As you arrive in worship and find a place in a pew, please use the following prayer to center your thoughts and spirit. As the Prelude begins, quiet your voice and soul. With music and prayer let us move from ‘getting to church’ to ‘being the church’ as we worship together.
Prayer of Confession:
Loving and Merciful God, remind us that we are heirs with Christ of your gracious covenant. Like a shepherd searches diligently until one lost sheep is found; like any one of us who sweeps the house in search of the valuable loved ones until they are found, continue to be faithful in your love and your search for us until we are reclaimed by you. Accept our prayer this day, renew and strengthen us in Your Spirit, we pray in Christ’s name. Amen.
Old Testament Lesson: Proverbs 22, selected verses NRSV (source)
A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold. The rich and the poor have this in common: the Lord is the maker of them all.
Train children in the right way, and when old, they will not stray.
Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity, and the rod of anger will fail. Those who are generous are blessed, for they share their bread with the poor.
Do not rob the poor because they are poor, or crush the afflicted at the gate; for the Lord pleads their cause and despoils of life those who despoil them.
Do not remove the ancient landmark that your ancestors set up. Do you see those who are skillful in their work? They will serve kings; they will not serve common people.
Epistle Lesson: James 2: 1 -17 NRSV (source)
My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in, and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Have a seat here, please,” while to the one who is poor you say, “Stand there,” or, “Sit at my feet,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court? Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you?
You do well if you really fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you show partiality, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. For the one who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery but if you murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment will be
without mercy to anyone who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.
- No. 263 – Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise
- No.367 – Jesu, Jesu, Fill Us with Your Love
- No.440 – In Christ There Is No East or West
Solos performed by Patrick Fisk
“Faith—It’s a Verb” – Rev. Scott G. Loomer