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Sermon Outline and Liturgy for Ordinary 10 - Proper 5 - Year A
Genesis 12:1-9; Romans 4:13-25
"The Call of Abraham and Sarah"

READING:  Genesis 12:1-9 and Romans 4:13-25
SERMON :  "The Call of Abraham and Sarah"

Rev. Richard J. Fairchild
a-or10sn 838001
   The following is a more or less complete liturgy and sermon
   for the upcoming Sunday.  Hymn numbers, designated as VU are
   found in the United Church of Canada Hymnal "Voices United".
   SFPG is "Songs For A Gospel People", also available from the UCC.

   The Prayer of Dedication is taken and modified from John
   Maynard (maynard@SYMPAC.COM.AU) "Prayers and Litanies for
   Ordinary 10" as sent to the PRCL-List, May 1999).  The
   Prayer of The Day is based on and is substantially the same
   as Donald L. Hoffman's (donhoffman@W-LINK.NET) "Litany For
   A Journey" as sent to the PRCL-List, June 99.
   For a complete sermon (rather than an outline) to match this 
   liturgy please see the matching file The Call of Abram and Sarah

GATHERING AND MUSICAL PRELUDE                  (* = please stand)

L  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, 
   and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
P  And also with you.
L  Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous.
P  Praise befits the upright.
L  Give thanks to God with harp.
P  Sing praise to God with the ten-stringed lute.
L  Sing to God a new song.
P  Play skillfully on the strings with shouts of joy.
L  For the word of the Lord is upright.
P  And all his work is done in faithfulness.
L  The earth is full of the steadfast love of God
P  Happy is the nation whose God is the Lord
   The people whom he has chosen as his heritage.

* INTROIT:  "Holy, Holy, Holy"   (VU-315 Verse 1)
God of Abraham and Sarah; God of Isaac and Rebecca; God of Jacob
and Rachael and Leah and of all who are part of your family and
who inherited your promises, we praise you this day.  We thank
you for calling us forth from our homes and for anointing us with
your Spirit for the journey to the land of promise.  We bless you
for the works you perform and for the hope you give us.  We
hallow you for your mercy and revere you for the strength you
grant us.  We turn to you and we worship you this day, for indeed
all your deeds are holy and your laws and commandments just. 
Grace us in the journey you have called us upon and bless us on
this Sabbath Day as we turn to you and call upon your name so
that through us all peoples might be blessed.  We ask it through
Christ Jesus your Son - and our brother and our Lord.  Amen 

* HYMN:  "Come In, Come In And Sit Down"                 - VU 395

Gathering in of prayer concerns and joys


INTROIT For The Word of God (please stay seated):
  Open my ears, that I may hear voices of truth thou sendest clear;
  and while the wave notes fall on my ear, everything false will disappear.
  Silently now I wait for thee, ready, my God, thy will to see.
  Open my ears, illumine me, Spirit divine!  (VU 371 v.2 & refrain)

   (NRSV)  Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go from your country and
   your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will
   show you. {2} I will make of you a great nation, and I will
   bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a
   blessing. {3} I will bless those who bless you, and the one
   who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of
   the earth shall be blessed." {4} So Abram went, as the LORD
   had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five
   years old when he departed from Haran. {5} Abram took his
   wife Sarai and his brother's son Lot, and all the possessions
   that they had gathered, and the persons whom they had
   acquired in Haran; and they set forth to go to the land of
   Canaan. When they had come to the land of Canaan, {6} Abram
   passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak
   of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. {7}
   Then the LORD appeared to Abram, and said, "To your offspring
   I will give this land." So he built there an altar to the
   LORD, who had appeared to him. {8} From there he moved on to
   the hill country on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent,
   with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he
   built an altar to the LORD and invoked the name of the LORD.
   {9} And Abram journeyed on by stages toward the Negeb.

L  This is the Word of the Lord
P  Thanks be to God.

