THE SERVICE FOR THE LORD’S DAY

Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost
August 16, 2020

First Presbyterian Church, Fargo
The Session and members of First Presbyterian Church, extend a sincere welcome to you! We welcome all persons regardless of race, nationality, disability, gender, or sexual orientation. This includes an open invitation to membership, the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, marriage, funerals, memorial services, and to serve as an officer of the church.

Prelude and Preparation for Worship

Prayer of the Day
Lord Jesus, Son of God, your blessings know no boundaries that faith cannot cross. Strengthen us to trust in your mercy, reach out for your healing, and receive your reconciliation. Amen.

Gathering in Christ’s Presence

Welcome and Concerns of the Church
Opening Sentences
God has forgiven us and drawn us close, reconciling us through Jesus Christ, who has lavished upon us the fullness of the blessed Holy Spirit.
With glad and grateful hearts, praise the Lord!
Hymn — Jesus Shall Reign Where'er the Sun
Singers: Penny Andrist, Pam Burns, Jack Lawrence, Paul Lang, and Erynn Millard.  Accompanist: Sally Harmon
1 Jesus shall reign where'er the sun
does its successive journeys run;
his kingdom stretch from shore to shore,
till moons shall wax and wane no more.

2 To him shall endless prayer be made,
and praises throng to crown his head;
his name, like sweet perfume, shall rise
with every morning sacrifice.

3 People and realms of every tongue
dwell on his love with sweetest song,
and infant voices shall proclaim
their early blessings on his name.

4 Blessings abound where'er he reigns:
the prisoners leap to loose their chains;
the weary find eternal rest,
and all who suffer want are blest.

5 Let every creature rise and bring
honors peculiar to our King;
angels descend with songs again,
and earth repeat the loud Amen!
Call to Confession
Let us confess our sins without fear to the One who yearns to embrace us, forgive us, protect us, and bless us.

Prayer of Confession
Have mercy on us, Lord Jesus; we are tormented! Our lives have been disrupted by the devil and by our own devilish desires and evil exploits. We are dismayed at your presence, anguished by the awful fallout of our own failures. We cannot take back what we have said or undo what we have done or atone for the agony we have caused. We are haunted by the past, plagued by the present, and fearful of the future. We shrink away from your gaze as strangers outside your circle of blessing. Yet the faith you have planted in us reaches out for your favor, returns to your presence, and hungers for your mercy, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Assurance of God’s Forgiveness

Hearing God’s Word

Children's Message
Prayer for Illumination
Lesson Acts 6:1-6
Now during those days, when the disciples were increasing in number, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of food. And the twelve called together the whole community of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should neglect the word of God in order to wait on tables. Therefore, friends, select from among yourselves seven men of good standing, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this task,  while we, for our part, will devote ourselves to prayer and to serving the word.” What they said pleased the whole community, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, together with Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. They had these men stand before the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.


Lesson John 15:1 -17
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

Sermon                   Friends
Hymn — Where Cross the Crowded Ways of Life
1 Where cross the crowded ways of life,
where sound the cries of race and clan,
above the noise of selfish strife,
we hear your voice, O Son of Man.

2 In haunts of wretchedness and need,
on shadowed thresholds fraught with fears,
from paths where hide the lures of greed,
we catch the vision of your tears.

3 From tender childhood's helplessness,
from human grief and burdened toil,
from famished souls, from sorrow's stress,
your heart has never known recoil.

4 The cup of water given for you
still holds the freshness of your grace;
yet long these multitudes to view
the sweet compassion of your face.

Responding to God’s Word

Statement of Faith                                       The Apostle's Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.


Prayers of the People, ending with 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 debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, 
but deliver us from evil.  For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.  Amen.

Call for the Offering, ending with the Prayer of Dedication

Bearing the Word into the World

Hymn — Amazing Grace
1 Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,  
That saved a wretch like me!  
I once was lost, but now am found,  
Was blind, but now I see.

2 ‘Twas grace that taught my hear to fear,  
And grace my fears relieved.  
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!  

3 Through many dangers, toils, and snares,  
I have already come.  
‘Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,  
And grace will lead me home.  

4 The Lord has promised good to me;  
His word my hop secures.  
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.

5 When we’ve been there ten thousand years,  
Bring shining as the sun,  
We've no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.

Charge and Benediction
POSTLUDE