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Sermon and Liturgy for Transfiguration Sunday - Year A
Exodus 24:12-18; Psalm 99; II Peter 1:16-21; Matthew 17:1-9
"Spiritual Realities"


READING:  Exodus 24:12-18; Psalm 99; II Peter 1:16-21; Matthew 17:1-9
SERMON :  "Spiritual Realities"

Rev. Richard J. Fairchild
a-transmsu 653967
                    
     The following is a more or less complete liturgy and sermon
     for the upcoming Sunday.  Hymn numbers, designated as VU are
     found in the United Church of Canada Hymnal "Voices United".
     SFPG is "Songs For A Gospel People", also available from the UCC.

     Sources: The greater part of the 'Prayers of the People' are based
     on those by William Loader (2001) as found in John Maynard's
     "Prayers and Litanies for Transfiguration, Year A", 2002 (as sent to
     the PRCL-List).  Also the Prayer of Invocation is based on Maynard
     2002.  The children's story is based on "Witnesses" (for
     Transfiguration Sunday) as found in CSS Plus, Cycle A, Dec 95-Feb 96, 
     v.26 n.1  Sermon citations and concepts from  King Duncan, "With Your
     Head in The Clouds (Exodus 24:12-18 & Matthew 17:1-9)" in Dynamic
     Preaching, Jan-Feb-Mar 1996 and from Robert Beringer,
     "Transfiguration - Lessons from the Mountain Top" in "Something's
     Coming, Something Great: Sermons for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany
     Cycle A First Lesson Texts", CSS Publishing Company, Inc., 1992.


GATHERING AND MUSICAL PRELUDE                            (* = please stand)


* GREETING AND CALL TO WORSHIP  (based on Psalm 99)
L  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, 
   and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
P  And also with you.
L  Great is the Lord in Zion.  
   He is exalted over all the nations.
P  God is Holy!  
   Let all people praise his great and awesome name.
L  God is all powerful.  
   He loves justice and establishes equity.
P  God is Holy!  
   Let all people exalt him and worship at his feet.
L  God answered the prayers of Moses and Aaron.  
   He spoke to them from the pillar of cloud and fire.  
   He led the people in the wilderness 
   and forgave all their sins.
P  God is Holy!  
   Let all people worship him, now and forever.
L  The Lord our God is Holy.  
   Praise his name, now and always.


* INTROIT:  "Spirit of The Living God"  (verse 1)                  - VU 376


ANNOUNCEMENTS AND SHARING JOYS AND CONCERNS
- Welcome and Announcements    
- Birthdays and Anniversaries     
- Special Matters      
- Sharing Joys and Concerns


MUSIC OF PREPARATION (music and silent prayer)


* PRAYER OF INVOCATION
Gracious God - you who surprise us with new experiences of love - we come
with reverence to praise and adore you.  Help us to be open to your
appearance among us and within us.  Pour out, we pray, your Spirit upon us. 
Make us, as we gather as your people, attentive to your Word and ready to
do your bidding.  Grant that we may know your touch and enter into your
glory.  We ask it in the name of Christ Jesus - he who lives and reigns
with and the Holy Spirit, one God, both now and forevermore.  Amen


* HYMN:  "Come, Let Us Sing"                                       - VU 222


CHILDREN'S TIME: "We are Witnesses"
Object    Marriage or Ordination Certificate
Source    Based on "Witnesses" (for Transfiguration Sunday) as found in
          CSS Plus, Cycle A, Dec 95-Feb 96, v.26 n.1
Theme     We have the testimony of God made sure

Good morning...  Today is a day called Transfiguration Sunday.   It is a
day when we read about a strange - even frightening thing - that happened
to Jesus before he went to Jerusalem to suffer and to die upon the cross.  
It is such a strange story that people might think it was made up by
someone who wanted to tell a good story - someone like Stephen King - or
like the lady who wrote the Harry Potter stories.

What happened is this - one day Jesus took Peter and James and John - and
he went up a mountain with them - and there, while Peter and James and John
were watching, Jesus began to glow.   His face shone like the sun, and his
clothes became as white as the light you see from a powerful search light. 
It was like he became a living light bulb.   

It gets even stranger.   While Jesus was shining - there appeared with him
two men - Moses and Elijah - and they began talking with Jesus.   What's is
really strange about this is that Moses had died over a thousand years
earlier - and Elijah too hadn't been seen for a close to a thousand years.