Object:   Scarf - blindfold
Theme:    Travelling With God
Source:   Self and various

   For those who used an earlier version of this story (Lent 2A),
   try substituting the use of a compass for a blindfold and talk 
   about such things as how God leads by invisible, but real, forces 
   through strange new lands.

Good Morning...  Sometimes when we do something for the very
first time it is a little bit scary.  Like going to school for
the first time - or meeting some new people you have never met
before.  I know that I am sometimes nervous when I have to go
somewhere I've never been before.  I worry about finding the
place - and about getting there on time.  Do any of you ever
worry about trying to do something new???  What kind of things
have made you nervous -- riding a bicycle for the first time??   

Sometimes, when we are about to do something new it really helps
if our mothers or fathers or a really close friend are with us --
When I learned how to ride my first bicycle my oldest brother
walked  beside me and helped hold me up at the very beginning --
he made me feel I could do it - and soon I did.  It really helps
if we have someone we trust to be with us when we are about to do
something  we have never done before.

Today I need a volunteer - to get blindfolded -- who has never
been blindfolded before - who has never had to try to find there
away around without being able to see???  How do you feel???  How
would you feel if I told you now that you have to go to the back
of the church and get a hymn book and then come back and give it
to me???  Now - how about if I go with you???   Let's try it...

What you just experienced is a bit of what Abraham and Sarah
experienced many years ago.  God called them to leave everything
behind and to move to a new country - a country that God was
going to give them.  But they didn't where they were to go or
what they would find when they got there.  It was like they were
blind - but they trusted God - like you trusted me - and like we
trust our parents to help us do new things - and so - even though
they were a bit scared - they left everything they had ever known
and they set out and went to the place that God showed them.  It
took many years - but  they knew that God was with them - just as
God is with us today - and they listened for his voice and  he
led them on the way.

   "LET US PRAY...   Help us God -- to close our eyes -- and
   to listen to for your voice. -- Lead us on the road -- you
   want us to travel -- and keep us safe -- each day of our
   lives. -- We ask in Jesus' name.  Amen."

* HYMN:  "I, The Lord of Sea and Sky"                    - VU 509

  (NRSV)  For the promise that he would inherit the world did
   not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but
   through the righteousness of faith. {14} If it is the
   adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null
   and the promise is void. {15} For the law brings wrath; but
   where there is no law, neither is there violation. {16} For
   this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise
   may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants,
   not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who
   share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of
   us, {17} as it is written, "I have made you the father of
   many nations")--in the presence of the God in whom he
   believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence
   the things that do not exist. {18} Hoping against hope, he
   believed that he would become "the father of many nations,"
   according to what was said, "So numerous shall your
   descendants be." {19} He did not weaken in faith when he
   considered his own body, which was already as good as dead
   (for he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered
   the barrenness of Sarah's womb. {20} No distrust made him
   waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in
   his faith as he gave glory to God, {21} being fully convinced
   that God was able to do what he had promised. {22} Therefore
   his faith "was reckoned to him as righteousness." {23} Now
   the words, "it was reckoned to him," were written not for his
   sake alone, {24} but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us
   who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead,
   {25} who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was
   raised for our justification.

L  This is the Word of the Lord
P  Thanks be to God.

* HYMN: "To Abraham and Sarah"                           - VU 634

SERMON:  "The Call of Abraham and Sarah" (An Outline)

   "Gracious God - bless now the words of my lips and the
   meditations of our hearts.  Breath your Spirit into us and
   grant that we may hear and in hearing be led in the way
   you  want us to go.  Amen.

A full, albeit brief, version of this sermon is now available
at The Call of Abraham and Sarah.  We suggest you have
a look at it.  At the very least it should prove to be an 
interesting exercise in how things change (or don't) as we
proceed from a complete outline to a full text.

