Worship service February 21, 2021

We will be celebrating communion this morning. Before you begin, you may want to gather a piece of bread or cracker and some juice or water for participation in communion later in the service.

Prayer for Peace & Lighting of Peace Candle    Voices Together (VT) 1048

Let the rain come and wash away the ancient grudges, the bitter hatreds held and nurtured over generations. Let the rain wash away the memory of the hurt, the neglect.

Then let the sun come out and fill the sky with rainbows. Let the warmth of the sun heal us wherever we are broken.

Let it burn away the fog so that we can see each other clearly, so that we can see beyond labels, beyond accents, gender, or skin color.

Let the warmth and brightness of the sun melt our selfishness, so that we can share the joys and feel the sorrows of our neighbors.

And let the light of the sun be so strong that we will see all people as our neighbors.

Let the earth nourished by rain, bring forth flowers to surround us with beauty. And let the mountains teach our hearts to reach upward to heaven. Amen.

-moment of silence-

 

 

Call to Worship         Voices Together (VT) 869

Group 1: We are a covenant people, called to God by God, generation through generation.

Group 2: We are a covenant people, called to Jesus by Jesus, losing our life to gain our life.

Together: We are a covenant people, called to church by the church, weaving together the strong and the weak, the stranger and the friend.

Group 1: Renamed.

Group 2: Reborn.

Together: Renewed. We gather ourselves in the community of believers. We gather ourselves with you.

Presentation of Bible to Charley

Charley, it is our tradition to present new Bibles to 3rd graders, and this morning it is a special joy to present you with the gift of this Bible from our church. As a Christian Education Commission, Dayle, Cora, Rose Marie and I (Donna) have chosen this Bible, the New International Version Adventure Bible. In addition to the standard writings, this Bible has a number of fun features to highlight passages, verses, and themes. (Show her)

Words to Treasure/Did you Know?/Life in Bible Times/People in Bible Times

Our hope for you is you become acquainted with this new Bible, with the stories contained in it the special verses and passages, and the words of Jesus and that it may become an important part of your

Christian life. We have asked your parents to come and read to you a verse or a passage that is special to them and then we will close with a prayer.

Our Heavenly Father, We ask that you bless Charley and be with her as she grows in her Christian faith. Be also with our church as we strive to teach and be models of Christian love for her and others in our lives. We ask this in your name. Amen.

Opening Hymn  What is this place HWB 1/VT 10

Sharing and Prayer (On the top of the sermon attache to this email)

Children’s Story        “The Log and the Speck”

Scripture        Matthew 7:1-5

7 “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye?’ You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your own eye.

Sermon   “Laying Aside Judgment” – Pastor Rose Marie (see attached)

Hymn  There’s a wideness in God’s mercy HWB 145/VT 156

(video is a different tune and slightly different words…but words are included)

Communion

Prayer of confession STS 172

Before I share in Jesus’s life in bread and wine, I recognize the sorry things within: these I lay down.

(silent prayer)

 

The words of hope I often failed to give, the prayers of kindness buried in my pride, the signs of care I argued out of sight: these I lay down.

(silent prayer)

 

The narrowness of vision and of mind, the need for other folk to serve my will, and every word and silence meant to hurt: these I lay down.

(silent prayer)

 

Of those around in whom I meet my Lord, I ask their pardon and I grant them mine, that every contradiction to Christ’s peace might be laid down. these I lay down.

(silent prayer)

 

Lord Jesus Christ, companion at this feast, I empty now my heart and stretch my hands, and ask to meet you here in bread and wine which you lay down. Amen.

 

Reading from 1 Corinthians 11: 23 -26

23 For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

 

Blessing for the bread –

Holy God, we pray your blessing on this sacred symbol of Christ’s body. May we receive and partake of this bread in faith, recalling the life and death of Jesus Christ. Increase our gratitude and obedience. In the name of Christ we pray. Amen.

Take the bread in your hand – As we eat this bread, may we affirm our faith in words first spoken by Christians many centuries ago: “The bread which we break is the communion of Christ, our Lord.”

Eat your bread, remembering.

