August 23, 2020: “Coming Out of Exile”

Preparing for Worship

Today we reflect on God’s word to Israel during their time in Exile, bringing assurances of God’s presence and faithfulness, and promises of God’s good purposes being fulfilled. Join us in worship as we seek to hear this word as a word to us, and may we walk together in faith with our faithful God into the new things God has for us.

In preparation for worship, consider lighting a “Christ candle,” signifying the presence of Christ with you and with us all.

Call to Worship

Elsie W. welcomes us and calls us to worship together:

Songs of Praise

Join in singing or listen along to HWB 53 God of the Earth, the Sky, the Sea, accompanied by Irene S. and Michael P. You can use the hymn book or follow the lyrics below.

God of the earth, the sky, the sea!
Maker of all above, below!
Creation lives and moves in thee,
thy present life through all doth flow.

We give thee thanks, thy name we sing!
Almighty God, our praise we bring.

Thy love is in the sunshine’s glow,
Thy life is in the quick’ning air.
When lightnings flash and stormwinds blow,
There is thy pow’r; thy law is there.

We feel thy calm at evening’s hour,
thy grandeur in the march of night,
and when thy morning breaks in pow’r,
we hear thy word, “Let there be light.”

But higher far, and far more clear,
thee in our spirit we behold;
thine image and thyself are there,
th’indwelling God, proclaimed of old.

Let’s continue singing our praise to God with STJ 27 God of the Bible, accompanied by Loretta T. and Michael P. You can use the songbook or follow the lyrics below.

God of the Bible, God in the Gospel
Hope seen in Jesus, hope yet to come
You are our center, daylight or darkness
Freedom or prison, you are our home

Fresh as the morning, sure as the sunrise
God always faithful, you do not change
Fresh as the morning, sure as the sunrise
God always faithful, you do not change

God in our struggles, God in our hunger
Suffering with us, taking our part
Still you empow’r us, mothering Spirit
Feeding sustaining, from your own heart

Those without status, those who are nothing
You have made royal, gifted with rights
Chosen as partners, midwives of justice
Birthing new systems, lighting new lights

Not by your finger, not by your anger
Will our world order change in a day
But by your people, fearless and faithful
Small paper lanterns, lighting the way

Hope we must carry, shining and certain
Through all our turmoil, terror and loss
Bonding us gladly one to the other
Till our world changes facing the cross

Offering

Thank you for your faithful giving over the past months! Because of your generosity we as a church have remained in a good position, able to continue our core ministries even through the pandemic. Please continue this act of worship in support of the church’s ongoing ministries even though we are not yet meeting in person. You can mail a cheque to the church office. You can contact the church office or Randy S. and he will come pick it up. Also, you can donate as a bill payment if you have an Access Credit Union account, either in person at the credit union or online. For online giving in this way, please see the information here.

Community Life & Prayer

For announcements related to our church community, please see the eBulletin emailed to those on the church email list. You can also stay updated by checking the church Facebook page and this website.

This week in our prayers we especially remember:

  • Each of us through the rest of this summer, that we would find enjoyment in the simple things of summer life: time with family and friends, the warmth of sunshine, the shade of a tree, the beauty of flowers and sunsets, the bounty of summer gardens.
  • Those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, both directly and indirectly, both locally and around the world. May God bring protection, provision, and healing to those most in need.
  • Those among us facing significant personal challenges, both concerns shared publicly and burdens borne privately. Let us “always persevere in supplication for all the saints” (Eph 6:18).
  • Those among us with special reasons to rejoice. Let us “rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess 5:16-18).
  • May we know the faithful presence of God with us and among us as we walk into an uncertain fall, finding new spaces of joy and peace and life. Hear God’s promise to a people in exile: “For you shall go out in joy, and be led back in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall burst into song, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands” (Isa 55:12).

Elsie W. offers this prayer for us today:

Prayer Song

Continue in prayer as we sing HWB 349 Spirit of the Living God, accompanied by Linda P. and Michael P. You can use the hymn book or follow along below.

Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.
Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.
Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me.
Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.

Scripture Reading

Our Scripture readings this morning are Isaiah 51:1-5 and Romans 12:1-8, read for us by Elsie W. As we listen to our Scripture reading, and as we reflect on it together in our children’s focus and meditation, may we have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to us as a church.

Children’s Focus

Megan K. shares this for the young (or the young at heart!) among us: The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein. Megan notes that it’s a story about “changing relationships and expectations; leaving and returning changed.”

Meditation

Michael P. shares this meditation on our Scripture texts for us today, called “Coming Out of Exile”:

Moment of Reflection

Spend a few moments reflecting on our Scripture text and its interpretation among us. The good news of God has been proclaimed among us this morning.

  • How have you heard God’s good news for you? for others in your life? for our world?
  • What will you do this week to live out God’s good news?

Song of Response

Listen or sing along to STJ 35 O Breath of Life, accompanied by Dianne H. and Michael P. You may use the songbook or follow along with the lyrics below.

O Breath of Life, come sweeping through us,
revive your church with life and pow’r;
O Breath of Life, come cleanse, renew us,
and fit your church to meet this hour.

O Wind of God, come bend us, break us,
till humbly we confess our need;
then in your tenderness remake us,
revive, restore for this we plead.

O Spirit of Love, come breathe within us,
renewing thought and will and heart;
come, Love of Christ, afresh to win us,
revive your church in every part!

Benediction

Receive this benediction offered by Elsie W. as we leave this time of worship together:

Sending Song

We go with a song of praise on our lips! Join in singing HWB 427 You Shall Go Out with Joy, accompanied by Erin K., Joel K., Jude K., and Milo K.  You can use the songbook or follow the lyrics below.

You shall go out with joy and be led forth with peace.
The mountains and the hills will break forth before you.
There’ll be shouts of joy and all the trees of the field
will clap, will clap their hands.

And all the trees of the field will clap their hands,
the trees of the field will clap their hands.
The trees of the field will clap their hands,
while you go out with joy.

In the Week Ahead

Check the church website and church Facebook page regularly for resources for staying connected and for spiritual growth during this time. Grace and peace to you this week!

Songs: God of the Earth, the Sky, the Sea (Text: Samuel Longfellow, Hymns of the Spirit, 1864, alt.; Music: Henri F. Hemy, Crown of Jesus Music, 1864; adapted by James G. Walton, Plainsong Music for the Holy Communion Office, 1874); God of the Bible (Shirley Erena Murray/Tony E. Alonso; ©1996 Hope Publishing Co. / ©2001 GIA Publications Inc.); Spirit of the Living God (Text and Music: Daniel Iverson; ©1935, renewal 1963 Birdwing Music and BMG Songs, Inc.); O Breath of Life (Text: Elizabeth Ann P. Head; Music: ©1989 James E. Clemens); You Shall Go Out With Joy (Steffi Geiser Rubin & Stuart Dauermann; © 1975 Lillenas Publishing Co.)
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