Prelude - “Are you Weary, Are you Heavy-hearted?" [by E. S. Lorenz] - Sarah Park
We are a community seeking to have open minds, open hearts, and open arms, building community in a fragmented world. Welcome to the Mantua Center Christian Church!
Opening Scripture - Proverbs 16:1-3
The plans of the mind belong to mortals, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.
2 All one’s ways may be pure in one’s own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit.
3 Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.
*Response - Weave
Weave, weave, weave us together, Weave us together, in unity and love.
Weave, weave, weave us together, weave us together, together in love.
*Call to Worship- Linda Idoine
ONE: We are the church that lives into God’s future today. A church united across space and time.
ALL: A church of many races, languages and ethnicities.
ONE: A church that lives by the work of God in Christ that was, is now, and is still to come.
ALL: The one who is seated on the throne says to us: “See, I am making all things new!”
ONE: A new heaven and a new earth, where the home of God is among God’s people.
ALL: God’s future is epic, and it’s good news. Remember God’s future, for this is our story!
~Mennonite Church of Canada
*Opening Hymn - “For All the Saints” #637, v. 1-2
1 For all the saints, who from their labors rest,
Who thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy name, O Jesus, be forever blest.
2 Thou wast their rock, their fortress, and their might:
Their strength and solace in the well-fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, the one true light.
Invitation to Generosity
Invitation - Linda Idoine
Music: “All the Way My Saviour Leads Me ” [by R. Lowry]
The Doxology #46
Praise God from whom all blessings flow; praise God, all creatures here below;
praise God above, ye heavenly host: Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.
Offering Prayer - Linda Idoine
Children’s Moment - Rev. Chad Delaney
Pastoral Prayer - Rev. Chad Delaney
O God of generosity, in the changing seasons we are so mindful of the ways you fill the world with signs of your love and purpose. On this all Saints Sunday, we give you thanks for the gift of the Saints of your church--past, present, and future. You have gifted us with wonderful people of faith as examples and harbingers of your love and grace. You have given us loved ones who have shown us what it means to love you and love our neighbor in simple ways, in creative ways, in extravagant ways. People who have helped form and shape our lives. We thank you Lord for this cloud of witnesses.
Generous God, be with our conversation after worship today as we begin discernment on what you would have us do moving forward as a church. Give us the courage, give us wisdom, give us strength as we seek to be good stewards and honor the past, present, and future of your church here at Mantua Center.
Be with our hurts and concerns on this day. Be with our nation in this time of political divide, help us listen to one another. Be with us as we vote. Give us courage and wisdom as we help shape our democracy and country. Be with those who are in need of healing. Guide us, Lord, to be the people you call us to be.
Hear aloud the names of those on our hearts and minds on this day….
All Saints Tribute Video
Today we are recognizing All Saints Day through a Video Tribute. We honor those who are in the slides AND we honor those whom we are thinking of this day.
Jan Richardson wrote this blessing and invites us to think: Who lingers close to you? She writes:
These who live in the spaces between our breathing
in the corner of our vision, in the hollows of our bones
in the chambers of our heart: nowhere can they be touched yet still
how they move us, how they move in us, made from the tissue of memory
like the veil between the worlds that stirs at the merest breath
As the memory of passed loved ones stirs within us today, Christ comes to us in those spaces. He walks with us, weeps with us, comforts us. On All Saints Day we recall those blessed ones who have gone before us. We say thank you for how they touched our lives. Remembering they are with us still and remind us of who we are. And as we watch the video, mourn, and remember...Christ comes to give us comfort and peace.
One: Living God, we give you thanks for calling forth these blessed ones. Keep them forever in your arms. May they stay forever in our hearts. Because of their living, teach us to live faithfully. Amen.
Meditation - Beth Schabel
Communion Hymn - “One Bread, One Body” #393, v.1-2
[REFRAIN] One bread, one body, one Lord of all, one cup of blessing which we bless.
And we, though many, throughout the earth, we are one body in this one Lord.
Gentile or Jew, servant or free, woman or man no more. [REFRAIN]
Many the gifts, many the works, one in the Lord of all. [REFRAIN]
Prayer & Lord’s Prayer - Beth Schabel
Words of Institution - Rev. Chad Delaney
Music: “What Can Wash Away My Sin ” [by R. Lowry]
Scripture - John 1:1-5, 14
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
14 And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.
Sermon - Words to Flesh - Rev. Chad Delaney
Waaay back in 2019 we gathered as a church family to discuss our past, present, and future as a congregation. We wanted to welcome all to the Table and set the table for 2020.
