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  • Writer's pictureTillamook UMC

Reformation Sunday - Ecumenical Worship Tillamook

5th Sunday Worship, hosted by St Peter ELCA,

joined together with St John's UCC and Tillamook UMC


Introduction to the day

Rooted in the past and growing into the future, the church must always be reformed in order to live out the love of Christ in an ever-changing world. We celebrate the good news of God’s grace, that Jesus Christ sets us free every day to do this life-transforming work. Trusting in the freedom given to us in baptism, we pray for the church, that Christians will unite more fully in worship and mission.


Gathering

The Holy Spirit calls us together as the people of God.


Confession and Forgiveness

Blessed be the holy Trinity, ☩ one God,

who forgives all our sin,

whose mercy endures forever. Amen.

Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you and worthily magnify your holy name, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.


Let us confess our sin in the presence of God and of one another.


Most merciful God,

we confess that we are captive to sin and cannot free ourselves. We have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. For the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Forgive us, renew us, and lead us, so that we may delight in your will and walk in your ways, to the glory of your holy name. Amen.


God, who is rich in mercy, loved us even when we were dead in sin, and made us alive together with Christ. By grace you have been saved. In the name of ☩ Jesus Christ, your sins are forgiven. Almighty God strengthen you with power through the Holy Spirit, that Christ may live in your hearts through faith. Amen.


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Greeting

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. And also with you.


Kyrie


Prayer of the Day - Let us pray.

Gracious Creator, we pray for your holy catholic church. Fill it with all truth and peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in anything it is amiss, reform it; where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in need, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.


Word

God speaks to us in scripture reading, preaching, and song.


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First Reading: Jeremiah 31:31-34


A reading from Jeremiah.


The renewed covenant will not be breakable, but like the old covenant it will expect the people to live upright lives. To know the Lord means that one will defend the cause of the poor and needy (Jer. 22:16). The renewed covenant is possible only because the Lord will forgive iniquity and not remember sin. Our hope lies in a God who forgets.


31The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 32It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord.


33But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.


The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.


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Psalm: Psalm 46


1God is our ref- | uge and strength,   a very present | help in trouble. 2Therefore we will not fear, though the | earth be moved,   and though the mountains shake in the depths | of the sea; 3though its waters | rage and foam,   and though the mountains tremble | with its tumult.

4There is a river whose streams make glad the cit- | y of God,   the holy habitation of | the Most High. 5God is in the midst of the city; it shall | not be shaken;   God shall help it at the | break of day. 6The nations rage, and the | kingdoms shake;   God speaks, and the earth | melts away. 7The Lord of | hosts is with us;   the God of Jacob | is our stronghold. 8Come now, regard the works | of the Lord,   what desolations God has brought up- | on the earth; 9behold the one who makes war to cease in | all the world;   who breaks the bow, and shatters the spear, and burns the | shields with fire. 10“Be still, then, and know that | I am God;   I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted | in the earth.” 11The Lord of | hosts is with us;   the God of Jacob | is our stronghold.


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Second Reading: Romans 3:19-28


A reading from Romans.

Paul’s words stand at the heart of the preaching of Martin Luther and other Reformation leaders. No human beings make themselves right with God through works of the law. We are brought into a right relationship with God through the divine activity centered in Christ’s death. This act is a gift of grace that liberates us from sin and empowers our faith in Jesus Christ.


19Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20For “no human being will be justified in his sight” by deeds prescribed by the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin. 21But now, apart from law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, 22the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, 23since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; 24they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith. God did this to show God's righteousness, because in God's divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed; 26it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies the one who has faith in Jesus.

27Then what becomes of boasting? It is excluded. By what law? By that of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law.

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.


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Gospel Acclamation

The assembly stands to welcome the gospel.

Gospel: John 8:31-36


The holy gospel according to John. Glory to you, O Lord.


31Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; 32and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” 33They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, ‘You will be made free’?” 34Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. 36So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”


The gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, O Christ.


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Prayers of Intercession

Trusting in the transformative power of God’s loving Spirit, let us pray for the church, the world, and all in need.


God our parent, you call us your children and have made us siblings through your son Jesus. Heal the church’s many divisions, bring understanding and peace where there has been contention and strife, and unite us in one body through the love of Christ. God of grace,

hear our prayer.


God our creator, your hands have made the heights of the mountains, the depths of the sea, and the life that animates all creation. Bring relief to areas harmed by wildfires, floods, storms, and human carelessness. Renew the face of the earth. God of grace,

hear our prayer.


