Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Hope of deliverance

I'd like to share with you a Call to Worship on the theme of hope that I got to co-write today with my friend Seth Watkins. Seth has a strong appreciation for music and when I spoke of hope, he immediately thought of Paul McCartney's song titled Hope of Deliverance. It took us about 45 minutes to write up a Call to Worship (the intro to the worship experience) for Sunday morning. The words in bold are to be read by the whole gathered church.

Here it is:
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Call to Worship: Seth Watkins (Written by Seth Watkins and Pastor Rich Hanlon; inspired by Romans 5 and Paul MCCartney’s song titled Hope of Deliverance)

The Spirit of God welcomes us here today.

We gather as a community of hope.

We are people of hope; believing where we have not seen. Nobody thought a man could be raised from the dead, but then it happened in the life of Jesus.

Praise God for Jesus, our source of hope!

Jesus is the reason we have hope of deliverance from the darkness that surrounds us.

Deliver us, Lord, from the anger and frustration that we feel within ourselves. Fill us with your peace.

Deliver us, Lord, from every form of marginalization; from the stigma that too often accompanies mental health, disability, ethnicity, race, and national identity.

We place our hope in you, Jesus. Help us to live our hope, extending your peace to others.

Holy Spirit, fill us with God’s love, that this beloved community of disciples may be the embodiment of hope as we trust in Jesus.

Holy Spirit, lead us in our worship today. Amen.


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And a final word from me for today's blog post is this:  The community of hope that is comprised of those who have placed our faith in Jesus Christ is not limited to those gathered in the church building on Sunday morning. The community of hope; that beloved community of disciples who are the embodiment of the love of God and the hope for all in Jesus' name knows no social or geographical boundaries.

You and I are parts of that same community of hope whether we are gathered together in one place or scattered all over the world. God's vision of peace among people and peace between people and everything else that has life is a matter of hope, because in a world where there is still so much brokenness we must catch God's vision with the eye of our hearts and believe where we have not yet  seen.

And as we trust in the Spirit's work upon us may we follow the example of Jesus, seeking justice as we work to include into community all who have been marginalized; and I suggest that our working for justice for sensitive animals, plants, and ecosystems around the world is of equal importance with that justice which we hope for for our human neighbors.

Let us dare to hope, and let our source of hope inspire our actions.



(clouds over Wellsboro today)

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