THE SERVICE FOR THE LORD’S DAY

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost
July 12, 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
Author of Life, Living Word, Holy Breath, we have stumbled through the week and groped our way back to this place. Illumine the steps before us and write your word on our hearts, for we carry the name of Jesus and would walk in the light of his love. Amen.

Gathering in Christ’s Presence

Welcome and Concerns of the Church
Opening Sentences
Your word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path.  
Your word is our heritage forever, the joy of our hearts.  
Let us worship God!
Hymn — Let the Whole Creation Cry
Singers: Penny Andrist, Pam Burns, Tori Hughes, Paul Lang, and Erynn Millard.  Accompanist: Sally Harmon
1 Let the whole creation cry,
"Glory to the Lord on high."
Heaven and earth, awake and sing,
"Praise to our almighty King."
Praise God, angel hosts above,
ever bright and fair in love;
sun and moon, uplift your voice;
night and stars, in God rejoice!

2 Men and women, young and old,
raise the anthem loud and bold;
join with children's songs of praise;
worship God through length of days.
From the north to southern pole
let the mighty chorus roll:
"Holy, holy, holy One,
glory be to God alone!"
Call to Confession
The Scriptures are shot through with stories of people just like us:
Men who grieved, women who questioned, siblings who did not get along, parents who chose favorites.  
God’s word of grace is meant for people just like us.  
There is no need for pretense in this place.  
Let us go to God in prayer.  

Prayer of Confession
Merciful God, you pardon all who truly repent and turn to you.  We humbly confess our sins and ask your mercy. We have not loved you with a pure heart, nor have we loved our neighbors as ourselves. We have not done justice, loved kindness, or walked humbly with you, our God. Have mercy on us, O God, in your loving-kindness. In your great compassion, cleanse us from our sin. Do not cast us away from your presence, or take your Holy Spirit from us. Restore to us the joy of your salvation and sustain us with your bountiful Spirit.  Amen.

Assurance of God’s Forgiveness

Hearing God’s Word

Children’s Message
Prayer for Illumination
Lesson Ephesians 2:1 -9
 You were dead through the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient.  3 All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else.  4 But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us 5 even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—  6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,  7 so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God—  9 not the result of works, so that no one may boast.  10 For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.
 
Lesson Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23  
That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the lake. Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: ‘Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!’
‘Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.’

Sermon                   By Grace Sown — Fruitful As Our Way Of Life
Hymn — In the Bulb, There is a Flower
1 In the bulb there is a flower;
in the seed, an apple tree;
in cocoons, a hidden promise:
butterflies will soon be free!
In the cold and snow of winter
there’s a spring that waits to be,
unrevealed until its season,
something God alone can see.

2 There’s a song in every silence,
seeking word and melody;
there’s a dawn in every darkness,
bringing hope to you and me.
From the past will come the future;
what it holds, a mystery,
unrevealed until its season,
something God alone can see.

3 In our end is our beginning;  
in our time, infinity;
in our doubt there is believing;
in our life, eternity.
In our death, a resurrection;
at the last, a victory,
unrevealed until its season,
something God alone can see.

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 — Today, We are Called to be Disciples
1 Today we all are called to be disciples of the Lord,  
To help to set the captive free, make plowshare out of sword,  
To feed the hungry, quench their thirst, make love and peace our fast,  
To serve the poor and homeless first, our ease and comfort last.  
 
2 God made the world and at its birth ordained our human race
To live as stewards of the earth, responding to God’s grace.
But we are vain and sadly proud; we sow not peace but strife.  
Our discord spreads a deadly cloud that threatens all of life.  
 
3 Pray justice may come rolling down as in a mighty stream,  
With righteousness in field and town to cleanse us and redeem.  
For God is longing to restore an earth where conflicts cease,  
A world that was created for a harmony of peace.  
 
4 May we in service to our God act out the living word,  
And walk the road the saints have trod till all have seen and heard.
As stewards of the earth may we give thanks in one accord  
To God who calls us all to be disciples of the Lord.

Charge and Benediction
POSTLUDE