"Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem:" What I Believe about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Speaker: Pastor Thomas

Theme For the Week beginning August 30th, 2020:  “The Christian’s Response to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict”

  • An EXCITING video service just for children (and kids at heart) is found at the end of this service. Just scroll down!  (Thanks, LifeChurch!)  

 

The Prelude:  We Prepare Ourselves to Worship God

 

 We Gather Together
  • If you have family worshipping with you, give everyone a hug. 
  • If you are alone, take a moment and imagine the arms of the Loving Lord wrapped around you.  Send thoughts of love to those most important to you. 
  • Then, find a spot at your chosen place of worship.  Light your candle(s). 
  • Be silent for a moment, asking God to open your hearts to every good gift that God has for you today.

 

We Open with Prayer

(If possible, please pray out loud):

God of love and mercy,

thank you for your great gift of your Child, Jesus Christ,

who fills us with all that we need.

Merciful God,

we are fully aware that not all your children

are able to bask in joy or peace today.

We pray for peace within all walls:

walls within our own homes,

walls that surround each city and town.

We pray that we may usher your promise of salvation into our lives

and that we may share the Good News of our Savior with others.

We pray that the promise of your presence

may be the promise that we live in and share at home,

at work and at school.

May we be moved to compassion and action in your name.

We pray this in the powerful name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

 

We Sing a Song of Praise: “Let the Rivers Run (Come, the New Jerusalem)”

(Words and music by Carly Simon; sung by Rosa Lopez)

(Please sing along or just listen to this inspirational song)

 

We Call Each Other to Worship (inspired by Psalm 122)

(If possible, read out loud.  If you are not alone, take turns reading the light and the bold lines)

It makes me glad to hear us say,

“Let us go to the house of the Lord!”

Jerusalem, we are standing inside your gates.

We come rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

Let us pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

Let us pray for the peace of the world.

We Pass the Peace of God to Others

If you are with others in your home, give each other a hug, and pray for those who will not have any human touch today.

If you are alone, ask the Holy Spirit to bring to your mind at least one person who needs a call or email or card.  Commit to following through on this as soon as this worship service ends.  (If you have others in your household, they can do this, too).

 We Read the Bible:  Psalm 122; Romans 11:25-27 (NIV)

(If possible, read all scriptures out loud)

Psalm 122

1 I rejoiced with those who said to me,

    “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
Our feet are standing
    in your gates, Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is built like a city
    that is closely compacted together.
That is where the tribes go up—
    the tribes of the Lord
to praise the name of the Lord
    according to the statute given to Israel.
There stand the thrones for judgment,
    the thrones of the house of David.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
    “May those who love you be secure.
May there be peace within your walls
    and security within your citadels.”
For the sake of my family and friends,
    I will say, “Peace be within you.”
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
    I will seek your prosperity.

Romans 11:26-27

25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, 26 and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written:

“The deliverer will come from Zion;
    he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.
27 And this is my covenant with them
    when I take away their sins.”

We Testify to God’s Grace:    “God, Thy Will Be Done

(by Mike Fraley, Texas; The Upper Room, December 20, 2017)

It had been a long, cold, and wet day of touring in Israel. I had been jostled by the crowds at the Church of the Nativity. I had shivered in the cold and looked for shelter from the wind in a shepherd’s field east of Bethlehem. Now I was navigating Jerusalem’s rush hour traffic to arrive at the Mount of Olives and visit the Garden of Gethsemane.

As I knelt and prayed in the place where historians believe Jesus knelt and prayed, my mind went back to Nazareth, where I had been the day before. In that moment I felt the power of the prayer that Jesus and Mary had prayed 50 miles and 30 years apart: “My God, I will do whatever you want me to do.” For the first time I realized how much Jesus was like his mother, Mary.

God asks all of us to give of ourselves, but we often aren’t sure we want to follow where God leads. Mary and Jesus were not sure they wanted to do what God asked of them, but they did it anyway. It helps me to know that Mary and Jesus also struggled, and it brings me comfort to know that Jesus was echoing his mother’s obedience as he prayed that night in Gethsemane. We can follow their example and pray for God’s will to be done.

(Do you have a testimonial you’d like to share here during future services?  Send your story to thomas@hopefortulsa.com)

 

We  Sing a Song of Devotion: “Let There Be Peace on Earth” 

(The Angel Choir, 2015)

Please play the music video and sing along or just reflect.

 

We Hear the Sermon from Pastor Thomas
“Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem”
“Confessions of a Church Pastor:  What I Believe about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict”

(NOTE:  Statements from the Palestinian Christian community and from the United Methodist Book of Resolutions are attached to the end of my sermon manuscript. There is a download link at the lower right of my video sermon at the top of this webpage)

 

We Pray to the Lord

To receive the prayer email, please reach out to healing@hopefortulsa.com

(If possible, please pray out loud)

 God, today I (we) pray . . .

    • for the people of Hope United Methodist Church, and especially …
      • We remember with thankfulness the life of Brenda Stage and we pray for her family and friends.
      • We remember with thankfulness the life of Barbara Roderick and we pray for her family and friends.
      • We remember with thankfulness the life of Richard Bachelder and we pray for his family and friends.
      • We remember with thankfulness the life of Jerry Robison and we pray for his family and friends.
      • We pray for Suzanne Pfeifer, Elinor Bartleson, Gail Arnold and Jimmy Hillman.
      • We pray for our members and friends who are in nursing homes and rehab centers.
    • for those who suffer and those in trouble, and especially…
    • for the concerns of this local community, and especially…
    • for the world, its peoples, and its civic leaders, and for the earth that you have given to our care.
    • for the battle we are facing with COVID-19, and especially those who are suffering and those who are responding, and for …                  
    • for the Church universal—its leaders, its members, and its mission. We especially pray for Bishop Nunn and for our new Superintendent, Connie Gibson.  We also pray for those churches that are now opening up and ask that those who gather would be wise and caring for each other.  We ask that you would protect all your congregations from harm and disease, and give us a mighty dose of your Spirit.  We pray for these and for other Christian leaders, including…
    • in communion with the saints, remembering all those who have gone on before us, and now form part of the Great Hall of Faith which encourages those of us who remain on earth.  Today we especially remember . . .
    • For my (our) needs today, which include…

Help us remember, Lord, that you are merciful and good, and quick to act in times of need.  We thank you for all of your many blessings that you graciously give to us and to the world you love.

Therefore, as your children on earth, we pray the prayer that our Brother Jesus taught us to pray:

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. 

And lead us not into temptation, 
but deliver us from evil. 

For thine is the kingdom, 
and the power, and the glory, 
for ever and ever. Amen.

We Give Gifts to the Lord

Even during COVID-19, the work of Hope United Methodist Church continues!  Please take a moment to remember all the many blessings God has given you, and then go to www.hopefortulsa.com/give to make an online donation.  It’s simple to sign up–just have your checkbook, debit card, or credit card ready to provide the requested information.  You just have to do this one time.  You can continue to use this online portal in the weeks ahead to bless your church and your Lord. 

If you’d like to mail a check instead, please make it out to “Hope UMC” and send it to:  Hope UMC, 12424 E. 31st St., Tulsa, OK  74146.  All donations are tax-deductible.  And thank you in advance!

 

Closing Hymn: “May the Peace of God” (Kristyn Getty, Margaret Becker, Joanne Hogg)

 

Benediction (adapted from a 1698 hymn)

(Please read together aloud):

Through all the changing scenes of life,
in trouble and in joy,
may the praises of our Lord and God
our heart and tongue employ.  Amen.