THE SERVICE FOR THE LORD’S DAY

Twenty First Sunday after Pentecost
October 25, 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
Loving God, you not only welcome us, you receive us into yourself. Give us courage to be so open to others,
to let them become so dear to us, that we might share not only your gospel but also our lives, through Christ, who makes room for us all. Amen.

Gathering in Christ’s Presence

Welcome and Concerns of the Church
Opening Sentences
Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout
all generations. 
In you, we come home—
to rest, to wrestle, to love, to be loved.
We dwell in you.

Before the mountains were born, before you delivered
the whole world,
from everlasting past to everlasting future, you are God.
In you, we are home—
we dream, we flourish, we fade, we rejoice.
We dwell in you.

Let us worship God.
Moment for Stewardship
Hymn — O God, Our Help in Ages Past
Singers: Penny Andrist, Kayla Bones, Kaatrin Holmberg, Tori Hughes, Jack Lawrence, Erynn Millard, and Shelley Zietz.  Accompanist: Sally Harmon
1 Our God, our help in ages past,
our hope for years to come,
our shelter from the stormy blast,
and our eternal home.

2 Beneath the shadow of thy throne
thy saints have dwelt secure;
sufficient is thine arm alone,
and our defense is sure.

3 Before the hills in order stood,
or earth received its frame,
from everlasting thou art God,
to endless years the same.

4 A thousand ages in thy sight
are like an evening gone,
short as the watch that ends the night
before the rising sun.
Call to Confession
Our spirits are like new grass: at the dawn they spring up fresh, but by sunset they dry up and wither, blown away in spiritual death. Let us confess our frailty before our merciful God.

Prayer of Confession
Lord, we confess: we do not live as those worthy to be entrusted with the good news of your grace; we relate to others callously as though we do not trust that gospel ourselves; we seek to please and manipulate, using flattery to gain praise and distinction; we use condescension as a mask to cover insecurity or a need for power. Our motives are mixed, impure. Lord, reassure and cleanse us, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Assurance of God’s Forgiveness


Anthem
Text of Anthem
Will you let me be your servant, let me be as Christ to you?
Pray that I may have the grace to let you be my servant too.
 
We are pilgrims on a journey; we’re together on the road. 
We are here to help each other walk the mile and bear the load.
 
I will hold the Christ-light for you in the nighttime of your fear. 
I will hold my hand out to you, speak the peace you long to hear.
 
I will weep when you are weeping; when you laugh, I’ll laugh with you. 
I will share your joy and sorrow till we’ve seen this journey through. 
 
When we sing to God in heaven, we shall find such harmony, 
born of all we’ve known together of Christ’s love and agony.
 
Will you let me be your servant, let me be as Christ to you?
Pray that I may have the grace to let you be my servant too.

Hearing God’s Word

Children's Message
Prayer for Illumination
Lesson 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8
You yourselves know, brothers and sisters, that our coming to you was not in vain, but though we had already suffered and been shamefully maltreated at Philippi, as you know, we had courage in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in spite of great opposition. For our appeal does not spring from deceit or impure motives or trickery, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the message of the gospel, even so we speak, not to please mortals, but to please God who tests our hearts. As you know and as God is our witness, we never came with words of flattery or with a pretext for greed; nor did we seek praise from mortals, whether from you or from others, though we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nurse tenderly caring for her own children. So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us.

Lesson Matthew 22:34-46
When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. ‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’ He said to him, ‘ “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’
Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this question: ‘What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he?’ They said to him, ‘The son of David.’ He said to them, ‘How is it then that David by the Spirit calls him Lord, saying,
“The Lord said to my Lord,
‘Sit at my right hand,
   until I put your enemies under your feet’ ”?
If David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son?’ No one was able to give him an answer, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.

Sermon                  It Takes a lot of Courage and Faith to be Generous during a Pandemic
Hymn — More Love to Thee, O Christ
1 More love to thee, O Christ,
more love to thee!
Hear thou the prayer I make
on bended knee.
This is my earnest plea:
more love, O Christ, to thee;
more love to thee, 
more love to thee!

2 Once earthly joy I craved,
sought peace and rest.
Now thee alone I seek;
give what is best.
This all my prayer shall be:
more love, O Christ, to thee;
more love to thee,
more love to thee!

3 Then shall my latest breath
whisper thy praise;
this be the parting cry
my heart shall raise.
This still its prayer shall be:
more love, O Christ, to thee;
more love to thee,
more love to thee!

Responding to God’s Word

Statement of Faith                                       A Brief Statement of Faith

In life and in death we belong to God. Through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, we trust in the one triune God, the Holy One of Israel, whom alone we worship and serve. 

We trust in God the Holy Spirit, everywhere the giver and renewer of life. The Spirit justifies us by grace through faith, sets us free to accept ourselves and to love God and neighbor, and binds us together with all believers in the one body of Christ, the Church. The same Spirit who inspired the prophets and apostles rules our faith and life in Christ through Scripture, engages us through the Word proclaimed, claims us in the waters of baptism, feeds us with the bread of life and the cup of salvation, and calls women and men to all ministries of the Church. In a broken and fearful world, the Spirit gives us courage to pray without ceasing, to witness among all peoples to Christ as Lord and Savior, to unmask idolatries in Church and culture, to hear the voices of peoples long silenced, and to work with others for justice, freedom, and peace.

In gratitude to God, empowered by the Spirit, we strive to serve Christ in our daily tasks and to live holy and joyful lives, even as we watch for God’s new heaven and new earth, praying, “Come, Lord Jesus!” With believers in every time and place, we rejoice that nothing in life or in death can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. 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 — A Mighty Fortress is Our God
1 A mighty fortress is our God,
a bulwark never failing.
Our helper he, amid the flood
of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe
doth seek to work us woe.
His craft and power are great,
and armed with cruel hate,
on earth is not his equal.

2 Did we in our own strength confide,
our striving would be losing,
were not the right man on our side,
the man of God's own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is he.
Lord Sabaoth his name,
from age to age the same,
and he must win the battle.

3 And though this world, with devils filled,
should threaten to undo us,
we will not fear, for God hath willed
his truth to triumph through us.
The Prince of Darkness grim,
we tremble not for him.
His rage we can endure,
for lo, his doom is sure.
One little word shall fell him.

4 That word above all earthly powers,
no thanks to them, abideth.
The Spirit and the gifts are ours
through him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go,
this mortal life also.
The body they may kill;
God's truth abideth still.
His kingdom is forever.

Charge and Benediction
POSTLUDE