The Call to Abraham and Sarah
      - to leave all - home and family - the comfortable and safe
   way of doing things
      - to go to a land they had not seen and inherit it in all its
      - called to be blessed to be ones through whom the nations
   will bless themselves

A Journey without a Map - but with a Promise
   - a journey accomplished in stages
   - a journey that took a life time
   - a journey in which God accompanied them
   - a journey in which God from time to time did special things
   - a journey in which Abraham and Sarah sometimes faltered,
   but in which they continually turned to God in praise and
   hope, building in each place alters and places of
   thanksgiving to God
   - a journey, that ultimately saw them birth a nation - a
   nation whose whole shape they never saw in the flesh - but
   which came to pass according to the promise.

Our call is like Abraham's and Sarah's
      - We are called to leave our attachments to home and family,
   to our ideas of what religion is or should be - to make God
   our only loyalty - to seek his approval - rather than the
   approval of those around us.
      - We are called to be family of God - through whose name
   nations will bless themselves
      - WE are called to journey to a land will be shown and which
   we will receive - and become a mighty nation within
      - We journey by stages   without a map - but with a promise
   and with the presence of God to show us the way.
   - We are called to listen - and to set forth, day by day
      - When we do - when go forth - in obedience - thanking God
   and listening to his call - we will see the promises coming
   true all about us and within us.

Blessed be the name of God.  Day by Day.  Day by Day.  Amen

L   God of the journey,
    as you accompanied Abraham and Sarah,
    stand by us this day.
    The journey is long and winding;
    fortify us with hope for a promised land.
P   O God, the journey is long;
    strengthen our steps this day....

L   O God, the journey is indeed long
    and our steps falter along the way.
    At times, we become fatigued
    as we encounter frustrations and opposition.
    At times we lose hope and direction.
P   O God, the journey is long;
    strengthen our steps this day....

L   Lord, there are times we are tempted
    to turn back, even to a life of slavery.
    There are times we want to stop
    with our journey half completed.
    Sometimes we want to proclaim a rest stop
    as our ultimate goal.
P   O God, the journey is long;
    strengthen our steps this day....

L   Lord, fill us with strength and eagerness for the road ahead.
    Make us unwilling to settle for the slavery of our past.
    Make us unwilling to settle in the desert of our present.
    Be our pillar of cloud and fire, 
    leading us on to your country. 
    Be our future, challenging us with excellence and beauty,
    And bringing us to where all people
    will bless themselves by your name
    and dwell in your peace.
P   O God, the journey is long;
    strengthen our steps this day....

L   Lord hear our prayer.
P   And in your love answer.  Amen.

* HYMN: "Will You Come and Follow Me"                    - VU 567

MINUTE FOR MISSION: Our Life Together and In The World

* SHARING GOD'S BLESSINGS:  As the Offering is presented all
stand for the Doxology (Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow -
VU 541) and Prayer of Dedication

   God, You crown us with distinction and honour.  You lavish
   us with gifts in abundance.  You spread Your mercy before
   us as a host preparing a banquet.  What we offer, You have
   already given to us.  What we do with our hands is a gift
   of this You breathe into us.  We give You but Your own. 
   Receive and bless what we offer that it - and we - may be
   a blessing unto your name, a legacy of Your love and
   concern; through Christ our Lord.  AMEN.

* DEPARTING HYMN:  "I Feel The Winds of God"             - VU 625

* COMMISSIONING (Unison):  In the power of the Holy Spirit we now
   go forth into the world, to fulfil our calling as the people
   of God, the body of Christ.
Go in peace; 
and may the blessing of God the Creator, 
the love of God the Son, 
and the light, power, and comfort of God the Holy Spirit, 
abide with you as you travel where God calls and leads you, 
this both now and forevermore.  Amen.

* CHORAL BLESSING:  "Go Now In Peace"                    - VU 964

copyright - Rev. Richard J. Fairchild - Spirit Networks, 1999 - 2006
            please acknowledge the appropriate author if citing these sermons.

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