The Lord’s Supper

Worship Resources for Transfiguration Sunday (2/14) and Ash Wednesday (2/17)



Photo by Tamar Dolev.
Sunset from Norfolk Island. Feel free to use it. If you want to know more about this beautiful island, then visit


by Barb Hedges-Goettl
‘God Almighty, we give you thanks for your creation and care,
for the words and witness of those who have gone before us,
and of those who live the Christian life alongside us.
We thank you for your steadfast, eternal presence,
even when we do not see, hear or follow you.

You sent your son Jesus to reveal you love.
Through his birth, life, death, and resurrection,
you reveal to us the way, the truth and the life–
not just at the Transfiguration on the mountain,
but in this very time and place
through the bread and cup you give us to share.
And so we praise and thank you
with these people in this place,
and with all your people across every time and place.

By the work of your Holy Spirit,
reveal to us that we eat together at the very table of Christ Jesus.
Make us one with you and with each other.

Through this holy meal,
teach us to know and follow your way.
Ground and settle us in your truth,
and make us sharers of your abundant and eternal life.

[Confirm what we know.
Reveal to us what we do not know.
Fill us up with whatever we lack.
Keep us faithfully in your service
until we feast together in your eternal kingdom.]

Following Christ Jesus, himself the Way, the Truth, and the Life,
we do what he commanded us to do:

Like him, we take bread, and having given thanks,
we break it and give it to the disciples, saying, as Christ Jesus did,
“Take, eat, this is my body broken for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.”

And, also like Jesus, we take the cup, saying
“This cup is the new covenant in my blood,
do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

Prayer of Confession

(from Psalm 51:1-4, New Living Translation adapted by Barb Hedges-Goettl)
 Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Forgive me, O God.
In your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Forgive me, O God
Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. Forgive me, O God
For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. Forgive me, O God
Against you, and you alone, have I sinned. Forgive me, O God
I have done what is evil in your sight. Forgive me, O God


Opening Prayer/Confession of Faith

by Barb Hedges-Goettl

We gather together as the church

When we can’t summon our “Jesus-loves-me” smiles

When we are not feeling happy or better

When traditions don’t seem to suffice

When we know all too well that we are ashes and dust

                    Then God calls us to return to God.

We gather together as the church

When we are not sure how to come before God

When we miss being in our building

When we miss being with our community

When all seems strange and uncertain           

          Then God calls us to return to God.

We gather together as the church

When we need to lament

When we are a grieving people, a weeping people,

When we are dependent on God for help and healing

When we seek God’s Kingdom until that Kingdom comes

          Then God calls us to return to God.

We gather together as the church

Because God creates in us a clean heart, a new and right spirit within us

Because God restores to us the joy of salvation, sustaining in us a willing spirit

Because God does not cast us away, or take God’s holy spirit from us

Because God restores to us the joy of God’s salvation, sustaining in us a willing spirit

 we gather together as the church. THANKS BE TO GOD!

Children’s sermon (good for grownups too!)

Found at

Lent Ideas with Children: Narrative Lectionary Luke

Children Ideas: Meditate on Dirt together (Ideally with dirt): What is dirt? 
Discuss God as creator and make clay/playdo people together, Bury the Alleluias:
(Post includes an image of Pigpen from Peanuts, with his quote about where his dirt has been before it landed on him!)

See also and and nfleshed,  a non profit creating and facilitating resources or spiritual nourishment for collective liberation, which can be found at

Commentary by Daniella Zsupan-Jerome on Rafael’s painting Transfiguration on the possessed boy and the female figure depicted there! in text or in video

Ignatian prayer exercise to match the above art commentary exercise/

Book Review: Come Eat with Me by Rob Douglas

COME EAT WITH ME by Rob Douglas. Eugene, OR: RESOURCE Publications, 2018. Ix + 137 pages.

In this easy-to-read book, Rev. Rob Douglas focuses on God’s invitation to “Come eat with me” to explore hospitality and the roles of consummate host and ultimate guest. Douglas notes that God and Jesus take on the roles of guest and of host at the meals described in Scripture. For the followers of Jesus, participating in God’s table means entering deliberately into a relationship with God as guest but also taking on a commitment to serve as host: providing hospitality, welcoming strangers and providing spaces for people to grow and develop. In taking up these themes, Douglas provides content from authors addressing hospitality while providing his own insights and conclusions.


