REDEEMER UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
July 18, 2021
Eighth Sunday after Pentecost
Invocation: Good morning and welcome!
We gather together in the name of Jesus Christ—members of God’s family,
and brothers and sisters to one another. There are no outsiders here among us,
no one has any special standing or bragging rights.
For we have been brought together by the redeeming love of Jesus.
Let’s join together in worship!
Call to Worship
L: Welcome home, people of God.
P: We have come to find refuge in the shelter of God’s care.
L: There is room for everyone in God’s house.
P: We have come to be nourished by God’s Word.
L: We are precious in God’s sight.
All: We have come to give thanks for God’s faithful love.
Words of Welcome and Parish News
Prayers of the people and a time for Silent Prayer
Prayer Focus: Bridges
The Lord’s Prayer
Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
The New Testament Lesson: Ephesians 2: 13-22
13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.14For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. 15He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, 16and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. 17So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; 18for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, 20built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. 21In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; 22in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.
The Message “The United Front” Rev. Marshall Murphy Jr.
Today in Ephesians, we see the appeal of Paul speaking to two groups about uniting through Christ. But, here right now, we need to focus on uniting humanity for the greater good of the community? We don’t have to set out on some conversion mission in the community. But, the church should be a witness to diversity. Peace and love should be the focus that motivates a shift in our interactions with one another. For example, I am inspired when people get together and bring their various musical talents and backgrounds in music to praise together. Verses 14-17
14For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. 15He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, 16and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it.
Jesus came to remove the barriers and the things that get in the way of being together. It’s hard to conceive that people from different backgrounds would not be willing to praise the same God together. So many traits that we grow accustomed to can keep us apart. However, we should meditate, contemplate, and recognize that God has a place for us together. I think about the theme of “West Side Story.” Here we see humans from two different backgrounds. Society has defined, described, and distinguished the differences through its lens. However, both groups are expressing various feelings. But, inside of these groups, there is a lot of diversity. But, Maria and Tony cross the line of hate into the power of love. Similarly, God’s love should guide us and put out the hostility in the groups.
The writer is speaking to the Gentiles and Jews about this new relationship with God through Christ:
14For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. 15He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace,
We can’t ignore today this peace that Jesus has left with us. This peace should motivate us to tear down any dividing wall that keeps us apart. God’s love is constantly moving in us. Can’t you feel Christ moving us right now through our current society to rise above the things that are trying to separate us? We have more to share in unity through diversity. What do you think God wants us to do in a changing world?
Holy God, you love us so deeply that you pursue us relentlessly. You sent your son Jesus into the world that we who were far off would be brought near to you by his blood. We offer our gifts to you, knowing we can never outgive you, never balance the equation. You don’t desire balance, no quid-pro-quo, only that we find the peace you desire for us, whose foundation is in your word and whose cornerstone is Christ alone. In that holy name, we pray. Amen.
Doxology: UMH 95
*Unison Prayer of Dedication:
Use these gifts, and use our very lives to make this world a home where all are sheltered, nourished and cherished. Amen.
We leave this place no longer strangers, but members of God’s own family,
brothers and sisters through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Together, we are being built into a holy dwelling place
where God lives by the Spirit. So go out with joy and confidence to love and serve the world,
for we do not go alone.
Recessional (Please remain seated to meditate and reflect on the music)