Today in the third in our 4-week sermon series entitled, “Now and Forever: Viewing
the Church Through the Lens of Charles Wesley.” The theme for each Sunday will be
based on the days’ lectionary reading from either Acts or Revelation, and supported
by the lyrics of a hymn by Charles Wesley. The hymn which will get special focus is
“And Can It Be that I Should Gain?” one of Wesley’s most beloved but lesser-sung
hymns. Today’s theme is the inclusive body of Christ. The main point is that the
church is at its best and most powerful to transform lives and communities when it
includes those often deemed “unfit” (or less fit).
Welcome & Announcements
Prelude – “Hymn for Brotherhood” – Arr. by Robert J. Hughes
*Call to Worship
*Opening Hymn “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling” UMH #384
- Love divine, all loves excelling, joy of heaven, to earth come down;
fix in us thy humble dwelling; all thy faithful mercies crown!
Jesus, thou art all compassion, pure, unbounded love thou art;
visit us with thy salvation; enter every trembling heart.
- Breathe, O breathe thy loving Spirit into every troubled breast!
Let us all in thee inherit; let us find that second rest.
Take away our bent to sinning; Alpha and Omega be;
end of faith, as its beginning, set our hearts at liberty.
- Come, Almighty to deliver, let us all thy life receive;
suddenly return and never, nevermore thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing, serve thee as thy hosts above,
pray and praise thee without ceasing, glory in thy perfect love.
- Finish, then, thy new creation; pure and spotless let us be.
Let us see thy great salvation perfectly restored in thee;
changed from glory into glory, till in heaven we take our place,
till we cast our crowns before thee, lost in wonder, love, and praise.
*Hymn – “And Can It Be that I Should Gain” – UMH #363 (vs. 3 & 4)
- He left his Father’s throne above (so free, so infinite his grace!),
emptied himself of all but love, and bled for Adam’s helpless race.
‘Tis mercy all, immense and free, for O my God, it found out me!
‘Tis mercy all, immense and free, for O my God, it found out me!
- Long my imprisoned spirit lay, fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
thine eye diffused a quickening ray; I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
my chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed thee.
Scripture Reading – Acts 11:1-18
1The apostles and the brothers and sisters throughout Judea heard that even the Gentiles had welcomed God’s word. 2When Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him. 3They accused him, “You went into the home of the uncircumcised and ate with them!”
4Step-by-step, Peter explained what had happened. 5“I was in the city of Joppa praying when I had a visionary experience. In my vision, I saw something like a large linen sheet being lowered from heaven by its four corners. It came all the way down to me. 6As I stared at it, wondering what it was, I saw four-legged animals— including wild beasts—as well as reptiles and wild birds. 7I heard a voice say, ‘Get up, Peter! Kill and eat!’ 8I responded, ‘Absolutely not, Lord! Nothing impure or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ 9The voice from heaven spoke a second time, ‘Never consider unclean what God has made pure.’ 10This happened three times, then everything was pulled back into heaven. 11At that moment three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea arrived at the house where we were staying. 12The Spirit told me to go with them even though they were Gentiles. These six brothers also went with me, and we entered that man’s house. 13He reported to us how he had seen an angel standing in his house and saying, ‘Send to Joppa and summon Simon, who is known as Peter. 14He will tell you how you and your entire household can be saved.’ 15When I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them, just as the Spirit fell on us in the beginning. 16I remembered the Lord’s words: ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17If God gave them the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, then who am I? Could I stand in God’s way?”
18Once the apostles and other believers heard this, they calmed down. They praised God and concluded, “So then God has enabled Gentiles to change their hearts and lives so that they might have new life.”
Time with the Children
Anthem – “We See Christ” – By Joel Raney
Scripture Reading John 13:31-35
31When Judas was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Human One has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify the Human One in himself and will glorify him immediately. 33Little children, I’m with you for a little while longer. You will look for me—but, just as I told the Jewish leaders, I also tell you now—‘Where I’m going, you can’t come.’
34“I give you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, so you also must love each other. 35This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other.”
- L: The word of God; the word of Life.
- P: Thanks be to God.