Douglas alternates between chapters that imaginatively re-tell biblical “meal” stories and chapters providing illustrations and broader messages drawn from those re-tellings. For example, the first chapter is titled “Invitation to a Garden,” with the subheading “How God the Maker, the consummate host, prepared the table immaculately for his first guests.” This chapter provides a fictive re-telling of the story of Adam and Eve, closing with the chapter and verse references for those who want to read the biblical version. The second chapter, “Finding Annie,” tells the story of Annie McDonald’s experiences of institutionalization as a child with a disability and her journey to attaining a college education and becoming a speaker and author. Douglas draws on Annie’s story to illustrate his concern for God’s invitation as being an invitation to a relational community, not an institutionalized meal. He further illustrates this concept with his interpretation of the story of Cain and Abel’s offerings.


Later chapters address flexibility between being host and being guest (Abraham and Sarah and their three guests); empowering people to host (Elijah and the widow); a meal of emancipation (Passover); a unique meal with boundaries (quail and manna in the wilderness); hosting God (building the portable ark of the covenant); invitation to a new land (Joshua’s entry into the Promised Land); Jesus as host and guest (the wedding at Canaa); Jesus as the guest of an unworthy host (Zacchaeus); principles of guesting and hosting (the story of the great banquet); God the host shows grace and creativity (feeding of the 5,000); Jesus invites a traitor and his friends to dine (Last Supper); Jesus as host and guest (the Road to Emmaus); a meal invites greater commitment (Breakfast on the Beach); eating together across boundaries (Peter and Cornelius); and God’s ultimate bridal feast (the Final Banquet).


Douglas wrote his book to help those considering the Christian faith and to provide new perspectives to those who are already Christians. For the former, reading the actual Bible passages themselves would be an important counterbalance to the more fanciful re-tellings of the book. For the latter, familiar stories may yield new fruit. In particular, the flexibility of the roles of host and guest as taken up by God and Jesus and their followers may provide some needed food for thought. Pastors may also find the re-tellings, illustrations and thematic expositions helpful for sermon-writing.


Summer Hebrews Series #4: Hebrews 9:1-14 [Matthew 12:1-6] for Narrative Lectionary (August 4, 2019?)


Featured image:

Images of the Holy of Holies:

Images for Hebrews 9:1-14…145936.146802..147479…0.0..0.101.427.4j1……0….1..gws-wiz-img.naJeXiW05Po&ved=0ahUKEwih8LndqNrjAhWMTN8KHSwjAmEQ4dUDCAY&uact=5

Images of opening the door   For a commentary using this image, see  (NOTE: The 2015 commentary has the same content.)

17th Century etching of the Tabernacle:

There is one more image at the very bottom of this blog (after the apparently blank page) That one is from:

My husband notes that the ark described here matches the one in Raiders of the Lost Ark… (or vice versa!) Synopsis of the movie at (page 39) of

A book that addresses the tabernacle for general (evangelical) audiences and with lots of photographs and drawings is David M. Levy’s The Tabernacle: Shadows of the Messiah (2003). For excerpted portions, see




Offering Prayer: God of all power and grace: we have often been overwhelmed by the indifference of the world and have let it discourage us from the work of disciple making and world transforming to which you’ve called us. Remind us once more of the victory of Christ and the victory available to us. As we give our tithes and offerings, may we do so with the confidence of victors, knowing that in your love, grace, and compassion, you will have the last word. We pray this in the name of your Son, who bore our sins and who defeated our death. Amen. (Hebrews 9:11-14, 24-28)

Prayer Reflection: Who Could Love Us More?  (Very short, but the spacing seems crucial and is lost when I copy it here, so please go to website.)

Original liturgical resources will be posted here when I get this far; I am behind since my church did not have services on 7/21 due to excessive heat. I hope to have these posted by Tuesday evening, 7/30.!AuB3z496aTHTgal1aLu-13ffpsmjdg

CHILDREN’S SERMON IDEAS. Note: This author of this resource usually advises shielding children from sacrificial images…


Jesus, Name Above All Names

EXEGETICAL RESOURCES (beginning with those most likely to yield themes for preaching)

Podcast intro to the Hebrews series from NL: The 2015 podcast is the same.)

Preaching-oriented exposition of the structure of Hebrews 9 from Southwestern Baptist Seminary:

(Lots of potential themes in the discussion questions) Hebrews 9:1-14 Inductive Bible study with teaching points, cross-references and discussion questions from Moody Bible Institute grad who is serving in mission overseas.

