A Guide for Worship (the work of the Lord)
Worship. Like many of you, my soul does not feel at peace when I am not in the hallowed walls of the sanctuary on Sunday mornings at 11:00 am. Our traditions and habits have ingrained in us a sense of responsibility to honor God in a particular way in particular place. Those traditions and habits form us into the Christians we are. Thanks be to God. So, I miss not gathering together this morning with each of you. There’s a piece of me that is missing by not being with you.
Yet, I am reminded that the Hebrew understanding of worship is “the work of the people.” Worship of God was understood as work and service to God and to others in God’s name. Since we will not be together today, it is appropriate to offer ourselves in work and care for one another as our act of worship today.
Below, you will find a few steps to guide you in a time of worship today that seeks to serve God and others. These steps include prayer, music, reflection and scripture. We encourage you to engage this guide alone, with your spouse, with your family, or even a friend. Take a few minutes to walk through this guide that will lead each of us to worship God…in many ways.
Scripture: Isaiah 43:1-7
But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you.
Because you are precious in my sight,
and honored, and I love you,
I give people in return for you,
nations in exchange for your life.
Do not fear, for I am with you;
I will bring your offspring from the east,
and from the west I will gather you;
I will say to the north, “Give them up,”
and to the south, “Do not withhold;
bring my sons from far away
and my daughters from the end of the earth—
everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.”
Reflection: What fears have you had this week? How have you felt God speak to those fears?
Reflection: Listen to this recording of a song we sing every Sunday: The Doxology.
Listen, sing along, open your heart, lift your hands, close your eyes. Position yourself however you feel comfortable and offer this familiar prayer to God.
Reflection: Here is a letter that came from the Regional office this weekend. Take a moment to read these words and rest in the assurance that we are people that pull together.
Dear Regional Family,
This Sunday morning you are in our hearts and prayers. We give thanks for you. This morning we have much for which to be thankful and much that brings us heaviness of heart.
We are so thankful for the reports coming from our churches that tell us our members have weathered the storm and are physically safe both in their homes and places of evacuation. We are grateful for the generosity and compassion we are seeing in Disciples both here and around the nation. We are grateful for the thousands of volunteers who have stepped up and stepped in to protect our lives and ease our struggles. And though we wish she would hurry up and move on her way, we are thankful Florence came to us as a level 1 hurricane rather than a level 3+ as predicted.
Our hearts are heavy for the overwhelming loss and devastation our communities are experiencing. Those affected are our friends, neighbors and family. We pray for those whose homes have been damaged or destroyed. We stand in solidarity with churches whose places of worship are unable to be used this morning. We mourn with communities who have suffered the loss of precious lives.
We know the road ahead is long, but we are a resilient people. The witness of our resilience was evidenced during our recent month of prayer to become a more spirit-led and prayer-driven region. Our assurance is that God’s hand will lead us in the days and months ahead. We have already been touched by God’s grace. God is calling us, in this moment, to embody the hands, feet, and heart of Christ from our doorsteps into our community. Peace be with you.
Bishop Valerie Melvin (Regional Minister)
Rev. Annell George-McLawhorn (Disaster Relief Coordinator CCNC)
Response: How can you spend your day in worship? What can you do for God today? What can you do to serve others? Are there members in your community that could use your help? Here are some ideas.
- Offer to help a neighbor pick up limbs from their yard.
- Lend a helping hand to folks by taking chain saws or other needed tools to help clean out.
- Bake a hot meal for someone nearby without power.
- Make a call to someone you know that may be alone.
- Add a few personal hygiene items to your next shopping list to add to collections for those displaced by the storms.
- Spend a couple of hours at the church helping to clean up from the waters.
- Consider donations to Week of Compassion for disaster relief.
Remember, our worship is our work and service to others. May we honor God by reaching out to God’s people.
Benediction: Read aloud. Read on your knees. Say with your hands lifted high. Say with your head bowed. Pray with a heart full of worship. Offer this prayer as the mark of the beginning of your week of worship.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil for Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
We invite you to give your offering this week online to support the mission and ministry of God through our church family at Hood Memorial Christian Church. Give below.
December 26, 2018
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