Worship at The Open Church
The Fourth Sunday of Easter
April 29, 2012; 9:30 am
A Centering Thought
“The Lord’s victory over sin and death is a demonstration of the divine presence in a world we have viewed from too limited a perspective. It is God’s word to us that there is more to reality than we can see through a telescope or under a microscope. Even after the discovery of that empty tomb in Jerusalem, we are to look at reality through an entirely different kind of lens: the lens of God’s extraordinarily powerful presence in the midst of sin and death.” -- Laurence Hull Stookey—A Christian Theologian
Call to Worship
One: Christ is risen!
All: Christ is risen indeed!
One: As the fifty days of Easter unfold, we celebrate the creative, transforming love of God.All: And let us believe that God is forever making all things new.
One: Let us declare that hope is alive because God never gives up on us.
All: Today we renew our commitment to love our neighbor as ourselves and to be agents of new life wherever we go.
Hymn of Praise: He Arose
Prayer of Confession (in unison)
Gracious Father, Creator Mother, You are our Redeemer, and surely we are a people in need of redemption. We are broken by what we have done and what we have left undone.
Forgive us, God, for our lack of conviction and for times when our convictions do not move us to action; forgive us for our lack of vision and for times when our vision is shaped by complacency, rather than compassion; forgive us for being quick to complain and slow to encourage. Although we have asked a thousand—even a million—times before, please forgive us once more. Amen.
Assurance of Pardon
If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away, see, everything has become new! Thank God that we are alive in Christ. Thank God that Christ is alive in us. You ask us how we know Christ lives? Christ lives within ours hearts!
Sung Response: He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today! He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way. He lives, He lives, salvation to impart! You ask me how I know he lives? He lives within my heart.
Sacred Wisdom from the Scriptures: Mark 16:1-7
Making the Vision Plain! Making the Vision Possible!
All: The Open Church is a sacred place where those who are hurting, confused, and in need can find healing and hope, regardless of color, culture, or creed.
One: It is a wide place where “Abraham’s family”—Christians, Jews, and Muslims—can dialogue with Buddhists and Bahá’ís and where Hindus can dialogue with Humanists.
All: The Open Church is a joyful place where children, seniors, migrant workers, homeless people, and scholars eagerly learn from and teach one another.
One: It is a safe place where varied ethnicities and capabilities, genders and sexual identities, social and economic groups gather in peace to break bread at Christ’s Communion Table, as we break down stereotypes.
All: As sacred siblings born to our Heavenly Father who is Divine Mother of us all, we practice radically inclusive love that proclaims and builds up the “kin-dom of God.”
Congregational Concerns: A Care-Full Community
Fellowship Time: Koinōnia (I Need You to Survive)
Offering Affirmation: At The Open Church, our minds are open to learn. Our hearts are open to love. Our hands are open to lift. Through our generosity, may the Savior be exalted, and may sisters and brothers, here and around the world, be enriched.
Prayer of Thanksgiving: Thank You, Lord, for the privilege of giving; for when we give, we are most like You. Amen.
Song of Preparation
Invitation to Discipleship/Intercessory Prayer: Your Grace and Mercy
Holy Communion: See Worship Resources Sheet
Closing Hymn: God Never Fails
The Open Church