Commentary on Hebrews 9:1-14 entitled “God’s Remedy for Guilt.” Uses biblical study tools from a substitutionary atonement perspective. Incl. discussion questions.

Bible study on Hebrews 9:1-14 focusing on OT background from folks from Fuller/Grace Communion International (formerly Worldwide Church of God).

Scripture Union’s commentary/study, including investigation of various themes and some liturgical and other resources.

Hebrews 9:1-14 (and beyond) Verse-by-verse word study and cross-reference from US Conference of Catholic Bishops

Hebrews 9:1-14 sermons from a variety of preachers/denominations. Looks like summaries are available for free and you can also get a free trial.

Hebrews 9:1-14 sermon from Reformed Perspectives Magazine (free online weekly publication).  Uses Westminster Confession and Westminster Shorter and Larger Catechisms as its doctrinal standards. 9:1-14

Hebrews 9:1-14 sermon that focuses on bridging the gap between the culture/religion of the book of Hebrews and Christians today from widely published Bethlehem Baptist Seminary chancellor entitled “Purified to Serve the Living God.”

Commentary on Hebrews 9:11-14 deals with the pitfalls of the “Jesus is better” part of this passage.

A Catholic take on Hebrews 9:11-14 and other blood sacrifice passages

Other articles delving into the theme of atonement/sacrifice can be found at


Audio of 1973 Princeton Seminary sermon on Leviticus 16 and Hebrews 9 on the Yom Kippur practice of praying for the sins of the nation. For more on Yom Kippur and Atonement, see

Video of 40 minute sermon from N. Boston Great Rock Church, a Calvary Chapel community, which is a non-denominational church movement focused on the inerrancy of the Bible and the expository teaching. Has roots in the Jesus movement.

Video of 36 minutes sermon from Pioneer Baptist Church entitled “A Clean Conscience.”

Video of 45 minute teaching from on Hebrews 9:1-14 by Michael Rood (“A Rood Awakening/Shabbat Night Live”) from a Hebrew/Torah perspective. Entitled “The Last Will and Testament of the Earthly Temple.” (NOTE: Didn’t vet the whole video; this TV show teaching seemed interesting, but their overall doctrine includes a focus on 7th day Sabbath and calendar issues.)

Commentary on Hebrews 9:11-14 (RCL for Proper 26B/Ordinary 31B/Pentecost 24-11/4/18) that includes consideration of v. 1-10; focuses on the Ark and on Jesus as the fulfilment/perfection.

Resources for RCL (Hebrews 9:11-14)




































Image above:

Prayer of Great Thanksgiving/Eucharistic Prayer from Romans 6:1-11

Eternal God, holy and mighty,

it is truly right and our greatest joy

to give you thanks and praise,

and to worship you in every time and place,

for you are ever present with and for us.


By your great power,

you made us in your image

and called us to be your people,

but we turned from you,

allowing sin and death to reign.


Still you loved us and sought us.

Through your Son Jesus, you entered into human life,

loving and leading, healing and teaching.

He gave his life to free us from sin to live a new life.


Since Christ Jesus died, he died to sin once for all.

Since the Christ rose from the dead, he cannot die again.

Since Jesus was raised from the dead, death has no mastery over him.

Since Christ Jesus lives, he lives to God.


By our baptism, we are buried with him.

By his resurrection, we are granted new life.

By our union with Christ in a death like his, like him we rise.


O God, we join our praise and thanks to you

with the voices and song of all people

who are baptized into Christ Jesus’ death and resurrection,

and partake of his body and blood.


Empower us by this meal and by your Holy Spirit,

to live as people who have died to sin,

to live as people who no longer live in sin,

to live as people of the resurrection,

to live as people who have been granted new life.


By this meal, rekindle in us the spark of baptism.

By this bread, make us sharers in your life, death and resurrection.

By this cup, quench all sin and water the new life you have begun in us.


We pray in the name of the Creator, who made us;

the Savior, who frees us;

and the Spirit, who guides us, Amen.


Words of Institution from 1 Corinthians 11

23For we received from the Lord what has been passed on to you:

The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread,

24and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said,

“This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.”


25In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying,

“This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this,

whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

26For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup,

you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.



