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Answer! God Is Speaking!

Answer! God Is Speaking!

Introduction

We know how to go to God with our prayers about our frustrations, our needs … O, Lord, hear my prayer. O, Lord, hear my prayer. When I call, answer me … we sang along to that just last week. We call on God all the time with requests for His help and attention. What happens when He answers? What happens when He asks us to answer Him?

This is the liturgy for the fourth Sunday in UMC Discipleship Ministries’ Rise Up! worship series for the Season After Epiphany.

Note: For best understanding and flow, listen to each video where it is placed in the page before moving on to the next portion of text as placement is based on where the music/audio would take place during a live service.

Praise Hymns

Prayer for Illumination

Spoken Word by Taylor Burton-Edwards

Sometimes you’re just too much for me,
you’re light, too bright,
eyes burn to see your face,
your grace consumes my soul like fire.

Don’t blaze, these days darkness is a friend to me,
shadows shelter,
make a home for me,
God, your gaze is more than I can stand.

So turn away, don’t look at me,
yet draw near in holy mystery,
come Lord, and release me from this strife.

I want to follow where you lead,
your prophet’s voice I’ll surely heed,
Spirit, speak, disturb my soul to life.

Word and Response

Moses:  The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you shall heed such a prophet. This is what you requested of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said:

People:  “If we hear the voice of the LORD my God any more, or ever again see this great fire, we will die.”

Moses:  Then the LORD replied to me: “They are right in what they have said. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their own people; I will put my words in the mouth of the prophet, who shall speak to them everything that I command. Anyone who does not heed the words that the prophet shall speak in my name, I myself will hold accountable. But any prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, or who presumes to speak in my name a word that I have not commanded the prophet to speak – that prophet shall die.”

The word of God for the People of God. Thanks be to God.

Reflection for Sunday, January 28, 2018 – Answer!

Moses had led the Hebrew people to the edge of the promised land, but he wasn’t going to be able to cross with them. When they had assembled at the base of Mount Horeb, they had asked Moses to petition God to give them someone who would take his place as their intercessor and, because they acknowledged their lack of worthiness to communicate with God directly, God judged their intentions good and promised them He would send them a prophet. Over the course of the next fourteen hundred years, God sent many prophets.

God is speaking, but God truly sees us and is also listening to us when we call on Him and God is answering.

His answers may not come in a crystal clear voice ringing out from the heavens, but His answers come.

His answers may not be the answer we wanted to hear, but His answers come.

His answers may not be easy for us, but He knows we can accept them and do what’s required of us because He better than anyone knows our strengths and our limitations.

Sometimes His answers come directly to us, and sometimes they come through us to others who are also waiting to hear His answers. Like He called the Prophets, He calls us to be His hands and feet.

Sometimes His using us to answer someone else’s prayers becomes the answer to our own prayers.

Knowing that … knowing that He answers our prayers and that He may need us to carry His answer to the others, we must also be willing to answer Him.

Answering His call may not be easy. It may require sacrifice. It may require changing our lives or way of thinking. It may be one of the scariest things we’ve ever done, but what is important is that we find within ourselves the courage to answer and trust God will give us the strength to do what He’s calling us to do … and get us through the part where it isn’t easy.

We can be confident in accepting His answers and His calling on us, though, because God is faithful. We can trust His answer and His call because, just as He told the Hebrew people through Moses, He sent us the most perfect answer He could have possibly given us … His son, Jesus, who, in turn, Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit as our helper.

God is speaking to us, giving us the answers to our prayers and calling us to be the answer to the prayers of others.

This particular anthem is not on the list of songs for today’s Rise Up! liturgy, but it’s something I feel is vital to remember as we rise up, listen, move, hear God’s answer, and answer Him. Christ was the intermediary God promised to send and that Moses told us about in Deuteronomy, and Christ made us a promise.

Prayers of the People

Note: If this were being done in a live service, it would be done in the form of Tongsung Kido*, a Christian practice used in Korea and much of Asia in which everyone prays out loud at the same time, but not in unison or praying a single corporate prayer. 

Leader: God we thank you, right now,
for the written witness of our ancestors in the Scriptures,
and the living witness we have just heard
that you are the God who answers.
You hear us,
but more than that, you see us,
you truly listen,
you understand our situation,
our strengths and our limitations,
and you give your answer
in a way we can receive it.

So it is with confidence we offer our prayers before you,
knowing you will answer,
and your answer will meet us and all with whom we pray
right where we are:

And so we pray, lifting up our voices before you all at once,
praying first of all, as you have taught us through the apostle Paul,

for leaders and all in authority in our countries, companies, and other institutions
(People praying as in Tongsung Kido)

with our congregation, our denomination, our deacons, pastors, bishops, and other
ministers, and every congregation, community, denomination, and ministry around the
world that bears the name of Jesus …
(People praying as in Tongsung Kido)

for the earth, with everything that lives and moves, and supports life upon it, and for all
who work to sustain it …
(People praying as in Tongsung Kido)

with our families, you friends, our co-workers, our neighbors, and our enemies …
(People praying as in Tongsung Kido)

for all who need your healing, delivering, and saving power in their lives …
(People praying as in Tongsung Kido)

in the name of your greatest Answer, Jesus Christ, who taught us all to pray aloud together:

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 trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil
For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, amen.

Time of Thanksgiving

Leader: God has heard us, and is answering us even now.
We are forgiven and at peace with God through Jesus Christ.
The peace of Christ be always with you.
People: And also with you.

Leader: So let us share the peace of Christ with those around us,
and our gifts with the church and all the world.

Note: If this were a live service, this would be a time when we both passed the peace and gave our offering to the Lord. I encourage you to find a way to do both wherever you are by passing the peace to your neighbors and making a donation to a local charity or church.

Hymns of Thanksgiving

 

Sending Forth

God has heard us, each one of us,
and is answering us today, right now.
But God doesn’t answer us to please us.
God answers us to help us answer others better,
until we love God and neighbor as ourselves.

So go from here,
in the name of Jesus,
answered by God,
to become God’s answer
wherever you go.
Amen.

NOTES AND ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

*Many thanks to the team at UMC Discipleship Ministries for providing the prayers, poem, scripture interpretation and song lists for this series. (©Discipleship Ministries 2018).

*Video clip of Tongsung Kido: