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First Christian Church, Grand Junction – Praising God, Changing Lives!

November 1, 2020 At-Home Worship Plan

All Saints Sunday 2020
At-Home Worship Plan
First Christian Church, Grand Junction
November 1, 2020

PREPARATION

  • Communion Elements
  • A computer/tablet/phone for looking up the worshipful songs.  You could also use a hymnal and an instrument.
  • YOUTUBE Sermon and Hymns – A video of Pastor Brad preaching will be on the First Christian Church Youtube site.  Visit the First Christian Church Grand Junction Colorado YouTube Channel to find the playlists for the sermon and the hymns for the day.  The playlists of the videos for each are also accessible from our website.

ORDER OF WORSHIP

Song of Praise

(You can look up the lyrics/music in a hymnal or on hymnary.org)

  • “Faith of Our Fathers” #635

Invocation

God of life,

Out of your great love for people, you sent us your Son, a Messiah, a Savior, to offer a better way than the ways we have chosen, the ways we choose.   You sent your Son to show us the way into your amazing kingdom, the way of life.  As we worship you this day, as we celebrate and revel in your goodness and grace, grant that we will become strengthened by our encounter with you to choose your way of life over any other way, that we will listen to and focus on your will and desires instead of drifting into the apathy that results from placing our expectations on you.  We pray this in the name of Jesus, who taught us to pray…

Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
Lead us, not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
And the power, and the glory
Forever.  Amen.

All Saints Sunday Litany of Remembrance

Introduction.  Today is a special day in the Church.  It is known in some circles as All Saints Sunday and in others as All Souls Sunday.  A celebration for the saints who came before us dates back as far as the 4th century.  A day to pray for and remember followers of Christ who have departed dates back at least as far as the 10th century.

In our tradition, we take a day each year not so much to pray for the souls of those who have passed on but to remember them and to seek God’s help in remembering their legacy of faithful witness to us.

So…at this time, we will remember those who have passed on.  We will begin with a time of silence during which I encourage you to remember and give thanks to God for the life and ministry of those people close to you who have passed on…at any time.  Following this time of silent remembrance, I encourage you to read aloud the names of those who have passed on during the last year that members and friends of our congregation have asked us to remember specifically on this day.

Conclude this time of remembrance by reciting the prayer that is listed below. 

Time of silence.  [Remember those close to you who have passed on.]

Reading Aloud The Names of Those Who Have Passed On.

  • Julie Cotter
  • Lois Dunning
  • Cecil Jackson
  • Marilyn Bowman Pomprey
  • James Pomprey
  • Dorothy Rhodes
  • Lois Stouffer
  • Ben White
  • Joan White
  • Alvin Wright

Prayer of Remembrance.

Eternal God,
We give you thanks for all your servants and witnesses of time passed:

For Abraham, the father of believers, and for Sarah, his wife;
For Moses, the Lawgiver, and for Aaron, the priest;
For Isaiah and all the prophets;
For Peter and Paul and all the apostles;
For all who we specifically remember this day.

We learn from scripture, O God, that neither death nor life can separate us from your love.
Grant that we who are still here may serve you faithfully while on this earth,
And in heaven rejoice with all who have come before us,
All who reside with you and ceaselessly proclaim your glory.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Anthem – “Blessings” by Laura Story 

Morning Prayer

(Share joys and concerns, then have someone pray the following prayer or one of your own.)

God whose Kingdom is better than anything and everything else, God whose kingdom – and whose way – is better than our way and our expectations, in gratitude and great joy we thank and praise you for your continued work to transform this world into your kingdom here on earth.  We thank you for offering us the opportunity to choose and experience life over death.  We thank and praise you for making it possible for us to know something better than our own limited desires and expectations that so often distract us from your desires.

As we celebrate the life you offer, the life you offer eternally and the life you offer here and now, help us to remember the joys made possible by your decision to offer us the way of life, the way of Spirit.  And help us, each time we experience joy to seek and discover how our joy is the result of your offer.  Help us each time we experience joys like those mentioned in this service of worship.

Even as we give thanks for the joys you make possible, we know there are people who struggle to find joy, people who struggle to know your work and your love for us, and so we ask also for your strength to entrust the needs of this world and its inhabitants to you.  We entrust to your care this day:

  • All who are on our congregation’s prayer list, and all who have been mentioned by name in our worship;
  • All who suffer from abuse or oppression;
  • All who struggle with anxiety or distress;
  • All who suffer from lack of food, water, shelter, or loving relationships;
  • All who suffer from injury or illness;
  • All who mourn or grieve;
  • All who struggle with quarantines and lockdowns, as well as those whose bodies are being ravaged by COVID-19;
  • All who struggle in their efforts to follow Jesus;
  • All who fear the power of your outpoured Spirit;
  • All who refuse to seek you;
  • For all who have need but who go unnamed;

For all who have need of your intervention, O God, grant them what you know they need; respond to these prayers in the way you see as being best, the way that will turn shouts of pain and suffering into shouts of joy, the way that will bring glory to your name.