Narrative Lectionary 6-2-19 Romans 6:1-11 Newness of life

Romans 6:1-11

This pericope is in RCL for Proper 7A/Ordinary 12A/Pentecost +3, where it is paired with—and overshadowed by—the story of Hagar and Ishmael. See

NL pairs it with Matthew 6:24 (?)

The theme of newness is also found in 2 Corinthians 5:(14-15), 16-20; Revelation 21:1-5, and in the psalms referring to singing a new song: Psalm 33(:3); 40(:3); 96(:1); 98(:1); 144(:9); 149(:1).

My congregation has communion the first Sunday of each month, so I am thinking about the relationship between baptism (once and done new birth) and communion (ongoing renewal). This also dovetails with emphases on being born-again (think Saul->Paul) and being a lifelong Christian (think Timothy). Both are needed and helpful; it’s more both-and than either/or.

I am thinking of a bulletin cover with tags marked: new/renewed/renewal/revived etc. Also see (many copyrighted):

Resources on Baptism/Renewal of Baptism in Worship

Opening Prayer from Romans 6


Call to Worship:

God calls his people together before him.
Our new life in Christ is celebrated and nourished
in the fellowship of congregations
where God’s name is praised,
his way taught;
where sins are confessed,
prayers and gifts are offered,
and sacraments are celebrated. 
(“Our World Belongs to God,” par.39)
Come, let us worship the Lord.
We come with praise and thanks!

To reprint the above Call to Worship for personal use, a ministry setting, or classroom use, include this credit line: © 1987, CRC Publications, Grand Rapids MI. Reprinted with permission.

CALL TO WORSHIP (from Psalm 98, Good News Version)                          Reader    [One] Sing a new song to the Lord

[Many] he has done wonderful things!
By his own power and holy strength
he has won the victory.
The Lord made his saving power known to the nations.
He kept his promise to his people, with loyalty and constant love for them.
All people everywhere can see the victory of our God.                                                           and so we gather to praise and give thanks.                                                                              [ALL] LET US WORSHIP GOD TOGETHER.                                                                                     by Rev. Dr. Barb Hedges-Goettl (please give credit if using/adapting this resource)

Opening prayer: God of grace, you have brought us from slavery to freedom, from despair to hope, from death to life. May our words and music, our thoughts and our prayers and our very lives bring honor and glory to you. This we pray in the name of Jesus,  whose death and resurrection have brought us new life. Amen.                                    by Rev. Dr. Barb Hedges-Goettl (please give credit if using/adapting this resource)

*Call to Confession (Romans 6:10-11, Good News Version)         

Because Christ died and rose again, death’s power to touch him is finished. He now lives for God forever. In the same way, we have died to the appeal and power of sin. We are alive and responsive to the call of God through Jesus Christ our Lord.                                      by Rev. Dr. Barb Hedges-Goettl (please give credit if using/adapting this resource):

*Prayer of Confession CALL TO WORSHIP (from Psalm 98, Good News Version)

O God, when we hear your call to new life, sometimes we just feel old and tired.  The pains and sorrows of this life weigh us down.                                                              We don’t know how things can ever change.                                                                              We do not see how we can be renewed and revitalized.                                                          We forget that nothing is impossible with you. We find it hard to believe that you can and do grant more than all we can ask or imagine. Forgive us and renew us. (Silent confession)                                                                                                                            by Rev. Dr. Barb Hedges-Goettl (please give credit if using/adapting this resource):

*Assurance of Pardon (Romans 6:10-11 The Message) When Jesus died, he took sin down with him. Now, alive, he brings God down to us. From now on, sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to us. Instead, God speaks our mother tongue, and we hang on every word. We are dead to sin and alive to God. This is the Good News for which we give thanks be to God: In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.                                                            by Rev. Dr. Barb Hedges-Goettl (please give credit if using/adapting this resource)

Call to/Prayer of Confession and Assurance of Forgiveness from Romans



Romans was a very important book for the reformers

Calvin’s commentary

Wesley’s commentary

Luther’s sermon

Sermon about the “hole within” (Romans 6:1-11) Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church, Waterloo, IA


Beyond the above resources, this text seems to be a topic mainly addressed from what is sometimes considered the “conservative” side of Christianity; see resources below:

Blue Letter Bible Commentary:

Audio of sermon titled “Holiness: The Journey of God’s People” from an Evangelical Presbyterian Church

