People of the Spirit, worshiping Jesus in all places, at all times

Liturgical Leadership

  • Officiant: Cn. Dave (me)
  • Preacher: Stevan
  • Music: Dcn. Ben leading a small team (vocals, keys, acoustic guitar)
  • Scripture: Martha (Revelation 1:1-8 and Psalm 123), Dcn. Andrea (Mark 6:1-6)

Set List

Songs of Praise

  • Blessed Be Your Name
  • The Lion and the Lamb
  • Great Are You Lord
  • Before the Throne of God Above

Offertory

  • Search my Heart

Communion

  • To Him Who Sits on the Throne
  • 10,000 Reasons

Dismissal

  • How Great Thou Art

Collect for the Day

Grant us, Lord, we pray, the spirit to think and do always those things that are right, that we, who cannot exist without you, may by you be enabled to live according to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

One of the most incredible things about worship and leading the liturgy are the things you can’t plan for: the way that the music leader has been attentive to the Holy Spirit, and to the Scriptures, selecting songs which will directly draw people to the voice of God’s Word. When the preacher is able to intensify those themes, proclaiming the revelation of Jesus Christ and draping all of the hearers’ world in the mystery of the Scriptures. When the call and prayer for awareness of Jesus’ presence in the midst of life closes that sermon and characterizes the tone of the prayers of the people, and you are able to enter the ministry of Holy Communion–that very sacrament of Jesus’ presence–with that, it’s the gentle movements of the still, small, voice of God. The Lord was gracious and gentle in His revelation of Himself to us yesterday, and the only response I think we could appropriately offer is gratitude.

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Liturgical Leadership

  • Officiant: Cn. Dave (me)
  • Preacher: Fr. Dennett
  • Music: Fr. Dennett leading a full team (multiple vocals, acoustic guitar, other guitar, keys, drums)
  • Scripture: Sharon (Genesis 12:1-9 and Psalm 117), Dcn. Andrea (Matthew 28:16-20)

Set List

Songs of Praise

  • Build Your Kingdom Here
  • Let Your Glory Fall
  • Sound of Your Name
  • Oceans

Offertory

  • Behold our God

Communion

  • All the Poor and Powerless

Dismissal

  • Publish Glad Tidings

Collect for the Day

Lord of all power and might, the author and giver of all good things: Graft in our hearts the love of your Name, increase in us true religion, nourish us with all goodness, and bring forth in us the fruit of good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.

I sometimes think that the Holy Spirit might break out and revival come to Church of the Savior before the service even starts. Our longstanding practice is that the celebrant, preacher, deacon, and music team pray together before beginning. This is often why the service starts after 10am…because some Sundays, the prayers just keep going, and going. That’ not a complaint–it’s an acknowledgment that the people that me and Fr. Dennett have the privilege of leading with are people who have deep, prayerful connections to God, and that is expressed as they pour out their hearts in our prayers for the Holy Spirit to be at work in worship, for the anointing of God, spiritual gifts, healing of hearts and deliverance from sin and the devil’s works, and above all God’s redemptive work and proclamation of Jesus. So, yeah, a revival breaking out is totally possible. It hasn’t happened yet, but I’m not counting it out yet…

The more I lead services, the more I learn that sometimes you have services where it seems like you’re moving through the steps of worship, and nothing obvious is going on. I greeted everyone, pointed towards God’s promise to be present in our worship, and we proceeded through the opening prayers, collect for purity, and confession to our songs of praise. After a period of silence, we prayed the Collect for the Day, and prayed for the children before sending them off for the last Church School until the end of the summer. The Ministry of the Word continued with the reading of Scripture and Fr. Dennett’s conclusion to our series on hearing God. The message was a call to action–a reminder that obedience is often the only way we know we’ve heard from God. Not that it gives us “success” by any worldly definitions, but that faithfulness and fruit result as the Holy Spirit empowers us to do what God delivers to us out of His Word, His worship, His revelations, and His people. We concluded the Ministry of the Word with the Creed and the Prayers of the People.

