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Great Stories from Genesis

An Eight-Week Series with Artwork

Inspired by the sermons on great stories of the Old Testament preached at Calvin's Worship Symposium in January 2009, I decided to preach on great stories from Genesis. When I mentioned this at a worship committee meeting, Kathy Brouwer offered to write the liturgies. She'd been inspired by a drumming workshop at Symposium and was intrigued by the idea of having drums accompany the reading of each story to emphasize their primal, oral nature (see sidebar on p. ??). Together, we envisioned the ancient Hebrews telling these stories around fires, internalizing the words and the rhythms, passing them down from generation to generation.

We opened each service with a call to worship that emphasized the Trinity as a way to keep in mind that the God of the Old Testament has also revealed himself in the New Testament as Son and as Holy Spirit. All of the liturgical elements were adapted liberally from selections in The Worship Sourcebook.

At our initial worship committee meeting, Liane Miedema wondered if she might be allowed to create a painting to go with each sermon. Liane was in grade 11 at the time, and we jumped at the opportunity to involve a high school student in worship planning in such a significant way.

We developed a rhythm in which Liane and I would chat on Monday about the passage for the coming Sunday. Invariably, she had spent much more time in the text by then than I had, so she had already pulled out themes and images, which often shaped the outline of the sermon that I wrote later in the week.

In addition to conversations with Kathy and Liane, I had a few casual conversations with a local rabbi who pointed me to the writings of several Jewish theologians who accompanied my journey through Genesis. As one wrote, "I don't have the advantage of reading Jesus into my Bible. I have to grapple with the God of the Hebrew Scripture as he's presented in the Hebrew Scripture." And that's what I tried to do, too, while reminding myself and the congregation that Yahweh is also the God of the New Testament: one God, always the same—yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Many of the stories in Genesis are difficult reading. We read them because we learn about the character of God by observing his behavior in relationship with his people. And if we're honest, we often struggle with what we see. But that is what faith is about. It's about looking honestly and carefully at these challenging stories and then trusting that there is a larger story, a meaning, a plan. Another Jewish commentator writes that the God of the New Testament is kind of a Hellenistic “good guy.” But to portray God only as a good guy isn't helpful, and it’s not true to reality. God, the creator of the universe, is more complicated than that.

So Kathy, Liane, and I set out to present God as complex, loving, just, merciful, angry, and gracious. After our brief Monday morning contacts, we each worked individually, believing that the Spirit would pull everything together, but also trusting that if we each came at every story from a different angle, that was just fine, because each story is complex. And God is complex. Never simple. Never manageable. He is a God to be reckoned with, taken seriously, trusted, and worshiped.

Week One

Genesis 4:1-16: The Mark of Grace

Listen to the Scripture readings and sermon: waterloocrc.org/sermons/2011/wcrc20110731.mp3

Sermon Notes

In this story we see what could be described as a capricious God who apparently makes an arbitrary choice between the offerings of two brothers at worship. We also see a God who stands by silently while an innocent man is bludgeoned to death by his own brother. And we have a God who refuses to do justice—who refuses to kill Cain as Cain killed Abel.

A key verse with which to struggle is verse 7,where God says, “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?” Jewish oral tradition has God speaking to Cain in a soft voice here, giving Cain a second chance. But Cain doesn't want one.

Why didn't God kill Cain for killing Abel? Because God loved Cain too. And as Neal Plantinga pointed out in his excellent Symposium sermon on this story, love really messes with justice.

And so, as he will do throughout history, God extends grace and mercy. He puts his mark on Cain. It is a mark that proclaims both guilt and grace. We have no idea what that mark was or what it looked like. The best we can do, again suggested by Plantinga, is to compare it to the mark of water on our heads at baptism, or the mark of ashes drawn onto foreheads on Ash Wednesday—marks that expose both guilt and grace.

The narrative articulates the two-sidedness of Christian life: we are in jeopardy for disobedience and yet kept safe. God does not let go, even of the rebellious one.

Liturgy Helps

Call to Worship
Let us worship the eternal God,
the Source of love and life, who creates us.
Let us worship Jesus Christ,
the Risen One, who lives among us.
Let us worship the Holy Spirit,
the Living Presence, who renews us.
To the one true God be praise in all times and places, through the grace of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Call to Confession (repeated each week of the series)
We know that nothing is able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Let us in freedom confess the wrong we have done.

