Welcome Rev. Chad Delaney
Welcome to the Mantua Center Christian Church
- We are a community seeking to have open minds, open hearts, and open arms, building community in a fragmented world.
- We want to welcome everyone who is in the house today and everyone online. We are grateful for all the many ways you can join us for worship on this Lord’s Day.
- REMINDER: With the numbers going up in the county and area we are requiring masks for our indoor worship and events.
- Announcements will be on one sheet at the back of the sanctuary. You may have grabbed it as you came in or please grab it on the way out. OR.. visit our website at mantuacentercc.org for updates, events & previous YouTube services.
- In worship today…we consider together how we praise God with our life. How do you lift up God’s Name to give God Glory?
Gathering Music - All Things Bright and Beautiful, Jan Green [arr. by Steven Scott]
- Let’s prepare our hearts and minds for worship with our Opening Scripture Reading...
Opening Scripture - John 1:1-5 NRSV
The Word Became Flesh
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4 in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
*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 - Ruth Anne Ruehr
ONE: As followers of Christ, we are called to bring a hopeful understanding of our world
ALL: Together to declare that God called the created universe "good."
ONE: We are called to bring this hope in God with us wherever we go
ALL: Together to declare that God makes all things new again.
ONE: Jesus taught that we should love God and love one another.
ALL: So let's join together in our love of God to worship and give thanks.
*Opening Hymn - All Things Bright and Beautiful #61
All things bright and beautiful,
all creatures great and small,
all things wise and wonderful:
in love God made them all.
1 Each little flower that opens,
each little bird that sings,
God made their glowing colors,
and made their tiny wings.
Offering of Praise - Ruth Anne Ruehr
Children’s Moment - Ally Bozeka
Pastoral Prayer - Rev. Chad Delaney
- Mindful of the commemoration of the tragic events of Sept 11.
- Prayers for the schools, teachers, and families. Lots of cases at the schools
- I want to offer today a pray by Rev. John Chalmers...but first let’s lift to God our thanksgivings and concerns in silent prayer….
Almighty God known as wisdom before the dawn of creation,
Lord Jesus Christ – perfect love made flesh,
Holy Spirit of God – ever present,
O Hidden Source of Life wrapped up in perfect Trinity,
we meditate upon the great and gracious plan which you have brought to pass, that all of us should look beyond creation to worship you the Creator of all things.
In the beginning, You the uncreated moved across the face of deep
and brought out space and time and then material substance:
The atom and the molecule and the crystalline form: Then the first germ of life and the long upward striving of all things: that swim and creep and fly:
And then the miracle of intelligence and consciousness; The beginning of mystery and the building of the first altar; And then the saying of the first prayer;
O hidden love of God, forgive us for those times when we have taken this mystery for granted and forgive us all the more for the times when we thought that we had unravelled the mystery and thought that we knew it all –the how, the where and the why.
Almighty God, let us not harbour anything in our hearts that might spoil our fellowship with you or with one another; work with us and within us:
Do what you will with us; Make of us what you want of us;
Change us as we need changed; Use us as your will requires –
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Meditation - MaryEllen Hamlin
Communion Hymn - Here at Thy Table, Lord #384
Here at Your table, Lord,
this sacred hour,
O let us feel You near,
in loving power,
calling our thoughts away
from self and sin,
as to Your banquet hall we enter in.
Prayer & Lord’s Prayer - MaryEllen Hamlin
Words of Institution - Rev. Chad Delaney
Scripture Reading - Genesis 1:1-2:4a Selections
1st Day 1 In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, 2 the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. 3 Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.
2nd Day 6 And God said, "Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters."
3rd Day 9 And God said, "Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear." And it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. 11 Then God said, ‘Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.’ And it was so. And God saw that it was good.
4th Day 14 And God said, "Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth." And it was so....And God saw that it was good.
5th Day 20 And God said, "Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky." 21 So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good.
6th Day 26 Then God said, "Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth." 27 So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.31 God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
7th Day 2 And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation. 4 These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created.
Sermon - The Story that Shapes, Rev. Chad Delaney
There’s a story in the ancient world that shaped the worldview of many. The world was a formless void and waters of the deep. From this would come the creation of the universe and everything in it. Everything you can see and everything beyond your sight. So many in the ancient world knew this story so very well. It was called the Enuma Elish.