One thing that stands out in the announcement time was the introduction of Jeff and Kristen. This couple has joined us during their seminary training and they have been engaged with us for months. In addition to introducing their missionary call for which they are receiving training, they are also launching a discipleship group, inviting individuals from the parish and from the monthly lunch we open to the neighborhood. Deacon Andrea prayed for them, their family, and their ministry.

Following that, we proceeded immediately into the Ministry of the Table. The time of Communion moved swiftly, smoothly, as people in quiet received the Body and Blood of Christ, mindful of being fed and strengthened to go out and follow the Lord’s voice as He continues to speak to His Church.

PS: On a side note, we finished 15 minutes earlier–which worked great for allowing our kitchen team to get down to the fellowship hall to serve the lunch for the community lunch.

Liturgical Leadership

  • Officiant: Cn. Dave (me)
  • Preacher: Fr. Dennett
  • Music: Tom and Kelli leading as small team (vocals, acoustic guitar, drums)
  • Scripture: Pat (2 Timothy 3:10-17 and Psalm 119 105-112), Dcn. Laura (Mark 4:26-35)

Set List

Songs of Praise

  • Our God
  • Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble
  • I See Heaven
  • What a Beautiful Name

Offertory

  • There is a Fountain

Communion

  • O Come to the Altar
  • Lord, I Need You

Dismissal

  • Days of Elijah

Collect for the Day

O Lord, from whom comes all good things; grant us, your humble servants, the inspiration to always think and do those things which are good, and by your merciful guiding we may perform the same; through Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.

We are rapidly approaching the close of our series on hearing God. After those of us providing leadership for Sunday morning prayed together, Tom–our music team leader for the day–pointed out that there was this tremendous peace present in the room. He was right. The presence of God’s peace in our midst before we even began to worship, was a reminder of healing, of the fruit of hearing from God, of being a people prepared to worship God. I greeted everyone and called attention to God’s presence and the ways that God was present to move in our lives. We proceeded through the opening confession, dialogues, and songs of praise.

During the time of listening for the Holy Spirit following the songs of praise, I was led to recount Jesus’ first proclamation of the Kingdom in the synagogue from Isaiah 61–especially highlighting the anointing, and that Jesus has shared that anointing with us by baptism. So, God was calling us to walk in that anointing–to preach Good News to the poor, to heal the sick, to set the oppressed free, to liberate the captives, and to declare the year of the Lord’s favor. Fr. Dennett’s sermon focused on hearing God through the commands and insights of Holy Scripture–something we also have by way of the Holy Spirit. Following the Creed and Prayers of the People, we had a testimony delivered by a longtime parishioner, Dan, interviewed by our founding rector, Pastor Joe, which highlighted the mercy of God in revealing himself in the Scriptures and the community of believers hearing the Scriptures. The peace and joy of the testimony resonated with what God had been doing in the service. And that carried through our celebration of Holy Communion and dismissal, as the anointed ones in Christ were sent out.

Liturgical Leadership

  • Officiant: Cn. Dave (me)
  • Preacher: Stevan
  • Music: Stevan leading a small team (vocals, acoustic guitar, other guitar, drums)
  • Scripture: Michael (2 Corinthians 4:1-12 and Psalm 81), Cn. Dave (Mark 2:23-28)

Set List

Songs of Praise

  • Come People of the Risen King
  • Trading My Sorrows
  • Leaning on the Everlasting Arms
  • Our Father

Offertory

  • God, Make Us Your Family

Communion

  • The Church’s One Foundation
  • Communion Hymn (Behold the Lamb)

Dismissal

  • Give Us Clean Hands

Collect for the Day

O God, the protector of all those who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy, that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal that we lose not the things eternal; grant this, heavenly Father, for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Ordinary Time typically brings a loss of focus for many people. When the Church is not commemorating any specific event, after the expansive and all-involved drama of Advent through Pentecost and Trinity Sunday, it is easy to wonder what we’re doing when we get together. The return to the liturgy of the Anglican Church in North America, and the rhythms that go with that signal that a new season has arrived. That effect is slightly delayed for us at Church of the Savior, because we are continuing our series on listening to the voice of God.

