Monday, June 13, 2011

The Way We Worship Together: June 12, 2011

Thank you to the wonderful Hope Spicer for this week's photos! This is also posted at

It's Pentecost Sunday!
Welcome to a weekly overview of Union Center Christian Church's Sunday  morning service.  You’ll not only read a list of the songs we led following the Call To Worship, but also the readings and prayers from our pattern of worship (aka, the liturgy).

For the next several weeks, we'll be enjoying artwork from
 a Union Center artist friend, Laurel Rudd.
You can find links to the set lists of this church and many other churches each week in the Worship Blog Carnival at theworshipcommunity.comYou can learn about some of the songs we sing at Union Center each week in advance of the Sunday service by reading the Getting Ready For Sunday”  post each Thursday.

So, it's week #1 of our "Rated E for Everyone" services.  Can you guess which song we played pre-service?
  Hint: it's very popular with children (of every age) and prominently features a tuba-playing cucumber?
  (technically, he plays a sousaphone, but....)
Words of Greeting & Passing the Peace
Pastor Sal welcomed us as those gathered by God and encouraged us to greet each other, especially the children who are joining us for our "Rated E for Everyone" services for the next couple of weeks.  We want to be people who show hospitality to all people -- even, and especially, the little ones.

Call to Worship
After Pastor Sal led us in the call to worship, he invited all the Shepherdstown-aged students to come to the front for the first part of the service.

Pastor Sal:  This is the LORD has made;
All:  let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Pastor Sal:  Come, bow down and worship,  kneel to the Lord, our Maker.
All:  This is our God, our shepherd,  we are the flock under his care
(Psalm 118:24; Psalm 95:6-7) 

Song: Children of the Living God, written by Fernando Ortega. What a perfect hymn to open our Rated E services!  Listen to the song at this link.
How He loves us with great love, He who sits enthroned above.
For our lives He spilled His blood, Sent His Spirit like a flood.
Children of the Living God, Sing to the Living God!

Drama: I Love You,  a fun little bit of role reversal to put the distracted-Mom shoe on the other foot!

Children's Message
Pastor Joshua sat with the children and led them in a brief teaching about what it means to be created in the image of God. 

That we are unlike any other created being because we have been made in God's image, male and female (aka, boys and girls).  And, yes, he went right ahead and asked them to tell the whole conversation how boys and girls are different!  (best answer:  one young boy piped up "Boys are stronger!"  Without missing a beat, a little girl replied "Well, girls live longer.")

As reflections of God, we realize that we are not God, but He made us to look and think and feel and create and make choices like Him.
Words of Confession 
Lael led us after the children returned to their seats: We are entering now into a time we call “Words of confession”.  It’s important to take time in the service to practice together telling God we’re sorry for the things we’ve done. 

All: Lord, we know that we make a lot of mistakes.  We sin against you by making bad choices and we’re sorry for that and for the damage it does to our relationship    

Words of Assurance
Lael: Isn’t it great that God promises in I John 1:9 that if we confess our sins he will forgive us and to clean our hearts?  We spend a few minutes in each service thanking God for his promise and reminding us that we can trust him to do that, and to keep all of his promises to us.  We call this “Words of Assurance”.

All: Lord, you are so kind and gracious to us.  You promise to forgive your children when we confess our sins and we thank you for your promises and for being a God who is worthy of our trust and our love

Song: He Reigns,  written by Peter Furler and Steve Taylor. This worship anthem was a good reminder that not only is God the God of all ages, but also the God of all peoples. Listen to a sample of the song.

Song: I Am Free, written by Jon Egan.  Listen to this song on YouTube.

Prayer of Thanksgiving and Giving
The appropriate response to our Creator and Redeemer is to give from all we have - heart, soul, mind, strength, gifts and resources.  This week the ushers got some extra helping hands from the kids!

Pastor Josh took some more time to continue unpacking the theme of recognizing the image of God in children.  He got some help from a few of our congregation who work with children in their every day work and homes.

He encouraged us that just as we realize we are a "chip off the old block" of Adam's sinful nature, we are also made from the same original glory.  In some ways, children give us the closest view of that in the way they express wonder, joy, vulnerability, emotional honesty, and uninhibited love and creativity

Pastor Joshua and a photo of his father.

Song: Every Move I Make,  written by David Ruis. Pastor Joshua reminded us of the New Testament declaration, "In Him we live and move and have our being."  This song, a favorite from Shepherdstown, was an excellent response. Listen to the song on YouTube.

We had some impromptu worship leaders for this song!

Life at the Center
Pastor Sal shared some important ministry updates and then invited some of our grandparent-type congregation members to come up and lead us all in a prayer of blessing over our children. 

Words of Sending and Benediction
It was a beautiful sound to hear these wise and faithful peopled lead us in prayer.  Each child (through college age!) stood and those around them put a hand on their shoulder or raised their right hand as a way of physically participating in the blessing.

We were then all sent out blessed to be a blessing.

For the weeks of Rated E and Pentecost, we'll be putting together a special mosaic.
  Thank you, Laurel Rudd, for designing this project for us!

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