Peter was really excited by this and wanted to set up shelters for Jesus
and the two men - tents really - but even as he offered to do this a bright
cloud surrounded them all - and a voice came from cloud saying "This is my
Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!" 

How would you feel if you heard and saw something like that?

What Peter and James and John felt was fear.   They were so afraid that
they fell down face-down to the ground and hid their faces.   But Jesus
came and touched them and told them "get up, don't be afraid".

When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.  And Jesus then led them
off the mountain, saying as they went "Don't tell anyone what you have
seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead."

That is a pretty incredible story isn't it?   It tells us about something
that we have ourselves have never seen.  And it might be very hard to
believe that story if it wasn't for two things.

The first thing is this - Peter witnessed it happen - and he wrote the
story down in his Second Letter to the Church.   It is kind of like how
many important things that have happened but we have not seen are witnessed
to - like the wedding of our parents - or even like the fact that I was
ordained to be a Minister of The Gospel of Jesus Christ.  No one in this
church was there to see it happen back in 1982 - but everybody knows that
it happened because witnesses signed a document saying that there were
there to see it.  This is that document....  (Show Ordination Certificate)

We can believe the story of the Transfiguration of Jesus because Peter -
and indeed because James and John were there to see it happen - and because
they have written it down.

We can believe that story for another reason as well - we can believe it
because the story says that the voice from the cloud said that Jesus is the
Son of God - and because over the last 2000 years since it happened the
hundreds and hundreds of millions of people who have decided to believe in
Jesus and do what he says - tell us that Jesus actually comes to live
inside them - and helps them every day - and only one who was the Son of
God could do that.

I am glad that we have so many witnesses to the truth about Jesus and about
how he is the Son of God - the one with whom God is so well pleased and for
whom God has done so many things.   The transfiguration of Jesus tells us
that Jesus is very special and that we should indeed listen to him.  


PRAYER AND THE LORD'S PRAYER
   Loving God, Lord Jesus - we thank you for the witnesses - who tell
   us about you - and how special you are.  - We thank you for this day
   - and for how the light of Jesus - lives inside us - and all those
   who believe in him - and do what he says.   Amen.

   And in the word's Jesus taught us, let us Sing the Lord's Prayer:

   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 trespasses, as we forgive
   those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but
   deliver us from evil.  For thine is the kingdom, the power and the
   glory, for ever and ever.  Amen


* HYMN:  "Give Me Oil In My Lamp"                                - SFGP 130


A READING FROM EXODUS 24:12-18
   (NIV)  The LORD said to Moses, "Come up to me on the mountain and stay
   here, and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and
   commands I have written for their instruction." 

   Then Moses set out with Joshua his aide, and Moses went up on the
   mountain of God.  He said to the elders, "Wait here for us until we
   come back to you. Aaron and Hur are with you, and anyone involved in a
   dispute can go to them." 

   When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it, and the glory
   of the LORD settled on Mount Sinai.  For six days the cloud covered the
   mountain, and on the seventh day the LORD called to Moses from within
   the cloud.  To the Israelites the glory of the LORD looked like a
   consuming fire on top of the mountain.  Then Moses entered the cloud as
   he went on up the mountain.  And he stayed on the mountain forty days
   and forty nights.

L  This is the Word of the Lord
P  Thanks be to God.

   
RESPONSIVE READING: Psalm 99 (Voices United 819) and Gloria Patri Sung
        
       Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy
       Spirit.   As it was in the beginning, is now, and evermore
       shall be.  World without end.  Amen


A READING FROM II PETER 1:16-21
   (NIV)  We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you
   about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were
   eyewitnesses of his majesty.  For he received honour and glory from God
   the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying,
   "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." 

   We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with
   him on the sacred mountain.  And we have the word of the prophets made
   more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a
   light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star
   rises in your hearts. 

   Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about
   by the prophet's own interpretation.  For prophecy never had its origin
   in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along
   by the Holy Spirit.

L  This is the Word of the Lord
P  Thanks be to God.


* HYMN:  "Open My Eyes, That I May See"                            - VU 371


A READING FROM MATTHEW 17:1-9
   (NIV) After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the
   brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.  There
   he was transfigured before them.  His face shone like the sun, and his
   clothes became as white as the light.

   Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with
   Jesus.  Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here. If
   you wish, I will put up three shelters - one for you, one for Moses and
   one for Elijah." 