That life of the Church is actually the core of Ordinary Time. That we were singing about what it is to be God’s people, and to have that life: the great exchange of the fallen life in the world for the joy of salvation drew us in to that place where we were aware of one another. The prophetic exhortation I believe God gave me to deliver following that singing pointed to the great exchange that Jesus made for us, and the things we are invited to bring together and trade out–with a God who is much better than the god of the “prosperity gospel.” I closed with the Collect for the Day, which appropriately asks God that “we may so pass through things temporal that we lose not the things eternal.”

Appropriately, Steven’s message was about listening to God speak through the counsel of other believers. We stepped into that place of learning to improv in this time beyond the Scripture’s, waiting for the return of Christ and the restoration of all things. Sure, we’ve got a mission, but we’ve also got day-to-day decisions to make. Stevan dove into wisdom, and circumstances, and having the awareness to pay attention to what God is saying in order to bring life to us.

We continued with the Creed, and the prayers of the people. We recently switched to a version of the Prayers offered in the ACNA Renewed Ancient Rite, and encouraging people to offer their own exhortations in connection with the biddings. This seems to work really well for us, and gives a greater sense of cohesion to our corporate prayers. I flew briefly through the announcements, and then we entered the time of Holy Communion. The worship we offered in receiving from the Table, and singing these words of unity in the songs “The Church’s One Foundation” and “Behold the Lamb” fed into our dismissal with an awareness of our need for God’s grace on us as we dispersed: “O God, let us be/ a generation that seeks/ that seeks your face, O God of Jacob.”

Amen. Let us be such, O God of Jacob.

Liturgical Leadership

  • Officiant: Cn. Dave (me)
  • Preacher: Fr. Dennett
  • Music: Tom and Kelli leading a small team (vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, drums)
  • Scripture: Candy (Acts 2:1-11 and Psalm 104:24-35), Dcn. Andrea (John 20:19-23)

Set List

Songs of Praise

  • How Great is our God
  • Freedom
  • Better is One Day
  • All Who are Thirsty

Offertory

  • Holy Spirit (Your Presence)

Communion

  • Let Us Break Bread Together
  • Freedom Reigns

Dismissal

  • Friend of God

Collect for the Day

Almighty God, on this day, through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, you revealed the way of eternal life to every race and nation: Pour out this gift anew, that by the preaching of the Gospel your salvation may reach to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.Amen.

I love Pentecost. As someone from a Pentecostal background, the fact that the Church must remember and commemorate the wildness of the Holy Spirit on an annual basis. It’s the last Sunday of the year that Church of the Savior worships with the Kenyan liturgy. I led the celebration (and we managed to start a few minutes late per COTS tradition–I *really* do try to get started at 10am!). I invited the people, reminded them of the celebration of Pentecost (in case the red frontal and table-covering weren’t obvious enough), and spoke about my expectations for the Holy Spirit’s presence and ministry in our midst.

We began with the Pentecost Acclamation, proceeded to the Collect for Purity and in place of the Confession of Sin, Deacon Laura led the Litany for Mission after which we worshipped though the songs of praise. Pentecost has a thoroughly missional-emphasis in COTS’ liturgical praxis, and the worship reflects the need for the Spirit that God’s people have. One of the things I thought of as soon as I knew we were singing “How Great is our God” is wishing I had known ahead to introduce the Hebrew version of the chorus. I sang it anyway, but no way the congregation caught it.

In the silence following, there was a prayer for more of the Holy Spirit, a reading of Psalm 84, an invitation to trust in God to heal, to save, to empower, and fill. I felt that I received a prophetic word, so I shared about the psalmist not seeing the better day that he proclaimed in Psalm 84, but that “Today is that day, the day of salvation, of healing, of rescue, to be made new.” Drawing from Isaiah 61, I shared that I believed God was inviting us to trade our sorrow for joy, our sin for righteousness, our anxiety for his peace, etc. I concluded with the collect for the day.