Audio of sermon from the Village Church in Texas: “The Good Life Accomplished”–2

Audio of sermon “A Call to Resurrected Thinking” from Baptist Church in Beach Haven (Long Beach Island), NJ:



6/2 hymns Newness/baptism/Lord’s Supper
PCUSA Presbyterian Hymnal 1990 (The .x means the x verse is particularly relevant)
104.3 Christ is Risen! Sing Hosanna!
285.3 God, You Still the Whirling Planets
296 Walk On, O People of God
316 Breathe on Me, Breath of God
317.2 (Author of the New Creation)
353.5 Great God, Your Love Has Called Us Here
376.4 Love Divine, All Loves Excelling
442.1 The Church’s One Foundation
492 Baptized in Water
493.2 Dearest Jesus, We Are Here
495.4 We Know That Christ Is Raised
500 Become to Us the Living Bread
507 I Come with Joy
CCM type
Hope, 1984 Worship and Service Hymnal
201 Come Ye Sinners, Poor and Wretched


Narrative Lectionary: 5/19/19 Romans 1:1-17

NL 5/19/19: Romans 1:1-17


Verses 1-6 carry forth the theme of the gospel for all nations/the Gentiles that the NL has been addressing since Easter. Verses 7-15 address the mutuality to be found among Christians (see Barmen Declaration resources from 5/5). Note Paul starts out as describing himself as leader/giver and then notes that he is also recipient. (This was the theme found on 5/5 in Acts 10:1-17, 34-48 about Peter and Cornelius swapping out their roles as host and guest.) Verses 16-17 refer the Romans back to God—a theme found in the 5/12 passage (Acts 13:1-3, 14:8-18), where the people want to worship Paul and Barnabas instead of God.


My congregation has had four hospitalizations in this last week (in a church where Sunday attendance is usually less than 20!); therefore, thanking God for one another, praying for each other & mutual upbuilding of the faith is especially fitting right now. Themes I am thinking about include: (1) the grace and peace Paul directs to them from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ is for “all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy people.” (2) the Romans’ faith redounds around the world! (3) this faith is shown by praying for one another, (in our case, especially when the one being prayed for finds him/herself unable to pray); and (4) Paul wants something that has been prevented (coming to the Romans) but still has hope.


For a variety of translations, see:;GNT;TLB;NIV;MSG

The Message translation is particularly helpful if you are focusing on the way the Paul explains the gospel here (v.2-7). I have not included the NKJV; you can change which versions are included for your perusal.




CALL TO WORSHIP (from Romans 1:1-6)

One: Servants of Jesus Christ, called to be apostles,

Many: we are set apart for the gospel of God.

One: God promised this gospel through his prophets in the holy scriptures.

Many: This gospel concerns God’s Son.

One: He was was descended from David according to the flesh

Many: He was declared the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead.

One: Through Jesus Christ our Lord, we have received grace and apostleship,

Many: and are called to lead all peoples of all nations to believe and obey.

One:  This morning God also calls us to believe and obey.

ALL: Thanks, worship and praise be to God!



O God, you love us and call us to be your own holy people.

Reveal to us our need to share one another’s joys and burdens,

to gather together to encourage one another in faith,

and to always pray for one another with thanksgiving,

so that we may know your grace and your peace.

In the name of God, and of the Son of God, and of the Spirit of God, Amen.



God, we offer you our thanks and praise.

From the beginning of human history,

you have called people to yourself as Creator and Lord,

teaching and leading them in the way of life.

Through the prophets recorded in Scripture,

you promised your Gospel.

Through the lineage of David,

you rooted Christ Jesus in history.

Through his resurrection from the dead,

you identified him as your Son.

Through him we receive

the generous gift of his life

and the joyous task of sharing that life

with one another and with the whole world.


By eating this bread and drinking this cup,

we witness to Jesus’ life, death, resurrection and ascension.

Through Jesus’ body and blood,

assure us that we are your people.

Renew us in our commitment

to inviting others to eat and drink

the joyful feast that you set for all.


United us in our thankfulness for one another.

Empower us to help one another.

Humble us to accept help from one another.

And always point us to yourself

and the Good News of the Gospel

as the source of all that we have,

all that we are, and all that we do.


Through the gracious gift of God

we are enabled to give thanks and pray,

to witness, and to receive.

Thanks be to God, Amen.