   While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice
   from the cloud said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well
   pleased. Listen to him!" 

   When the disciples heard this, they fell face-down to the ground,
   terrified.  But Jesus came and touched them. "Get up," he said. "Don't
   be afraid." 

   When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.  As they were coming
   down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, "Don't tell anyone what you
   have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead."

L  This is the gospel of our Risen Lord
P  Praise be to you, Lord Jesus Christ.


SERMON:  "Spiritual Realities"

   O Lord, we pray, speak in this place, in the calming of our minds
   and in the longing of our hearts, by the words of my lips and in 
   the thoughts that we form.  Speak, O Lord, for your servants listen. 
   Amen.

For at least the last five hundred years the Western World - the industrial
and scientific world - has been intolerant of mystery.  Ours is an age
which is obsessed with the idea of knowing and explaining everything.

   A story is told of a little boy who lived in a religious home whose
   father expressed the usual before dinner command -- "Hurry up, and
   wash your hands and come to the table so we can say a prayer and
   eat."

   As the boy went toward the bathroom, he was heard to mutter, "Germs
   and Jesus, germs and Jesus!  That's all I hear around here, and I
   can't see either one of them."

There are many things, my friends, that we can't see,
many things that we can't touch, which are real and powerful: 
   -  the light from the Sun 
   - the electrons which flow through the billions of miles of wires we
   have strung up around the world 
   - the radiation that we transmit from microwave dishes and radio
   antennae to power our telephones and televisions 
   - the love that we experience from our parents and our partners...

All these things are unseeable and untouchable - yet real.

Yet despite the evidence that there are real but invisible and untouchable
forces all around us many people refuse to believe in God; and of those who
do believe in God there are many who refuse to believe that God can do
anything out of the ordinary:
   - they refuse to believe in miracles 
   -  they refuse to believe in the power of the Holy Spirit 
   - they refuse to believe in the healing touch and in prayer as a
   powerful instrument of change and transformation.

Sometimes it seems that we of the Church - particularly of the Western
Church - are completely out of touch with why our faith has been so
powerful a force in the world - sometimes it seems that we are out of touch
with the invisible force that underlies our dogma and our belief.

Have you noticed that many people today seem to be hungry for some
experience of what I call Spiritual Realities?  

The dramatic upswing of interest in the existence of angels, of witches,
and the number of people who consult psychics and future tellers speak of a
longing that people have to go beyond the merely rational and scientific. 
 
Certainly this longing is reflected in the New Age movement. 

There was an interesting news report sometime back. It seems that a company
called "Chi Pants" of Santa Cruz, CA, in keeping with the New Age belief in
quartz crystals, is marketing a new line of pants.  

   Each pair of the pants has a tiny crystal sewn into the back seam
   which will rest at the base of the spine when the pants are worn. 
   The company advertises, "You won't feel the crystal; you'll just
   feel the energy."

There was another news story sometime back.  An artist from Jersey City by
the name of Marybeth Strobel explained why she wears a large chunk of
quartz on a strap around her neck. 

   "It puts a circle of power around you that keeps you feeling
   protected," she says.

You and I may scoff 
but such beliefs have a great appeal for many people.

They have that appeal - because too many of us - especially those of us in
the mainline churches have failed to connect others - let alone ourselves -
to the very real power that is spoken of throughout the bible and the
history of our faith.

We have been too head oriented and have placed too little emphasis on the
heart for too many years - and the result has been confusion and the rise
of charlatans and cheats who mislead those who suspect that there is more
to the world than meets the eye - but who do not know how to test and
evaluate other people's claims about the nature of the spiritual universe
that exists all around us.

There is something we ought to acknowledge,
   something we need to confess 
and it is this.

Mystical experience is very much a part of our faith.  
Indeed it lays at the root of all that we believe in.

From stories like those we heard today where we see Moses going up on a
mountain and hearing God speak and Jesus being transfigured by a bright
light in the presence of three of his disciples
   to the indescribable peace and joy that groups of praying and praising
   Christian pilgrims experience;
unexplainable and unprovable - in the scientific sense at least - spiritual
realities undergird and indeed, permeate, our faith.

Indeed throughout history right until the present day many of the greatest
Christians who ever lived have reported experiences that are outside the
realm of rational experience.
 
