October 16, 2016

I’m a little disappointed.  I seem to have lost all my pages that I had saved for this date!  Ugh.  I need to get better about making notes while I research.  Here’s what still exists.

St. Luke’s United Church
October 16th, 2016

Hymn Will Your Anchor Hold VU 675

Words of Welcome and Announcements

Lighting the Christ Candle & Centering

Hymn You are My Vision Rend Collective
Call to Worship:
One: The ocean reminds us of God’s presence.
All: The ocean calls us to come.
One: The ocean’s waves remind us that no two moments are ever the same.
All: The ocean calls us to celebrate Love in every moment.
One: The ocean’s rhythmic roar, reminds us that we can find comfort even with the ocean’s wildness.
All: The ocean calls us to worship.

Opening Prayer
God, whose presence surrounds us like an ocean, we pray for your wisdom and comfort this day. Amen.


Readings: Genesis 32:3-31

The Struggle is Real
On facebook and twitter, there is something called a hashtag. Simply put, it’s a way to quickly search for people who are talking about similar experiences or coming to particular understandings. Sometimes particular hashtags catch on becoming names of grassroots movements such as #blacklivesmatter, #firstworldproblems, #Iamthe99percent, even #messyhairdontcare for the free spirited moms and dads out there. #thestruggleisreal is one of these phrases that stick. It’s used sarcastically, it’s used to indicate a dilemma or major decision, no win situations and the best ones are stuff you never thought you’d have to deal with!
If twitter had been a thing during Jacob’s time, I’m sure it would have appeared repeatedly in his feed:
Playing tag invitro and your brother decides to be born #thestruggleisreal
Not looking anything like your twin #twinsies #thestruggleisreal
Esau gets everything! #thestruggleisreal
To obey my mom and cheat my brother, or work myself to an early grave #thestruggleisreal
To run or to face my brother’s anger. #redhairsterotype #thestruggleisreal
Dreamers can climb the corporate ladder too. #thestruggleisreal
To marry the love of your life only to wake up and find out you actually married her sister. #thestruggleisreal
Working 21 years for a cheating boss. #thestruggleisreal
Highschool reunion time. #thestruggleisreal
Asking forgiveness for childhood transgressions by giving your brother gifts. #gracegiftexchange #thestruggleisreal
Wrestling the unknown in the dark. #thestruggleisreal
Wrestling the unknown in the dark. Wrestling something we don’t know or can’t immediately recognize is never easy, nor is it comfortable. While this image can be scary or triggering and might seem a little over the top, wrestling with God feels over the top.
Have you ever wrestled with God? Have you ever had your understanding of God challenged by an experience of grace when you least expected it – a Jacob sort of moment? How do you know you are in God’s presence when you can’t see anything around you to indicate God’s presence?
Jacob came out of his fight a changed man. He was physically different. He was emotionally different. He was wiser. He even had a new name. Wrestling with God isn’t easy, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not worth the pain. Struggle is a part of life. It’s what makes us stronger and wiser. But sometimes struggle is needless. Sometimes we need to take a step back and attempt to bring the opponent into perspective. Occasionally we need to realize, maybe even mid-struggle, that what we thought was an enemy really isn’t. What are you struggling with? Is God present? How do you know? Have you or will you change for the better because of the struggle?

Hymn When We Are Tested MV 65
Congregational Meeting
Hymn Spirit God, Be Our Breath MV 150
Minute for Mission

Offering Invitation
Dreams can come true if we all work together. The dream of St. Luke’s to Welcome, Discern and Do is possible because of you. Amen.

Offertory Ev’ry Day Is a Day of Thanksgiving MV 185

Offering Prayer
May these gifts and those given through PAR, become small steps in the larger dream of St. Luke’s. Amen.
Prayer Music Gather Us In MV 7
Prayers of the People, ending with ‘A Translation’ VU 916
During the Prayer of Jesus, you are invited to use the translation and language of your choice. A variety of translations and expressions of the Prayer of Jesus (also known as The Lord’s Prayer) can be found in Voices United pages 916-927.

Commissioning and Benediction

Musical Blessing My Lighthouse (Rend Collective) featuring David Murray