Leader: Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
People: Ascribe to the LORD the glory of God’s name; worship the LORD in holy splendor.
Leader: The voice of the LORD causes the oaks to whirl, and strips the forests bare; and in God’s temple, all say, “Glory!”
People: May the LORD give us strength. May the LORD bless us with peace.
Holy, there is so much we don’t know. We see with the eyes in our heads, but the eyes of our hearts are too often blind to the beauty before us. Clear our vision. Heal our souls. Settle our spirits on the gentle movement of the breath. Our bodies sustain themselves so beautifully and without a thought. May we open our hearts to the movement of your ongoing creation. Amen.
*Prayer of Dedication
Holy God, you give us hands to serve and hearts to bless. We offer our money. We offer our service. We offer our lives. Receive and multiply them one hundred-fold. Amen.
Leader: God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
People: Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea.
Leader: God says, “Be still and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations. I am exalted in the earth.”
People: The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.
Draw near, Lord Jesus. We welcome you among us. Touch our hearts. Heal our souls. Move us to offer you our praise. We confess we are broken and suffering. We confess we remain caught in the bonds of our own unhelpful behavior. Release us and we will praise you. Amen.
*Prayer of Dedication
Holy God, we have received the water of life as a gift. That fountain of abundance never stops flowing. What else can we do but give in return? Bless our offerings. Amen.
Holy God, we look to our future and wonder where it’s all headed: climate change, shrinking churches, the ever widening gap between rich and poor becomes so great that resolving it demands ever more radical solutions. Where should we look for help? Send your Spirit. Free our minds. Draw our hearts to rest in this very moment. Amen.
Prayer of Dedication
Holy God, as we offer our financial resources, help us examine how we invest our time and attention. Redirect our efforts toward growing your church. Amen.
Heavenly Father, you overflow with life this and every moment. Yet we train our minds to scarcity. Thank you for the practice of giving which disrupts greed and allows your abundance to shine forth. Amen!
Leader: O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.
People: Yonder is the sea, great and wide, creeping things innumerable are there, living things both small and great.
Leader: I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
People: May my meditation be pleasing to the LORD, for I rejoice in my God.
Holy God, where can we go from your Spirit? Where can we flee from your presence? The advent of your Spirit is this very moment. Our only home is this very place. All that is required to rest in you is simply to rest. Draw our hearts here. Fill our hearts now with this breath and the next. Amen.
Holy God, the one true gift is the gift of life, a gift none of us asked for, yet each of us receives. It is a priceless inheritance: ours to squander by hoarding or multiply by sharing. Makes us multipliers of this most precious life. Amen.
Scripture tells us that “God is love” and if we don’t love, we don’t know God. But what is love? What does it mean to love someone? What does it mean to love God? Jesus shows us by his example. The prophet Isaiah says of that day when love shall reign supreme that “a little child shall lead them. This morning we will share the story of God’s love come to earth as a baby. And our children will lead us in telling that story. Let’s worship God!
Here at First Congregational Church of Stamford we wish you joy. Why? Because joy is a force for positive change. Joy gives us the energy to make things right. Joy is the moment when everything comes together. And if you have that joy energy moving through your body you become contagious. You naturally share that joy. Fear is contagious, too. Fear can lead to some pretty dark places. But joy is light. Joy is healing and healthy and whole. So let’s get infected with joy this morning.