THE SERVICE FOR THE LORD’S DAY

Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost
August 30, 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
God of mystery and might, whose wonderful works are to be remembered, move in our lives, change our minds, soften our hearts, direct our feet, that we may follow you more faithfully. Yes, Lord, we seek to follow Jesus, in whose name we pray. Amen.

Gathering in Christ’s Presence

Welcome and Concerns of the Church
Opening Sentences
The God of our ancestors calls us to worship.
Praise the Lord!
Let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Let us worship God!
Hymn — Holy, Holy, Holy!
Singers: Penny Andrist, Pam Burns, Jack Lawrence, Paul Lang, and Erynn Millard.  Accompanist: Sally Harmon
1 Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee.
Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and Mighty!  
God in three persons, blessed Trinity!
 
2 Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before thee,
Who wert, and art, and evermore shalt be.
 
3 Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide thee,
Though the eye of sinfulness thy glory may not see,
Only thou art holy; there is none beside thee,
Perfect in power, in love and purity.
 
4 Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!  
All thy works shall praise thy name, in earth and sky and sea.
Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty!  
God in three persons, blessed Trinity!
Call to Confession
Jesus Christ overcame evil with good so that all people might be saved from sin. Let us then confess our need for grace, confident of God’s forgiveness.

Prayer of Confession
God of mercy, we confess that, like the disciples, we set our minds not on divine things but on human things. Doubting your loving care, we grab for more than we need. Doubting your loving purposes, we shrink from living as your followers. Doubting your loving plan, we become stumbling blocks in your creation. Forgive us that we may gain new life in you, for it is in Jesus’ forgiving name we pray. Amen.


Assurance of God’s Forgiveness

Hearing God’s Word

Children's Message
Prayer for Illumination
Lesson Romans 12:9-21
Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ No, ‘if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
 
Lesson 
Exodus 3:1-15
Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. Then Moses said, ‘I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.’ When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, ‘Moses, Moses!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ Then he said, ‘Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.’ He said further, ‘I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
Then the Lord said, ‘I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.’ But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?’ He said, ‘I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.’
But Moses said to God, ‘If I come to the Israelites and say to them, “The God of your ancestors has sent me to you”, and they ask me, “What is his name?” what shall I say to them?’ God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am.’ He said further, ‘Thus you shall say to the Israelites, “I am has sent me to you.”  God also said to Moses, ‘Thus you shall say to the Israelites, “The Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you”: This is my name for ever, and this my title for all generations.

Sermon                  What do you say to a burning bush?
Hymn — Deep in the Shadows of the Past
1 Deep in the shadows of the past,
far out from settled lands,
some nomads traveled with their God
across the desert sands.
The dawning hope of humankind
by them was sensed and shown:
a promise calling them ahead,
a future yet unknown.

2 While others bowed to changeless gods,
they met a mystery,
invisible, without a name:
"I AM WHAT I WILL BE";
and by their tents, around their fires
in story, song, and law,
they praised, remembered, handed on
a past that promised more.

3 From Exodus to Pentecost
the promise changed and grew,
while some, remembering the past,
recorded what they knew,
or with their letters and laments,
their prophecy and praise,
recovered, kindled, and expressed
new hope for changing days.

4 For all the writings that survived,
for leaders, long ago,
who sifted, copied, and preserved
the Bible that we know,
give thanks, and find its story yet
our promise, strength, and call,
the model of emerging faith,
alive with hope for all.

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 — God of the Ages
1 God of the ages, whose almighty hand
leads forth in beauty all the starry band  
of shining worlds in splendor through the skies,
our grateful songs before thy throne arise.

2 Thy love divine hath led us in the past.
In this free land by thee our lot is cast.
Be thou our ruler, guardian, guide, and stay:
thy word our law, thy paths our chosen way.

3 From war's alarms, from deadly pestilence,
be thy strong arm our ever sure defense.
Thy true religion in our hearts increase.
Thy bounteous goodness nourish us in peace.

4 Refresh thy people on their toilsome way.
Lead us from night to never-ending day.
Fill all our lives with love and grace divine,
and glory, laud, and praise be ever thine.

Charge and Benediction
POSTLUDE