God our ruler, the nations rage and the kingdoms shake, but your word stands fast forever. Let your justice and peace roll down like waters wherever there is strife, injustice, war, or religious conflict. God of grace,

hear our prayer.


God our champion, you are our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble. Draw near to all who suffer especially all those on our combined prayer lists. *At this time, you may name, aloud or silently, any you wish to acknowledge. * Be their rest and comfort. God of grace,

hear our prayer.


God our reformer, you make all things new. Free us from complacency, open us to unexpected ways, and kindle zeal in us for the future. We pray for young people affirming their baptism. With them, stir in us a desire for your wisdom. God of grace,

hear our prayer.


God our savior, you made yourself known in the lives of all who have died in the hope of your grace. We give thanks for the witness of reformers like Martin Luther and for all whose example has brought us closer to you. God of grace,

hear our prayer.


Gracious God, into your hands we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in your unending love and amazing grace; through Jesus Christ, our Savior.

Amen.

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Reflection by Pastor AJ


This past Sunday, we joined together with our Ecumenical community to celebrate the gift of the Reformation. Since I grew up attending the Lutheran Church on Sundays, the Methodist Church for evening worship, and honored special days together with my Pentecostal friends, I have been infused with a richly textured tapestry of theological perspectives. Honoring Divine in many ways has come very naturally to me.


Add to that evening vespers with my Episcopal friends, serving one of my pastoral internships after seminary at a Disciples of Christ church, and being baptized into a Lutheran-Catholic blended congregation, and the weavings become even more beautifully complex. And then, bring in my heritage as a Granicerx (one who works with the rain and hail) in the Nahua tradition of Mexico, and deep listening and study with my Jewish friends as well as my beloved soul-brethren who have a rich relationship with the Divine Natural World in ways that see all things as living expressions of Divine Heart, and you get a powerful narrative that stronly opposes a singular viewpoint of God.


We are at a point in our theological develeopment, historically, where it is time to come together rather than to continue splintering and severing ties over how to do worship, or how to translate a particular Scriptural passage. The time of the Protestant Reformation was indeed necessary, as it brought awareness regarding the power structures and the oppressive dynamics that had taken hold in the church that claimed to be following Christ. Speaking truth to power is not easy. And it is often not popular. But it is necessary at times.

Today, we are being called to look at our views of Christ, and our views of nature. We must repent of the sin of racism, and acknowledge the damage that colonial christianity has caused throughout the world. And in order to do that work, that very hard and gut-wrenching work, we need to come together.


We need to help each other. We need to acknowledge our similarities, and find compromise for our differences. We must be humble and gentle in heart, and we need to become persistently curious about one another, as Pastor Mary Peterson spoke about during our shared service last Sunday.


What can you do this week to learn something new about someone who has a different spiritual background than you do? And what book or article can you read, or what movie can you watch, that will broaden your perspective on race, gender or ability, so that we can better understand each other? Take time this week to be intentionally curious about someone else's story. See the world through a different lens.

In this way, you will be working towards the healing and the blessing of the whole earth.


This month, you might consider joining me in reading "Abuelita Faith: What Women on the Margins Teach us about Wisdom, Persistence and Strength" written by Kat Armas (Brazos Press, Grand Rapids, 2021).


Even if you cannot make it to the scheduled book study reflection meetings, consider reading it, for a different perspective on theology. Armas writes as a second generation Cuban-American who takes time to return to her roots, and in so doing, discovers her calling to make space for the voices of marginalized women from many different cultures. I am only part way through the book currently, but what I have read so far makes my heart beat faster, and gives me pause.


My hope is that we, as a community of faith, will continue reading, sharing and reflecting together, in our book studies, in our worship services, in our leadership meetings, and in these weekly reflections. May we dedicate ourselves to understanding systemic racism and working to diminish our contributions to it. May we work to gain a better understanding of the spectrum of gender and identity, in order to become better aquainted with our friends, family and neighbors in the LGBTQIA2S+ community. And may we hear and shar stories that help us to hear once marginlized voices that have been quieted or silenced due to any kind of oppression or discrimination.

Tribalism was once a way of living that helped smaller communities to thrive. But we live in a new age, and we must be willing to do the work that brings us together. Truly, this is the Way that will help us to follow in the footsteps of the One whom Kat Armas says is "the one whom many of us have been in search of, the one of los humildes, the humble... the border-crossing, Brown Jesus" who is revealed more clearly through the voices of those on the margins of society. (pg 9)


We have work to do. With the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit, may we do this work courageously! May we all walk in a way that brings forth healing, sends blessings to those humans and other-than-humans with whom we share the gift of creation. For this is a beautiful gift that we can all share, in Jesus' name. Amen.

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