PC(USA) Glory to God


1.1-6 (Chapter.verse)

364 I Sing a Song of the Saints of God

410 When I Had Not Yet Learned of Jesus

1.1, 5

377 Lord, You Have Come to the Lakeshore


74.2 (Hymn #.verse) Jesus on the Mountain Peak

75.2+3 O Wondrous Sight, O Vision Fair

327 O Word of God Incarnate

330 Deep in the Shadows of the Past

331 Thanks to God Whose Word Was Written

601.1-3 Song of Zechariah (Benedictus) (Hymns taken most directly from the listed scripture are in bold type)

602 Song of Zechariah (Benedictus)


83 O Love, How Deep, How Broad, How High

148 At the Name of Jesus

299 Amen, Amen

302 I Danced in the Morning

569 Christ Has Died (Memorial Acclamation)

598 This Is the Good News


48 Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming

58.3 While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks

59.3 While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks

69.1 O Morning Star, How Fair and Bright

88.1 All Glory, Laud, and Honor

205 All Hail to God’s Anointed

230.2 This Is the Day the Lord Hath Made


14 Savior of the Nations, Come

106 Alleluia, Alleluia! Give Thanks

107 Celebrate with Joy and Singing

109 Christ Is Risen

112 Christ the Lord Is Risen Again

113 Christ the Lord Is Risen Today!

117 O Sons and Daughters, Let Us Sing!

118 The Day of Resurrection!

120 Hail Thee, Festival Day!

133.2+3 All Glory Be to God on High

137.2 We All Believe in One True God

142 All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name!

143 All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name!

302.5 I Danced in the Morning

308.4 O Sing a Song of Bethlehem

309 Of the Father’s Love Begotten

474.4 O Splendor of God’s Glory Bright


1.2 Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus

133.1 All Glory Be to God on High

202.1+2 Psalm 67

212.5 Within Your Shelter, Loving God

216 O Sing a New Song to the Lord

217 O Sing a New Song

218 New Songs of Celebration Render

219 To God Compose a Song of Joy

300.1 Down to Earth, as a Dove

603.2 Song of Simeon (Nunc Dimittis)

604 Song of Simeon (Nunc Dimittis)

605.2 Song of Simeon (Nunc Dimittis)


144.1 Alleluia! Sing to Jesus!

149.3 The Head That Once Was Crowned

153.1 He Is King of Kings

156.2 You, Living Christ, Our Eyes Behold

220.2 All People That on Earth Do Dwell

255.4 Now Praise the Lord

323 Loving Spirit

353 Great God, Your Love Has Called Us Here

392.4 Take Thou Our Minds, Dear Lord

402.1 Now Praise the Hidden God of Love

442.1+2 The Church’s One Foundation

443.2 O Christ, the Great Foundation

491.1 Stand Up and Bless the Lord

499.1 Wonder of Wonders, Here Revealed

516 Lord, We Have Come at Your Own Invitation

522 Lord, When I Came Into This Life

553.3 For the Fruit of All Creation


435 We All Are One in Mission

438 Blest Be the Tie That Binds

441 I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord

473.5 For the Beauty of the Earth

552 Give Thanks, O Christian People


364 I Sing a Song of the Saints of God


242.2 Come, All You Servants of the Lord

280 Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound

345.4 Dear Lord and Father of Mankind

356 Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing

529.4 Lord of the Living

537 Farewell, Good Friends (Shalom, Chaverim!)

538 Lord, Dismiss Us with Thy Blessing

596 May the Lord, Mighty God


1.2+4 Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus

2 Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus

117.6 O Sons and Daughters, Let Us Sing!

240 Out of the Depths

250.1 When Morning Lights the Eastern Skies

307 Fight the Good Fight

370.3 Just as I Am, Without One Plea

373.3 Lonely the Boat

379 My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less

390.6 O Savior, in This Quiet Place

399 We Walk by Faith and Not by Sight

457.5 I Greet Thee, Who My Sure Redeemer Art

462.3 Christ, Whose Glory Fills the Skies

463.3 Christ, Whose Glory Fills the Skies

471 O Praise the Gracious Power

522.3+4 Lord, When I Came Into This Life


84 In the Cross of Christ I Glory

86 When We Are Tempted to Deny Your Son

100 When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

101 When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

149.4+5 The Head That Once Was Crowned

384.4 O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go


355 Hear the Good News of Salvation

485 To God Be the Glory

569 Christ Has Died (Memorial Acclamation)

598 This Is the Good News


1.2 Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus

2.1 Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus


376.2 Love Divine, All Loves Excelling

412.5 Eternal God, Whose Power Upholds




This full text is not in the RCL.  Romans 1:1-7 is part of the RCL on the 4th Sunday in Advent, so resources related to the RCL are very differently oriented than what we’re likely to be preaching in May between Easter and Pentecost. In addition, the resources available at focus more on the other readings.  See


Romans 1:16-17 is paired with 3:22b-28 (29-31) on Proper 4A and Epiphany 9A.