 

Blessing for the cup –

Holy and loving God, we pray your blessing upon this sacred symbol of the blood of Jesus the Christ. Our hearts are lifted in thanksgiving for love poured out. As in faith we drink this cup, may your forgiveness and your divine spirit be poured afresh into our lives through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Take the cup in your hand – In humble thanksgiving and joy for life so freely given, we repeat once again our statement of faith: “The cup which we drink is the communion of the Christ, our Lord.”

Drink the juice, remembering.

 

After Communion prayer – O God, you are never far from us. You reach out and touch as through your Spirit, through symbols, and through the hands of those we love. We are deeply grateful to have a place at your table and to share in this sacred food. By your grace may we continue on our pilgrimage, carrying into all of life the saving love of the Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.

Hymn of Response  Put peace into each other’s hands     STJ 87/VT 485

Benediction   VT 946

In deep gratitude for this moment, this meal, these people both gathered and spread apart, we give ourselves to you. Send us to live as changed people because we have shared the Living Bread and cannot remain the same.

Ask much of us, expect much from us enable much by us, encourage many through us. So God may we glorify you as inhabitants of earth and citizens of heaven. Amen.

Worship Service February 7, 2021

Sherri Sinders – quilt, Linda Ediger – banner, Sara Stucky – painting, David Toews – ceramic turtle, Pastor Rose Marie  – poetry book, Randall Kaufman – cross, altar display – Nancy Krehbiel & Kathy Sawatzky

Prayer for Peace & Lighting of Peace Candle   

Helene McLeod, England Timeless Prayers for Peace

Enfolded in your love, O mother God, may we be freed from fears we dare not name or face; may we release the tears that we hold back in case our hearts will drown in grief for past or future sorrow, and in your arms may we find peace and strength to live each precious day; there may be no tomorrow. You made us to be loved and loving; though it hurts when we reject your love, you love us still. Your arms outstretched ache to embrace and hold us while you whisper: all is well; fear not, all shall be well. All we need do is to take the gift of love and grace you offer, and lay our head upon your shoulder, let go of all that frightens and confuses and lose our fear and find deep peace in your enfolding, loving God, our Mother.

– moment of silence –

Call to Worship

Come together, everyone and bring your stories and sing your songs and share in the Spirit. Let your feelings paint the sky like a rainbow of banners and ballrooms. Let your thoughts fill the air and come to life in bodies of sounds ringing out like a song to which the whole world will be dancing. And let even the silence speak with a thousand voices in tribute to our loving, living God and in celebration of our lives – the priceless gift God has given us.   –John W. Howell          

Reprinted by permission of the publishers from Touch Holiness, ed. Ruth C. Duck and Maren C. Tirabassi. ©1990 by The Pilgram Press.

 

Opening Hymn  When in our music, God is glorified  HWB 44

Sharing and Prayer (see top of sermon)

Offering Prayer

God of the Fertile Fields  HWB 390

Children’s Story – “The Art of Biblical Poetry”

Scripture        Psalm 139:1-18

O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down,
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
    O Lord, you know it completely.
You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is so high that I cannot attain it.

Where can I go from your spirit?
    Or where can I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
    if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
If I take the wings of the morning
    and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light around me become night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is as bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

13 For it was you who formed my inward parts;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
    Wonderful are your works;
that I know very well.
15     My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.
In your book were written
    all the days that were formed for me,
    when none of them as yet existed.
17 How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 I try to count them—they are more than the sand;
    I come to the end—I am still with you.

Sermon   “Spirituality through the written word” – Pastor Rose Marie (see attachment)

Hymn of Response  Take my life and let it be   HWB 389

Benediction    STS 157

Bless the work of our hands, O God.

Bless the hands that move earth, plant seed and harvest, hands with calluses and dirty fingernails, strong hands.

Bless the hands that drive cars and trucks and forklifts, hands that spend time on computer keyboards, capable hands.

Bless the hands that manufacture and create, working wood and metal and plastic, practical hands.

Bless the hands that wash, mop and scrub, hands that know what to do with soap, determined hands.

Bless the hands that play instruments and hold paintbrushes, hands that are creative tools, artistic hands.

Bless the hands that cook and feed, heal and nurture, hands with a gentle touch, loving hands.

Bless the hands that give away money or food, hands that are always trying to be empty, Christ-like hands.

