Take up your cross

The Celebration of the Gospel

September 3, 2017 —13th Sunday after Pentecost

 “Deny yourselves and take up your cross and follow me.”
 — Matthew 16.24

________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    (Psalm 105.1-4)
[We celebrate God’s wondrous works.  God fulfills God’s Covenant, God’s promise to be there for us.]

Leader:  O give thanks to the Holy One! Celebrate God’s wonderful deeds.
All:  Sing praises to God; tell of all God’s wonderful works.
Seek the strength of God’s presence.
May our seeking for God give our hearts joy.
God, who called Moses, calls us all.
We listen, we hear, and we answer.
We worship with humility, joy and gratitude. Alleluia!

* SONG      Lord, I Want to Be a Christian    Blue  hymnal #  402


__________We Attend to the Word____________


Loving God, Voice of Life, you call to us. You appear to us in many subtle ways.  By your Spirit in us, open our eyes to notice.  Open our ears to hear.  Open our hearts to follow and obey.  Amen.

OLD TESTAMENT   Exodus 3.1-15
[God appears to Moses in a burning bush and calls him to lead the people to freedom from slavery in Egypt. When Moses asks God’s name God says “I am what I am,” beyond all naming or comprehending.]

Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.  There the angel of God appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed.  Then Moses said, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.”  When God saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.”  Then God said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”  And God said, “I am the God of your parents, the God of Abraham and Sarah, the God of Isaac and Rebekah, and the God of Jacob and Leah.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

Then God said, “I have seen the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings,  and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey.  The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them.  So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.”

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”  God said, “I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.”  But Moses said to God, “If I come to the Israelites and say to them, “The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, “What is this God’s name?’ what shall I say to them?”  God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” God said further, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, “I AM has sent me to you.’ ”  God also said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, “Yahweh, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you’: This is my name forever, and this my title for all generations.

NEW TESTAMENT    Romans 12.19-21
[Paul describes what it looks like to live by the cross: “Let your love be genuine, weep with those who weep, and overcome evil with good.”]

Let love be genuine; turn from what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve God. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

GOSPEL    Matthew 16.21-28
[Jesus foresees his death at the hands of the religious authorities.  Peter objects, but Jesus scolds him for thinking in human terms instead of God’s terms.  He calls his disciples to radical

Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life? “For the Promised One will come with angels in the glory of Abba God, and repay everyone for what they have done. Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Promise One coming to reign.”


SONG  I Take Up My Cross    Steve G-H
Letting go, I am held.
I take up my cross and follow.

 1. Jesus, you call to me, and draw me into your life.
2. I will endure loss to love alone.
3. By your grace in me I touch the suffering of the world.
4. Bearing the cross with you, I die and rise with you.

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

__________We Share at Christ’s Table __________


You call us, Christ, to take our cross and follow,
but first you bring us here to feast with you,
Our gifts we bring, to celebrate your loving;
our lives we give, to die and rise anew.
Feed us your grace, your Spirit of compassion,
make us your Body now, your will to do.

Beloved, God is with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to our God.
Let us give thanks to the Faithful One, our God.
It is good to give God thanks and praise.

God, we thank you.
You create us; you love us and claim us; you walk with us.
You set us free from all that oppresses us.
As you called to Moses to work for freedom and justice,
you call us as well.
This table is your burning bush: you appear in glory;
you call us; you change and direct our lives.
Therefore with all who are oppressed,
with all who love you, and with all Creation,
we sing your praise.

God, Holy, Holy, Holy One, we praise you.
The universe is glorious with your light.
O loving God, we sing Hosanna to you,
and thank you God; and sing and live our praise.
Blessed is the one who comes and bears your mercy.
Hosanna, God!  We thank you all our days.

Blessed are all who come in your love,
and blessed is Jesus, your Christ.
He loved and taught and healed,
and asked us to follow him in setting free the oppressed.

He entered into the suffering of the world and was crucified,
but you raised him from death to life.
He calls us still to take up our cross and follow.

[The  Blessing  and  Covenant…]

Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me.”
As often as we break this bread and share this cup
we remember his death and resurrection until he comes again.
Remembering these, your mighty acts in Jesus Christ,
we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving
as a living and holy sacrifice, in union with Christ’s offering for us,
as we proclaim the mystery of our faith:

Your Christ has died. Your loving Christ is risen.
And Christ will come again in faithful love.

Pour out your holy Spirit on these gifts of food,
that those who receive them may experience your love and grace.
Pour out your Holy Spirit on these gifts of bread and cup,
that they may be for us the body and blood of Christ.
Pour out your Holy Spirit on us,
that we may be for the world the Body of Christ,
rejoicing in hope, patient in suffering, serving and blessing,
weeping with those who weep, rejoicing with those who rejoice,
living in harmony, overcoming evil with good,
for the sake of your will.  Amen.

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 HOLY MEAL          [Everyone is welcome at the table of Christ’s self-giving love.
The bread is wheat-, soy- and dairy free.  We dip the bread in the juice.

Gracious God, we thank you for this mystery in which you have given yourself to us.  You have appeared to us in this burning bush and called us to help you bring about justice and freedom.  By your Spirit that we feast on in this meal, strengthen and guide us for the work ahead, in the grace of Christ.  Amen.

______We Are Sent in Ministry to the World_____


*  SONG    Into My Heart    Blue hymnal #2160

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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