Lectionary (Year B): Acts 3:12-19; Psalm 4; 1 John 3:1-7; Luke 24:36b-48
Theme: Our Identity in Christ
Message: “Who Do You Think You Are?”
“Who do you think you are? The Bible answers: “Therefore, if a person is in Christ he is a new creation, the old has passed away, behold the new has come.” Countless people through history have discovered this identity, this newness, this ‘recreation’ through faith in Christ. Who do you think you are? “See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called the children of God; and so we are!” I think of a baby, being brought into a home and that baby can do nothing to earn the love of those parents. That child cannot do anything to earn his/her right to eat, to sleep, to be cared for by those parents. But that baby is loved by virtue of the fact that it is a child that belongs to them, and therefore he/she receives that love and care. This is a mirror of God’s love for us. We do not deserve or earn God’s love. We simply receive His love by virtue of God’s creation, by virtue of the grace that we belong to God…yes, and are the very children of God.
“You are a real find, a joy to my heart, a jewel, unique and priceless. I don’t care how you feel. Believe it! God don’t make no junk.” – Herb Banks
“Chrysostom, one of the early church fathers, preached a sermon in which he said that every Christian parent should give his/her child a Christian name, a name that comes from the Bible. Then that parent should begin to tell that child as he/she grows up and is exposed to that name and to that historical person becomes inspired and uplifted and envisions himself/herself to be a person like that. Call and relate to a person as a child of God and they will become, with God’s blessing a child of God.” – Bruce Laverman
Film, other visual aids:
Finding Your Roots, Henry Louis Gates, cultural critic and Harvard scholar delves into the genealogies of some famous and not-so-famous people. (PBS, ongoing; consult your local programming guide for times and stations).
Music: “The Lord is My Light,” “Cry of My Heart,” “Cantad al Senor, O Sing to the Lord,” “Loving Spirit”
Leader: Yours, O Lord, are the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty;
People: FOR ALL THAT IS IN THE HEAVENS AND ON THE EARTH IS YOURS;
Leader: yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all.
People: RICHES AND HONOR COME FROM YOU, AND YOU RULE OVER ALL.
Leader: In your hand are power and might; and it is in your hand to make great and to give strength to all.
People: AND NOW, OUR GOD, WE GIVE THANKS TO YOU AND PRAISE YOUR GLORIOUS NAME.
–1 Chronicles 29:11-13
Prayer of Confession:
Some of our sins are obvious to us, others are obvious to others, others are well known to both, and still others are known only to you, because we tend to be blind and in denial. Whatever their common knowledge or lack thereof, we ask for your pardon and cleansing.
For those among us who are crucially ill, and for those who care for them, let us pray. (Silence) For those children who are on the wrong path, and for their parents and grandparents who agonize let us pray. (Silence) For those who are struggling through life with mental or physical limitations, or both, and for those who have assumed responsibility for their care, let us pray. (Silence) For those who find it difficult to give love, or even to receive love, and for those who are doing their best to assure them, let us pray. (Silence)
For those who are bullied, or considered to be “different,” and for those seeking to befriend them, let us pray. (Silence)
As those who by God’s grace have received His forgiveness, go forth and practice forgiveness yourselves toward all who need it. And the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen”
– Leroy Koopman
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