Prayer of Confession
Wondrous God, who sets sun and moon above us, mountains and valleys beneath us, and friends and strangers among us: how often we have tried to hide from your presence; how seldom we have looked for your creating face and your fashioning hand!
Christ, have mercy on us.
Wondrous God, who took upon yourself our flesh in Jesus our brother and disclosed yourself in the face of Jesus Christ, how often we have forgotten you. How seldom we have really loved and followed you! Christ, have mercy on us.< br/> Wondrous God, who pours out freely your Holy Spirit: how often we have asked for your help or accepted your gifts!
Christ, have mercy on us. Amen.

Assurance of Forgiveness (repeated each week of the series)
God the Creator brings you new life, forgives, and redeems you. Take hold of this forgiveness, and live your life in the Spirit of Jesus. Amen.

Song Suggestions

“I Will Sing of the Mercies of the Lord” CH 161, PAS 544, PsH 169, WR 60
“Great Is Thy Faithfulness” LUYH, CH 139, HFW 207, PH 276, PsH 556, SWM 194, TH 32, WR 72
“Your Mercy Flows” LUYH, SNC 68
“Father, We Love You” CH 9, PsH 634

Week Two

Selected verses from Genesis 6-8: The Apocalypse

Listen to the Scripture reading and sermon: http://www.waterloocrc.org/sermons/2011/wcrc20110807.mp3

Sermon Notes

The Noah story of popular culture isn't really the Noah story. The real story has rotting corpses. The real story has an angry God. The real story has a drunken Noah. The real story is not a fitting bedtime story for children, unless you want to give them nightmares.

The people in the story have gotten to the point where “every inclination of the thoughts of [their] hearts was only evil all the time.” There is nothing to redeem these wretched human beings. Compare this to Romans 1:28-29, where Paul says, “Just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind. ... They have become filled with every kind of wickedness ...” And Romans 3:10-12, where Paul quotes the psalmist: “‘There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.’” This is what happens when God lets humanity do whatever humanity feels like doing. The world goes to hell.

Now, how does God respond? Is he grieved? Is he angry? Why doesn’t God destroy everything and everyone? Does God, or God's response, change as this story progresses? Why does God respond so differently to the depravity of humanity in Genesis 6 than he does in Romans 1? What does this story tell us about God?

Last week, when we considered Cain, we were reminded that God loved Cain, and that love really messes with justice. So even though Cain deserved death, God preserved his life. Walter Brueggemann suggests that this conflict between judgment and pathos in the heart of God is the key for our understanding of the flood narrative.

Drumming with Scripture Readings

For the series we recruited a group of readers from the congregation to plan each Scripture reading. For each passage, suggestions were provided to the readers for how the drums could be used. For the story of Hagar, for example, the comments included these:

Much of this story is about two abused women competing for security and power with the man who has power over them. So let's give the drums to the women (no drums for Abraham or Ishmael). You'll need two drums that sound distinct, different enough from each other that people can tell them apart. Both sounds should be fairly light; these are women with little power. Throughout the reading, most of the time the drums will be fairly soft, but their sounds will weave around each other.

The readers then ran with it. In the story of Noah they added the sound of hammers and rain sticks. In the story of Babel they noisily stacked cement bricks. They invited two children with disabilities to help create some of the sound effects.

As the series progressed, we learned that some people had difficulty hearing the words over the sounds of the drums, so we kept the beating softer under the reading while including long pregnant pauses in the dialogue when we wanted the drums to stand out. Some stories did not lend themselves to drumming, and some readers were uncomfortable with the drums, so we did not use drums every Sunday.

Links to audio files of Scripture readings and sermons are provided for several of these services.

Liturgy Helps

Call to Worship
Let us worship the eternal God,
the Source of all faithfulness, who keeps promises made to all creation.
Let us worship Jesus Christ,
the Promised One, who lives among us.
Let us worship the Holy Spirit,
the Living Presence, who teaches us to be faithful.
To the one true God be praise in all times and places, through the grace of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Prayer of Confession (Ps. 51, NRSV)
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when you pass judgment.
You desire truth in my inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me. Amen.

