Sunday, July 19, 2020
"What hurts the victim most is the not the cruelty of the oppressor but the silence of the bystander."
― Elie Wiesel
Call To Worship in Prayer
from Psalm 143:1, 5-6, 8

Listen to my prayer, Lord!
     Because of your faithfulness, hear my requests for mercy!
     Because of your righteousness, answer me!
I remember the days long past;
     I meditate on all your deeds;
     I contemplate your handiwork.
I stretch out my hands to you;
     my whole being is like dry dirt, thirsting for you.
Tell me all about your faithful love come morning time,
     because I trust you.
Show me the way I should go,
     because I offer my life up to you.

Hymn Lift Every Voice and Sing

Assurance Of Forgiveness Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV
The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. The Lord will take great delight in you; and in love will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.
In the name of Jesus Christ, we are forgiven!
Encountering God's Word
Prayer for Illumination
God of our Righteousness, we come before you with humble hearts. Let us sit at your feet and hear your Word. Teach us its meaning as it takes hold of our soul. Amen.

Zephaniah 1:7, 12-18

Be silent before the Lord God!
     For the day of the Lord is at hand;
the Lord has prepared a sacrifice,
     he has consecrated his guests.

At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps,
     and I will punish the people
who rest complacently[ d ] on their dregs,
     those who say in their hearts,
“The Lord will not do good,
     nor will he do harm.”
Their wealth shall be plundered,
     and their houses laid waste.
Though they build houses,
     they shall not inhabit them;
though they plant vineyards,
     they shall not drink wine from them.
The great day of the Lord is near,
     near and hastening fast;
the sound of the day of the Lord is bitter,
     the warrior cries aloud there.
That day will be a day of wrath,
     a day of distress and anguish,
a day of ruin and devastation,
     a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and thick darkness,
     a day of trumpet blast and battle cry
against the fortified cities
     and against the lofty battlements.
I will bring such distress upon people
     that they shall walk like the blind;
     because they have sinned against the Lord,
their blood shall be poured out like dust,
     and their flesh like dung.
Neither their silver nor their gold
     will be able to save them
     on the day of the Lord’s wrath;
in the fire of his passion
     the whole earth shall be consumed;
for a full, a terrible end
     he will make of all the inhabitants of the earth.

Recalling the prophet Zephaniah's cry to the people in his time, Rev. Nikki Blanks asserts: "History is like a moving train, and we must pay attention to which direction we are heading because if there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s this: we are not standing still. And we can’t be neutral on a moving train.. Zephaniah seems to understand that time stops for no one, that there is no time to sit around and wish for the past...There is no time for us to turn a blind eye to human suffering, to offend as few people as possible. There is no time to remain neutral... And what God seems to want to communicate through this more than anything else is that God is not indifferent. God is not complacent. God is actively working to ensure that there will be an ongoing relationship between God and God’s people."
Prayers of the People
Gracious and Holy God, your eternal purposes, revealed to us in Jesus Christ, show that your love extends to the ends of the earth, and stretches far beyond our imaginings. We thank you for such expansive love and for the rich variety of ways you make yourself known among us.
We pray for your church, too often afraid of the rich diversity you have designed, too often timid in the proclamation of a gospel that includes real justice before the powers and rulers of this world, too often comfortable with the status quo and willfully ignorant of those harmed by our complacency. Strengthen us in our witness, we pray. Disturb us with the power of the Holy Spirit so that we are emboldened through faith in Jesus Christ to do more than pray for peace. Let us enact peace, demand justice, cry out against inequity and violence until the world is healed and all creation lives in abundant life.
We pray for people in positions of power in our country and throughout the world. May they govern people with justice and compassion, in honor and in truth, repairing what has been broken. Give to all who control economic and military might wisdom to choose the common good over personal or political gain.
We pray for those who have little power, whose voice is not heard, whose need is dismissed. Defend the cause of the poor; deliver those in need; put an end to oppression; and rescue those under the threat of violence or psychological harm.
We pray for those who are seeking you this day or searching for new meaning and purpose in their lives. Guide and direct them in their spiritual journey. Give them the vision to see your signs of promise, the wisdom to discern between what is false and what is true, and courage and curiosity in all their searching.
Finally we pray for those overwhelmed with personal struggles this day: the one bowed down in grief; the one overcome by depression or loneliness; the one who is unemployed or in economic trouble; the one struggling with illness or recovery. We pray for those who are estranged from one another and for all mired in stress and anxiety. Send the light and peace of your presence, O God, and send us too, that we might bear the light of Christ and so bring companionship, compassion, and hope by your grace.
Stretch us, O God; expand the horizons of our lives so that we are able witness the ways you are at work in the world and so join you as true disciples of our Lord, Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray.
The Lord's Prayer
Hymn Children Go Where I Send Thee
Charge and Benediction
a mash-up from Paul's letter to the church in Corinth 16:13; 14:1-3; 15:58
Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.
Pursue love and strive for the spiritual gifts, and especially that you may prophesy. For those who speak in a tongue do not speak to other people but to God; for nobody understands them...On the other hand, those who prophesy speak to other people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation.
Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

The liturgy for this service was put together by Ann Gibbs with resources from Michelle Henrichs (Prayer of Confession, Assurance of Forgiveness and Prayer of Illumination). The prayers of the people is adapted from from the Epiphany of the Lordt, Feasting on the Word, Liturgies for Year A, volume 1.