Summary: This sermon goes into further detail on how God loves us and redeems us when we mess up.
The Father’s Table
Sunday, June 26
Band Prelude (Holy Moment); invitation on screen to greet one another
Open The Eyes of My Heart
Prayer from Eph 1: 15 Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere, 16 I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, 17 asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. 18 I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.
19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power 20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. 21 Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. 22 God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. 23 And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.
Sue: Welcome and invitation to worship
service overview: essentially, a little bit of an overview about contemplation and meditation and sanctified imagination, about Sacred Space, silence for communion with God, and a brief overview of how we intend to deliberately shape that this week, incorporating our essential elements of worship around this one idea: using our imaginations under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to bring us into the very Presence of God.
Prayer (from Eph 1) – Sue
Lord, we pray that you will give us spiritual wisdom and insight so that we might grow in our knowledge of You. We pray that our hearts will be flooded with light so that we can understand the confident hope You have given to your people… We also pray that we will understand the incredible greatness of Your power for us who believe. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at Your right hand in the heavenly realms.
Bridge from last week: (Steve)
Last week I spoke about the power of images, and how they shape our experience of life. As it was fathers’ day last week, I concentrated on the idea of God as Father, making the point that our earthly experience of “father” has a big impact on how we relate to God as Father, but that God is entirely different. I ended by sharing one way I imagine God as Father to me, and today we want to shape our worship experience with that same imagery, and then we’ll deepen and expand it as we go.
The Door is open. I could walk by, go on with my day, but why would I want to? Sure there is lots to do, but nothing as important and nothing that can’t wait. I know who is inside, in fact I hear the happy whistling and the sounds of pots and pans, I smell the aroma of fresh baked bread, and I know I am not only welcome and expected but eagerly and delightedly awaited.
I step inside. It is bright and full of life, the very walls seem alive with warmth, and God my Father sees me and His face floods with joy and He throws everything aside to come running and wrap me in His arms. He takes my dirty coat and my heavy bag and throws them back outside the door. He sits me down on a chair by the door and sees the garbage and the feces I had walked in and grabs a basin and a towel and starts to wash me clean, a tear in His eye for the pain I experienced, and caused, by going where I should not have. Why did I do those things? They seemed harmless, even attractive then, but now I see those sins for what they really are, now I see the hurt they caused me, and God my Father. It is so good here, why would I turn my back on this and choose instead to sin? As I feel the love in His hands, it hits me, and I speak: Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. (Luke 15:21).
It’s like I was blind, or lulled into sleep.