A Service of De-consecration

College Wesleyan Church
The Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost

October 14, 2007

A Service of Word and Table


Opening Sentence (standing)
Where you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge. Even if you are exiled to the ends of the world, from there I will gather you, and from there I will bring you back.

Opening Litany (standing)
Officiant: Throughout the Bible, the history of Israel, and throughout Christian history, God has set aside “sacred spaces” where heaven and earth meet. Such spaces are like the sacraments of baptism and the Eucharist. God sets apart ordinary materials for holy purposes, and they become special mediations of God’s presence and action in us. The Bible is no less of a sacrament, a “place” where ordinary words are set apart for holy purposes, and God’s revelation is mediated.

People: The Chapel of College Wesleyan Church has served such a sacral purpose for us.

Officiant: When the common materials of this building were consecrated to God, God began to use them to mediate His presence and action here. First, this place became symbolic of heaven and God’s presence.

People: We did not treat this space as we would treat ordinary space but as we would treat the very presence of God.

Officiant: But sacred spaces are not merely symbolic, for God graciously transforms symbolism into reality. Not by our action or conceptualization, but through His gracious action the common becomes the holy and ordinary space becomes God’s real presence.

People: Today we return this space to the common and return this place to the earth.

Officiant: God will still be present here, for He is always everywhere present. God might still meet us and act in this space, for God can meet us and act anywhere.

People: But today His glory departs from this room and from this church with us, until He deigns to sanctify new holy ground for us.

The Peace (standing)
Officiant: The peace of the Lord be with you.
People: And with your spirit.

(Take a moment to greet one another)

Introduction to Confession (sitting)

Officiant: We have come together in the presence of Almighty God, our heavenly Father, to render thanks for the great benefits that we have received at his hands, to set forth his most worthy praise, to hear his holy Word, and to ask, for ourselves and on behalf of others, those things that are necessary for our life and our salvation. And so that we may prepare ourselves in heart and mind to worship him, let us kneel in silence as we are able, and with penitent and obedient hearts confess any sins, that we may obtain forgiveness by his infinite goodness and mercy.


Confession (kneeling, as able)

All: Almighty and most merciful Father, we have erred and strayed from your ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against your holy laws. We have left undone those things that we ought to have done, and we have done those things that we ought not to have done.

O Lord, have mercy on us. Spare those who confess their faults. Restore those who are penitent, according to your promises declared to humanity in Christ Jesus our Lord. And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake, that we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life, to the glory of your holy Name. Amen.

Affirmation of Forgiveness
Officiant: The Almighty and merciful Lord grant you forgiveness and remission of all your sins, grant you true repentance, amendment of life, and grant you the grace and consolation of his Holy Spirit.
All: Amen

Scripture and Creed
Invitatory (standing)

Officiant: O Lord, open our lips

People: And our mouth will show forth your praise.

All (sung): Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Psalter (sitting): Psalm 139:7-12, 23-24
Reader: Where can I go from your Spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?

People: If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.

Reader: If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,

People: Even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast.

Reader: If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night,”

People: Even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you.

Reader: Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts.

People: See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Old Testament Lesson (sitting): Exodus 33:12-17

Moses said to the Lord, “See, you have said to me, ‘Bring up this people’; but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.’ Now if I have found favor in your sight, show me your ways, so that I may know you and find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.”

He said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

And he said to him, “If your presence will not go, do not carry us up from here. For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people, unless you go with us? In this way, we shall be distinct, I and your people, from every people on the face of the earth.”

The Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing that you have asked; for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name” (NRSV).

Reader: This is the Word of the Lord.
All: Thanks be to God.

Epistle Lesson (sitting): Hebrews 11:8-10, 13-16
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he stayed for a time in the land he had been promised, as in a foreign land, living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

All of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them. They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth, for people who speak in this way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of the land that they had left behind, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; indeed, he has prepared a city for them (NRSV).

Reader: This is the Word of the Lord.
All: Thanks be to God.

Canticle: Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart
Spirit of God, descend upon my heart;
Wean it from earth; through all its pulses move;
Stoop to my weakness, mighty as Thou art;
And make me love Thee as I ought to love.

Teach me to feel that Thou art always nigh;
Teach me the struggles of the soul to bear.
To check the rising doubt, the rebel sigh,
Teach me the patience of unanswered prayer.

Teach me to love Thee as Thine angels love,
One holy passion filling all my frame;
The kindling of the heaven descended Dove,
My heart an altar, and Thy love the flame.