   It is said that a friend wandered into Handel's room just as he was
   finishing the last notes of the "Hallelujah Chorus." He found the
   composer with tears streaming down his cheeks. The magnificent work
   lay completed on the desk in front of him. "I did think," Handel
   exclaimed to his friend, "I saw all heaven before me, and the great
   God Himself."

What do you make of an experience such as Handel reported?  
Is he speaking metaphorically? Or did he really see heaven? 

And what do you make of the man who reports that a friend prayed for his
sick brother - a man who was expected to die within a day - and that this
brother was given another five years?

What do you make of reports that Elijah raised a poor woman's son from the
dead or of the hundreds of people who reported that they saw Jesus alive
and well long after he was laid in the tomb?

How do you explain the absolute conviction of those folk who have died on
an operating table or in a hospital room and on being brought back to life
reported travelling down an ever brighter tunnel  till at last they met
their loved ones and were beckoned to either move onward toward God or to
return to life and finish what needed finishing?

If we but believed what we have long preached 
   what we have long read in this book -
how much different might our world be today?

My friends - today I do not want to do with you what so many generations of
preachers have done with the story of Jesus and his transfiguration - I do
not want to rush you down the mountain and tell you that what happened up
there is not as important as what happens in the valley below.
 
What I want to do 
   - is have you understand that there really are spiritual realities that
   exist and which defy our conventional wisdom - our scientific reason 
   - and to give you one essential tool for evaluating them.

The first thing to be said about mystical experiences is - be careful. 

The human brain is a tricky piece of machinery.  It can see things that do
not exist -- or take the wrong message from what lies before it.
  
William James, a psychologist of religion early in the last century once
pointed out that you can toss a bag of marbles on the floor and by
selectively ignoring certain marbles find any pattern you wish.  Our eyes
and our minds can play tricks on us and lead us in directions that have no
profit to them.

We see that tendency displayed in some Christians' obsessions with numbers. 
     
   Charles Swindoll tells about a lady in Kansas City who went to court
   to get her license plate changed because it ended with 666.  She
   stated that her fellow church members were shunning her.  As you may
   know, the mark of the beast in the Book of Revelation is 666.  

   Swindoll goes on to note that the 666 scare stuff is getting
   downright ridiculous.  The fact is that those three digits can be
   uncovered in almost anybody's name if you're willing to work at it
   hard enough.  Using the code A=100, B=101, and so on, Hitler adds up
   to 666,  The same technique works on the word computer - a
   coincidence to which some of us might attach some validity. 
     
By adopting the so-called "devil's code" whereby the alphabet is numbered
backward from zero; Z=0, Y=1, X=2 as so forth -  and then multiplying each
letter-value by 6 (whew!), fundamentalist leader Jerry Falwell's last name
equals 666.  Even Billy Graham's name is not exempt.  His initials are WFG.
(William Franklin Graham). Using the A=1 code, the letters add up to 36. 
The sum of the counting numbers from 1 through 36 is 666, and 36=6x6.  When
Ronald Wilson Reagan was elected president, mischievous Democrats pointed
out that each of the President's names had six letters--666 - and so forth.

Maybe you find all this fascinating, maybe not.  There are some people,
though, who are very susceptible to such logic.  And there are unscrupulous
people who look for these susceptible people to manipulate to their own
ends.  Often they do it in the name of religion.  They tell you that what
they are saying is based on the invisible spiritual realities which
undergird the world.  Be careful.  

If you wonder why most Christian churches put more emphasis on being true
to the historical faith than on any one particular subjective experience,
this is it.  

We know feelings are subject to distortion and manipulation.  It may make
us seem somewhat dry and unexciting at times but we know that when we are
faithful to Scripture and the teachings of the Church we cannot be misled
by passing fads or sensations. 

Be careful.  But also be tolerant.  

We don't know how God may choose to work in individual lives.  It is the
height of arrogance for any of us to declare that God can only work in one
way or another - that God can only be found in one group or another. 

Most of us would be thrilled to have the kind of mountaintop experience
that Peter, James and John had where they beheld Christ transfigured before
them; we would love to go up on a Mountain as did Moses and hear God's
voice, but we may live a lifetime and never experience any more than a lump
in our throat and a calm assurance in our hearts. 

If that's all we experience, that is enough.  God knows what we need.  
   If other people discover a wider range of experiences, 
      if they shout and dance and speak in tongues, 
   then who's to say but that God knew their needs as well.

Remember this --and this is the crux of the matter: The test of faith is
not our experience of, or our knowledge of, invisible spiritual realities,
but in whether we bear fruit that is pleasing to God. 