Song Suggestions

“Amid the Thronging Worshipers” LUYH, PAS 126, PsH 239
“How Blest Are They Whose Trespass” LUYH, PAS 207, PsH 32, TH 551
“You Are Our God; We Are Your People” LUYH, PsH 272
“Lord, Dismiss Us with Your Blessing” LUYH, CH 237, HFW 106, PH 538, PsH 320, TH 384, WR 748

Week Three

Genesis 11:1-9: One in the Lord

Listen to the Scripture reading and sermon: http://www.waterloocrc.org/sermons/2011/wcrc20110814.mp3

Sermon Notes

What is the sin here in the story of the Tower? The text of chapter 10 suggests that after the apocalyptic flood, God has once again been forgotten. Perhaps that's the greatest sin of all. But look closer. The story in Genesis 11 is framed by verses 1 and 2 and verses 8 and 9. It's really a literary masterpiece. In verses 1 and 2 we read that people had one language and were settled. In verses 8 and 9 we read that their language was confused and they were scattered. That's the envelope in which the story takes place.

In between those edges, we see that the people's action in building the tower was caused by their fear of scattering. They say, “Come, let us build ... a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” At the end, in verses 7 and 8 God says, “Come, let us ... confuse their language,” and he scattered them.

The text seems to indicate that the main reason this building project upset God was that it was motivated by their fear of being scattered when, in fact, scattering is exactly what God keeps telling them to do. And still does. God doesn't tell disciples to stay put. He tells them to “Go, make disciples of all nations.”

Compare this story to the story of Pentecost not just because of the language issue, but because of the scattering that follows. Examine what each story tells us about God, and about God’s will for his people.

Liturgy Helps

Call to Worship
Let us worship the eternal God,
the Source of all truth and power.
Let us worship Jesus Christ,
the true Word, who lives among us.
Let us worship the Holy Spirit,
the Living Presence, who teaches us to recognize truth.
To the one true God be praise in all times and places, through the grace of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Prayer of Confession
O God of truth and love, in our pride and in our fear we have built up walls between ourselves and our neighbors. Behind our walls, we hear neither their laughter nor their cries. Above all, those walls separate us from your love and your Word. We are lonely and mute. Break down those walls. Help us to hear and understand our neighbors. Give us speech to share your Word with them. Bless them and us, that we may come to grow in love for each other and for you, through the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Song Suggestions

“Lord, Listen to Your Children Praying” LUYH, PsH 625, SWM 170, WR 489
“Dwell in Me, O Blessed Spirit” LUYH, PsH 427
“In an Age of Twisted Values” LUYH, SNC 61

Week Four

Genesis 12:1-20: The Call of Abram

Sermon Notes

In chapter 12 of Genesis, everything changes. The first eleven chapters were mythic in the most fabulous sense. There was a sweeping rhythm from grace to sin to judgment to grace to sin to judgment. And now, suddenly, in chapter 12, the eon-sweeping overview of the first eleven chapters slows to the timescale of the life of one man—Abram—later called “Abraham.”

But is this really a story about Abram? Or is it still about God?

If this is a story about Abram, we're left with a lot of questions. Looking at Abram's behavior in Egypt, Martin Luther says that Abram let the Word of God get out of his sight. John Calvin says Abram did not rely on the grace of God as he was called to do.

But if the story is about God, then we have other issues to face. Then Genesis revolves around the promises of God, how God will fulfill those promises, and how people will be involved in receiving and transmitting the promises. Each generation from Genesis until now has had to deal with the tensions raised by these issues; the answers and the resolutions do not come easily.

Liturgy Helps

Call to Worship
Let us worship the eternal God,
the Source of all mercy, who offers us well-being and health.
Let us worship Jesus Christ,
the Bread of Life, who lives among us and nourishes us.
Let us worship the Holy Spirit,
the Living Presence, who teaches us to be merciful.
To the one true God be praise in all times and places, through the grace of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Prayer of Confession
O God, you have shown us the way of life through your Son, Jesus Christ. We confess with shame our slowness to learn of him, our failure to follow him, and our reluctance to bear the cross.
Have mercy on us, Lord, and forgive us.
Feed us lavishly with the bread of life, that we may feed others. Give us to drink deeply of your love, that our parched voices may be strengthened to speak freely of your grace.
Have mercy on us, Lord, and nourish us. Amen.