We asked several questions:
- Where’s the energy of our church? Outreach, Relationships, Living out our Mission of Open…
- What are the concerns of our church? Integrating new folks, care of our members, leader burnout, and a more intentional hospitality
- What are the Hopes of our church? Care Team, More Justice ministry, Open & Affirming Ministry, dynamic worship experiences, opportunities to serve.
Out of the experience we gleaned FOUR priorities which are hanging about in the Sanctuary today:
In our discussions, people stepped up to be leaders and to help bring these priorities to life. We had action steps articulated and people ready to get moving. And then, after COVID hit, we shifted, adjusted, and transformed our life together in new ways. Much has changed. Also…“We” are different. Some of us have departed. Some of us have slowed down. Some of us have re-energized. Some of us are new and active. Some of us are new and curious.
So today, we bring forth these priorities again…
Recognizing that how we hear them now may be different. What we envision may be different. What will ultimately be important is putting flesh to these words.
Here is some wisdom from Anthony De Mello:
SEEDS FROM HEROD’S PALACE A handful of seeds, two thousand years old, were found in the excavations of Herod’s palace at Masada. Someone recently planted the seeds and, to everyone’s amazement, they came to life.
The master’s words are like seeds of life and energy. They can remain in the form of seeds for centuries until they are sown in the fertile soil of a receptive heart.
Many, many churches and organizations and businesses have lots of phrases and mottos and slogans. Many have fancy missions and visions and strategic planning. Words meant to inspire, provoke, and MOVE people in ways to think beyond themselves into something more. Words put together on a page that SOUND fantastic. Open Minds, Open Hearts, Open Arms…Yet, we all know that none of it really matters unless it comes to life and brings life. The words are just words until they catch the imagination and creativity of God’s people.
As we consider our priority words today, let’s remember God’s Word is with us as foundation for everything we do. We want to build our house on ROCK, not sand. Our scripture today from the Gospel of John declares Jesus the Word of God. The living, breathing, active manifestation of God in flesh and blood walking around in the world. In Jesus Life, we see the most important words -- Healing. Welcome. Generosity. Justice. Sacrifice. Wisdom. Grace. Love. And the reason these words are so powerful is --with Jesus -- they weren’t JUST words.
On this All-Saints Sunday, we remember and celebrate how the saints of the past have brought us to where we are today and how the Saints of the present (yes…all of us) can lead us into the future. We might be tempted to look around us and wonder “Who will be the ones to live the sacred words of our faith? To help them spring to life? It will be great joy to watch this happen.” As the great poet June Jordan said, “we are the ones we have been waiting for.” May we all look into our own hearts…is there fertile ground ready to receive Christ’s wonderful words of life? To nurture and grow them? To not just observe them in others but the seeds of life and love to become alive in us.
My friends…please join us today to share in this time of re-centering. We always have Christ’s words to Center our life on for he is our foundation, the corner stone. These priority words bubbled to the surface of who we believe God is calling us to be…what do they say to you now? We would love your help, wisdom, presence as we find a re-centering of who we are and who God is calling us to be. How do the words for today tickle your imagination? Inspire you to action? What does God place in your minds eye? What calling is there for each of us? And may all the good Words of our Faith become flesh and live among us…May it be so.
*Closing Hymn - Wonderful Words of Life #323, v. 1-3
1 Sing them over again to me, wonderful words of life; let me more of their beauty see,
wonderful words of life. Words of life and beauty, teach me faith and duty:
Beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life. (2x)
2 Christ, the blessed one, gives to all wonderful words of life; sinner, list to the loving call,
wonderful words of life. All so freely given, wooing us to heaven: [Refrain]
3 Sweetly echo the gospel call, wonderful words of life; offer pardon and peace to all,
wonderful words of life. Jesus, only Savior, sanctify forever. [Refrain]
Benediction - Rev. Chad Delaney
- Youth come with Pastor Chad after the Service for Youth Sunday
- Right after the Postlude, Rick and Jon will join us
- Remember to VOTE this week and hope to see you at Life Sunday on Wed
Postlude - “Living for Jesus, oh, What Peace!” [by C. F. Weigele] - Sarah Park