Our hands do the work of your hands, O God our Creator. Amen.

Worship January 31, 2021

Spirituality and the Arts 4: Visual Arts

Sherri Sinders – quilt, Linda Ediger – banner, Sara Stucky – painting, David Toews – ceramic turtle, Pastor Rose Marie  – poetry book, Randall Kaufman – cross, altar display – Nancy Krehbiel & Kathy Sawatzky

Prayer for Peace & Lighting of Peace Candle

With so much sadness and loss in our world right now, collected from and increasing since last year; with the turmoil in our world and in our lives right now, this morning we come to God asking for peace for ourselves as we walk this journey.

Hear these words from Psalm 121:

I lift up my eyes to the hills—from where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. The Lord will not let your foot be moved; the One who keeps you will not slumber. The Lord who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all evil; the Lord will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and forevermore. Amen.

– moment of silence –

Call to Worship         HWB 670

Our God, we gather to worship you, the One who creates all things.

For the gift of creation, we give thanks.

We gather to worship you, the One who brings salvation through Jesus Christ.

For the gift of redemption, we give thanks.

We gather to worship you, the One who sustains us by the Spirit.

For the gift of your presence, we give thanks.

We bring to you our offerings of thanks and praise for all your gifts.

We worship you – our Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer. Amen.

Opening Praise  All creatures of our God and King   HWB 48

Words by St. Francis of Assisi

Sharing and Prayer (see attachment to the email)

Children’s Story – “Does God care about art?”

Scripture        Exodus 31:1-11

The Lord spoke to Moses: See, I have called by name Bezalel son of Uri son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: and I have filled him with divine spirit, with ability, intelligence, and knowledge in every kind of craft, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, in every kind of craft. Moreover, I have appointed with him Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and I have given skill to all the skillful, so that they may make all that I have commanded you: the tent of meeting, and the ark of the covenant, and the mercy seat that is on it, and all the furnishings of the tent, the table and its utensils, and the pure lampstand with all its utensils, and the altar of incense, and the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the basin with its stand, 10 and the finely worked vestments, the holy vestments for the priest Aaron and the vestments of his sons, for their service as priests, 11 and the anointing oil and the fragrant incense for the holy place. They shall do just as I have commanded you.

Sermon   “Spirituality through visual arts” – Pastor Rose Marie

Hymn of Response  We give thee but thine own  HWB 384 (This hymn was most likely intended to be specific to money, but can also be thought of as our gifts of creativity and art!)

Benediction    STJ 160

As water falls on dry tea leaves and brings out their flavor, so may your Spirit fall on us and renew us, so we may bring refreshment and joy to others. Amen.

Worship January 24, 2021

Sherri Sinders – quilt, Linda Ediger – banner, Sara Stucky – painting, David Toews – ceramic turtle, Pastor Rose Marie  – poetry book, Randall Kaufman – cross

Spirituality and the Arts 3:   Shall we Dance?

Prelude “Amen, We Praise Your Name, O God” Performed by Jubilate Ringers and Ben Smeaton, percussion

Prayer for Peace & Lighting of Peace Candle

God of Love, We’ve Known Division
God of love, we’ve known division and we’ve seen its awful cost.
We have struggled as a nation, and there’s much that we have lost.
We have been a house divided — and, divided, we can’t stand.
May our nation be united; give us peace throughout this land.

Turn us, Lord, from what divides us — fear that drives us far apart,
greed that leads to great injustice, racist ways that break your heart.
May we seek what brings together — hearts that bear each other’s pain,
care and mercy toward our neighbors, love that welcomes strangers in.

May we all, in conversation, speak the truth and listen well.
May we hear, across this nation, stories others have to tell.
May we learn from other cultures and be blessed by their worldview;
May we serve with one another — loving others, loving you.

You have challenged us to goodness; you have shown a kinder way.
It’s your love that now inspires us as we seek a better day.
May we end our harsh division; may we stop the hate and fear.
Make us one, Lord, as a nation; may we be united here.

                                                – Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, 2020, used by permission

-moment of silence-

Call to Worship[i]       

Laugh! Children of God!

Let tears of joy baptize your eyes and your cheeks.

Give God thanks and celebrate!

