Re-formed by love

The Celebration of the Gospel
October 29, 2017 —21st Sunday after Pentecost

 Love your neighbor as yourself
 —Matthew 22. 39

  ________ We Gather as the Body of Christ______

GREETING
PRELUDE   Shall We Gather At The River  Robert Lowry, arr: Lyndell Leatherman

[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:  Holy One, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.
All:    Alleluia!  We love you!
Teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart.
Have mercy on us, and lead us to do your will.
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
so that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Fill us with your love, that we may love fully, in the Spirit of Christ. Alleluia!

* SONG    Your Love, O God Blue hymnal # 120

(10:30) CHILDREN’S TIME

____________ We Attend to the Word__________

(10:30) THE WORD IN SONG
Amazing Grace / Pachelbel’s Canon   Traditional, arr: Jean Anne Shafferman

PRAYER
God of love and mercy, we love because you first loved us.
Open our hearts to your love as we listen for your Word.
May the light of your love fill us, warm us, re-shape us, and empower us to love,
in the name and the Spirit of Christ.  Amen.

(10:30)  NEW TESTAMENT  from 1 John 3 – 5
[God loves us, and this love is God’s Spirit in us.  It flows from us into the world.  So to love God is to love our neighbors.]

See what love God has given us,
that God says, “You are my children;”
and indeed that is who we are.
The reason the world does not understand us
is that it does not understand God.
Beloved, now we are God’s children;
what we will be has not yet been revealed.
What we do know is this: when God is revealed,
we will be like God, for we will see God
as God truly is.
All who have this hope in God purify themselves,
just as Christ is pure.

This is God’s commandment: that, trusting in the love of God’s Own, Jesus Christ, we will love one another, just as God has commanded us.  All who live by this love live in God, and God lives in them. We know that God lives in us, by the Spirit that God gives us.

No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and God’s love is perfected in us.  By this we know that we abide in God and God in us, because God has given us of God’s Spirit.

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.  We love because God first loved us.

The commandment we have from God is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.

God’s commandments are not burdensome, for whatever is born of God conquers the world.  This is the victory that conquers the world; this is our faith.
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GOSPEL   Matthew 22.34-40
[Jesus says the greatest commandment, and the essence of our faith, is to love God with all your being, and love your neighbor as yourself.  Love of God and neighbor are two forms of one love: we cannot do one without the other.]

When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” Jesus said, “’You shall love the Holy One your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
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SERMON

SONG   The Gift of Love   Blue hymnal # 408

(8:15) THE BAPTISM OF MAPLE ELLOISE BEAGEN

Pastor: Beloved in Christ:
through the sacrament of baptism
God brings us into Christ’s holy church,
makes us part of the salvation of the world,
and gives us new birth through water and the Spirit.

So we come to the water—
Yes, everyone who thirsts! Come to the waters:
water of new birth,  poured out and flowing  freely
for all who will receive it;
water of justice rolling down,
water of righteousness like an everflowing stream;
a spring of water in us gushing up to eternal life;
the river of God for the healing of the world.

We come to this water
because our souls thirst for you, O God,
as in a dry and weary land.
Sponsor:  We come to this water
to baptize Maple
and to bathe her in your love for her.
Pastor: We come to this water as a community.

All: We come to this water
to renew our love as siblings in Christ,
and to renew our baptism
in the death and resurrection of Christ.

The Baptismal Vows
Pastor (to the parents):  As we behold the mystery of God’s grace,
I invite you to profess your faith,
and to confirm the baptismal covenant made in your name:
Do you hunger and thirst for righteousness?
Parents: We confess our need for the saving, life-giving grace of God.
         Will you turn away from the powers of sin and death?
We renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness,
reject the evil powers of this world,
and repent of our sin.
         Will you let the Spirit use you as prophets to the powers that be?
We accept the freedom and power God gives us
to resist evil, injustice, and oppression
in whatever forms they present themselves.

Will you receive God’s grace, give yourselves wholly to God,
and live as disciples of Jesus, Christ’s body on earth?
We confess Jesus Christ as our Savior,
put our whole trust in his grace,
and promise to serve him as our Lord,
in union with the church which Christ has opened
to people of all ages, nations, and races.
         Will you nurture Maple in Christ’s holy church?
Parents: By teaching and example we will guide her
to accept God’s grace, to grow in faith, and to lead a Christian life.

