Worship @ The Open Church
Sunday, May 12, 2013 -- 10:00 am
The Seventh Sunday of Easter and Women’s Day
A Centering Thought
“That we begin inside a woman and must emerge from her body is something that the male theologians of the world’s religions have yet to forgive us for.” ~Kathleen Norris, Poet
Call to Worship
Leader: Come, like Sister Miriam, leading the Hebrew people from bondage with tambourines and dance!
Congregation: We come to our God with praise.
Leader: Come, like Sister Martha, running through the dark with courage, proclaiming that Jesus is God!
Congregation: We come to our God with our doubt and our faith.
Leader: Come, sisters and brothers, as you are, and join in the worship of the One who unites all women, all men, all children.
All: Here we are! We raise our voices in unity and celebration! Praise to the One who unites us all!
Hymn of Praise: “Higher Ground”
Verse 1: I’m pressing on the upward way, New heights I’m gaining every day; Still praying as I’m onward bound, Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.
Refrain: Lord, lift me up and let me stand, By faith, on Heaven’s tableland, A higher plane than I have found; Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.
Verse 2: I want to scale the utmost height, And catch a gleam of glory bright; But still I’ll pray till heav’n I’ve found, Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.
A Communal Prayer for Women and Mothers
Holy God, whose labor gave birth to a universe, we give you thanks for those women through whom you brought us into the world, and for all other women who have been instruments of love and nurture in our lives.
Thank you for the women who cared for us when we were helpless infants, who gave us our first impressions of your gracious love. Thank you for women who called us to take our first steps, just as you would later call us to walk in the way of faith. Whether our experience of being mothered came through one woman, or many, we owe our thanks and praise to you for the blessings we received through them.
Gentle God, we pray for those women who want, and have wanted, to give physical birth to children, but cannot or could not. Thank you for the abundance of love you have poured into their hearts. Direct their steps to someone who needs that love as passionately as they need to give it.
God of strength, we pray for those mothers of growing children. Give them the patience to endure their blessings, the discernment to see the unique treasure in each child, and the wisdom to prepare them for a complicated world. Be especially near to those mothers who must raise their children alone and to those children who have a lonely place in their hearts because their mothers abandoned or abused them or because their mothers are now deceased. Caress us, Mother God.
Teach us, Mother God. Love us, Mother God. Amen.
Sung Response: “Just a Closer Walk with Thee”
Verse 1: I am weak, but Thou art strong; Jesus, keep me from all wrong; I’ll be satisfied as long, as I walk, let me walk close to Thee.
Refrain: Just a closer walk with Thee, Grant it, Jesus, if you please? Daily walking close to Thee, Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.
Verse 2: Through this world of toil and snares, If I falter, Lord, who cares? Who with me my burden shares? None but Thee, dear Lord, none but Thee.
Koinonia: A Care-Full Community (Koinonia is the New Testament word for “fellowship.”)
Offering: We give with open-handed generosity because when we give, we are most like God.
Prayer of Thanksgiving: We thank you, Lord, for these gifts. Amen.
Wisdom from the Scriptures
Song of Preparation
Sermon: The Rev. Shauna St. Clair
Invitation to Discipleship and Membership
*The Invitation to Discipleship and Membership takes diverse forms at The Open Church. Feel free to present yourself to our community during this time. You also may acknowledge your desire for commitment to God and membership in our congregation to any of our ministerial leaders during the fellowship hour after the worship service.
Invitational Hymn: “Wonderful Words of Life”
Verse 1: Sing them over again to me, wonderful words of life,
Let me more of their beauty see, wonderful words of life;
Words of life and beauty teach me faith and duty.
Purpose Pledge: We live on purpose. We love on purpose. We lift on purpose.
Closing Song: “Lord, Help Me to Hold Out”
Chorus: Lord, help me to hold out (3 times)…until my change comes.
Verse 1: My way may not be easy. You did not say that it would be, but if it gets dark, I can’t see my way; you told me to put my trust in Thee.
Refrain: Beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life, Beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life.
Verse 2: Sweetly echo the Gospel call, wonderful words of life; Offer pardon and peace to all, wonderful words of life; Jesus, only Savior, sanctify us forever.
The Open Church