After praying God’s Spirit would be stirred in “the sons and daughters”, I dismissed the kids to their classes, and Candy read the first part of the Pentecost story from Acts. Appropriately, we prayed Psalm 104 portion antiphonally, beginning with the women. Deacon Andrea read the Johannine Pentecost (which, oddly, figured into my sermon last week). Fr. Dennett’s sermon was a teaching on the prophetic/revelatory gifts of the Holy Spirit and how She speaks in the Church (Scripture, tongues/interpretation, dreams/visions, prophecy). There were two testimonies in the course of the sermon.

At this point, running long, we proceeded through the Creed, and the prayers of the people, which included another series of prayers for mission and evangelization and for the Gospel to reach into the areas sin and death have broken down (read: everything). After several extended extemporaneous intercessions, I concluded the prayers, and Fr. Dennett proceeded with the announcements. At the conclusion of the announcements, I encouraged people to receive prayer during Communion for the baptism of the Holy Spirit and delivered the offertory sentence. The time of Holy Communion went according to the norms, and in place of the Post-Communion Prayer, I asked, “Are there any who have not come to the Lord’s Table?” The congregation’s response is the numbers of unreached and unconverted across the world. When we finished the list, I asked, “Who will go and invite them to this Banquet?” The congregation said “We will go, with our lives, our service, our support” (or something very close to that). It’s a powerful missional commitment to close with Pentecost. With that fresh from their lips, I declared God’s blessing, and we sang and dismissed…about 20 minutes later than almost any service….and I wasn’t even able to leave the church building for another 40 minutes. Quite the day.

Come, Holy Spirit!

Liturgical Leadership

  • Officiant: Cn. Dave (me)
  • Preacher: Stevan
  • Music: Stevan leading a small team (vocals, acoustic guitar)
  • Scripture: Martha (1 John 4:7-21 and Psalm 33), Cn. Dave (John 15:9-17)

Set List

Songs of Praise

  • Open Up the Heavens
  • You Never Let Go
  • Power of Your Love
  • Tis So Sweet (To Trust in Jesus)

Offertory

  • Show Me Your Ways

Communion

  • The More I Seek You
  • Word of God Speak

Dismissal

  • Great Are You Lord

Collect for the Day

O God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as surpass our understanding: Pour into our hearts such love towards you, that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Rogation Sunday is one of those bits about the liturgical year I confess I don’t fully understand. At least it’s still Easter–THAT I understand. We continued to worship according the to the use of the Kenyan liturgy.  I gathered the congregation with a few things from my Pentecostal background–expecting congregational responses to “Good morning” and, what finally worked, “This is the day that the Lord has made!” responded to with “Let us rejoice and be glad in it!” I invited us to acknowledge God’s presence, and to be confident that He was at work among us and to break barriers and bring renewal. We moved through the opening acclamation and songs of praise with ease–with a building awareness of the Holy Spirit’s brooding presence. Following the songs of praise, we had silence for an extended period when Pastor Joe (our founding pastor) offered thanks to God for His work.  By the time I approached the lectern again, most of the congregation was seated. Recognizing the Presence, I opted not to tell them to stand for the collect. Many of them stood when we began praying the collect for the day.

The kids were invited up and prayed for and dismissed to their class. Martha read the epistle reading from 1 John, prefacing it with a testimony of how God had been moving in her life in the week before to remind her of His loving presence and the providential circumstances that she would be reading about God’s love for the worship. We prayed Psalm 33 responsively. Since our deacons were otherwise occupied (children and nursery), I read the Gospel. Stevan came up to teach on barriers to hearing from God. He began with a confession and asking the congregation’s forgiveness for not keeping a commitment he had made. And when he started to continue, Pastor Joe stood up, and asked that we receive Stevan’s apology and demonstrate our forgiveness as a congregation. It was a beautiful moment. Stevan continued and it was evident that he wasn’t quite teaching in the way he had prepared to (as it didn’t match the outline provided, strictly) but it was an anointed teaching that called us to recognize that God’s silence often stems from (1) not asking, or asking with wrong motivations (James 4:-3), (2) presumption (Numbers 14:39-45), and not listening to the last thing God told us (Isaiah 1:15-16; Isaiah 30:15).

