Where two or three are gathered

The Celebration of the Gospel

 September 10, 2017 —14th Sunday after Pentecost

“ Wherever two or three are gathered in my name,
there I am among them.”

 — Matthew 18.20

________We Gather as the Body of Christ______

8:15:The Foggy Dew (Elena Davids, harp)
10:30: This Is a Day Of New Beginnings  Carlton Young, 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.

Leader:  God of love, we come not by our initiative but by your invitation.
All:    Together we worship, together we grow.
Loving Christ, in your grace you gather us into your Body.
Together we worship, together we grow.
Holy Spirit, you make us one with you, one with Christ, and one in ministry to the world.
Together we worship, together we grow.
Together we praise you in harmony. Alleluia!

* SONG         In Unity We Lift Our Song    Black hymnal # 2221, vv. 1-2


____________ We Attend to the Word__________

Whispering Hope         Alice Hawthorne (Diane Parker & Pastor Steve)

God of all Creation, you gather us here in your Spirit as the Body of Christ.  You call us to grow in love and faith.  Open our ears to hear your Word.  Open our eyes to see the path you call us to.  Open our hearts to be changed and to grow, to blossom and to bear fruit, in the name of Christ. Speak, Holy One, for we are listening.  Amen.

(10:30) OLD TESTAMENT       Exodus 12.1-14
[Today’s reading comes from the story of God’s rescue of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.  God sent Moses to demand that Pharaoh let the Israelites go free. Pharaoh refused. So God sent ten plagues on Egypt.  The tenth plague was the plague of death: the death of every firstborn son, affecting everyone in Egypt, from Pharaoh to the slaves, and even the cattle. To protect the Hebrews, God told them to slaughter a lamb and mark their front doors with the blood; this sign would tell the angel of death to pass over their house.  In today’s reading God establishes the Passover feast, with its symbolic foods, including unleavened bread, as a remembrance of this event.]

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: Tell the whole congregation of Israel that on the tenth of this month they are to take a lamb for each family, a lamb for each household. If a household is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join its closest neighbor in obtaining one; the lamb shall be divided in proportion to the number of people who eat of it. They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. They shall eat the lamb that same night; they shall eat it roasted over the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.

It is the passover of the Lord. For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both human beings and animals; on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live: when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord; throughout your generations you shall observe it as a perpetual ordinance.

NEW TESTAMENT    Romans 13.8-14
[Paul writes that love alone is the law of the Christian community.    This requires radical forgiveness: “Owe no one anything, except to love one another.”  We are a community of love.]

Now you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep.
For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers;
the night is far gone, the day is near.
Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light;
let us live honorably as in the day,
not in intemperance and self-indulgence,
not in excess and licentiousness,
not in quarreling and bitterness.
Instead, let go of all your self-centered desires
and clothe yourselves with our Savior Jesus Christ.

Owe no one anything, except to love one another;
for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.
All the commandments—, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder;
You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment—
are summed up in this word: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.

GOSPEL      Matthew 18.15-20
[Jesus addresses the resolution of conflict: be honest and direct, and address it within the care and commitment of the entire community.  For it is in faithful community that Christ is present: “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”  We are the community in which Christ lives, through which Christ works.]

If someone in your community hurts you,
go to them and name the hurt.
If they hear you, you’ve restored the relationship.
If they can’t hear, take one or two others along
so more listeners can draw out the truth.
If they still won’t hear,

Discern among the whole community.
And if they refuse to listen,
care for them as one who is just beginning.

What you bind will really be bound;
what you set loose will really be loosened.

If two of you are in one spirit in seeking something,
God will tend to it.
wherever two or three are gathered in my love,
there am I, in their relationship.


SONG  Like the Murmur of the Dove’s Song  Blue hymnal # 544

[Jn. 15.5; Eph. 4.4-16, 2.19-22; 1 Cor. 12.21,27; Mt. 18.20; Heb. 10.24-25]

Leader: Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches.”
All: Apart from the vine, we can do nothing.
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Savior, one faith, one baptism, one God and Life-Giver of all, who is above all and through all and in all.
Speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into the one who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.
We are no longer strangers and aliens, but citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God. In Christ the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom we are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.
We are the body of Christ and individually members of it. There are many members, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”
“Wherever two or three are gathered in my mercy, “ Jesus said, “there I am among them.”
So let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, but encouraging one another.

* SONG    Make Us One   Black hymnal  # 2224

[Anyone who wishes may share a prayer concern at the microphone.]
THE PRAYER OF JESUS     (Ecumenical Text. Blue Hymnal # 894)
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.


______We Are Sent in Ministry to the World_____

Voluntary In F      George Blake

*  OFFERING SONG   Doxology   Blue hymnal #94

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.  Make us one in your spirit, help us always to grow in faith, and send us out in service for the sake of the healing of the world, in the name of Christ. Amen.


*  SONG     They’ll Know We are Christian 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.

POSTLUDE   Postlude On “Coronation”    Oliver Holden, arr: Jason D. Payne







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