One: Do you remember who first invited you to worship?
All: We come in praise for those who brought us here.
One: Do you remember the first community
of faithful ones you joined?
A nursery class who welcomed you
with care and open arms?
A youth group who accompanied you
with energy and open minds?
A small group meeting in someone’s home?
A congregation, large or small,
rural or urban, quiet folk or rowdy ones?
All: We come in praise for those
who meet and receive us here.
One: Do you remember the God
you have come to worship?
The One who delivered Israel from Egypt;
the Maker of Earth and Sky;
the Ground of all Being;
the God of Jesus, born of Mary;
All: we come to worship God
in remembrance that leads to hope.
the beauty of creation reminds us of the beauty of your way.
Your teachings bind us together as pilgrims,
on a common path towards abundant life for all.
Your laws are sweeter than honey in a honeycomb.
Guide us towards your path, God,
and lead us away from dangerous roads,
so our words, and the meditations of our hearts
may always be acceptable to you,
our rock and our redeemer.
Storytelling – “The People Are Impatient”
Message in Music Respighi “Notturno in G flat”
Peter Gutenberger – Piano
Reading of Scripture Exodus 32:1–14
Message “Living as a Liberation Community” Rev. Laura McLeod
Dedication of Offering
Thank you, God, for these gifts; gifts that we now return to you. May they be faithfully used for the building of your kin-dom here on Earth. Amen.
Preparation for Prayer
Pastoral Prayer and Lord’s Prayer
Let us remember in prayer those who suffer the brokenness of grief: of friends and loved ones who have died in this week, or in times more distant yet still fresh with pain and longing. (silent prayer)
Let us remember in prayer those broken in body or mind or spirit: those who are ill and hospitalized, those treated for cancer or other diseases, those who are depressed. (silent prayer)
Let us remember in prayer those whose brokenness is in relationship: with partner or child or parent, in vocation or friendship, estranged from hope or from God. (silent prayer)
Let us remember in prayer the brokenness in creation: rivers polluted and hillsides denuded; overabundance hoarded and need ignored; for denial of natural crises. (silent prayer)
Let us remember in prayer the brokenness among nations and peoples: for growing accustomed to war; for achieving ends with violence; for demonizing those who differ from us. (silent prayer)
And let us remember in prayer the one to whom we pray: whose way is love; whose wisdom is justice,
whose heart is compassion; whose promise and call is peace. Remember us, O God, and make us whole.
And teach us, again, to be your people, as we pray as Jesus taught us saying, Our Father…Amen.
Benediction A litany of blessing based on Philippians 4:1–9
Whatever is true,
whatever is honorable,
whatever is just:
remember these things.
Do these things.
Whatever is pure,
whatever is pleasing,
whatever is commendable:
Remember these things.
Do these things.
Rejoice in God.
Help one another.
Trust that the peace of God,
which surpasses all understanding,
will keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Scripture Reading Exodus 32:1–14 NRSV
When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered around Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make gods for us, who shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” Aaron said to them, “Take off the gold rings that are on the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” So all the people took off the gold rings from their ears, and brought them to Aaron. He took the gold from them, formed it in a mold, and cast an image of a calf; and they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a festival to the Lord.” They rose early the next day, and offered burnt offerings and brought sacrifices of well-being; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to revel.
The Lord said to Moses, “Go down at once! Your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have acted perversely; they have been quick to turn aside from the way that I commanded them; they have cast for themselves an image of a calf, and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’” The Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, how stiff-necked they are. Now let me alone, so that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them; and of you I will make a great nation.”
But Moses implored the Lord his God, and said, “O Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he brought them out to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce wrath; change your mind and do not bring disaster on your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, how you swore to them by your own self, saying to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants like the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’” And the Lord changed his mind about the disaster that he planned to bring on his people.
Storytelling – “The People Are Impatient”
Based on Exodus 32:1–14
Moses had gone up the mountain to talk with God. Leading the people of Israel to a new land and a new life was not easy. The people often grumbled and complained and wondered if Moses knew what he was doing. Moses would listen to God to find out where to go and what to do next. Moses was away for a long time, and the people were becoming impatient. What would they do if Moses didn’t come back? They weren’t going to wait any longer. They talked to one another and decided to go and speak to Aaron. They asked Aaron to make a god who would lead them to their destination. They didn’t know how Aaron would do it, but Moses had made Aaron leader for the time Moses was away, so they were confident that he would think of something.
Aaron sent them away and said that he would call them back in a short time. Aaron thought for a while and then had an idea. He asked the people to collect gold jewellery from their family members – rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets. The people were excited. At last, someone was going to help them so that they could move on. They rushed around, collected the jewellery, and took the items back to Aaron. Aaron had some special tools with him. (Remember they were on a long journey, so people had taken tools that might have been useful.) Aaron worked hard, and the people watched eagerly to see what he would do.
At last, he was finished. He had made a golden calf. The people crowded around to look at it. They thought that it was beautiful, and they began to pray to the calf and bring presents to it. They were worshipping the calf. “This is the God who brought us out of Egypt!” they said. Aaron made a stone platform, put the calf on it and announced a festival the next day to praise God. The people had a party. They ate and drank and had a happy time.
God was angry! God had sent a message with Moses, just a little while ago, that the people should be worshipping the one true God. Moses wanted to protect the people and asked God to stop being so angry and remember that these are the people God had brought out of slavery in Egypt. Moses also reminded God of the promises God had made to Abraham. God had promised Abraham that they would have many descendants, as many as stars in the sky and that they would have land – a place to call home. Moses asked God to calm down and forgive the people.
This was a hard time for Moses. What would happen?
Fortunately, God’s mind was changed. Moses was very pleased and went back to the people and reminded them again that they must follow God.