Justice is: Vulnerability

The Celebration of the Gospel

February 19, 2017 —Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany

 If anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also.
Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

 — Matthew 5.39, 44

________ We Gather as the Body of Christ______

GREETING
PRELUDE  Sweet By And By   J. P. Webster, arr: Mark Hayes

[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
Leader:  Beauty, you surround us.
All:    Alleluia!
Love, you come to us.
Alleluia!
Wonder, you stir in us.
Alleluia!
God of light, we worship you. Alleluia!

* SONG    Great Is Thy Faithfulness   Blue hymnal # 140

(10:30) CHILDREN’S TIME

____________We Attend to the Word__________

(10:30) THE WORD IN SONG       Give Me Jesus     Arr. Moses Hogan

PRAYER OF THE DAY
Gentle and almighty God, the world is in turmoil and you call us to peace.  The world is in conflict and you call us to love. The world is in pain, and you call us to healing. In the dark and chaos speak your Word of light. Our hearts are open.  Fill us with your life.  We pray in the Spirit of Christ.  Amen.

OLD TESTAMENT      Leviticus 19.1-2, 9-18
[God sets out laws that protect the rights and well-being of the poor, and provide for integrity, compassion and justice in the community: “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”]

God spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them: You shall be holy, for I, Yahweh, your God am holy.  When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: I am Yahweh your God.

You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; and you shall not lie to one another. And you shall not swear falsely by my name, profaning the name of your God: I am Yahweh. You shall not defraud your neighbor; you shall not steal; and you shall not keep for yourself the wages of a laborer until morning. You shall not revile the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind; you shall fear your God: I am Yahweh. You shall not render an unjust judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great: with justice you shall judge your neighbor.

You shall not go around slandering people, and you shall not profit by the blood of your neighbor: I am Yahweh. You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am Yahweh.
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PSALTER         Psalm 119.1-8
[In this Psalm we ask God to lead us in God’s way.  Each verse refers to God’s way with a different figure of speech: testimonies, precepts, statutes, commandments, etc.]

Happy are those whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the Holy One.
Happy are those who keep God’s decrees,
who seek God with their whole heart,
who also do no wrong, but walk in God’s ways.
You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently.
O that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes!
Then I shall not be put to shame,
having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
I will praise you with an upright heart,
when I learn your righteous ordinances.
I will observe your statutes; do not utterly forsake me.
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NEW TESTAMENT    Philippians 2.5-11
[Christ, representing God, let go of divine power and status and shared the most vulnerable place in life in loving service.   It is in his humility, not his power, that his majesty is hidden.]

Have the same mind that was in Christ Jesus,
who, though divine,
did not cling to equality with God
but became utterly empty,
born a human, choosing the place of a slave,
and in complete humility became obedient to death
— even death on a cross.
Therefore God also highly exalted Christ
with a name that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Giver of Life.
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GOSPEL    Matthew 5.38-48
[Jesus continues his teachings in the Sermon on the Mount.  He calls us to radical love that extends not only to neighbors but also to enemies—love that is perfectly pure, even as God’s love is.]

Jesus said: You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.

You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so it is clear you are children of God; for God makes the sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Abba is perfect.
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SERMON

SONG  Veni, Sancte Spiritus

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 Mother, 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

THE WORD IN SONG Light One Candle    Peter Yarrow

______We Are Sent in Ministry to the World_____

OFFERING OUR GIFTS   Sonata Da Chiesa    Arcangelo Corelli

*  OFFERING SONG     Let There Be Peace on Earth   Blue hymnal  #431

*  PRAYER
Gracious God, as our grateful worship we give you our lives, symbolized in these gifts.  Receive them with love, bless them with grace and use them according to your will.  Make us gentle as Christ.  Give us the courage of Christ. Send us out as the Body of Christ, for the sake of the healing of the world, in the Spirit of your love. Amen.

THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH IN THE WORLD

*  SONG  Christ Beside Me   Black hymnal #2166

*  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 Sing The Mighty Power Of God   arr: Ron Boud

[During the postlude there are people ready to pray with you at the candles in the corners.]

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