Song Suggestions

“Step by Step” LUYH, SNC 17, SWM 12, WR 494
“Breathe on Me, Breath of God” LUYH, CH 393, HFW 160, PH 316, PsH 420, TH 334, WR 461
“Will You Come and Follow Me” LUYH, SNC 267, WR 350
“Go Now in Peace” LUYH, PsH 317, SWM 231, WR 717

Week Five

Genesis 15: What Does God Want, Anyway

Listen to the Scripture reading and sermon: waterloocrc.org/sermons/2011/wcrc20110918.mp3

Sermon Notes

God had made some great promises to Abraham. But the barrenness persists. Presumably, Abram and Sarai have been doing their part to create a child, but God hasn't been doing his part. So it's no wonder that Abram begins to doubt God’s promises and asks for a little proof.

God responds by taking Abram outside, pointing to the stars, and making another promise. That's not exactly proof; yet, after that, Abram believed, “and the Lord credited it to him as righteousness.”

So what is it that God most wants from us? Belief. The Heidelberg Catechism agrees that all of the good, moral, ethical, sacrificial, and socially responsible things that we do don't please God unless they are motivated by belief.

But belief in what? Belief that God is who he says he is. Belief that God keeps his promises. Belief in the promise that God makes here in the latter half of this chapter by the cutting of the covenant.

This was a familiar picture to early readers of Genesis, so they would have noticed that there's something very unusual about this version of covenant-cutting. Usually both parties walk between the animals. Both subject themselves to the curse if the covenant promise is broken. But here in verse 17, only the smoking firepot and the blazing torch walk the walk. Only God makes the promise. Only God offers to accept the curse. God is saying that if the covenant is broken, he himself will die. If the covenant is broken, Abram's descendants can cut him up and kill him like an animal.

Jewish commentaries get stuck here. Because for them, God cannot die. But Christians eat bread and drink wine today because Abram's descendants did break the covenant. And God did die, just as he promised Abram.

Liturgical Helps

Call to Worship
Let us worship the eternal God,
who is ever-faithful, in whom we can trust.
Let us worship Jesus Christ,
who takes our burdens from us and lives among us.
Let us worship the Holy Spirit,
the Living Presence, who teaches us to be trustworthy.
To the one true God be praise in all times and places, through the grace of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Prayer of Confession
Merciful God,
for the things we have done that we regret,
forgive us.
For the things we have failed to do that we regret,
forgive us.
For all the times we dared not hope and failed to trust you,
forgive us.
For all the times we have betrayed your love by being afraid to love others,
forgive us.
For all the times we have failed to forgive,
God of all time, forgive us and lift from us our burdens of regret. Amen.

Song Suggestions

“Spirit, Working in Creation” LUYH, PsH 415, WR 128
“For Freedom Christ Has Set Us Free” LUYH, SNC 66
“O Master Let Me Walk with Thee” LUYH, CH 665, HFW 193, PH 357, PsH 573, WR 589
“Praise God, You Angel Hosts Above” PsH 628

Week Six

Genesis 16:1-16; 21:1-21: The God Who Sees

Listen to the Scripture reading and sermon: waterloocrc.org/sermons/2011/wcrc20110925.mp3

Sermon Notes

Sarai is stuck in a mess of her own making. Her solution is to mistreat Hagar to the point that Hagar is forced to run for her life. But an angel stops Hagar, tells her to go back to Sarai, and makes some promises about the baby she's carrying. So Hagar obeys. Goes back. And Ishmael is born.

Fifteen years later, Sarah gives birth to Isaac, and her irritation with Hagar reaches new heights. She tells Abram to get rid of Hagar. He does, but once again an angel intervenes to save Hagar and Ishmael's lives, and they’re allowed to go back home to Egypt.

In her book Texts of Terror, Phyllis Trible says that God here speaks a “divine word of terror to an abused, yet courageous woman.” She says Hagar's story encompasses the experience of all sorts of rejected women, including the faithful but exploited maid, the black woman used by the male and abused by the female of the ruling class, the surrogate mother, the resident alien without legal recourse, the pregnant young woman alone, the expelled wife, the divorced mother with child, and the self-effacing female whose own identity shrinks in service to others.

