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Calling the Congregation to Worship


 

Call to Worship Themes

Times of Transition

The Spirit is Calling

Come as You Are

Love one Another

Images of Nature

Coming with Petitions

Images from Familiar Scriptures

Vine and Branches ~ Call Narratives ~ Turning a Cheek

~ Cost and Joy ~ Kingdom of God ~ Greatest Commandment

~ Ten Commandments ~ Losing One's Life ~ Transfiguration

~ Then feed my Sheep ~ We are the Vines ~ Salt

 

Times of Transition

Quilt making:
A piece of string, a scrap of fabric, an old button:
artifacts of a life,
insignificant in isolation,
together a story;
at once old and yet now unfolding.

Community:
An ending, a beginning, a dream unfolding:
milestones in a common life,
misunderstood in isolation,
together compelling;
we share the breadth of emotions this morning.

Together in our difference, we experience the sacred.

The Spirit is Calling

 

To you, O people, Wisdom calls...

Wisdom was at the beginning, with God.

To you, O people, Wisdom calls...

Wisdom called throughout the ages, calling to all creation.

To you, O people, Wisdom calls...

Wisdom beckons even now.

To you, O people, Wisdom calls...

{Copyright Katherine Hawker, 1995.}

 

Holy God of wind and fire;

Dance through this room today.

Holy God of earthquakes and illness;

Share our tears of sadness and pain.

Holy God of creation and new beginnings;

Show us again your vision of healing and wholeness.

{Copyright Katherine Hawker, 1995.}

 

The Word of God is planted in our hearts.

May our hearts be receptive to the Word.

The Love of God rains down on us.

May our souls soak in the wonder of God’s love.

The Breathe of Godde blows softly within us.

May our minds be stirred by the power of God’s spirit. 

{Copyright Katherine Hawker, 2001.}

 

Come to hear the Word.

Come to do the Word.

Come to experience Comfort.

Come to experience Challenge.

Come to find Cost.

Come to find Joy.

Come to find Humanity.

Come to find Community.

Come to find Church.

Come to find God.

{Copyright Katherine Hawker, 2001.}

 

In the beginning

When God created the heavens and the earth

When the breath of God moved over the face of the waters

There was evening

There was morning

There was light

In the beginning God created

Let us worship God.

Paraphrase of Genesis 1:1. Copyright Katherine Hawker, 1997.

 

Sometimes when I visit old prayers, I realize my expressions have changed over time.  Here is an example:

(new prayer)

For God so loves the world;

The sparrows, the mountain lions,
the fish and the people.

For God so loves the world;

In success and failure,
in sickness and health,
in mediocrity and extraordinariness.

For God so loves the world;

Sharing breath with us
Sharing tears with us
Sharing joy with us.

For God so loves the world.

May we so love.

{Copyright Katherine HawkerSelf, 2012.}

(original version)

For God so loved the world;

The sparrows, the mountain lions,

the fish and the people.

For God so loved the world;

In success and failure,

in sickness and health,

in mediocrity and extraordinary.

For God so loved the world;

Enough to become one of us,

enough to suffer along with us,

enough to offer new life for us.

For God so loved the world;

Let us worship God!

{Copyright Katherine Hawker, 1997.}

 

From God comes the wonder of creation.

We will worship God the Creator.

From God comes healing for the brokenness we see.

We will worship God our Redeemer.

From God comes the strength to face the new day.

We worship God our Sustainer.

Paraphrase of Genesis 1:1. Copyright Katherine Hawker, 1997.

 

*LITANY (PeopleÕs response in bold)
We would call you Father
First Person of the Trinity
Creator, Holy God, Abba.
Your name is mysteryÉ
We sometimes call you Jesus
Embodiment of the Kingdom
Wise One, Teacher, Friend
Your name is mystery,
and must remain a mysteryÉ
We know some call you Allah
Source of all Life
Sovereign, Mighty God, Everlasting
Your name is mystery,
and must remain a mystery
lest we imagine even for a moment
that we can control your beauty and your power.
We could call you Compassion
Moving beyond the temptation to Name
Pointing Simply to Presence.
When we plead to know your name,
you say simply, I AM.
May we rest in the mystery. Amen. ÑKatherine Hawker 2003, using "Meditation on the Names of God" by Pamela Darling

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Come as You Are

 

Come burdened

Come savvy

Come aging

Come discouraged

Come wanting

Come full

Come longing

Come drifting

Come

Children of God, Come

{Copyright Katherine Hawker, 1998.}

 

Are any among you suffering?