It’s great to be alive!

It’s great to be alive!

Dance! Children of God!

Lose yourself in the choreography of the Spirit.

Life is a dance and God is the orchestra.

It’s great to be alive!

It’s great to be alive!

Embrace! Children of God!

Open your arms and feel close to each other.

It is in our openness where life takes on meaning.

It’s great to be alive!

Give God thanks and celebrate!

It’s great to be alive!

-John. W. Howell

[i] Reprinted by permission of the publishers from Touch Holiness, ed. Ruth C. Duck and Maren C. Tirabassi. ©1990 by The Pilgram Press.

 

Opening Praise  (Note the difference between body movements in these.  Both songs are from Africa, the first sung by a (mostly) white high school choir, the second an African worship service.)

Asithi: Amen (South African Hymn)  HWB 64

Sizohamba naye (Swaziland)   STJ 78 Cape town Christian tabernacle choir

Sharing and Prayer  (see top of sermon attached to this email)                                        

The Lord’s Prayer, liturgical dance

Children’s Story        “David dances before the Lord”

Scripture        Exodus 15:20-21; 2 Samuel 6:12-23

20 Then the prophet Miriam, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand; and all the women went out after her with tambourines and with dancing. 21 And Miriam sang to them:

“Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;
horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.”

Exods 12 It was told King David, “The Lord has blessed the household of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God.” So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the city of David with rejoicing; 13 and when those who bore the ark of the Lord had gone six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fatling. 14 David danced before the Lord with all his might; David was girded with a linen ephod. 15 So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet. 16 As the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal daughter of Saul looked out of the window, and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord; and she despised him in her heart. 17 They brought in the ark of the Lord, and set it in its place, inside the tent that David had pitched for it; and David offered burnt offerings and offerings of well-being before the Lord. 18 When David had finished offering the burnt offerings and the offerings of well-being, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts, 19 and distributed food among all the people, the whole multitude of Israel, both men and women, to each a cake of bread, a portion of meat, and a cake of raisins. Then all the people went back to their homes. 20 David returned to bless his household. But Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, “How the king of Israel honored himself today, uncovering himself today before the eyes of his servants’ maids, as any vulgar fellow might shamelessly uncover himself!” 21 David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me in place of your father and all his household, to appoint me as prince over Israel, the people of the Lord, that I have danced before the Lord. 22 I will make myself yet more contemptible than this, and I will be abased in my own eyes; but by the maids of whom you have spoken, by them I shall be held in honor.” 23 And Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death.

Sermon   “Shall we dance?” – Pastor Rose Marie (attached to email)

Hymn of Response  I am the Lord of the Dance (Sing & Rejoice 67)

The video is a ballet, almost portrayed as a 100% upbeat celebratory dance. It doesn’t seem to adequately display all of the emotion that go with the words.  I invite you to listen to the music and make some of your own body movements that express the words of this song.

Benediction    STJ 158

From where we are to where you need us,

Jesus, now lead on.

From the security of what we know to the adventure of what you will reveal,

Jesus now lead on.

To refashion the fabric of this world until it resembles the shape of your kingdom,

Jesus, now lead on.

Because good things have been prepared for those who love God,

Jesus, no lead on. Amen.

Postlude Cotuit Federated Church Tambourine Band – When the Saints Go Marching In

Worship service Jan. 17, 2021

Spirituality and the Arts 2: Musical Preferences

 

Prayer for Peace & Lighting of Peace Candle

 

Blessing In The Chaos

To all that is chaotic in you,

let there come silence.

Let there be a calming of the clamoring, a stilling of the voices that have laid their claim on you,

that have made their home in you, that go with you even to the holy places but will not let you rest,

will not let you hear your life with wholeness or feel the grace that fashioned you.

Let what distracts you cease.

Let what divides you cease.

Let there come an end to what diminishes and demeans, and let depart all that keeps you in its cage.

Let there be an opening into the quiet that lies beneath the chaos,

where you find the peace you did not think possible

and see what shimmers within the storm.

