What does “Christ died for us” mean?

The Celebration of the Gospel

June 25, 2017 —3rd Sunday after Pentecost

 While we were sinners Christ died for us.
 — Romans 5.8

    _______We Gather as the Body of Christ_______

GREETING
PRELUDE   Come, Holy Ghost   …    André van Vliet

[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   …   based on Psalm 86
Leader:  Listen, O God, for we are poor and needy.
All:    Save us, for we rely on you.
We open our souls to you. Give us joy.
For you are good and forgiving,
abounding in steadfast love to all who turn to you.
Be gracious to us and give us your strength.
For you are merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.  Alleluia

* SONG    It Is Well with My Soul   …   Blue hymnal # 377 vv. 1-3

CHILDREN’S TIME

____________We Attend to the Word__________

THE WORD IN SONG             Summer Singers

PRAYER
Loving God, our deep distrust separates us from you, but you reach out to us in our fear with love and grace.  You forgive us; you heal us; you bless us.  We open our hearts to your Spirit, that the good news of your love might sink in and change us.  Creator God, make us new. Loving Christ, come and speak to us.  Holy Spirit, give us new life. Amen.

OLD TESTAMENT…. Genesis 12.1-4
[God calls Abram (soon to become Abraham) from his native land to the land of Canaan. God promises that Abram will have land and many descendants, and especially that they will be a blessing to all on earth.]

Now God said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your parents’ house to the land that I will show you.  I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”  So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.
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* PSALTER      Psalm 86.10-13
[We rejoice in God’s steadfast love .  We pray for an “undivided heart,” for singular mindfulness of God’s presence, undistracted by other things. We seek to walk in God’s ways.]

Sung Response: Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see.

O God, you are great, and do wondrous things.
You alone are God.
Teach me your way, O God,
that I may walk in your truth.
Give me an undivided heart,
to be mindful of your presence.
I give thanks to you, God, with my whole heart.
I will live as your glory all my life.
For great is your steady love toward me:
you have saved my soul from its dreary death.     R

NEW TESTAMENT   …   Romans 5.1-8
[Jesus makes God’s love for us accessible to us, in that he dies for us even though we think of ourselves as “unworthy.”  When we let this grace sink in it allows us to restore our trust in God. This trust sustains us even through suffering.]

Jesus Christ has made the grace of God accessible to us. When we stand in that grace and trust it and let it really sink in, we are at peace with God.  So we look forward with hope to sharing in the glory of God. Because of this we are confident even in our sufferings, knowing that in suffering we learn to rely on God, and in reliance we become God’s people, and as God’s people our hope is in God, and this hope doesn’t let us down,, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Think about it: people don’t readily sacrifice their life for others, unless those others seem exceptionally worthy.  But look at God’s love for us: while we still were sinners Christ died for us.
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GOSPEL   …   Matthew 10.26-31
[ Jesus says don’t worry about people who threaten you physically.  Worry about what can bring death to your soul.  God is lovingly attentive even to little sparrows; so trust that God will be even more lovingly attentive to you.]

Don’t let anybody intimidate you; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known.   What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the rooftops.

Do not fear those who can kill the body but can’t touch the soul; rather fear what can destroy both soul and body in death. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from God, who pays attention even to the hairs on your head. So do not be afraid; you are more precious than a flock of sparrows.
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SERMON

SONG    …   O Lord, Your Tenderness   …   Black hymnal # 2143

* AFFIRMATION OF FAITH    …  based on Romans 5.1-8
As children of God we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God.
Since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God
through the Beloved, Jesus Christ,
who shows us God’s great love for us,
in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.
God’s love has been poured into our hearts
through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
We give thanks, and we give God our lives,
that we may live in peace with God and with all people,
in the name of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

* SONG   Doxology      …   Blue hymnal  # 95

THE PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
[Anyone who wishes may share a prayer concern at the microphone.]
RESPONSE: This is my prayer.  All: This is our prayer.
THE PRAYER OF JESUS
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.

SHARING THE PEACE OF CHRIST

______ We Are Sent in Ministry to the World_____

OFFERING OUR GIFTS   Heavenly Dove    … Lani Smith

*  OFFERING SONG   Freely, Freely   …  Blue hymnal  #389

*  PRAYER
Loving God, in gratitude for your grace, we give you our lives, symbolized in these gifts.  Receive them with love, bless them with grace and use them according to your will.  You have given us our lives; now we give our lives to you and to the world for the sake of the healing of all Creation, in the name of Christ. Amen.

THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH IN THE WORLD

*  SONG    His Eye Is on the Sparrow  …   Black hymnal #2146

*  THE BLESSING AND SENDING FORTH
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.

POSTLUDE     I’ve Got Peace Like a River    …   Traditional Spiritual, arr: Mark Hayes
[During the postlude there are people ready to pray with you at the candles in the corners.]

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