Then let us pray.

Are any cheerful?

Then let us sing songs of praise.

Are any among you sick?

Then let us turn to each other for God's healing touch.

The prayer of faith will save us

And God will lift us up.

{Based on James 5. Copyright Katherine Hawker, 1997.}

 

Treasure is…

Gold and silver,

Frankincense and myrrh.

Treasure is…

To have and to hold,

'Til death us do part.

Treasure is…

Family heirlooms

Offering precious memories.

Come…

bringing treasure, seeking treasure.

Come…

treasured, treasuring.

{Based on Mark 10. Copyright Katherine Hawker, 2000.}

 

The spirit of God calls us from many places;

some of us come from busy homes with many people

some of us live alone

We are a part of the family.

This week has been different for each of us;

some of us have had happy news we want to celebrate

some of us have faced grief and need to cry

We are members of God’s family.

Yet we all come to this same place;

all of us seeking God’s presence in our lives

all of us seeking God’s presence with each other.

Together we become God’s family.

{Copyright Katherine Hawker, 1994.}

 

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Love one Another

 

accepting jesus

harsh words of challenge

unreserved generosity

grieving in the garden.

accepting jesus

accepting those who love jesus

auburn, blond and black

scrambling and comfortable

zealous and thoughtful.

accepting jesus

accepting those who love jesus

accepting the god whom jesus loved

passion

power

presence.

let us so love.

{Copyright Katherine Hawker, 1998.}

 

Jesus said:

"Whoever welcomes you

welcomes me,

and whoever welcomes me

welcomes the one who sent me."

Let us welcome a stranger.

Let us welcome God.

{Based upon Matthew 10:40. Copyright Katherine Hawker, 1999.}

 

God is alive in

the squirmy children in our midst.

We will love them.

God is alive in

the beloved face lined with wisdom's folds.

We will love them.

God is alive in

the persons with whom we often quarrell.

We will love them.

God is alive in

the family whose values run counter to our own.

We will love them.

God is alive in

the unshaven man at the intersection waving his

"will work for food" sign.

We will love them.

God is alive in

the disfigured woman who finally finds a job in telemarketing.

We will love them.

God is alive in

the corporate executive who cannot fathom the value of "enough".

We will love them.

God is alive in

the frustrated youth who believes that militancy fosters peace.

We will love them.

God is alive in all that breathes.

May our love nurture

the Spirit

poised for flight.

God is alive.

Amen.

{Based upon God's inclusive call of love. Copyright Katherine Hawker, 2002.}

 

Children of God, do you love the God

who hovered over the face of the deep and called the worlds into being?

Yes, you know that we do.

Then feed God's children.

Children of God, do you love the God

who was revealed in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus the Christ?

Yes, you know that we do.

Then take care of God's children.

Children of God, do you the God

who breathes new life into us even as we gather this day?

Yes, you know that we do.

Then feed God's children.

{Based upon God's inclusive call of love. Copyright Katherine Hawker, 2002.}

 

God calls us to a ministry of love.

Beloved, let us love one another.

We are called to love our parents and our children,

our friends and our neighbors.

Love is from God.

We are called to love the neighbor that hurt our feelings,

the parent who was cruel, and the co-worker who is selfish.

Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

We are called to love even the people we cannot see....

in Chicago’s tenements, in Bosnia’s war, in South Africa’s elections.

Those who love God

Must love their sisters and brothers also.

May we accept God’s call to this mysterious ministry.

Amen.

{Based upon 1 John 4:7. Copyright Katherine Hawker, 1994.}

 

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Images of Nature

 

We come with thanksgiving for the wonders of this warm and sunny season.

Let us praise the God of the harvest.

We come with anticipation for all that lies ahead at home, at church, and in our community.

Let us praise the God of the banquet.

We come with joy in the knowledge that the Spirit remains constant through the seasons of life.

Let us praise the God of the seasons.

Let us sing our praise to God!

{Copyright Katherine Hawker.}

 

Soft summer rain falling on parched earth

Waters of God, flow down upon us.

Torrential floods ripping lives into pieces

Waters of God, have mercy upon us.

Soaking waters which nourish the seed

Waters of God, replenish us.

{Copyright Katherine Hawker, 1998.}

 

The Word of God is planted in our hearts.

May our hearts be receptive to the Word.

The Love of God rains down on us.

May our souls soak in the wonder of God’s love.

The Breathe of Godde blows softly within us.

May our minds be stirred by the power of God’s spirit.