—Jan Richardson from The Cure for Sorrow: A Book of Blessings for Times of Grief

 

-moment of silence-

 

Call to Worship         STS 138

Almighty God, clothe us in the mantle of praise

that we may always rejoice

in proclaiming your glory

and in receiving your blessings,

through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Opening Hymn  Great is the Lord   HWB 87

 

Sharing and Prayer (at the beginning of the sermon) attached to the email)

 

Scripture        Psalm 150

Praise the Lord!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty firmament![a]
Praise him for his mighty deeds;
    praise him according to his surpassing greatness!

Praise him with trumpet sound;
    praise him with lute and harp!
Praise him with tambourine and dance;
    praise him with strings and pipe!
Praise him with clanging cymbals;
    praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!

Children’s Story   “8 Musical Instruments in the Bible”

and “What did King David’s Lyre Sound Like?”

Sermon   “Music Preferences” – Pastor Rose Marie

Hymn of Response  Come, thou almighty King   HWB 41

(You might want to start video at 1:00, which is where the singing starts.)

Benediction    STJ 160

As water falls on dry tea leaves

and brings out their flavor,

so may your Spirit fall on us and renew us

so we may bring refreshment and joy to others.

Worship service January 10, 2021

Prelude           I will follow – Chris Tomlin

Prayer for Peace & Lighting of Peace Candle

-moment of silence-

Call to Worship         Psalm 96          (The Inclusive Bible)

Sing to Yahweh a new song! Sing to Yahweh, all the earth!

Sing to Yahweh, bless God’s Name! Proclaim God’s salvation day after day;

declare God’s glory among the nations, God’s marvels to every people.

Yahweh is great, most worthy of praise; Yahweh is to be revered above all gods.

The gods of the nations are nothing, they don’t exist – but Yahweh created the universe!

In God’s presence are splendor and majesty, in God’s sanctuary power and beauty.

Pay tribute to Yahweh, you tribes of the people; pay tribute to the God of glory and power.

Pay tribute to the glorious Name of Yahweh; bring out the offering, and carry it into God’s courts.

Worship Yahweh, majestic in holiness; tremble in God’s presence, all the earth!

Say among the nations, “Yahweh reigns supreme!” The world stands firm and unshakeable:

Yahweh will judge each nation with strict justice.

Let the heavens be glad; let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar and all that it holds!

Let the fields exult and all that is in them! Let all the trees of the forest sing for joy at the presence of Yahweh,

for God is coming. God is coming to rule the earth – to rule the world with justice and its people with truth!

Opening Hymns  We sing to you, O God                STJ 1

Hymn       Follow on!   (words by W. O.   Cushing, 1878)

Sharing and Prayer (see attached sermon/prayers to this email)

STJ 145  

O God, we pray this day:

for all who have a song they cannot sing,

for all who have a burden they cannot bear,

for all who live in chains they cannot break,

for all who wander homeless and cannot return,

for those who are sick and for those who tend them,

for those who wait for loved ones and wait in vain,

for those who live in hunger and for those who will not share their bread,

for those who are misunderstood, and for those who misunderstand,

for those who are captives and for those who are captors,

for those whose words of love are locked within their hearts and for those who yearn to hear those words.

Have mercy upon these, O God. Have mercy upon us all. Amen.

Hymn of Dedication – I have decided to follow Jesus

Children’s story – “Why we Sing” 

(from the viewpoint of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints – the only one on the topic I could find for children, and in this video, theologically not that different from our own)

Scripture        Psalm 100:1-5 (KJV)

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

Sermon   “Voices Together Voices Apart”

 

Hymn of Response  Will you come and follow me   STS 39  (1987)

Benediction                    STS 204

Giver of song, we give thanks for songs that surround us in the dark of night, and for songs that waken us when morning breaks.

Give a song to all who need the comfort and reassurance of your presence: those in trouble or in pain, those overwhelmed by the demands of work, those struggling with additions, and those whose past destroys their peace.

Giver of song, sing through us and bring your world to joy and rest. Amen.

Postlude  – I will follow Jesus            STS 40

Worship service, January 3, 2021

“On the Road”          Epiphany

This year’s Advent theme, “On the Road . . . ,” conveys a sense of movement, of traveling from one point to another. In the story of the magi from the East, they literally took to the road and drew closer to Jesus with each passing step. This rich imagery sets the tone for the Advent season as we seek to move our congregations closer to Jesus, wherever we might find ourselves along the road of faith.