The fruit of the Spirit, says St. Paul, is love, joy, peace, longsuffering,
gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. (Gal 5:23)  

Does your special experience make you more loving, more peaceful, more
trusting, more humble?  Does your knowledge of the Spiritual Realities
which undergird the world make you more faithful, more prone to give God
praise?  Does your conviction that God has sent an angel to you to bring
you comfort it result in your being a better neighbour?  A better citizen?

If it does, then no matter what that experience is, you are not far from
the Kingdom of God.

There are, my friends, spiritual realities that undergird not only our
faith, but the very world around us.  

There are angels.  
   There is a resurrection.  
       Miracles still occur - the blind can still be made to see and the
       lame to walk.  
Demons still chill the air and prayers still reach the ear of God.  
And God still speaks - in dreams and in visions - and through his Word.

And there are many here who can testify to these things.

My friends - there are spiritual things - spiritual realities that are
beyond our ken - wonders that still reach out and touch those who expect
them and those that don't.

The transfiguration of Jesus is one of these.   It happened to strengthen
Jesus before his journey to Jerusalem - and it was witnessed so that we
might be encouraged in our faith.  The spiritual reality - the spiritual
power made evident that day - had a purpose.   A good purpose.

And so it should be for all those things we call Spiritual.

The  important thing is that we believe not simply in the power of the
world that is beyond our everyday sight - but in the truth behind that
power and in the God who makes it so -  and that in believing in God and in
his power - we strive - without fear - to live out a worthy life - a life
like that of Christ Jesus our Lord.


----  Check out George Hartwell's Creative Closings - Transfiguration - Year A 
for a prayer meditation with which to conclude the sermon and/or 
lead into the prayer time below.


PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
Almighty God, before the passion of your Son, you revealed His glory upon
the holy mountain.    Grant to us that we, beholding by faith the light 
of His countenance, may be strengthened to bear our cross.  Indeed, O Lord,
give us the vision to see beyond the turmoil of our world and to behold Him
in all His glory...  Lord, hear our prayer...

O God, at the Holy Mountain we open our eyes and we see Jesus, the months
of ministry transfigured to a beam of light, the light of the world, your
light. May your light always shine upon us...  Lord, hear our prayer...

O God, we open our eyes and we see Moses and Elijah with Jesus, your word, 
restoring us, showing us the way, telling a story, your story, his story,
our story.  May your word always speak to us...  Lord, hear our prayer... 
Lord, hear our prayer....

O God, we open our eyes and we see mist, the cloud of your presence, which
assures us of all we do not know and that we do not need to fear that.  
Teach us to trust...   Lord, hear our prayer...

O God, we open our eyes and we see Peter's constructions, his best plans,
our best plans, our missing the point, our missing the way.... Forgive us
our foolishness and our sin....  Lord, hear our prayer...

O God, we open our eyes and we see Jesus, not casting us off, but leading
us down, leading us out - to ministry, to people.   Help us to share his
love, your love.... Lord hear our prayer...

O God, hear our prayers not just for ourselves, but our prayers for one
another at this time: our prayer that they who are lost might be found,
that they who are lame might walk and they who are sick may be healed, that
they who are enslaved may be set free and they that mourn may be comforted. 
We pray, O God, for .... BIDDING PRAYER.... Lord, hear our prayer...

O God, at your Holy Mountain we open our ears and we hear your voice saying
'This is my beloved Son, listen to him!'   We give you thanks and we pray
in his name that we might always do your will and harken to his voice -
both on the mountains and in the valleys of life.  Amen


* SHARING GOD'S BLESSINGS:  As the Offering is presented all stand for the
Doxology (Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow - VU 541) and Prayer of
Dedication

       Gracious God, your truth is a lamp shining in the darkness of
       this world's confusion and a fire burning in the coldness of
       human need.  Let this offering and the dedication of our
       hearts and minds and souls be used to brighten and to warm
       our world and to bring you everlasting praise and glory. 
       Amen


* SHARING THE PEACE:  We greet those around us with a sign of peace
   (handshakes or hugs) and words like "The peace of the Lord be with
   you".  This ancient tradition is an appropriate response to the peace
   that God gives to those who hear and do his word.
 

