Worship Order for
Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18 (Contemporary English
1 - The Lord is always near!
2 - Listen to Godís Word,
3 - spoken from the heart of the Psalm-writer.
1 - (pause) "You have looked deep
into my heart, LORD, and you know all about me.
2 - You know when I am resting or when I am working,
3 - and from heaven you discover my thoughts.
1 - You notice everything I do and everywhere I go.
2 - Before I even speak a word,
3 - you know what I will say,
1 - and with your powerful arm you protect me from every side.
2 - I can't understand all of this!
3 - Such wonderful knowledge is far above me.
1 - You are the one who put me together inside my mother's body,
2 - and I praise you because of the wonderful way you created
3 - Everything you do is marvelous! Of this I have no
1 - Nothing about me is hidden from you!
2 - I was secretly woven together deep in the earth below,
3 - but with your own eyes you saw my body being formed.
1 - Even before I was born, you had written in your book
everything I would do.
2 - Your thoughts are far beyond my understanding,
3 - much more than I could ever imagine.
1 - I try to count your thoughts,
2 - but they outnumber the grains of sand on the beach.
3 - And when I awake, I will find you nearby.
1 - (pause) Brothers and sisters, as there
is "not a place where we can flee but God is present
there," we might as well stand right where we are (if we are
able) and "sing the mighty power of God" - #46 in your
to you all hearts are open,
all desires are known,
and from you no secrets are hidden.
Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy
that we may perfectly love you
and worthily magnify your holy
through Christ, our Lord. AMEN
(Hymnal #739, Leonine missal, 7th c.)
our Sunday School Teachers
[As they entered the sanctuary each person was handed a small
piece of play-dough in a plastic bag, instructed not to open it up
I invite you
now to take out and hold the play dough that you were handed when
you arrived. Squeeze it... Kneed it... (just donít place it on
the pew cushion!) Shape it with your fingers into a variety of
forms... Itís quite easy to mold, isnít it? If we donít like
the shape, we can remake it, canít we? As I speak, mold it into
a shape that youíll later be invited to bring forward and place
on the offering table.
sisters, as the prophet Jeremiah revealed, we are like clay. Many
hands seem to be at work shaping us. Early in life our parents had
a big role in helping us to become who we are. As we grew,
however, more hands became involved. Some good. Some not so good.
Over the course of a lifetime, we may find ourselves molded into
some rather strange shapes, manipulated by those who may not have
our best interests in mind. Of course, our own hands are involved,
also, in shaping our own lives - for better or for worse.
through Jeremiahís eyes, other hands come into view ... Godís
hands. God has the most important role in helping to shape our
lives. God knows us, after all, better than we know ourselves. God
knows the best that we can become, the beauty that is deep within
each of us and all of us together, needing only the work of the
master potter to bring it out.
God uses many
hands. Some of those hands are ones we want to consecrate this
morning - the hands and hearts of those who have been called to
teach in our Sunday School program. This is an awesome
responsibility, I know, but it is "awesome" not so much
because of the burden which it represents. Yes, there is a lot of work
involved, preparing and presenting lessons. Those of you who have
said "yes" to teaching, thank you! However, it is
"awesome" to be a teacher because teachers get to see
Godís "awesome" hands at work in the lives of those
they teach, above and beyond our own efforts. It is also
"awesome" because Godís hands are at work upon each
teacher at the very same time. This is true whether we teach a
pre-schooler or a senior citizen.
reading off names, I ask those of you who have already been asked
to teach this year, or those of you who anticipate being asked
later on, or those of you who have not yet been asked but who are
sensing Godís hand upon your shoulder to help teach - I ask you
to stand just now. Please remain standing while we pray, and as we
then sing from the heart, "Spirit of the living God,"
Lord, for these persons who have responded to your call with a
"yes." You have been at work in their lives, and we
trust that your hand will continue shaping them into the earthen
vessels you created them to be. In the task of teaching, we place
them into your good hands, praying that you will direct their
minds and hearts as they pass on the faith. Help them to wisely,
but not self-consciously, choose the right words to speak. Help
their students to listen to them, but also help them to listen to
their students, and to you. Grant them patience, O Lord whose
patience is far beyond our own. They will need it. In all things,
do not still your hands, O master potter. May this congregation be
like the wheel upon which clay is thrown and shaped into jars that
overflow with your goodness and mercy...
"Spirit of the living God.........."
our Youth Mentors
"jars of clay that overflow with Godís goodness and
mercy"... isnít that the goal of every disciple of Jesus?
As the apostle Paul wrote, we bear the treasure of Godís
good news in these clay jars (point to self,
then to congregation) "so that it may be made clear
that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come
from us." (2 Corinthians 4:7)
in the faith is not a quick and easy process. We need all sorts of
help along the way: teachers, role models, listeners, mentors.
Just now we want to consecrate those who have been called by God
to the special task of mentoring a young person through
adolescence, that they might be shaped by the master potter into a
clay jar overflowing with Godís goodness and mercy.
Instead of naming
names, right now I ask those of you to stand who have been called
to be a mentor. Perhaps you have not yet been asked, but are open
to Godís call, or have felt Godís hand upon you to be a
mentor. Would you also stand... (pause)
Please pray with me, ending with "Spirit of the living
Lord God, we
ask your blessing upon these persons. May your hand be shaping
them as they seek to stand with their younger sister or brother
through these exciting and tumultuous teenage years. May they be
in awe of the work of your hand upon these youth. Help them to
listen first, and to speak when appropriate, to show the way of
Christ even as they tell. Guide them to make time to regularly
meet with their special young person, to creatively initiate
contact, to touch on spiritual matters appropriately as their
young friend matures in his or her own way. May they have
"fun" together, too. However, help them to be sensitive
to those moments when steps of faith may be made. Through it all,
Lord, may your grace cover any feelings of inadequacy. As your Son
chose everyday fishermen as his first disciples and you empowered
them to do more than they ever thought possible, so equip these
disciples to this task. We place these mentors and our youth on
your potters wheel...
"Spirit of the living God..." 349
You each have
in your hand a little bit of "clay," or "play
dough" to be exact. Perhaps you have creatively fashioned
something out of it. Maybe itís still a bit formless, its shape
not quite clear. We invite you, during the offertory, to bring it
forward and place it on the worship table up front. May it signify
for you the placing of your life on the master potterís wheel.
At this point in your life, the shape of your faith may be fairly
clear, the work of Godís creative hands. Or you may see yourself
as still Ďin the process,í as yet on the potterís wheel,
being shaped by God. Whatever is the case, place your
"clay" on the table as an offering to God. As you do so,
please also place your tithe and other offerings in the plates on
that table. Feel free to ask a neighbor to bring your offering for
you, if you are unable to come forward. God meets us wherever we
are. Once they have put their offering on the table, the children
are invited to go with Miss Marian for their first Allelulia choir
session of the new year. Brothers and sisters, "come, go
down to the potterís house" (point to
through your grace
we hold a treasure in earthen vessels:
the living presence of Jesus Christ.
Let us bear your good news with joy
till grace overflows in the earth
and salvation comes to all.
For yours is the power
and yours the glory,
now and forever. AMEN
(hymnal #757, Copyright © 1992 Marlene