For resources dealing more broadly with Romans 1, try


Also see Charles Spurgeon’s sermon on Romans 1 (although he takes the opening verse to counsel against any political involvement by Christians/pastors)


CHILDREN’S SERMON: Saving starfish one at a time

What do we bring from the Table?

It’s commonplace to talk about what one person or another “brings to the table” as a reflection of the desire increase the available gifts and skills. However, since at the Lord’s Table, God does most of the bringing and we partake of and participate in what God gives, the question could be turned around to ask: what do we receive and take from the Table?

Historic practices of the Lord’s Supper have attended to the past actions of Christ Jesus in the crucifixion; to the spiritual more than to the physical; to fencing rather than opening: While they have not clearly signified bounty, the loaf is bigger, the cup deeper, and the Table wider, than these practices would imply.

Our past, present and future lie in God. We celebrate what, by the power of the Holy Spirit, God has done, is doing, and will do. The Supper signals not only Jesus’ crucifixion, but his resurrected presence today. Christ Jesus is present, incarnate in and for the world, not imprisoned in the past or in the rite. Thus, from the Table we receive and take the present presence of Christ Jesus.

The Supper forecasts our eternal presence together with Christ Jesus in the joyful feast, the great banquet, the marriage supper of the Lamb. It participates in the “Not Yet” as well as in the “Now.” From the Table, we receive and take part in God’s ongoing work in the world, proclaiming the good news of God’s grace and love.

The meal is not ours. It doesn’t belong to this particular church, this particular community, or this denomination. Since it belongs to Christ Jesus, the lost, the suffering, the different, the “Other,” and sinners (even Judas!) are at the Table. Everyone brings who they are and what they have, and from this God makes a potluck dinner party. And so from the Table we receive and take being preesnt with and for one another.

At this Table, we are offered what is central to life. In Jesus’ time, this was bread. As a Korean friend of mine has suggested, in Asian countries it could be rice. In the USA, it might be meat and potatoes. From the Table we receive and take the “meat” of life: God incarnate shared with all people as made in God’s image.

From the Table we receive and take the sanctification of the physical stuff of life. Going beyond even the best language for worship (as described by the Directory for Worship), what we receive and take is more expressive than rationalistic; a matter of affect rather than just thought; a building up and persuading as well as an informing and describing; ardor as well as order. It is an expressing of the whole community’s utterance, as well as the individual’s devotion. This eucharistic experience of faith is visceral as well as intellectual, active as well as contemplative, embodied as well as inspirited, enacted as well as verbalized. (Like Calvin, we experience it more than we understand it.) And so from the Table we receive and take an experience of faith that encompasses all that we are and have.

The Lord’s Supper is not to be scarfed up by those who get to the Table first so that others have nothing. That’s not how the body of Christ works. The koinonia, the body of Christ, is shared. It includes weak and strong, prominent and lowly, not just as distinct categories, but as the mixture found within each person. And so from this Table of koinonia, we receive and take the body of Christ for all of us.

Like at the meals Jesus shared with the thousands for whom he also “blessed, broke and gave” bread, there is more than enough for all. All eat their fill with basketsful leftover. Maybe the Table should bear a cornucopia. Maybe the cup—whether little individual cups or the large communal cup–should sometimes overflow, brimming over in wild abandon, for from the Table we receive and take plentitude, wild provisioning, Abundanza, God’s uncontainable overflowingness.





This is Christ’s body, broken for you.

Thanks be to God.




Ruminating on Grilled Cheese and Apple Juice: The Lord’s Supper and People with Disabilities


“Blessed is the congregation that invites all worshipers—including those which our culture may label  in different ways as ‘disabled’—to full, conscious and active participation in corporate worship.”              Word Communion of Reformed Churches, “Worshiping the Triune God,” Revised June 2010,

How is that all are included in the body of Christ? While the above worship proverb of the World Communion of Reformed Churches focuses on the participation of those who may be labeled “disabled” in corporate worship, it may be that the more basic question is full, conscious and active participation in the communion of the church in all that such communion means.

