Alternative Worship Service

Due to the snow and potentially dangerous travel conditions, we will not be having our traditional church service this Sunday, January 13.  We pray that you are home, safe and warm.

However, we didn’t want to miss an opportunity to worship our Creator God – the maker of all seasons.  So, grab a cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate, and prepare to worship in this “nontraditional” way, knowing that your praise is music to God’s ears.

Call to Worship – inspired by John 6
(please say aloud the bolded parts)

Rejoice, friends, Jesus is in our midst, no matter where we worship.
Feed us, Jesus, and fill us with hope.

Be glad, friends, Jesus has bread and fish to spare.
Free us, Jesus, from the pursuit of food that does not satisfy.

Worship with joy, people of God;
God gathers up the pieces of our lives, that nothing may be lost.
Thanks be to God!

[~ Adapted from The Abingdon Worship Annual 2009, © 2008 Abingdon Press. Posted on the Ministry Matters website.  http://www.ministrymatters.com/ ]

Invocation
Holy God,
Like the Psalmist, we ask you:  “Where can we go from your Spirit?  Where can we flee from your presence?”  And you assure us that:  “If we go up to the heavens, you are there; if we make our beds in the depths, you are there.

“If we rise on the wings of the dawn, if we settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide us, your right hand will hold us fast.”

Lord, even though we are not gathered together for worship this morning, still you are with us, and you receive our worship gladly.  For this, and all the other blessings, mercy and forgiveness you bestow upon us, we thank you.

Amen.

Opening Hymn – “Break thou the bread of life
(If you click on the title, it will play a beautiful a cappella version of this song, found in our hymnals. Be blessed by this rendition)

Pastoral Prayer
Since we are not together to pray this morning, please join me in a bidding prayer.  Read along in prayer, and then insert the names and things on your heart where guided.

Never-changing God,
Though your flock is not together in body, we are gathered in spirit and in praise to you.
This morning, we are reminded of the power that is not ours to wield.  We are made to rest, and to take note of the awesomeness of your creation.

Lord, we are grateful for this time to reflect on all that you are, and on how dependent we are on you.  Thank you for the warmth of our homes, for the provision of food, for the love of those near us.  We are grateful for the men and women who are even now out in the storm taking care of our needs:  the police and firemen, the utilities workers, the doctors and nurses, and the plow drivers.  Lord, bless them.

We lift up the following names in gratitude to you:

Lord, we are concerned for those who are ill or alone during this time of storm.  Bring comfort and healing to those in need.  Make us mindful of those we may be able to help.

We lift up the following names of those who need your healing touch:

Lord, bringer of peace – in times of rest, our brains often remain busy.  We worry.  What will the storm bring?  What will tomorrow bring?  Are we prepared?  These worries may reflect cares far beyond the current weather.  Help us to turn our worries over to you.  Strengthen our faith to know that you are working.  Give us courage to let go of our need to control, and to let your abundant plan for our lives play out.

We lift up the following cares and concerns – knowing you are in the midst of them:

Thank you for this day and for your unending presence with us.
In gratitude and praise,
Amen.

Scripture Reading:   John 6
Since you didn’t have to spend any time today driving over to the church, I’m going to assign a longer Scripture reading than usual.  Please pull up your favorite translation or paraphrase of the Bible and read the entire 6th Chapter of the Gospel of John.  Yes, the whole thing.  It really will help you with the sermon if you’ve read the Scripture first.

Sermon:  “Fan or Follower”
(If you click on the sermon title, you will see a video of the sermon.  This is NOT the sermon I had intended to give on January 13.  I’ll save that one for you live.  However, I recorded this one in my house today, and it fits well with the theme we are exploring).

Closing Hymn:  “I am the bread of life
(Click on the song title to be taken to a recording of another hymn found in our hymnal.  This is a contemporary, beautiful rendition.)

Offering
We now have secure, online giving available through a link here on our website.  If you are led, please feel free to make your weekly tithe or offering.

Benediction
Thank you Lord, for making a way to intentionally spend time in worship and praise.  As we continue about our day, may your name be on our lips and your ways be our ways.
Amen.