For their sakes, I suppose it's good that the Bible refuses to sugar-coat this story. It doesn’t pretend that life is easy. It doesn’t promise that God’s people will always get to go home. Not from slavery in a foreign country. Not from concentration camps. After their first encounter, God sends Hagar back to her abuser.

But first Hagar does an amazing thing. She gives a name to God. She's the only person in Scripture to do this, and she gives him a name that describes a crucial part of his nature as she is experiencing it. She calls him El-Roy—“God sees.” And she says, “I have now seen the God who sees me.” She was not invisible. She was noticed by God himself.

Those who are powerless, like Hagar, need to be assured that God sees the things that they think no one sees. God hears their cry for deliverance. Psalm 139 says, "If you make your bed in hell, I'll be there to hold you. If you fall off the edge of the world, I'll hold you. If you walk in darkness, I will be your light."

God sees. God hears. And God delivers. Fifteen years later, God allows Hagar to escape back to her home in Egypt. Four thousand years after that, God delivers all of those who believe in him, through the death and resurrection of Abram's descendant, Jesus.

Liturgy Helps

Call to Worship
Let us worship the eternal God,
whose almighty power is defined by infinite love.
Let us worship Jesus Christ,
who has made himself vulnerable to live among us.
Let us worship the Holy Spirit,
the Living Presence, who teaches us vulnerability.
To the one true God be praise in all times and places, through the grace of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Prayer of Confession God of all life, teach us to respect and love the lives you create. Forgive our lack of concern for those who are wounded and vulnerable. Teach us to open our hearts, our homes, and our churches to the forgotten elderly, to the abandoned children, to all who are abused within their relationships, to all who are lonely. Help us to confront our careless society, which denies solace and dignity to many who suffer. Help us to confront the violence of nations, which leaves people homeless and beaten. Help us to follow the example and teachings of Jesus, in whose name we pray. Amen.

Song Suggestions

“Come and Let Us Worship God” SNC 6
“Come, You Disconsolate” HFW 115, PsH 538, TH 615
“Healer of Our Every Ill" LUYH, PAS 33, SNC 205, WR 630 “Alleluia” LUYH, CH 189, PsH 640, WR 316

Week Seven

Genesis 22:1-19: The Binding of Isaac

Listen to the Scripture reading and sermon: waterloocrc.org/sermons/2011/wcrc20111002.mp3

Sermon Notes

Jews, Muslims, and Christians all wrestle with this story. Muslims tend to emphasize that God has a right to command whatever God wills, and Abraham must submit. Jews tend to say that Abraham was supposed to argue with God, and that his obedience was, in fact, his failure of the test. Christians tend to point out that God never intended Abraham to go through with it, but that God would, himself, sacrifice an only son.

The text, however, doesn't let us explain any of this in such a reasonable fashion. The text forces us to confront a God who tests Abraham in the most horrific way imaginable. Then it forces us to ask if God still tests his people like this today. The text leaves us asking, What kind of a God is this?

John Calvin says that in this chapter “the command of God and the promise of God are in conflict.” Martin Luther says this is a contradiction with which God contradicts himself. The promise of God is that, through Isaac, Abraham's descendants will be as numerous as the sands on the beach and will be a blessing to all nations. The command of God is that Isaac must be killed without ever having fathered one single child. It follows that there will be no descendants, no future.

This story confronts us with a God who tests our faith and who makes demands. The story has an unresolved tension between the God who tests and the God who provides. We want one or the other, but the story

doesn't allow us to choose between the two.

 

In her Symposium sermon on this text, Marva Dawn pointed out that God's provision is a repeated theme in the text, which makes it clear that God provides good gifts that cannot be explained or even expected. But he also tests. And we are not permitted by this narrative to choose between the God who provides and the God who tests. We need to hold both in tension. Tests are not fun. But they do force us to ask important questions. What kind of God do you think this is? How are we supposed to live in a covenant relationship with this God? And are we living that way?

Liturgy Helps

Call to Worship
Let us worship the eternal God,
the Source of all justice and all giving.
Let us worship Jesus Christ,
who sacrificed himself to live among us.
Let us worship the Holy Spirit,
the Living Presence, who teaches us to be just and giving.
To the one true God be praise in all times and places, through the grace of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Prayer of Confession
Merciful God, forgive us.
We have become so accustomed to living in an unjust world that we do not hear your call to justice.
Give us courage to insist that our social structures be just; that there be no more victims.
We do not completely believe in your generosity, so we fear the future, and we are stingy in our giving to you and to others.
Give us courage to sacrifice all false forms of security and to trust only in you. Open our eyes and our hearts to receive fully your gifts; open our lips and our hands to share them fully with others.
In the name of Jesus, Amen.