To congregation: Do you, as Christ’s Body, the church,
reaffirm your rejection of sin and your commitment to Christ?
Congregation: We do.
         Will you be living witnesses to the gospel,
individually and together, wherever you are, and in all that you do?
We will live as faithful members of the Body of Christ
and serve as Christ’s representatives in the world.

Will you nurture one another in living the faith through the church and include Maple in your care?
With God’s help we will embody the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We will surround Maple with faith, hope and love
that
she may grow in grace and faith
and learn to trust God and live in loving service in the world.

We will pray for her and walk with her
on
her journey of discipleship among us.

          Profession of Faith       (The Apostles’ Creed)
Let us join in professing our faith.
Do you love God the Father and Mother?
All: I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

Do you follow Jesus Christ?
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Begotten, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

Do you live by the Holy Spirit?
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy universal Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
Amen.

                                    Thanksgiving over the Water

The Spirit of God is among us.
The blessing of the Beloved is upon us!
Let us pray.  Loving, life-giving God, we give you thanks,
for in the beginning your Spirit brooded over the waters
and you brought forth Creation.
You brought us to freedom through the waters of the Red Sea.
You gave us new birth through baptism into Christ,
and gave us life that cannot die.
         The river of God is full of water,
the river of the water of life,
bright as crystal, flowing from the heart of God.
We who are baptized into Christ Jesus
are baptized into his life,
born in the water of a womb;
we are baptized into his ministry,
giving water to the thirsty,
washing the feet and sharing the tears of all who suffer;
and we are baptized into his death,
so that just as Christ was raised by the glory of God,
we too might walk in newness of life.
         Born of water and the Spirit,
may we enter into the Realm of God
as children of God,
born not of human will, but of God.

Pour out your Holy Spirit in this water
and bless her who receives it,
that claimed by your Word, nourished in your grace,
washed from all sin and borne by your Spirit,
she may live in freedom, trust and courage,
sharing in the eternal life of Christ.
         Maple, you are God’s Beloved,
         in whom God is well pleased.
All reverence and delight is yours,
infinite and loving God, now and forever.
All praise to you, Eternal Father and Mother,
Son and Holy Spirit,
in the present moment and in eternity.  Amen!

…   Baptism with Laying on of Hands  …
Let us welcome our new sister in Christ.
Maple, Child of God, claimed by water and the Spirit,
you are joined to God’s new creation.

We are one in Christ Jesus,
sharing in Christ’s royal priesthood.
With joy and thanksgiving
we welcome you as a member of Christ’s church.

God bless you now and in eternal life.   Amen.

 

The God of all grace, who has called us to eternal glory in Christ,
establish you and strengthen you by the power of the Holy Spirit,
that you may live in grace and peace.

___________________________________________

* AFFIRMATION OF FAITH     from 1 John 3 – 5
Leader: See what love God has given us, that God says, “You are my children.”
All: Indeed, that is who we are.
We know love by this: that Christ died for us—
and so we seek to lay down our lives for one another.
We love because God first loved us.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.
We know that God lives in us, by the Spirit of Love God gives us.
Little children, let us not merely speak of love, but love in all our actions.
God’s commandment is that, trusting in the love of God’s Chosen One, Jesus Christ,
we will love our brothers and sisters also. 

If we love one another, God lives in us, and God’s love is perfected in us.
This commandment is not burdensome, for whatever is born of God conquers the world.  This is the victory that conquers the world; this is our faith.

* SONG    Ubi Caritas   Jaques Berthier, Taize Community

Ubi caritas et amor, ubi caritas dues ibi est.

[“Where there is compassion and love, there is God.”]

THE PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
[Anyone who wishes may share a prayer concern at the microphone.]
THE PRAYER OF JESUS
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours,
now and forever.  Amen.
SHARING THE PEACE OF CHRIST

_______ We Are Sent in Ministry to the World____

OFFERING OUR GIFTS

*  OFFERING SONG     Move Me        Blue hymnal  #471

*  PRAYER
Gracious God, we give you our lives, symbolized in these gifts.  Receive them with love, bless them with grace and use them according to your will.  Send us, transformed by your love, filled and empowered by your love, to love all people, for the sake of your love, in the name and the Spirit of Christ. Amen.

THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH IN THE WORLD

*  SONG    Make Me a Channel of Your Peace    Black hymnal #2171

*  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    Heavenly Sunlight    George H. Cook, arr: Mark Hayes

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

 

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