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Sunday, May 17th Worship Service

Online Video Posting
Sixth Sunday of Easter
The Original Congregational Church



Order of Worship




PRELUDE            “Shelter in Peace”              Giulio Cetto, electric & double basses
This composition was awarded First-place by the San Francisco Music Relief Fund

OPENING HYMN No. 446       I Need Thee Every Hour, Most Gracious Lord
Please rise, turn up your speaker, and sing along. There are two verses

READING OF PSALM 66 (vs. 8-9, 13-14, 16-20)                     OCC Worship Committee
“All people, bless our God, and let the sound of God’s praise be heard”

CHILDREN’S MESSAGE “Fishing in the River of Life”

ANTHEM         “Down to the River to Pray”      Traditional American Spiritual             Chancel Choir

Psalm 66:8-20 selected verses
Bless our God, O peoples, let the sound of praise be heard, who has kept us among the living, and has not let our feet slip. For you, O God, have tested us and tried us. We went through fire and through water. I will come into your house with burnt offerings; I will pay you my vows, those I promised when I was in trouble. Truly God has listened to the words of my prayers. Blessed be God because God did not reject my prayer or remove God’s steadfast love from me.

John 7:37-38
While Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.”

SERMON “The River of Prayer”
A sermon delivered by Rev. Kenneth C. Landin
Lyrics from Roger McGuinn, Pete Townshend, Nick Drake

“Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.” John 7:38

The sea refuses no river. God refuses no prayer. Whether pure as a mountain stream or filled with the run off from fields and factories, a river never stops pouring a pathway to the sea. Flow river flow. Flow to the sea. Let your waters wash over me. Take me to the sea!

We are awash in tears. We can hear the waterfall of women weeping for their children that are no more. We see students shedding tears for moments with their school friends that will remain forever missed. Out of our soul flows a deep well-spring of tears that swells this river of prayer.

God is crying. The world is crying. Jesus says, “out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.” This is the coming of the Holy Spirit. The river is the teacher. The Spirit is the helper, the giver, the guide. This river of prayer is pulling us out of this place. Don’t resist.

We are all going down to this river. Wherever it flows is where we want to be. It’s time each of us tells the river all we can. Its promise is a new destination and a return back home. Jesus’ promise of the Spirit is not more of the same. The Spirit is shaping us to live in a new way.

We have been tested and tried. We have come through fire and water. In a river of tears the world is being brought out to the sea of love. We will live in the most generous place of abundant life. The river is teaching us how to live, to breathe, and to behave differently.

Stepping into the river of prayer is where we enter into the suffering of others. God is listening to the murmurs, the babbling, the rushing, this running watershed of tears flowing over our attempts to hold it back. We must let go to let it bring us out to safety, security and peace.

The sea refuses no river. God’s love is deeper than the sea. God receives all prayers. Rushing, winding, pouring, comes this river of tears on the way to the healing of the world. The promise of the Spirit is a commitment that started at the top of the mountain in a dark winter storm.

The river flows, it flows to the sea. Wherever this river goes is where we all want to be. Flow river flow let your waters wash over me. Take me down to the river to pray. Take me down to the sea. The sea of healing love is where we all together want to be. Amen.

Let’s go down to the river to pray.

God, the world needs you. We need you God.
We are being tested beyond our limits.
We are being tried beyond belief.
Our trust is in your will to save us.
Through this fire and water, we all need some relief.

Lord, before us there is this mountain to climb.
There are hurdles and stumbling blocks to come.
There is waiting and there is worry as vast as the ocean.
Sometimes we think we just don’t have it in us.
Where is your love? When will it come to us?

Can we make a bargain? You come, and we will love you forever!
You hold us, and we will hold you in our hearts forever.
Take us from this place, please O God, we’ve got to get out of this place.
Take us out of this net of trouble which is holding us back.
Take us to where you need us to be.

Grant us the courage to follow you wherever the Spirit goes.
Let your healing love flow through our hearts to bring healing to others.
Your river, O God, is full of water. Soften the earth with showers. Settle us in peace
All the earth worships you, O God, how awesome are your deeds.
The enemy is receding, it is yielding before your steadfast love.

Thank you for never rejecting our prayers. We bless you for your love.

And we may close with the Lord’s Prayer together saying:

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 debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

DOXOLOGY No. 44        “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow”

CLOSING HYMN No. 281    Spirit of the Living God, Fall a-fresh on Me                                                              Please rise, turn up your speaker, and sing along. There are two verses

POSTLUDE 1  “Why Walk When You Can Fly? / Down to the River to Pray”
Black Spiritual & White Spiritual as partner songs. Picture of Hymn Board with last service in the Sanctuary.
Time lapse pictures of Bells in waning light.

POSTLUDE 2   for Kitchen Dancing
“I Need Thee Every Hour (but I) Don’t Get Around Much Anymore”

Robert Lowry (1872) & Edward ‘Duke’ Ellington (1899-1974), Pictures from past Homeless Awareness weeks.