23rd Sunday after Pentecost - Proper 25

Call to Worship

The Lord has done great things for us, Ps. 126
so we come together to worship and dream.
We worship the Triune God, who has brought us into being.
We worship God because our Eternal Creator is worthy of praise.
We dream for a day when those who have sown tears will reap with shouts joy.
We dream for our mouths to be filled with laughter
and our hearts to be restored and renewed.

Come, let us worship God!

Prayer of the Day

Gracious and Merciful God, Ps. 34
we bless you at all times.
We magnify your holy name
and exalt your goodness forever.
Help us seek you
that you may find us
and deliver us from all our fears.
In your Holy Name we pray. Amen.

Call to Confession

Jesus Christ, our high priest,           Heb. 7:26
is holy, blameless, and undefiled.
However, we cannot say the same for ourselves.
Let us confess our shortcomings before God and one another.


Merciful God,
today we will journey with a story
about a person who would not take “no” for an answer. Mark 10:46-52
When he was denied justice, he had faith in your goodness.
When he was told to shut up, he remained stubborn.
When he was marginalized, he trusted in Jesus’ power.
Forgive us for the moments when we have not had such courage.
Forgive us when we have failed to insist on justice,
especially when justice has been denied to those other than ourselves.
May we demand mercy in the midst of suffering.
Give us the faith to see clearly our calling
to take heart, get up, and follow you. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon

Friends, take heart, get up, for Jesus is calling.
We have been forgiven of our sins
and are being called into a new creation.
Alleluia! Amen.

Prayer for Illumination

God of All Wisdom,
open our eyes
that we may see clearly
the wisdom of the Word that is before us.
May our new sight
lead us to get up and follow you. Amen.

Prayers of the People

Let us pray to God saying:
Holy Teacher, help us see our calling clearly.

Gracious God,
we have many identities and jobs,
personas, and different hats to wear.
But help us discern our calling.
Lead us to places where we imaginatively explore
how you are calling us to take heart, get up, and follow.
Holy Teacher, help us see our calling clearly.

We pray for the public servants among us,
the politicians who see their calling as servants to the people.
In the midst of nasty campaign races,
harsh words, angry rhetoric, and flat-out lies,
help them set aside ego, arrogance, and hubris.
And help us set aside those things, too.
Holy Teacher, help us see our calling clearly.

We pray for the people of this congregation
as we set out upon a new chapter in the life of this church.
Help us discern how you are calling us to contribute
both our finances and our gifts to your mission
to serve you fruitfully and faithfully.
Spark generosity without our hearts
that we may do all things in gratitude
for the great things you have done, and will do, among us.
Holy Teacher, help us see our calling clearly.

We pray for those who feel called
to risk their lives and the lives of their families
to leave oppression and violence to seek refuge elsewhere.
Help us remember that they are not greedy, but desperate.
Remind us, Gracious God, that your son began his earthly life
on the run from a violent political regime.
Holy Teacher, help us see our calling clearly.

We pray this day for those who are struggling with health issues…
for those who have inadequate or no healthcare…
for those who have lost loves ones recently…
for those who struggle with addiction…
for those who haven’t decided who to vote for next week…
and for those who see no hope in our political process…
and for those we lift up silently before you…
Holy Teacher, help us see our calling clearly.

Gracious and Merciful God,
we lift these prayers to you
and ask that you would have mercy on us.
This we pray in the name of your Son, who taught us to pray, saying: Our Father…


Stephen Fearing

Stephen was born in 1988 in Cookeville, TN, where his parents met whilst attending Tennessee Tech. Shortly after, they moved to Dalton, Georgia where they put down roots and joined First Presbyterian Church, the faith family that taught Stephen that he was first and foremost a beloved child of God. It was this community that taught Stephen that it was OK to have questions and doubts and that nothing he could do could every possibly separate him from the love of God. In 1995, his sister, Sarah Kate, joined the family and Stephen began his journey as a life-long musician. Since then, he has found a love of music and has found this gift particularly fitting for his call to ministry. Among the instruments that he enjoys are piano, trumpet, guitar, and handbells. Stephen has always had a love of singing and congregation song. An avid member of the marching band, Stephen was the drum major of his high school's marching band. In 2006, Stephen began his tenure at Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC where he majored in Religion and minored in History. While attending PC, Stephen continued to explore his love of music by participating in the Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, Jazz Combo, Jazz Trio, as well as playing in the PC Handbell ensemble and playing mandolin and banjo PC's very own bluegrass/rock group, Hosegrass, of which Stephen was a founding member (Hosegrass even released their own CD!). In 2010, Stephen moved from Clinton to Atlanta to attend Columbia Theological Seminary to pursue God's call on his life to be a pastor in the PC(USA). During this time, Stephen worked at Trinity Presbyterian Church, Silver Creek Presbyterian Church, Central Presbyterian Church, and Westminster Presbyterian Church. For three years, Stephen served as the Choir Director of Columbia Theological Seminary's choir and also served as the Interim Music Director at Westminster Presbyterian Church. In 2014, Stephen graduated from Columbia with a Masters of Divinity and a Masters of Arts in Practical Theology with an emphasis in liturgy, music, and worship. In July of 2014, Stephen was installed an ordained as Teaching Elder at Shelter Island Presbyterian Church in Shelter Island, NY. Later that year, Stephen married the love of his life, Tricia, and they share their home on Shelter Island with their Golden Doodle, Elsie, and their calico cat, Audrey. In addition to his work with the people who are Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, Stephen currently serves as a commission from Long Island Presbytery to the Synod of the Northeast and, beginning in January of 2016, will moderate the Synod's missions team.