THE SERVICE FOR THE LORD’S DAY

Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost
September 20, 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
O God who knows our every need before we can even ask, you provide all our needs and some of our wants. You bless us all. Make us truly thankful and empower us to bless others from the gifts you have given us, for the glory of your name. Amen.

Gathering in Christ’s Presence

Welcome and Concerns of the Church
Opening Sentences
O give thanks to the Lord! The Lord hears the cries of the people. 
Give thanks to the Lord.
The works of the Lord are great. Remember what God has done.
Give thanks to the Lord.
God has done miracles, and the Lord always remembers God’s covenant.
Give thanks to the Lord. Glory and praise is due to the Lord!

Moment for Stewardship
Hymn — Morning has Broken
Singers: Penny Andrist, Kayla Bones, Pam Burns, Tori Hughes, Jack Lawrence, and Erynn Millard.  Accompanist: Sally Harmon
1 Morning has broken like the first morning;
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird.
Praise for the singing! Praise for the morning! 
Praise for them, springing fresh from the Word!
 
2 Sweet the rain’s new fall sunlit from heaven,
Like the first dewfall on the first grass.
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where God’s feet pass. 
 
3 Mine is the sunlight! Mine is the morning,
Born of the one light Eden saw play! 
Praise with elation; praise every morning,
God’s recreation of the new day!
Call to Confession
Trusting in God’s mercy, let us confess our sins against God and our neighbors.

Prayer of Confession
Gracious God, we have sought after things, but we have not sought after you. We have expected generosity, but we have not shown generosity. We have not been gracious or grateful. We have failed to remember all that you have done. Forgive us and fill our hearts with gratitude. Help us to share our gifts and strengthen our legs so that we can run after you, O God. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.


Assurance of God’s Forgiveness

Hearing God’s Word

Children's Message
Prayer for Illumination
Lesson Philippians 1:21-30
For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which I prefer. I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better; but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. Since I am convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in faith, so that I may share abundantly in your boasting in Christ Jesus when I come to you again. Only, live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent and hear about you, I will know that you are standing firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind for the faith of the gospel, and are in no way intimidated by your opponents. For them this is evidence of their destruction, but of your salvation. And this is God’s doing. For he has graciously granted you the privilege not only of believing in Christ, but of suffering for him as well— since you are having the same struggle that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.

Lesson Matthew 20:1-16
‘For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the market-place; and he said to them, “You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.” So they went. When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, “Why are you standing here idle all day?” They said to him, “Because no one has hired us.” He said to them, “You also go into the vineyard.” When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, “Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.” When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage. Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, saying, “These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.” But he replied to one of them, “Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?” So the last will be first, and the first will be last.’


Sermon                  God's Generous Gift
Hymn — There's a Wideness in God's Mercy
1 There's a wideness in God's mercy,
like the wideness of the sea.
There's a kindness in God's justice,
which is more than liberty.
There is no place where earth's sorrows
are more felt than up in heaven.
There is no place where earth's failings
have such kindly judgment given.
 
2 For the love of God is broader
than the measures of the mind.
And the heart of the Eternal
is most wonderfully kind.
If our love were but more faithful,
we would gladly trust God's Word,
and our lives reflect thanksgiving
for the goodness of our Lord.

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, whom Jesus called Abba, Father. In sovereign love God created the world good and makes everyone equally in God’s image, male and female, of every race and people, to live as one community. But we rebel against God; we hide from our Creator. Ignoring God’s commandments. We violate the image of God in others and ourselves, accept lies as truth, exploit neighbor and nature, and threaten death to the planet entrusted to our care. We deserve God’s condemnation. Yet God acts with justice and mercy to redeem creation. In everlasting love, the God of Abraham and Sarah chose a covenant people to bless all families of the earth. Hearing their cry, God delivered the children of Israel from the house of bondage. Loving us still, God makes us heirs with Christ of the covenant. Like a mother who will not forsake her nursing child, like a father who runs to welcome the prodigal home, God is faithful still.

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 — Brethren, We Have Met to Worship
1 Brethren, we have met to worship
and adore the Lord our God.
Will you pray with all your power
while we try to preach the word?
All is vain unless the Spirit 
of the holy One comes down. 
Brethren, pray, and holy manna
will be showered all around.
 
2 Sisters, will you come and help us?
Moses’ sister aided him.
Will you help the trembling mourners
who are struggling hard with sin?
Tell them all about the Savior.
Tell them that he will be found.
Sisters, pray, and holy manna 
will be showered all around.
 
3 Is there here a trembling jailer, 
seeking grace and filled with fears?
Is there here a weeping Mary
pouring forth a flood of tears?
Brethren, join your cries to help them;
sisters, let your prayers abound!
Pray, O pray, that holy manna 
will be scattered all around.
 
4 Let us love our God supremely; 
let us love each other, too.
Let us love and pray for sinners
till our God makes all things new.
Christ will call us home to heaven;
at his table we’ll sit down.
Christ will gird himself and serve us
with sweet manna all around.

Charge and Benediction
POSTLUDE