Gospel Lesson (standing): John 14:1-3, 16:4-16
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. But I have said these things to you so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you about them. “I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts.

Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because they do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned. “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

"A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me” (NRSV).

Reader: This is the Word of the Lord
All: Thanks be to God.

All (spoken): Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

The Nicene Creed (standing)
All: We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten not made, of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made. Who for us and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and of the Virgin Mary and was made man. He was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, suffered and was buried. The third day he rose again according to the Scriptures and ascended into heaven, where He sits at the right hand of the Father. He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead, of whose Kingdom there shall be no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of life, who proceeds from the Father, who together with the Father and the Son is to be adored and glorified, who spoke by the Prophets. We believe in one holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. We confess one baptism for the remission of sins. And we look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Officiant: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you.

Officiant: Let us pray.

Lord’s Prayer (kneeling, as able)

Litany (kneeling, as able)
Officiant: O Lord, show your mercy upon us,
People: And grant us your salvation.

Officiant: O Lord, save our nation.
People: And mercifully hear us when we call upon you.

Officiant: Give peace in our time, O Lord.
People: Because there is none other that fights for us, but only you, O God.

Officiant: Endue your ministers with righteousness
People: And make your people joyful.

Officiant: O God, make clean our hearts within us.
People: And take not your Holy Spirit from us.

Collect of the Day (kneeling, as able)
All present God, who has sanctified this ground as holy ground, has met us here in the body and blood of your Son, has sent your Spirit forth time and time again and created us anew: Go with us from this place today until we find another resting place where we may remove our shoes in the presence of Your holiness, through Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Intercession for the World, the Nation and City, the Church and Us
You may come forward and kneel if you feel led.

Collect for Peace
O God, who are the author of peace and lover of concord, in knowledge of whom stands our eternal life, whose service is perfect freedom, defend us your humble servants in all assaults of our enemies, that we, surely trusting in your defense, may not fear the power of any adversaries, through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Collect for Grace
O Lord, our heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who have safely brought us to the beginning of this day, defend us in the same with your mighty power, and grant that this day we fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger, but that all our doings may be ordered by your governance, to do always what is righteous in your sight, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

A Prayer of St. Chrysostom
Almighty God, who have given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplications to you and do promise that when two or three are gathered together in your name you will grant their requests, fulfill now, O Lord, the desires and petitions of your servants, as may be most expedient for them, granting us in this world knowledge of your truth, and in the world to come, life everlasting.

A Service of Word
(We listen to God’s word on video feed.)

A Service of Table

(Pastor DeNeff will lead us in remembrance of the night when Jesus broke the bread and shared the cup.)

Celebrant: Prayer (sitting)
Therefore, O Lord and heavenly Father, according to the institution of your dear Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, we your humble servants do celebrate and make here before your divine Majesty, this memorial your Son commanded us to make. Make them be for us the body and blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Prayer of Approach (sitting)
Celebrant: Let us pray.
All: We do not presume to come to this your table, merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in your manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under your table. But you are the same Lord whose property is always to have mercy. Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat this sacrament of your Son Jesus Christ, that we may walk in newness of life, may grow into his likeness, and may evermore dwell in him, and he in us. Amen.

The Eucharist

Prayer of Thanks
All: Almighty and ever-living God, we most heartily thank you for feeding us with the spiritual food of the body and blood of your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. And here we offer and present to you, O Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice to you. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, by whom, and with whom, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honor and glory be to you, O Father Almighty, world without end. Amen.

Litany of Thanksgiving
Leader: Blessed be your name, O God, whose word has long gone out in and from this place!

Congregation: Thanks be to God.

Leader: You have met us in the bread and wine and empowered us for the days until you come again.

Congregation: Thanks be to God.

Leader: You have sent out many from within these walls into the world. Your Spirit has blessed countless disciples.

Congregation: Thanks be to God.

Leader: You have begun new ministries here, and new leaders have been empowered and equipped for ministry.

Congregation: Thanks be to God.

Leader: You have listened to the needs and concerns of your people. You have shown us your will and made us one as the body and family of Christ.

Congregation: Thanks be to God.

Leader: You have given birth to new families through marriage. You have made parents and grandparents. You have helped us in life and death.

Congregation: Thanks be to God.

Leader: And now we, Your people, called to fulfill Your purpose, go forward to a new sacred place, to continue Your work, in the power of Your presence.

Congregation: Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!

The Stripping of the Altar

Recessional (in silence)
First the altar cross, then the candles, then the people, then the chalice and plate, then the cloth, and lastly, the crucifix.