Song Suggestions

“We Bring the Sacrifice of Praise” CH 213, SNC 12, WR 651
“Open Our Eyes” LUYH, CSW 34, SNC 263, WR 491<
“O Lord, My God” PAS 913, SNC 243
“Praise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow” LUYH, CH 166/814/815, PH 591/592, PAS 626, PsH 638, TH 731/732/733, WR 34/44/147

Week Eight

Genesis 32:22-32: Faith that Limps

Sermon Notes

If we're going to wrestle with God, it's going to be the most intense at night. And we all wrestle with God. John Calvin says that “every servant is a wrestler with God.” Even the most pious among us, in our inner life and imagination, wrestle with angels of the Lord. As a matter of fact, Calvin says that in all of our trials and temptations, our business is really with God.

To be a human creation of God is to be a God-wrestler. Jacob is just beginning to learn this. The apostle Paul will later write that our battle is not against flesh and blood. We battle demons and we battle angels. We battle God himself whenever we wrestle with people, with ideas, and with decisions.

Of course, Jacob doesn't know with whom he is wrestling. He only knows that this is no ordinary man. But the moment of the wounding reveals something about his mysterious opponent—and something about himself.

Direct encounters with God tend to do that. They reveal life-changing truth. And the truth is that there is a terrifying side to God. If Jacob's mysterious opponent is Yahweh, we are shown something other than the warm-fuzzy, promise-filled side of Yahweh known in the daylight. In the darkness, Jacob must deal with the terrifying face of the deity, who is hidden in sovereignty and not to be appeased.

Jacob, now named “Israel,” calls the place where this all happened “God's Face,” because, he said, “I saw God face-to-face and lived to tell the story!”

He lived. Yes. But he lives with a limp. Meeting God, he found out, was cause for dread as well as for exultation. Walter Brueggemann says that the limping must keep us from speaking flippantly about the new creation in 2 Corinthians; the new creatures that we are called to become may be marked by limping as the sign of newness.

It didn't surprise me to learn that the Hebrew word for “wrestle” is also the word for “embrace.” To wrestle is to embrace. Like Jacob, we may not realize that until the wrestling is over. But then, at the end, we can see that once we surrender, once we accept our woundedness, once we acknowledge our weakness and admit who we really are, only then will we realize the truth about God and about the late-night wrestling he does with us. Only then will we see, clear as day, that to wrestle with God is to be embraced by God, like a screaming, tantrum-throwing toddler held in the arms of a loving parent. And safe in that embrace, we find ourselves able to stop wounding, to heal, to grow, and to move on. With a limp.

Liturgy Help

Call to Worship
Let us worship the eternal God,
who draws near to us in power and love.
Let us worship Jesus Christ,
whose life among us challenges us to greater love.
Let us worship the Holy Spirit,
the Living Presence, who encourages and empowers us.
To the one true God be praise in all times and places, through the grace of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Prayer of Confession
Our God, we bring before you our fears, our doubts, our apathy, our sins, the false idols in which we place our trust. Forgive us, challenge and encourage us, confront and ever love us,
for we are yours. Amen.

Song Suggestions

“Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” LUYH, CH 210, HFW 69, PH 482, PsH 253, SWM 45, TH 53, WR 71
“Dwell in Me, O Blessed Spirit” LUYH, PsH 427
“Be Still, for the Presence of the Lord” LUYH, SNC 11

“Thuma mina/Send Me, Lord” LUYH, SNC 280, SWM 228, WR 713

 

Recommended Reading for This Series

Brueggemann, Walter. Genesis (Interpretation series). John Knox Press: Atlanta, 1982. Goldstein, Elyse, ed. The Women's Torah Commentary: New Insights from Women Rabbis on the 54 Weekly Torah Portions. Jewish Lights Publishing: Woodstock, 2008 Moyers, Bill. Genesis: A Living Conversation. Doubleday: New York, 1996. Plaut, W. Gunther, ed. The Torah: A Modern Commentary. URJ Press: New York, 2006.