To conclude, Stevan invited us to take some time to listen–to repent of where we did not obey God’s call and to ask “What’s next?” The music team returned to the stage and sang “The More I Seek You” as the congregation engaged in that time. If I thought the Spirit’s presence couldn’t be heavier, I was proved wrong. I was reticent to approach and continue with the Creed, and the Prayers of the People, but it needed to happen. There was an energy to those acts of faith.

At announcements, Fr. Dennett interviewed a parishioner about a music ministry time she had initiated with others at a local assisted living facility that had drawn over 40 residents. We then celebrated Pastor Joe’s birthday, and prayed for him as he continues in ministry. The legacy of Pastor Joe’s vision to reach people who are so often forgotten has shaped the ministry and heart of Church of the Savior in an indelible way. When we finished the offertory, I addressed the congregation with the reminder of the invitation we had received from Stevan to ask God “What’s next?” and further encouraged us to remember that God does not call us to what He won’t enable–and that what we receive at the Table is strength for whatever is next. My experience of celebrating that Holy Communion was a keen awareness of our congregation being caught up in the presence of the heavenly worship.

As we sang “Great Are You Lord” at the conclusion, I could see the Spirit working, and I think Stevan caught it, as well, because he drew the song out as much as could be done reasonably. The Pentecostal pastor in me would have loved nothing better than to invite people forward to pray and spend time in God’s presence at “the altar” but the way “coffee hour” is done in the rear of the sanctuary makes that quite impossible. It’s something to wrestle with–attending to the move of the Spirit, and honoring the liturgy and freedom of those who are released from what is going on. How do we as Anglicans disciple into that kind of space? How can we make room for it in our churches?

Liturgical Leadership

  • Officiant: Cn. Dave (me)
  • Preacher: Stevan
  • Music: Tom leading a small team (vocals, keys or drums, acoustic guitar)
  • Scripture: Stevan (Habbakuk 2:15-20 and Psalm 62), Dcn. Andrea (John 10:11-16)

Set List

Songs of Praise

  • Praise is Rising
  • Oh How I Need You
  • All Creatures of our God and King
  • Something About that Name

Offertory

  • Give Me Jesus

Communion

  • Christ Be All Around Me

Dismissal

  • Oh How I Need You

Collect for the Day

O God, whose Son Jesus Christ is the good shepherd of your people: Grant that when we hear his voice, we may know him who calls us each by name, and follow where he leads; who, with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

One of the fascinating things about leading worship in this community is the way that time is not our primary consideration. We are gathered to be the people of God. Despite my best efforts as an officiant, it’s a challenge to gather, and pray before 10 and start by 10. But I continue to press it–and as I tell the team–if we start at 10, people will show up at 10. The worship is that important. But there’s also another contradiction in that: I take my watch off. It’s a recent thing, but it’s an intentional thing that I need to step away from the worldly concerns and the worship of the clock/schedule to be part of leading God’s people in something that’s eternal and timeless.

There was something reflective of the cosmos in this day of worship. We gave our praise, invited all creation into that praise, asked for God’s help to sustain our lives…and at the end of it all was just…silence. Silence. It’s what Stevan taught and invited us into. He gave voice to that time of simply being in God’s presence waiting to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. It was a powerful teaching, and at the end of it, he led the congregation into two minutes of silence and waiting, and the invitation to bring that into our own day to day lives. There’s an anointing on this season of teaching and the worship that has everything running in sync, and it’s a gift to us from the Lord.