* COMMUNION HYMN:  "We Gather Here"                                - VU 469


COMMUNION LITANY
L  The peace of the Lord be with you.
P  And also with you.
L  Lift up your hearts.
P  We lift them up to the Lord.
L  Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
P  It is right to give God thanks and praise.


EUCHARISTIC PRAYER (Prayer of Thanksgiving)
Loving God, in many and various ways you have visited and redeemed your
people - finally sending to us your Son, Jesus.  We thank you Lord God for
sending him to us.  We thank for the example that he set - for how 
rejoiced with those who rejoiced and  wept with those who wept.  We praise
you for the power and the love that you displayed through him - for how to
the despairing he spoke a word of hope, to the sick he gave healing, and to
the rejected he became a friend.  It is with sorrow, O God, that we recall
how, because of our sin, he was betrayed and nailed to a cross.  Yet O God,
your plan was not frustrated by this evil - and your mercy was not
thwarted.  We thank you Lord, for how you lifted Jesus from the grave and
restored him to life - that he might be with us and we with him - a
forgiven people - alive for evermore.  With all the saints and with the
angels in heaven  we thank you for the salvation that he has brought to us
and to our world, saying:


SANCTUS
P  Holy, holy, holy, Lord, God of power and might,
   Heaven and earth are full of your glory,
   Hosanna in the highest.
   Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord,
   Hosanna in the highest.


WORDS OF INSTITUTION
L  Blessed indeed, O God, is the one who comes in your Name - Christ Jesus
   your Son.   We thank you for the love you have poured out upon us
   through him and we remember how that love was first shown to us.   We
   recall how on the night that Jesus was betrayed he took bread, and gave
   you thanks (as even now we thank you, O Lord, for this bread), and then
   broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take, all of you, and
   eat.  This is my body, broken for you."  In the same way, we recall
   how, when the meal was over, Jesus took the cup, the cup of blessing,
   and after giving you thanks, gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take
   all of you and drink.  This is my blood, the blood of a new and 
   everlasting covenant, poured out for you and for all, for the
   forgiveness of sins....  Do this in remembrance of me."


THE MYSTERY OF FAITH AND THE CONSECRATION
L  Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith:
P  Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

L  Loving God, we pray thee to send thy Holy Spirit upon us and this bread
   and this cup - that they may be for us the body and the blood of Christ
   Jesus.   Grant that what we do here that we do here may strengthen and
   sustain us and that we may acquire the mind of Christ and follow him
   faithfully on the mountains and in the valleys of life as we await his
   return in glory.   Amen

   
THE DISTRIBUTION OF THE ELEMENTS:  The congregation is invited to come
                                   forward up the centre aisle, then return
                                   to their seats by the side aisles

L  Come - this is the table of our Lord.  Come and receive the gifts that
   he offers us - his body broken and his blood poured out so that we may
   be made whole.


DEPARTING PRAYER and PROFESSION OF FAITH
L  Gracious God - we give thanks to you for bread and for wine and for all
   that you touch and bless.  Grant that we might always appreciate the
   mystery of your presence in the simple and ordinary things of life.  
P  As we have shared the body and blood of Christ Jesus - so help us to
   share the good news that he came to bring to all people.  
L  We proclaim our faith in You, in Him, and in the Holy Spirit....

P  We are not alone, we live in God's world.
   We believe in God: who has created and is creating,
       who has come in Jesus, the Word made flesh, 
       to reconcile and make new, 
       who works in us and others by the Spirit. 
   We trust in God.
       We are called to be the Church,
       to celebrate God's presence, 
       to live with respect in creation,
       to love and serve others, 
       to seek justice and resist evil, 
       to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen,  our Judge and our Hope.
      In life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us.   
   We are not alone.  Thanks be to God.
                                                (The New Creed: VU 918)
  
* DEPARTING HYMN: "Teach Me, God, To Wonder"                       - VU 299


* COMMISSIONING (Unison): In the power of the Holy Spirit we now go forth
   into the world, to fulfil our calling as the people of God, the body of
   Christ.

                      
* BENEDICTION AND THREEFOLD AMEN
Go in peace, love and care for one another in Christ's name,
and may the Lord our God 
- the Father, the Son, and The Holy Spirit, 
bless you and keep you 
- both now and forevermore.  Amen. 


* CHORAL BLESSING:  "Go Now In Peace"                              - VU 964


copyright - Rev. Richard J. Fairchild - Spirit Networks, 2002 - 2006
            please acknowledge the appropriate author if citing these sermons.


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