Forgive Us

Forgive Us

Westport Presbyterian Church
In-Person and Livestream Worship Service
September 19, 2021

PRELUDE:   Come, Holy Traveler (CANDLER)   Patricia Lou Harris
CALL TO RETURN TO OUR SOULS (a call to worship):

Pastor:  What brings you joy?
People: What slows you down?
Pastor:  What gives you hope?
People: What makes you think?
Pastor:  What invites you to wonder?
People: What makes you change?
Pastor:  What voice speaks truth you can’t find words to speak or sing to yourself?
People: Might it have something to do with the Holy?
Pastor:  Let’s open our eyes
People: Look for a time through the God window.

HYMN:  What Is This Place  GTG404
CALL TO CONFESSION AND COMMITMENT:

Pastor:  In the stillness of the quiet, if we listen, we can hear the whisper of the heart giving strength to weakness,
People: Courage to fear, hope to despair.
Pastor:  There is something in every one of us that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in ourselves
People: It is the only true guide we will ever have.
Pastor:  And if we cannot hear it, then all of our life we will spend our days on the ends of strings that somebody else pulls.
People: Listen to the long stillness: New life is stirring. New dreams are on the wing. New hopes are being readied.
Pastor:  God is at work.
People: This is the season of Promise.
ALL:     Amen.
–Howard Thurman

SUNG RESPONSE:  Halle, Halle, Hallelujah (SING TWICE, refrain only)  GTG591
SCRIPTURE READINGS:
     Matthew 6:12, 14-15, Matthew 18:21-22     Matthew  9:1-8
SUNG RESPONSE TO SCRIPTURE:   Lord, Listen to Your Children Praying (SING TWICE)  GTG469
MESSAGE:   Forgive Us                                   Rev. Eric Garbison
SUNG RESPONSE:        I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say  GTG182
WELCOME                 Bobbie Testa
CHORAL ANTHEM:  Be Thou My Vision (SLANE)       setting by Richard Shepard
Pastoral Prayer & Lord’s Prayer
Sung Response:   Come, Bring Your Burdens to God  GTG851
OFFERTORY SOLO:   Serenity Prayer         music by Jerrell R. Gray     Neal Long, tenor    text by Reinhold Niebuhr
UNISON PRAYER OF DEDICATION:
(Do not read the words in parentheses, they are there simply to identify the source of the quotes)

May we know the honor of being a human being. (Jake Swamp, Haudenosaunee/Iroquois) May we share the honor of being a human being. Let us unite a frightened world by acts of kindness. Hate has no home here. (a 9 year old Muslim child wrote these words on a sign for a protest at Chicago’s airport when the January 27, 2017 travel ban from Muslim countries was announced)  Let hate have no home where you are. Love your enemies. (Jesus) Replace apathy with curiosity, violence with community. (Fred Culver) May our capacity for God be reborn. Always remember — What you give, you have. (Roman soldier)
Amen.

CLOSING HYMN:   You Shall Go Out with Joy   GTG80
BENEDICTION           Rev. Eric Garbison
SUNG BENEDICTION RESPONSE:   Lead Me, Guide Me (refrain, SING TWICE)  GTG740
POSTLUDE:   How Firm a Foundation             Mark Patterson

ANNOUNCEMENTS:
Rev. Scott is off duty for two weeks. He will return Wed. Sept. 29.
Rev. Eric Garbison is leading worship today and next Sun. Sept. 26.
Rev Eric is also available for hospital visits, pastoral calling.

Look ahead to Sunday, Oct. 3 worship service for another Dialogue Sermon between Micah Rose Emerson and Rev Scott. They will be going deeper into the subject of “What is Racism? What is Anti-Racism?” Micah is the anti-racist organizer and educator for the Presbyterian Urban and Immigrant of Heartland Presbytery.

See bulletin insert for two important educational events coming up:
Wed, Oct 6: Immigration 101, a 90 minute (6-7:30 pm) Zoom seminar led by Advocates for Immigration Reform and Reconciliation.
Wednesdays, Oct 13, 20, 27 and Nov. 3. Course led by Rev. Eric Garbison on becoming a committed Matthew 25 congregation. 75 minute in person classes in the Fellowship Room.

NOTE about the offertory solo:
Serenity Prayer         music by Jerrell R. Gray;  text by Reinhold Niebuhr
This piece is the 1st Place Winner of the 2020 George Shirley Composers Competition.
Note from the composer: This prayer of petition is humble, personal and universal. I was inspired to write this piece after my dear mother died. As I was healing from the passing of my grandmother, my mother had a major stroke two weeks before my college graduation. I stopped everything to be with my mother in ICU. She fought for a month and a half on a ventilator and outlived the doctor’s predictions! After watching my mother leave this world on Jan. 8, 2019, I found myself uttering the very words of this prayer, hoping for an ounce of peace to fill my mind and heart. After a period of reciting this daily, I began to hear music. After confirmation from the Holy Spirit, I penned my heart’s song into the lines and spaces of every measure. This piece is polytonal and polymodal. It is incumbent upon the performer to personalize the text. I encourage the performer to reflect on the trials and tribulations they have faced, are facing, and will face. Consider the agony and uncertainty of life during this COVID-19 Epidemic. Let all of those emotions help tell your story, thus bringing the music and your performance to life. Ultimately, this prayer is talking to God, so place yourself at His feet. It is my hope that this piece will become a year-round addition to your performance literature.

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