Prelude      The Virgin Mary had a Baby Boy     HWB 202

Prayer for Peace  & Lighting of Peace Candle             

For those who seek a Savior, we lead them to the stable
to the One who was born

to bring freedom, forgiveness, liberty.
For those who seek assurance, we lead them to the Light
to the One who opens eyes to understanding

God’s word, truth.
For those who seek forgiveness, we lead them to a grace
beyond comprehension,

to wholeness, healing,
peace.                                                                                 -from Faith & Worship

– moment of silence –

Call to worship

Adapted from Isaiah 60:4-6; Psalm 72:12

Leader:            Lift up your eyes and look around:

People:            God delivers the needy when they call.

Leader:            Let your hearts thrill and rejoice:

People:            God will deliver the poor and those who have no helper.

Leader:            The nations will bring gold and frankincense before the Lord.

People:            We shall see and be radiant,

All:                  and we will proclaim the praise of the Lord!

 

Opening Hymn       Arise, your light is come!     STS 30

Scripture        Ephesians 3:1-12

This is the reason that I Paul am a prisoner for Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles— for surely you have already heard of the commission of God’s grace that was given me for you, and how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I wrote above in a few words, a reading of which will enable you to perceive my understanding of the mystery of Christ. In former generations this mystery was not made known to humankind, as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: that is, the Gentiles have become fellow heirs, members of the same body, and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Of this gospel I have become a servant according to the gift of God’s grace that was given me by the working of his power. Although I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given to me to bring to the Gentiles the news of the boundless riches of Christ, and to make everyone see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; 10 so that through the church the wisdom of God in its rich variety might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was in accordance with the eternal purpose that he has carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have access to God in boldness and confidence through faith in him.

Sharing and Prayer (See Thursday’s email announcement)

 Offering Prayer   As with gladness men of old      HWB 218

Sermon   “Spiritual Poverty”

By Joshua with Alisha Garber, Barcelona, Spain, courtesy Mennonite Mission Network (MMN)

Hymn of response  Jesus, be the center       STS 31

Benediction    Adapted from Isaiah 60:1

People of God, people on the road: arise and shine!

Go forth in the radiance of God:

            for your light has come

            and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.

Postlude          Beautiful Star of Bethlehem   STS

Christmas Eve 2020

Call to Worship                                             (Words for Worship #13)

I bring you good news: let your hearts be joyful, let your spirits rejoice.

The newborn child is the Savior of the world, the incarnation of the holy God, come among us.

Those who walk in darkness will see shining light.

Those who suffer the yoke of oppression will be set free.

For a child has been born: authority rests upon his shoulders, and there shall be endless peace. He will establish his kingdom and uphold it with justice and righteousness from this time onward and forever.

Our hearts are joyful, our spirits rejoice, for the child-Christ who has come, lives and reigns forever.

Christmas carol         Joy to the World        HWB 318

Scripture        Luke 2:1-20

            In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11 to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17 When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

The Christ candle is lit!      Christ is born!

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Christmas carol      Angels we have heard on high            HWB 197

Christmas carol        Away in a manger     HWB 194   (traditional tune)

Story – “A Place for Christmas” by Lynetta L. Smith, in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Christmas Magic.

Christmas carol         Silent night     HWB 193 – Light your candles, or turn on your flashlight, etc.!

Benediction Prayer                                                   (Words for Worship #15)

Eternal God, Ruler of all worlds and Shepherd of the stars, your glory is revealed in vastness and in power, yet your greatest name is Love. This is the time we remember your gentleness, hidden in a mother’s hope. This is the time we believe again that love is stronger than fear, that peace is stronger than hate, that darkness will never conquer the light. In this season of God-with-us, we offer our gift of gratitude and we make bold to believe that we are graced with your presence, now and forever. Amen.

Worship service December 20, 2020

“On the Road”          Advent 4

This year’s Advent theme, “On the Road . . . ,” conveys a sense of movement, of traveling from one point to another. In the story of the magi from the East, they literally took to the road and drew closer to Jesus with each passing step. This rich imagery sets the tone for the Advent season as we seek to move our congregations closer to Jesus, wherever we might find ourselves along the road of faith.

