Sunday, August 2 2020
"Religion has not tended to create seekers or searchers, has not tended to create honest humble people who trust that God is always beyond them. Religion has, rather, tended to create people who think they have God in their pockets...That's why so much of the West in understandably abandoning religion. People know the Great Mystery cannot be that simple and facile facile. If the great mystery is indeed the Great Mystery, it will lead us into paradox , into darkness, into journeys that never cease... "
Richard Rohr
Call To Worship in Prayer

From the very beginning, God calls us.
God sets us apart with a meaning and a purpose.
We come up with excuses to avoid our calls.
We block our ears, close our eyes, and stop our mouths.
But God's Spirit will not stop working in us, among us, and through us.
Where we fall, God rises.
Where we shut up, close off, and even destroy,
God opens, builds hope, fashions promise.
From the beginning, God calls us.
See, hear, and know-
now is the time to answer the call.
Hymn God Is Calling Through the Whisper

Assurance Of Forgiveness adapted from Malachi 3:16-17
Hear these words from the prophet:
"Then those revering the Lord,
    each and every one, spoke among themselves.
        The Lord paid attention and listened to them.
Then a scroll of remembrance was written before the Lord...
On the day that I am preparing,
says the Lord of heavenly forces,
they will be my special possession."
Take heart, beloved of God, in Christ we have been claimed as God's own and through Him we receive grace and forgiveness.
Encountering God's Word
Prayer for Illumination
We have gathered before your Word, O God. We want to hear with understanding, so give us attentive ears, minds, and hearts. And may your Word and your Holy Spirit so work in our lives that we honor you in all we do and say. Amen.

Zechariah 7:8-14

The word of the Lord came to Zechariah, saying: Thus says the Lord of hosts: Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another; 10 do not oppress the widow, the orphan, the alien, or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another. But they refused to listen, and turned a stubborn shoulder, and stopped their ears in order not to hear. They made their hearts adamant in order not to hear the law and the words that the Lord of hosts had sent by his spirit through the former prophets. Therefore great wrath came from the Lord of hosts. Just as, when I[ a ] called, they would not hear, so, when they called, I would not hear, says the Lord of hosts, and I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations that they had not known. Thus the land they left was desolate, so that no one went to and fro, and a pleasant land was made desolate.
Mark Fraley is a third year seminary student at McCormick in Chicago and a candidate for ministry under care of the Milwaukee Presbytery. "I feel a moment of reckoning in the world." Referring to the charge of God to the people, Zachariah proclaims, "They would not hear, they refused to listen." Fraley reflects on these words as he recalls a community meeting he recently attended, and as he listened to the stories of his black neighbors "wondering how I have spent the last fifteen years in the neighborhood where I
live acting like the people described by Zechariah? When did I turn a stubborn shoulder? When did I choose not to hear?"
Prayers of the People
God of all goodness, we live in times of stress and controversy, injustice and cruelty. At times we cry to you for rescue and remember that we have leaned on you since our birth, as we pray,
O God of all creation, be our hope and trust.
We pray for leaders and nations around the world, that they may seek justice and peace.
O God of all creation, be our hope and trust.
We pray for the church in all its forms, that we may be the love you want.
O God of all creation, be our hope and trust.
We pray for victims of violence, war, and systemic brokenness; grant your healing and bring your peace.
O God of all creation, be our hope and trust.
We pray for those suffering from natural disasters and those caused by human acts that harm the balance of your creation, that the health of the earth be restored.
O God of all creation, be our hope and trust.
We pray for those who are born today and those who will die today; may their quality of life be governed by loving choices.
O God of all creation, be our hope and trust.
God our Wisdom, enable us to be kind and just in all things. Remind us of those whom you have called us to love and serve. Call us to paths of righteousness that mirror Christ's own. Send us in efforts and actions that lead to good for each other and all creation. Compel us to put our greed and self-serving interests aside, that we may walk each day closer to you. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who taught us to pray.
The Lord's Prayer
Hymn Nella Fanatsia
Hymn Translation
The prophet Zechariah, like several other prophets, had visions in which he encountered the realm and word of God. The song Nella Fantasia, from the film, The Mission, shares a vision for our world where freedom and equality meet in honoring the full humanity of others.
In my fantasy I see a just world,
Where everyone lives in peace and honesty.
I dream of souls that are always free
Like the clouds that float
Full of humanity in the depths of the soul.
In my fantasy I see a bright world
Where each night there is less darkness.
I dream of spirits that are always free,
Like the clouds that float
In my fantasy exists a warm wind,
That blows into the city, like a friend.
I dream of souls that are always free,
Like the clouds that float
Full of humanity in the depths of the soul.

The liturgy for this service was put together Ann Gibbs with resources from Feasting on the Word, Liturgies for Year C, volume 1. and Liturgies for Year 2, volume 2.