Liturgies Online Now Available As Digital Download - YEAR A Liturgies, YEAR B Liturgies, YEAR C Liturgies, or all 3 Years in one complete digital download. These all include complete Orders of Service based on the Common Lectionary for The Liturgical Years in one download.
CALL TO WORSHIP
Prayer of Approach - Hymns - Prayer of Adoration and Praise - Readings from Old Testament - Epistle - Gospel - A Word with the Young - Prayer of Confession - Sermon - Prayers of Thanksgiving and Intercession - Offertory Prayer - Benediction
PENTECOST / YEAR A
Exodus 1: 8-2:10; Psalm 124; Romans 12:1-8; Matthew 16:13-20.
CALL TO WORSHIP: Based on Psalm 124
The presence of God-with-us;
saves us from being overwhelmed
by anything that threatens us.
Praise God who hears us and answers us;
Our help is surely in God who made heaven and earth.
TIS 123/AHB 48: “Be still, my soul: the Lord is on your side”
TIS 76/AHB 21: “I to the hills will lift mine eyes”
TIS 77: “Lifting my eyes up to the hills”
PRAYER OF ADORATION AND PRAISE
God our Help and our Redeemer, if you had not chosen to become a part of our lives, through the gift of your Son, Jesus Christ, where and who would we be? Helpless! -helpless without you - and so we offer our heartfelt thanks and praise, for such evidence of your care for us. In and through Jesus, we have become more deeply aware of your goodness and mercy. As your presence enabled him to live courageously, so you strengthen us to live boldly through the gift of the Holy Spirit - your empowering presence in us. We pray that our worship and our daily living will resonate with our gratitude and praise for your presence with us, and all your gracious gifts to us. This we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen
A WORD WITH THE CHILDREN/YOUNG PEOPLE
The Gospel would not be difficult on which to base a children’s talk.
Bring along a number of rocks and some stones/small rocks for children/young people to hold while you speak. Ask them what the stones feel like in their hands...
we too can be called - maybe not rocks - but stones - living stones. That is how we are described in the first Letter of Peter - people, young and old, “chosen and precious in God’s sight” who are “living stones”... “built together into a spiritual house” that is - the church. Invite the children/young people to come and put their stones on the floor in the sign of a cross and then sing:
TIS 467: “ I am the church! You are the church!
TIS 146/ AHB 82: “God who made the earth”
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Merciful God, you have graced our lives with the life of Jesus, and we rejoice that our lives are forever linked with him through baptism. This enables us to recognise and proclaim Jesus as your Son, and our Lord and Saviour. In him, our lives - our minds and our hearts are transformed and renewed so that we may discern in your will for the world, all that is good and acceptable and perfect. We confess, however, that there are times when our actions and our words seem to be conformed more to the values of this age than to doing your will…
If we believe that our faith experience…
If our relationships are so shaped…
If we exclude people from our fellow…
If selfishness and greed so corrode our lifestyles…
Merciful God, so transform us with the life of Christ and renew us in his image that the grace, humility and compassion which marked his life will be clearly visible in and experienced through our lives; …
This we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen
ASSURANCE OF FORGIVENESS
If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, to whom we have been reconciled through Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:17,18a).
Thanks be to God!
SHARING A SIGN OF PEACE
TIS 464: “Seek, O seek the Lord”
OLD TESTAMENT: Exodus1:8 - 2:10; EPISTLE: Romans 12:1-8
GOSPEL: Matthew 16:13-20
One of the most interesting characters in the Gospel is Peter. It seems to us amazing that Jesus chose him to be leader of his church. Because Peter is almost too human, too like ourselves. Not our idea of a saint, that’s for sure…
At times he is brave and rocklike – at other times he appears cowardly and weak.
So it is fascinating to see how Jesus deals with him. How he patiently helped him to grow into the man who was ready to lay down his life for him, and who eventually did. But this growth was a gradual thing. There were lots of regressions. That shouldn’t really surprise us, for isn’t this how we grow? If we then take a closer look at the relationship between Jesus and Peter - it might just help us to grow in closeness also. And it might teach us to help those we love to grow.
There is a play on the words between the name Peter and the term for rock - petra.
But just how solid is the rock? How likely is his faith to crumble and erode under the onslaught of the world’s doubt and persecution? Is Peter – the rock - dependable enough to bear the authority that Jesus grants him?
Rock can be as hard as granite and as soft as sandstone...
So – is Peter rock solid or not? Which raises the question – how rock solid is our faith. Looking at the strength of Peter’s growth in his relationship to Jesus, invites us to examine how our faith is strengthened also...
Jesus involved Peter in his work. He made him a partner in it, not a mere messenger boy. Responsibility helps people grow. So, when Peter made his great declaration of faith, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus praised him and promised him greater responsibility. We all need recognition and affirmation for work well done…
Jesus forgave Peter and gave him the chance to begin again. He didn’t cut him off.
We all need someone who can understand our weakness and who doesn’t cut us off because of it. The thread that runs right through their relationship is this: Peter knew that Jesus loved him. Love is the climate in which people can grow. Nothing grows in a climate of coldness and mistrust.
This love was the rock in Peter’s life…
Like Peter, the rock, we may often fail to live up to the faith that we claim, but then, more than ever we need to remember the faith that Christ has in us.
At the same time, we need never to lose sight of our fallibility. We have possibly failed Jesus as often as Peter did, and the remembrance of it is enough to humble our judgments when we are binding and loosening on earth, when we are making decisions about what is right and wrong, when we are defining the belief and practice of the church on earth.
The name rock reminds us that we are most solid when what we do and say points to the central truth of our lives: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” But simultaneously the name rock reminds us of the times when we are sandstone, likely to crumble and fail under the pressures of the world.
Like Matthew’s community, we need to fill the role that Jesus has entrusted to the church. We need to make judgments humbled by the awareness of how often we follow in the faltering footsteps of Peter – the Rock. It is then that we need to hear Paul’s strengthening words about not being conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds so that we do discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Paul gives us some clues about going about such transformation…
Knowing the fault lines that ran through Peter, Jesus still addressed him as the Rock – still loved him, still used him. He knows the fault lines that run through each of us yet still loves us and still uses us. Thanks be to God.
TIS 225/AHB 160: “My heart and voice I raise”
TIS 468: “ We are your people”
TIS 440/AHB 364: “ Christ from whom all blessings flow”
TIS 235: “A man there lived in Galilee”
THE LORD'S PRAYER
OFFERING and OFFERTORY PRAYER
Loving God, receive and bless these gifts which we offer in response to the many gifts you graciously bestow upon us. Strengthen us with the Holy Spirit that we may as graciously serve others in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, and our Saviour. Amen
TIS 411/ AHB 328 : “Filled with the Spirit’s power”
TIS 446/AHB 374: “Glorious things of you are spoken”
TIS 681: “Lord let me see, see more and more”
May the grace and mercy of God dwell in you ,
the transforming life of Jesus Christ fill you
the renewing power of the Holy Spirit give you strength.
Much of today’s sermon is based on material in Sunday and Holyday Liturgies Year A written by
Flor McCarthy SDB (Dublin: Dominican publications, 1986) pp 176, 177
And from material based on material written by Thomas H. Troeger in New Proclamation Series A 1999 (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1999) pp 195, 196.