would happen to him.  The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her attendants walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to bring it.  When she opened it, she saw the child. He was crying, and she took pity on him. “This must be one of the Hebrews’ children,” she said.  Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?”  Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Yes.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother.  Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed it. When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and she took him as her son. She named him Moses, “because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.”

PSALTER      Psalm 100
[We acknowledge that God has made us. We claim our identity as God’s people  in all generations.]

Make a joyful noise to the Holy One, all the earth.
Worship Yahweh with gladness;
come into God’s presence with singing.
Know that the Holy One is God.
It is God that made us, and we are God’s;
we are God’s people, and the sheep of God’s pasture.
Enter God’s gates with thanksgiving,
and God’s courts with praise.
Give thanks to God, bless God’s name.
For Yahweh is good; God’s steadfast love endures forever,
and God’s faithfulness to all generations.

GOSPEL      Matthew 16: 13-20
[Jesus turns the identity question upside down, asking his disciples, “Who do you say I am?”]

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Chosen One is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Firstborn of the living God.”

And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Abba God in heaven. And I tell you, you are Rocky, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the realm of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

SERMON        Dr. Elizabeth Windsor
[Pastor Steve is on vacation this Sunday.  Our Director of Faith Formation, Dr. Elizabeth Windsor, is our preacher today.]

SONG      We Are Called    Black hymnal # 2172

We believe in a God of love that gives us radical freedom to act as we choose. Our God walks with us in the good times and the hard times, desiring that we act with compassion and seek justice.

Jesus came to reveal God’s love, show us the power of love, and to encourage us to love God and love one another. By doing so, our lives will be rewarding even if challenging and will give us inner peace as we work for outer peace in our communities and our world.

The Holy Spirit is God’s power of love made manifest within us and among us. This Spirit connects us with each other as well as with God, empowering us to do what did not seem possible living in harmony with all creation.

* SONG    Bind Us Together   Black hymnal  # 2226

[Anyone who wishes may share a prayer concern at the microphone.]

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.


______We Are Sent in Ministry to the World_____


*  OFFERING SONG    Doxology    Blue hymnal  #94

Holy One, we offer you these material gifts as symbols of the many gifts you give us. Create in us generous hearts so that we may serve you and serve others in your Name all the days of our lives. Amen.


*  SONG      They’ll Know We Are Christians by Our Love     Black hymnal #2223


RESPONSE    We stand and sing to our neighbors:
May the grace and peace of Christ be with you my friends.
Go and share the love of God, love that never ends.


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