The Enuma Elish is an ancient Babylonian epic that was celebrated by many as the story of how the universe, the earth, and everything in it was created. In this story there are waters which the two gods, Apsu and Tiamat, would govern. Apsu over the freshwater and the mighty dragon Goddess Tiamat who would govern over the salt waters, the wild oceans. Their convergence of their waters birthed the cosmos, all the gods, the animals, plants, and yes, even the humans.
This creation story is one of conflict and struggle. The gods birthed from this mighty convergence would argue and bitterly fight for dominance over the others. Apsu would grow to hate the humans “for being too noisy” and vowed to kill them all. Tiamat became angry that Apsu would kill her children and she and another god would vanquish Apsu. Eventually though Marduk would come, kill Tiamat by splitting her in two….one part to make the sky, the other the earth. Marduk would reign on high.
This was the story read at festivals and high holidays. This was the story known by many for hundreds of years before the story we know would be shared. This story expressed a vision of the world and a vision of god reflective of the world they lived in.
The world was violent, unforgiving, and filled with conflict. Nation states existed in volatility and Kings and Queens vying for power and dominance. Who’s army’s biggest and weapons better? Who’s gods were stronger than other gods? Would you be on the winning side or the losing side?
And if the world was this way...the gods were also violent, argumentative, capricious, and jealous. Resentful of human beings and gleefully willing to punish them. The gods were to be feared, for they were angry and unpredictable.
What a way to see the world, right? This was the ancient story in many regions. The story we know and love was not a household story at that time.
We may not realize how the stories of our origins can help us to orient ourselves in the world. Help us to see God, our fellow human beings, and the world around us through a certain lens. The stories shape who we are and how we carry ourselves. That’s what they are meant to do.
As we begin another trip through the Bible through the Narrative Lectionary...we begin with one of our origin stories that we take for granted. So very familiar. Let there be light. God created this, God created that. Blah, blah, blah...heard it a thousand times! Yet it is a powerful story...one that can re-shape the way you live, think, and act in the world.
In this world today that honestly is not all that different from the ancient one...the story in Genesis shares a far different vision than the Babylonian epic. Even today we see the world as violent, unforgiving, and filled with conflict. Nations are still at war and world leaders are playing Game of Thrones politically and economically. There are still arms races and religious people behaving badly.
The Creation Story in Genesis though does not describe a god who mirrors that kind of world, but instead who creates it, tends it, loves it, and fills ithe world with good things.
- The Spirit gently hovers over the waters, the chaos of the cosmos and doesn’t add violence and disorder and darkness...but with gentle power creates order and light.
- The waters, earth, and sky were separated not through violence, but simply by God’s word. This one and only God only need speak and it becomes so.
- In this story, God would fill the earth with swarms of living creatures, every plant and field, even human beings would be created in God’s image called to care for this creation as partners….And every step along the way….what did God say? And God said, “It was good.”
So what story shapes our lives? One of inevitable darkness and chaos. Only survival of the fittest and eternal cynicism? With disinterested and hostile powers? Or a story that offers a lens of hope and transformation. One we have known since we were young, but too often forget its impact. The story of a creative and faithful God who shaped and shapes the world. Who speaks the universe into existence. Who calls us to be a part of the movement of the Spirit who hovers over the chaos and never consumed by it. Who brings light and creativity, power and purpose. Who doesn’t despise the world but so loves the world--a place where there will always be extraordinary opportunities for newness of life. A chance to bring light and goodness and mercy. May the God of Abraham and Sarah. Isaac and Rebecca. Jeremiah and Isaiah. Mary and our Lord Jesus Christ. May the God of All the Creation--of all things bright and beautiful, of all things great and small--shape who we are as we share and live the story. May it be so…
Closing Hymn - This is My Father’s World #59, v.1&3
1 This is my Father's world,
and to my listening ears
all nature sings, and round me rings
the music of the spheres.
This is my Father's world:
I rest me in the thought
of rocks and trees, of skies and seas
his hand the wonders wrought.
3 Our God has made this world:
oh, let us ne'er forget
that though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet.
God trusts us with this world,
to keep it clean and fair.
All earth and trees, the skies and seas,
God's creatures everywhere.
Departing Music - Crown Him with Many Crowns, Jan Green [arr by Mark Hayes]