Tuesday, October 3, 2017

James 1:19-27; 4:13-17 | Be Quick to Hear and Slow to Speak in Light of Jesus + September 30, 2017

Book cover for Luke Timothy Johnson's Brother of Jesus, Friend of God

Bible Passages | James 1:19-27; 4:13-17

Scripture Reading | Psalm 24 

Previous sermons and liturgies in James

James 1:1-4, 12-18: Count It All Joy with Jesus
James 1:5-8; 3:13-18: Ask for Jesus' Wisdom  
+ James 1:9-11; 2:1-13; 5:1-6: Pour Out Jesus' Generous Justice

Do we create space for silence before the Word that saves us to speak to us?

Pilate says, “What is truth?” and by way of an answer, the Man with the split lip in front of him doesn’t say a blessed thing. You could hear a pin drop in the big, high-ceilinged room. The one who hears the truth that is silence before it is a word is Pilate, and he hears it because he has asked to hear it. We are all of us Pilate in our asking after truth. Pilate asks Jesus what is truth and what Jesus hits Pilate over the head with is Pilate himself. Jesus just stands there in silence in a way that throws Pilate back on his own silence, the truth of himself. The Gospel is life with the sound turned off so that for a moment or two you can experience it not in terms of the words you make it bearable by but for the unutterable mystery that it is. “Be silent and know that I am God, says the Lord” (Psalm 46:10). Be silent and know that even by My silence and absence I am known. Be silent and listen to the stones cry out. Just as sacramental theology speaks of a doctrine of the Real Presence, maybe it should speak also of a doctrine of Real Absence because absence can be sacramental, too, a door left open, a chamber of the heart kept ready and waiting. + Frederick Buechner, Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale

Proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus is a profoundly decentering experience that places the hearer before God. It is the opposite of being in control. Proclaiming the Gospel starts with, “Have you become caught up in a world gone wrong? Are you powerless? The Gospel is that God has come in Jesus Christ and defeated the powers that keep you caught. Jesus rules and is working in all of your circumstances, personal and in the world." Will you give up control, submit to Jesus, and participate in His new world breaking in? Will you ask what it means for you to follow Him in His work of making the world right? + David Fitch, Faithful Presence

Lord's Prayer | Praying for Jesus' Kingdom Impact in Us and in Worcester

Prayer of Confession and Assurance

Leader: Although God has given His Church the message of justice, righteousness, and reconciliation in and through Jesus Christ, we fall short of God’s call to be salt of the earth and light of the world.

All: God, our fears and prejudices run deep. Sometimes we can only see our own point of view. We stick with those who are like us, rarely venturing outside our comfort zones. We do not hear those crying for justice and true peace. We blame those who are suffering and in need, instead of standing by them. We deny the power of Your Gospel to unite us with those who are different from us. Lord, give us eyes to see and ears to hear. Open us to new possibilities of life for all of Your people, and use us to embody and enact the new life given in Christ. 

Silent Personal Reflection and Confession

Leader: God’s life-giving Word and Spirit conquer the powers of sin and death. Thanks be to God for His Good News!

All: In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven!

Great Are You LORD
By All Sons and Daughters
2013 A.D.

You give life, You are love,
You bring light to the darkness.
You give hope, You restore
Every heart that is broken.
Great are YouLord.

It's Your breath in our lungs,
So we pour out our praise,
We pour out our praise.
It's Your breath in our lungs,
So we pour out our praise to You only.

All the earth will shout Your praise,
Our hearts will cry, these bones will sing,
Great are YouLord!”

This is Amazing Grace

By Phil Wickham
2013 A.D.

Who breaks the power 
Of sin and darkness?
Whose love is mighty
And so much stronger?
The King of Glory,
The King above all kings!
Who shakes the whole earth
With holy thunder?
And leaves us breathless
In awe and wonder?
The King of Glory,
The King above all kings!

This is amazing grace,
This is unfailing love,
That You would take my place,
That You would bear my cross!
You lay down Your life
That I would be set free!
Jesus, I sing for
All that You've done for me!

Who brings our chaos 
Back into order?
Who makes the orphan
A son and daughter?
The King of Glory,
The King of Glory!
Who rules the nations
With truth and justice,
Shines like the sun in
All of its brilliance!
The King of Glory,
The King above all kings!

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain!
Worthy is the King who conquered the grave!

Nothing I Hold Onto (Climb This Mountain)
By United Pursuit Band
2010 A.D.

I lean not on
My own understanding,
My life is in the hands
Of the Maker of Heaven.

I give it all to You, God
Trusting that You'll make
Something beautiful out of me!

I will climb this mountain 
With my hands wide open,
I will climb this mountain
With my hands wide open!

There is nothing I hold on to,
There is nothing I hold on to,
There is nothing I hold on to,
There is nothing I hold on to!

I Surrender All
By Judson W. Van DeVenter
1896 A.D.

All to Jesus I surrender,
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.

I surrender all,
I surrender all;
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender,
Humbly at His feet I bow;
Worldly pleasures all forsaken,
Take me, Jesus, take me now.

All to Jesus I surrender,
Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;
Let me feel Thy Holy Spirit,
Truly know that Thou art mine.

All to Jesus I surrender,
Lord, I give myself to Thee;
Fill me with Thy love and power,
Let Thy blessing fall on me.

All to Jesus I surrender,
Now I feel the sacred flame;
Oh, the joy of full salvation!
Glory, glory, to His Name!

Yes LordYes | In My Weakness Gospel Medley
By Lynn Keesecker and Stephanie Robinson
1983 A.D., 1994 A.D.

I’ll say yesLordyes
To Your will and to Your way!
I’ll say yesLordyes
I will trust You and obey!
When Your Spirit speaks to me
With my whole heart I’ll agree,
And my answer will be 
Yes Lordyes!

In my weakness
You my God are strong.
In my trials, You are my song.
I fall on my knees, I can’t go on,
But in my weakness,
You my God are strong.

Reckless Love
Bethel Music
2017 A.D.

Before I spoke a word,
You were singing over me.
You have been so, so good to me.
Before I took a breath,
You breathed Your life in me.
You have been so, so kind to me. 

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending
Reckless love of God!
It chase me down,
Fights 'til I'm found,
Leaves the ninety-nine!
I couldn't earn it, and
I don't deserve it,
Still You give Yourself away!
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending
Reckless love of God! 

When I was your foe,
Still Your love fought for me.
You have been so, so good to me.
When I felt no worth,
You paid it all for me.
You have been so, so kind to me.

There's no shadow You won't light up,
Mountain You won't climb up,
Coming after me!
There's no wall You won't kick down,
Lie You won't tear down,
Coming after me!

Our World Belongs to God Q&A 41
2008 A.D.

41: What is the mission of God’s people?

A: To join Him in the world as His Church, being sent with Jesus' Gospel of the Kingdom to call everyone to know and follow Christ and to proclaim to all the assurance that in the name of Jesus there is forgiveness of sin and new life for all who repent and believe. The Spirit calls all members to embrace God’s mission in their neighborhoods and in the world: to feed the hungry, bring water to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, care for the sick, and free the prisoner. We repent of leaving this work to a few, for this mission is central to our being.


Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it. + 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

+ Sully

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