A Service of Worship for Sunday, June 28, 2020 —
Old First Church, Philadelphia, PA
the Rev. Michael Caine, pastor; the Rev. Dr. Bob Robinson, preacher;
Holly Phares, music director; William Lowden, organist
Prelude Christ You Are My Friend
Gert van Hoef
Silence Abraham failed the test.
For Sodom and Gemorrah he argued
but when it came to his sons
no protest crossed his lips…
…The angel had to call him twice.
Abraham’s eyes were red, his voice hoarse.
He wept like a man pardoned,
But God never spoke to him again.
— Rabbi Rachel Barenblat
Words of Gathering — a poem by Madeleine L’Engle
O my father, am I really to go with you?
And help you with the sacrifice to the Lord?
You’ve never taken me before, and I’ve always wanted to go.
Why do you weep, Mother? We won’t be long.
I’m growing up, now, and it is right that I go with Father.
Father, where is the lamb for the sacrifice?
All: Father, what are you doing? Father —
Father, how can the Lord want me? I am only a child.
How can you worship a Lord who wants your child?
Father, there is terrible laughter in the air like thunder.
You are not my father. I am afraid of you.
I will close my eyes. This rock is hard and cold against my bones.
This rock is. . .
Father. I heard thunder again.
You are untying the ropes which cut my skin.
You are laughing and crying, and the ram in the bush
is waiting with frightened eyes.
He does not understand, either.
God of the saints, God of the sinners, we all must confess:
We would be saint-like – holy, good, patient, right, loving.
But we end up feeling more like sinners – full of failures of morality, selfish, mean.
Perhaps, you appreciate us simply as human – beloved, but flawed, trying and failing, following but misunderstanding, and only by grace succeeding.
In all of this, forgive the wrong that we have done, and bless the good we have accomplished.
Keep on loving us, and helping us, and remaking us more and more into the image of Christ,
in whose name we pray. Amen.
Silence — for personal confession
The God of Abraham Praise
Singers: Esther Bernard, Trixie Steiner-Rose, Suzanne Cole, Meg Bigelow, Blossom Gica, Max Staley, Adam Sherr, Richard Kalwaic
The God of Abraham praise, all praises to God’s name,
Who was and is and is to be, for-e’er the same!
The one eternal God, before what now appears;
the First, the Last: beyond all thought through timeless years!
God has eternal life implanted in the soul;
God’s love shall be our strength and stay, while ages roll.
All praise the living God! Extol that hallowed name,
who was, and is, and ever shall be still the same!
The Passing of the Peace — do you have a sentence or promise of God’s peace to share?
A Time with the Children National Camera Day
The Scripture Genesis 22: 1-14
The Sermon Finding the Center
Affirmation of Faith — adapted from the Belhar Confession of the World Communion of Reformed Churches
We believe that the unity of the church can be established only in freedom and not under constraint; and that the variety of spiritual gifts, opportunities, backgrounds, and convictions, as well as the various languages and cultures, are, by virtue of our reconciliation in Christ, opportunities for mutual service and enrichment, within the one visible people of God. We believe that true faith in Jesus Christ is the only condition for membership in this church.
Prayers of the People and the Lord’s Prayer (using sins, debts or trespasses as you wish)
Offertory Reflections of the Heart
Anna Sherr, piano
- Children’s Bible Storytime
- Lunch with the Pastor
- Adult Bible Study
- Prayer Group
- Shawl Ministry Team
- WISE Training
Benediction — Maxwell Staley
Postlude The God of Abraham Praise
arr. Gail Smith