{Copyright Katherine Hawker, 2001.}

 

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Coming with Petitions

 

From fears that paralyze us;

Heal us, O Lord.

From illness that strangles us;

Heal us, O Lord.

From sorrows that weigh us down;

Heal us, O Lord.

From aimlessness that plagues our visions;

Heal us, O Lord.

{Copyright Katherine Hawker, 1995.}

 

Holy God of wind and fire;

Dance through this room today.

Holy God of earthquakes and illness;

Share our tears of sadness and pain.

Holy God of creation and new beginnings;

Show us again your vision of healing and wholeness.

{Copyright Katherine Hawker, 1995.}

 

Your people come from many places with different stories to tell;

Show us your steadfast love, O Lord.

Your people come weighed down with their unique bundle of burdens;

Restore us again, O God.

Your people come ready to hear your word proclaimed anew;

Revive us again, so that we may rejoice in You.

{Copyright Katherine Hawker, 1995.}

 

We come with our fears about our jobs, our families, our community.

"Come now, let us talk this over," says Yahweh.

We come with our weariness from trying to be all things to all people.

"Come now, let us talk this over," says Yahweh.

We come with our doubts that God even listens to our problems anymore.

"Come now, let us talk this over," says Yahweh.

And so we come. 

{Copyright Katherine Hawker, 1995.}

 

In a world ravaged by war;

In a city undermined by racism;

In homes tormented with apathy, anger, and frenetic pace;

We cry:

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Why are you so far from helping me,

from the words of my groaning?

Our schedules offer testimony

To our frantic search for meaning;

Getting ahead, getting healthy, getting religion.

O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer;

And by night, but you do not answer.

Slow us down, loving God.

Let us be still in your presence.

Yet you are holy.

In you our ancestors trusted, and you delivered them.

To you they cried, and were saved.

In you they trusted, and were not put to shame.

{Based upon Psalm 22:1-5. Copyright Katherine Hawker, 1997.}

 

From God comes the wonder of creation.

We will worship God the Creator.

From God comes healing for the brokenness we see.

We will worship God our Redeemer.

From God comes the strength to face the new day.

We worship God our Sustainer.

{Based upon 1 John 4:7. Copyright Katherine Hawker, 1994.}

 

Abide in me,

We pray for God to abide in us.

Abide in me,

We yearn to feel God's presence,

hoping that God will find and protect us.

As I abide in you,

Jesus offers an invitation for us to do the abiding.

As I abide in you,

We can choose life in the Spirit's presence,

bearing the fruit of the Spirit's love.

Abide in me as I abide in you.

{Based on John 15:1-8. Copyright Katherine Hawker. 1997.}

 

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Images from Familiar Scriptures

 

Vine and Branches

Copyright Katherine Hawker, 1995.

Called to be branches in Christ’s body,

We yearn to be connected to the vine.

Called to be mustard bushes offering shade to God’s creatures,

We search for places to plant the seeds of faith.

Called to be growing with God in the midst of this world’s painful questions,

We seek God's nurturing presence.

 

Call Narratives

Copyright Katherine Hawker.

Jeremiah was just a young inexperienced boy when he heard God’s call to preach.

All are welcome here.

Jesus shared supper with the undesireables in his community.

All are welcome here.

Paul was attacking Christians when God spoke to him and changed his life.

All are welcome here.

 

Turning a Cheek

Copyright Katherine Hawker, 1997.

Strength is commanding the wind and sea to obey,

Strength is wielding a slingshot in the face of a raging giant.

Strength is accepting vulnerability from inside the boat,

Strength is standing in solidarity with the powerless.

Strength is turning a cheek,

Strength is loving an enemy.

We come to worship

a God who redefines our vision of strength.

 

Cost and Joy

Based on James 2. Copyright Katherine Hawker, 1997.

Come to hear the Word.

Come to do the Word.

Come to experience Comfort.

Come to experience Challenge.

Come to find Cost.

Come to find Joy.

Come to find Humanity.

Come to find Community.

Come to find Church.

Come to find God.

 

Kingdom of God

Based upon Matthew 13:31ff. Copyright Katherine Hawker, 1999.

The kingdom of God is here, and coming.

A mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field;

it is the smallest of all the seeds,

but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree,

so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.

The kingdom of God is here, and coming.

Yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour

until all was leavened.

The kingdom of God is here, and coming.

Treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid;

then joyfully sells all he has and buys the field.

The kingdom of God is here, and coming.

A merchant in search of fine pearls;

on finding one of great value,

sells all of his possessions and buys the pearl.