Prayer for Peace &   Lighting of Peace Candle

This morning you are invited to think of a place, person, or situation that is in need of peace and hold that in silence before God’s healing love.

– moment of silence –

Call to worship         Adapted from Psalm 89:1-2, 26

Leader: We will sing of your steadfast love, O Lord, forever;

People: we will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations.

Leader: We declare that your steadfast love is established forever;

People: your faithfulness is as firm as the heavens.

All:          You are our God, and the  Rock of our salvation!

Opening Hymn  O come, all ye faithful  HWB 212

Scripture        Luke 1:26-38

26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34 Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. 36 And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

Hymn    O little town of Bethlehem   HWB 191

Sharing and Prayer (see attached email)

Offering Prayer HWB 388

Grant us, Lord, the grace of giving with a spirit large and free,

that ourselves and all our living we may offer unto thee.

Christmas Story    “An Orange for Frankie”    by Patricia Polacco

Hymn of Response  Carol of the Bells

Benediction

People of God, people on the road: as you go forth, find rest and security in the knowledge that the God you serve is faithful, a God whose promises will be fulfilled.

Worship service Dec. 13, 2020

“On the Road”          Advent 3

This year’s Advent theme, “On the Road . . . ,” conveys a sense of movement, of traveling from one point to another. In the story of the magi from the East, they literally took to the road and drew closer to Jesus with each passing step. This rich imagery sets the tone for the Advent season as we seek to move our congregations closer to Jesus, wherever we might find ourselves along the road of faith.

Prayer for Peace &   Lighting of Peace Candle

Mary’s song – can we sing it on a bleak mid-winter midnight

   while we wait for good news and the violence just gets worse

   and the people keep dying?

Is the Child winning the battle and we just can’t see well enough?

But we can pray – that the hope of the world keeps being born in us and God will do the rest.

Diane Zaerr Brenneman, Words for Worship 2

-moment of silence-

Call to worship

Adapted from Psalm 126:2-6

Leader: The Lord has done great things for us, and so we rejoice!

People: Our mouths are filled with laughter, and our tongues with shouts of joy.

Leader: Those who sow in tears will reap shouts of joy.

People: Those who go out weeping will come home with shouts of joy.

All:         The Lord has done great things for us—we rejoice!

Opening Hymn  It came upon a midnight clear   HWB 195

Scripture        Luke 1:46b-55 “Mary’s song”

My soul magnifies the Holy One,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for you have looked with favor on the lowliness of your servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for you, O Mighty One, have done great things for me,
and holy is your name.
Your mercy is for those who fear you
from generation to generation.
You have shown strength with your arm;
you have scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
You have brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
you have filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
You have helped your servant Israel,
in remembrance of your mercy,
according to the promise you made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and Hagar and Sarah and to their descendants forever.

Hymn  What child is this (HWB 215) & Helpless and hungry (STS 26) – with lyrics

Sharing and Prayer (see attachment to email)

Offering Prayer         HWB 750

Generous God, we thank you for gifts that belong not to us alone, but to all our human family, since they, too, are created in your image. Let their need become our need; let their hunger become our hunger; and grant to us also a portion of their pain, so that in sharing ourselves, we discover the Christ who walks with all of us. Amen.

Special Music “For everyone born” by Shirley Erena Murray

Children’s Story                “Joy”      

Scripture        John 1:6-8, 19-28

 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.  19 This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, “I am not the Messiah.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” He answered, “No.” 22 Then they said to him, “Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’” as the prophet Isaiah said. 24 Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. 25 They asked him, “Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?” 26 John answered them, “I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, 27 the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.” 28 This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.

Sermon           Pastor Rose Marie Zook Barber (see attachment to email)

Hymn of Response  Joy to the world     HWB 318

Benediction    Sing the Story 201

All the broken hearts shall rejoice; all those who are heavy laden, whose eyes are tired and who do not see, shall be lifted up to meet with the Motherly Healer.

The battered souls and bodies shall be healed; the hungry shall be fed; the imprisoned shall be free.

All earthly children shall remain joy in the reign of the just and loving One coming for you coming for me in this in this world. Praise God!