This question appeared to be the crucial one behind a discussion that took place in worship class last summer. One student in the class raised the question of the role of communion for her autistic son, whom we will call Ethan. Ethan, who was about ten years old, was not a regular attendee at corporate worship. Instead, the church was providing a special Sunday School class for Ethan and a few others during the worship service.

The whole host of questions with regard to how to decide upon the best arrangement in such situations is beyond the scope of our brief discussion here. In this case, the Sunday School class seemed to be a better placement for the students than attending worship. Ethan’s mom was not questioning this arrangement; instead, she was asking about how Ethan is part of communion.

With regard to Ethan’s literal participation in the sacrament itself, one of the barriers is obviously his absence from worship itself.  When Sunday School occurs during worship, it is not unusual for a congregation to bring the Lord’s Supper to teaching staff. This practice could be expanded to include the provision of the sacrament to the students in the special Sunday School. This communion could follow the model used when providing communion to others who are not present at worship, such as those who are homebound. Thus, rather than simply stopping in the Sunday School room with the elements, a pastor and/or a representative of the congregation could share a brief message appropriate to the audience, along with the words of institution, the elements, and a prayer and/or a song.

This potential solution, however, revealed additional issues.  Ethan’s mom noted that the list of things that Ethan will eat is rather limited. The closest he will come to eating plain bread and drinking grape juice is to partake of grilled cheese and apple juice. Some worship aficionados might compare Ethan’s preferences to the teenage desire to celebrate the sacrament with chips or cookies and soda. However, given his disability, providing elements specific to Ethan’s condition is more akin to providing gluten-free bread.

While grilled cheese and apple juice is, as one participant in the conversation noted, “not the church’s communion,” this response places the emphasis on the wrong syllable. Communion ultimately does not belong to the church, but to Christ Jesus who is the host. The accent note of the question is not about what makes the church’s communion or on the elements themselves, but on the availability of Christ Jesus to Ethan. Thus, the communion offered (or not offered) to Ethan goes beyond the bread and the cup–or even grilled cheese and apple juice, to the question of whether Ethan is a part of the body of Christ.

On the level of Christ Jesus’ open invitation to join with him in communion, Ethan is included. Jesus offers himself to and for Ethan and his Sunday School class. Jesus eat with them, as he did with a wide variety of people during his earthly ministry. While the church is more comfortable if those partaking of communion can verbalize what it is they are receiving, the provision and partaking of food can also be seen as providing its own self-evident meaning. Food offered and partaken signals fellowship, communion, and relationship. It represents an action of sharing, of gift and reception. Persons with disabilities and elderly folks with limited language and/or cognition are able to participate in the meal and hence in its underlying meaning.

On the level of the local church body, Ethan and his Sunday School class are also included. The church’s practices should reflect this, perhaps with a mix of providing the Lord’s Supper to the class during their Sunday School time and exploring ways to include them in the church’s Eucharist in the worship space. Such inclusion could mean offering Ethan or his whole class a bite of grilled cheese and a sip of apple juice as their communion fare. The message that Ethan and his class are part of the communion of God, and are invited to eat with Jesus, should be primary to the meal practices used. This ultimate message of being part of the fellowship of God is of greater importance than the elements used to convey that message.

Conversation with the Sunday School class during its communion meals, whatever the fare, could focus on communion themes. Such themes include the idea that Jesus eats with all of us, a lesson perhaps aided by having a picture or doll of Jesus present for the conversation and meal. Another lesson could focus on the idea that we all eat together, a concept that could be aided by photos or video of Christians communing the world over.  The lesson that, like Jesus, we help feed people, could be taught by helping with a feeding program. The reality that the Lord’s Supper is a thanksgiving meal, a party meal, and a memorial meal could each be enacted through how the meal is laid and celebrated. The fact that the meal marks us as God’s people gives the participants a chance to share other tokens representing the local church’s fellowship.

Since communion is a meal of the church, on occasion the church body should participate in the Sunday School class’s communion and the class should participate in communion during the community’s worship. Communion of the class and the worshiping body should include the chance for the congregation to receive from and with the Sunday School class a growing awareness of the myriad of meanings and expressions of meaning for this embodied experience of Christ Jesus’ living presence—a presence offered to everyone.


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