The kingdom of God is here, and coming.

Let all who have ears, hear.

 

Greatest Commandment

Based upon Matthew 22:34-40. Copyright Katherine Hawker, 2002.

Once upon a time

a wise man offered a challenge;

"What is the greatest commandment?"

The calendars on our desks share a vision of greatness;

bills to pay, phone calls to return, appointments to keep.

Love the Lord your God.

The cameras of our memories share what commands us;

children to bathe and partners to help

parents calling and grandchildren hopeful.

Love the Lord your God

with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.

Still the Spirit lures us to new priorities;

open spaces to experience wonder,

strangers becoming friends,

devotion to that which transcends.

Love the Lord your God

with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.

Love your neighbor as yourself.

 

Ten Commandments

Based upon Exodus 20 and Matthew 22. Copyright Katherine Hawker, 2002.

Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, your mind and your soul.

We will love God with an intensity

such that no substitute will suffice,

the very mention of God's name will be precious

as we cleave to our time of communion with the sacred.

Love your neighbor as yourself.

We will respect the wisdom of our elders.

We will protect the lives and the reputations of those around us.

We will cherish the relationships entrusted to us.

We will not take what is not ours.

We will learn the value of enough.

Love the Lord your God.

Amen.

 

Losing One's Life

Based upon Matthew 16:25. Also Mark 8:35. Copyright Katherine Hawker, 2002.

Those who want to save their lives

have good health insurance,

pay their bills on time,

exercise and eat right…

Those who want to save their lives

will lose them.

Those who lose their lives

in pursuit of God

who abandon the world's values,

who live generously and faithfully,

who listen to a voice beyond...

Those who lose their lives

in pursuit of God

will find life.

May we learn the value of loss.

May we know the value of life.

Amen.

 

Transfiguration

Copyright Katherine Hawker, 1997.

We have seen the light of God;

on high mountains of celebration

and in the ecstacy of a lover's embrace.

We have seen the light of God;

through the bitter scorn of betrayal

and the searing chasm of grief.

We have seen the light of God;

with eyes that have been shaded,

with eyes that have been opened,

with eyes that have been blinded.

We have seen the light of God.

 

Then feed my Sheep

Based on John 21:15-19. Copyright Katherine Hawker, 1998.

Children of God, do you love the God

who hovered over the face of the deep and called the worlds into being?

Yes, you know that we do.

Then feed God's children.

 

Children of God, do you love the God

who was revealed in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus the Christ?

Yes, you know that we do.

Then take care of God's children.

 

Children of God, do you the God

who breathes new life into us even as we gather this day?

Yes, you know that we do.

Then feed God's children.

 

We are the Vines

Based on John 15:1-8. Copyright Katherine Hawker, 2000.

The vine emerges from the earth,

nourished

and nourishing.

Rises without visible connection;

roots hidden,

promise unknown.

Strong to withstand storms,

fragile when plucked too soon.

So it is that we grow…

nourished by invisible connections to the living God,

called to nourish that which is seen and that which is yet buried within.

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Called to be Salt

Juxtaposing biblical references to "salt". Copyright Katherine Hawker, 2002.

You shall not omit from your grain offerings the salt of the covenant with your God; with all your offerings you shall offer salt. (Leviticus 2:13)

We are a people of the salted covenant.

We are the salt of the earth.

Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven; and he overthrew those cities, and all the Plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. (Genesis 19:24-26)

We are a people who cannot help but look back.

We are the salt of the earth.

Abimelech fought against the city all that day; he took the city, and killed the people that were in it; and he razed the city and sowed it with salt. (Judges 9:45)

We are a people tempted to sow destruction.

We are the salt of the earth.

Now the people of the city said to Elisha, "The location of this city is good, as my lord sees; but the water is bad, and the land is unfruitful." He said, "Bring me a new bowl, and put salt in it." So they brought it to him. Then he went to the spring of water and threw the salt into it, and said, "Thus says the Lord, I have made this water wholesome; from now on neither death nor miscarriage shall come from it." So the water has been wholesome to this day, according to the word that Elisha spoke. (II Kings 2:19-22)

We are a people who discover the miracle of ‘enough’ in the presence of God.

We are the salt of the earth.

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone. (Colossians 4:6)

We are a people with a mission.

We are the salt of the earth.

You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. (Matthew 5:13)

We are the salt of the earth;

offering flavor and preserving the corpse,

symbolic of faithlessness and offering life.

We are the salt of the earth.

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