Sermon – “A Church For All and Of All”
Pastoral Prayer and Lord’s Prayer
*Hymn – “Jesus, United By Thy Grace” – UMH #561
- Jesus, united by thy grace and each to each endeared,
with confidence we seek thy face and know our prayer is heard.
- Help us to help each other, Lord, each other’s cross to bear;
let all their friendly aid afford, and feel each other’s care.
- Up unto thee, our living Head, let us in all things grow;
till thou hast made us free indeed and spotless here below.
- Touched by the lodestone of thy love, let all our hearts agree,
and ever toward each other move, and ever move toward thee.
- To thee, inseparably joined, let all our spirits cleave;
O may we all the loving mind that was in thee receive.
- This is the bond of perfectness, thy spotless charity;
O let us, still we pray, possess the mind that was in thee.
Invitation to Give and Prayer of Dedication (in unison)
Generous and giving God, we offer gifts this day as those who have
received so much more. You gave yourself to us and asked only for
devotion, yet we got distracted by the world. You offered all of creation
to meet our needs for food and shelter, yet we decided we wanted
more. You offered your love to all, yet we decided some were more
worthy and valuable than others. So, you gave us “the repentance that
leads to life,” and all our giving pales by comparison. We dedicate
these gifts to you in Jesus’ holy name. Amen.”
Offertory – “Love Lifted Me” – By Howard E. Smith
*Closing Hymn – “Help Us Accept Each Other” – UMH #560
- Help us accept each other as Christ accepted us;
teach us as sister, brother, each person to embrace.
Be present, Lord, among us, and bring us to believe
we are ourselves accepted and meant to love and live.
- Teach us, O Lord, your lessons, as in our daily life
we struggle to be human and search for hope and faith.
Teach us to care for people, for all, not just for some,
to love them as we find them, or as they may become.
- Let your acceptance change us, so that we may be moved
in living situations to do the truth in love;
to practice your acceptance, until we know by heart
the table of forgiveness and laughter’s healing art.
- Lord, for today’s encounters with all who are in need,
who hunger for acceptance, for righteousness and bread,
we need new eyes for seeing, new hands for holding on;
renew us with your Spirit; Lord, free us, make us one!
*Postlude – “Hymn for Brotherhood” – Arr. by Robert J. Hughes
Lyrics to Special Music
We See Christ
When we look at the needy, we see Christ. When we reach for the hopeless, we are
reaching for Christ. When we feed the thirsty and hungry, when we love the outcast
and lonely, when we see a world in need, we see Christ. When we see the lost and
homeless, we see Christ. When we comfort the grieving, we bring comfort to Christ.
When we give with hearts that are open, when we help the tired and broken, when
we see a world in need, we see Christ. We are yours, Lord, make us your
instruments of peace, bringing hope where all seems hopeless, filling darkness with
your light. We are yours, Lord, you paid the price. And please remind us, Lord,
when we see a world in need, we see Christ. We see Christ, we see Christ, we see
Christ! We are yours, Lord, make us your instruments of peace, bringing hope when
all seems hopeless, filling darkness with your light. We are yours, Lord, you paid
the price. And please remind us, Lord, when we see a world in need, we see Christ,
we see Christ. When we see a world in need, we see Christ. We see Christ!
Love Lifted Me
Love lifted me! Love lifted me! When nothing else could help, love lifted me.
I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore, very deeply stained within,
sinking to rise no more; but the master of the sea heard my despairing cry, from the
waters lifted me, now safe am I.
Love lifted me! Love lifted me! When nothing else could help, love lifted me
All my heart to Him I give, ever to Him I’ll cling, in His blessed presence live, ever
His praises sing.
Love so mighty and so true merits my soul’s best songs; faithful, loving service, too,
to Him belongs.
Souls in danger look above, Jesus completely saves. He will lift you by his
love out of the angry waves. He’s the master of the sea, billows His will obey; He
your Saviour wants to be, be saved today.
Helping Lead Today’s Worship
- Liturgist: Bruce Hurd
- Organ/Piano: Kathy Cay
- Rev. Elisabeth Danielsons, Deacon
- Rev. Drew Hart