God of grace, help us now, in this moment, help us always, to celebrate and be transformed by the way of life, the way of loving purpose, you offer through Jesus.  Help us to accept and enjoy all that you offer; help us to become and remain zealous for who you truly are.

We pray, as we live, through Jesus the risen one, and in the power of the Holy Spirit…Amen.

Scripture and Message (Sermon)

Read the scripture passages from pastor Brad’s sermon and then read, listen to, or watch (on YouTube) the sermon.  The text and audio of the sermon – as well as a video – can be found on our congregation’s website at gjdisciples.org under the “Sermons” tab.

Offering

Invitation.  Jesus…said [to him], ‘You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.”

Our possessions can distract us from Jesus, can’t they?  Our possessions can distract us from God’s amazing kingdom.  Worse, when we expect Jesus to do something OTHER than urge us to remove the distraction of possessions, we can end up distracted by our spiritual apathy, like the man from our story.

I don’t know if you expect God to respond to your faith by giving you material success.  I don’t know if you expect God to respond to your faith by affirming your desire to cling to money and stuff (if you cling to money and stuff).  But I DO know that if you place any kind of expectation on God’s response to however you feel about money and stuff – instead of listening to and following through with what God calls you to do with regard to money and stuff – you will lose your zeal for God and you will experience the fullness of God’s kingdom much less than you would otherwise.  During this time of offering, I encourage you to listen not to yourself but to God to discern how much to give.  Let’s be in the spirit of Christian giving.

Response.  If you feel called to respond by making a monetary gift to continue God’s work through FCCGJ, you can do so right now in one of three ways:

    1. Write a check to First Christian Church and mail it to FCCGJ, 1326 N. 1st Street, Grand Junction, CO 81501.
    2. On your cellphone, text GIVE2FCCGJ (plus the dollar amount you want to give) to 73256.  For example, if you want to offer $50, text GIVE2FCCGJ $50 to 73256.
    3. Via the internet on your computer, go to our congregation’s website at gjdisciples.org, click “online giving” on the top menu bar, and then click on the link under the second bullet point to make an online contribution.

Offering Prayer.  Say a prayer asking for God’s blessing upon whatever gift/commitment you made to God, as well as all the other commitments Jesus’ followers are making this morning.

Communion

Invitation to Communion:  In our scripture story for today, “a man ran up and knelt before [Jesus]”.

I wonder: when you partake of this communion meal each week, do you feel like you’re running up and kneeling before Jesus?  If not, why?

Is it possible that you’ve lost some of the zeal that initially brought you to Jesus and this table?  Is it possible that somewhere along the way you placed expectations on Jesus instead of allowing Jesus to simply BE Jesus?

Whatever your expectations may be, I can’t imagine they are as life-giving as what we actually encounter at this table.  At this table, we encounter God’s Son who willingly gave his life for you…that you might be justified before God.  Do you have any expectations that exceed this?  As you prepare to encounter the risen Christ at this table, let the reality of what Jesus did for you so long ago sink in.  

No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” – John 15:13 (NRSV)

Communion Hymn: “I Hunger and I Thirst” #409

Prayer:  God who calls us to choose you over all the things that distract us, God who calls us to leave behind a kingdom defined by our own expectations and enter into your kingdom, thank you for this meal that affords us time and space to focus on what really matters.  Through this meal, grant us the strength and focus to choose you over all else.  I pray these things in the name of Jesus and by the power of your Holy Spirit, Amen.

Words of Institution:  We remember that on the night Jesus was to be betrayed, he sat around a table with his disciples and shared a meal.  While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread and, after giving thanks, broke it and gave it to them, saying, “Take, eat.  This is my body, broken for you.”  In the same way, Jesus took a cup, and after blessing it, said, “This is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.  Do this in remembrance of me.”

Partake of the bread and cup in your own time.

Closing Song

“My Hope is Built” #537

Closing Prayer/Benediction

Go now as the people of God,
Empowered by the Holy Spirit
And given peace by God’s risen Son,
That you may escape the distraction of expectations
That lead to spiritual apathy
And focus instead on what really matters.
Amen.