February 7, 2021 - Home Worship Service

Feb 7th:  

Welcome & Announcements: Good morning church! We continue to offer on-line worship through ZOOM and Facebook Live at 9am on Sundays.

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85441468430?pwd=aEJmcnJ3SGdkbWphMnlRV3JwQ3dXQT09

  Meeting ID: 854 4146 8430        Password: 279040

One tap mobile:  +19294362866,,85441468430#,,,,0#,,279040# US (New York)

For audio only using a landline or non-smart phone:  1 929 436 2866 US (New York)

 

Sermon by PhoneEach week, following the live worship service, Pastor Jenn will upload the service to an account that when you call a local number, you will hear the service.

The number is:1-570-215-3814

You don't have to type in the 1 if you are in the 570 area code. There is no code or password. It takes you directly to the service.

 

You Are Never Alone by Max Lucado Bible Study with Pastor Ron beginning February 16th.

When life feels depleted, does God care? I'm facing an onslaught of challenges; will God help? When life grows dark and stormy, does God notice? I'm facing the fear of death; will God help me? The answer in the life-giving miracles in the Gospel of John is a resounding yes. (see promo at: https://youtu.be/LuCR8n-J0rw )

10am Tuesday mornings in person at the Lighthouse. (Please register with Pastor Ron, there is a limit of 10.) 6:30pm Tuesday evenings with ZOOM and Facebook Live.

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84464947805?pwd=ejRHZ3h3NlVKSGd3MFRoU2NwUTVSZz09

Meeting ID: 844 6494 7805               Passcode: 261088

One tap mobile:  +19294362866,,84464947805#,,,,*261088# US (New York)

For audio only using a landline or non-smart phone:  1 929 436 2866 US (New York)

 

Worship Service:

I invite you to prepare your hearts for worship by lighting a candle and welcoming the presence of the Divine at your home.

 

Call to Worship:

People of God, who do you come to worship?
We come to worship the one true God.
How will you worship?
Not with words alone, but by living lives of justice and love.
Come, you who belong to God. Come, you who are foolish in the eyes of the world.
Come and abide in God's heart, now and forever.

 

Opening Song: Opening Hymn: This is My Father’s World by Donna Farver

https://soundcloud.com/jennifer-parks-snyder/this-is-my-fathers-world-1

 

1. This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears
all nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.

This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought
of rocks and trees, of skies and seas; His hand the wonders wrought.

 

2. This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise,
the morning light, the lily white, declare their maker’s praise.

This is my Father’s world: He shines in all that’s fair;
in the rustling grass I hear Him pass; He speaks to me everywhere.

 

3. This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet. This is my Father’s world: why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King; let the heavens ring! God reigns; let the earth be glad!

 

Opening Prayer; God on high, we bow humbly before You, but we cannot claim to always love kindness and do justice. Though we aspire to achieve this perfection, continue the work of the Spirit in our transformation for Your name’s sake. Amen.

 

Children’s Time: It's our children's time and I want to start with a question I ask you each and every week: Who are you? Children Respond: Special Gifts of God!

 

PJ: That's right, you are special gifts of God each and every day and I'm so lucky to spend time with you!

 

Today is Super Bowl Sunday! Do you have a favorite team you are cheering for? What about a favorite snack you and your family like to eat on Super Bowl Sunday?

 

For the first time in years, our church cannot have our own Soup-er Bowl, where we gather as a church and eat some delicious homemade soup made by our members, and we bring food donations to give to the local food banks. Now usually this gathering was the week before the Super Bowl because we don’t want to miss the game. But here is my challenge to you. Today, go through your cupboards and see if you can find some foods you want to give to the local food bank. Foods that you like, and you know others will, too. And then I want you to ask your parents if you can go together to drop off the food at a local food bank. If you are in our area, you can bring the food to my front porch. I have a box, and I will take it there.

 

It seems to me that is something Jesus would want of us. If we have a favorite food, we should be willing to share that favorite food with others. So, won’t you join me in gathering those items and sharing it with the people in our area who deserve to have some good food, too?

 

Let’s pray: Thank You God, for the Super Bowl and delicious food. Help us share our food with others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Sharing of Joys & Concerns:

Prayer & Lord’s Prayer:

Merciful God in this time of worship we take time to reflect and ponder about our faith in this world. How different it is to follow and believe in You than what most of society tells us. In today’s world we are told it is good to have money, because it will buy us happiness. In today’s world we are told to be strong so we can take what we want. In today’s world we are told to be beautiful because looks can get you anything.

 

But You have given us a different approach to life. Through Your Son, You have taught us what true happiness can be. You have taught us how through You, weaknesses can be strengths, sorrow can be traded for joy, and true beauty comes from the heart. In Your kingdom there is a change from this world, a change that is open and inviting to all. God, may that kingdom be our source of guidance and hope as we try to follow and obey Your will in our lives. Help us be the people who share Your good news with others in the way we support them, care for them, teach them, and pray for them and ourselves as Jesus taught us… 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 trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.  For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Amen. 

Invitation to the Offering:

As we open ourselves to God, we open our hearts to the needs of others. Let us reach out and share what we’ve been given.

 

Offering Prayer: God of grace, as we return to You these gifts for Your work in the world, we covenant with You to live as part of Your blessing on others, as a manifestation of Your love. We pray this through Your grace shown us in Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

Sermon: Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth

 

It’s Superbowl Sunday and if you are like me, you tend to watch the game to see the commercials. I mean the Superbowl commercials have given us classics like the Budweiser frogs (1995), or any 80-year-old asking, “Where’s the Beef” (1984) or the classic Coke commercials featuring Mean Joe Green from 1980, where he gives his jersey to child fan who gave him his Coke and a smile.

 

This year, while the cost of a Superbowl 30-second commercials is $5.5 million, major names like Coke and Budweiser have chosen to sit out.

 

Coca-Cola, which took a hit due to the closure of stadiums and movie theaters during the pandemic, said it "has made the decision to sit this year out of the Big Game. This difficult choice was made to ensure we are investing in the right resources during these unprecedented times. We'll be toasting to our fellow brands with an ice-cold Coke from the sidelines".

 

So, no Clydesdales or Polar Bears will be seen this year and to be honest, isn’t it refreshing that they made those decisions? They looked at the larger picture regarding their employees and the country’s economics.

 

Today our Scripture lesson is going to invite us to be a people who look at the larger picture too, in hopes that what our faith can offer us, will bless the world.

 

Scripture Lesson: Matthew 5:1-5

5 When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2 Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

5 “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

 

So here is the background to this passage. Jesus is beginning His ministry with the people from areas like “Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and from beyond the Jordan” as Matthew 4:25 states. They are following Him because they have heard of the great healings He has given to people. Healings that made their bodies whole. Now Jesus wants to heal their spirit and their minds. To do that, Jesus will have to make clear what is expected of Him from God.

 

You see, while the Israelites had been promised a Messiah from God through various prophets before, the people assumed such a Savior would be a political leader, a king, like David was when he led Israel.

 

For instance, in Jeremiah 23:5 we read, 5 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 6 In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. And this is the name by which he will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness.”

 

However, notice the text says this Savior will deal wisely and execute justice and righteousness, it does not say how this will be done. And so, the first business Jesus needs to convey in His ministry is that He did not come as the Messiah to conquer the world or to overpower others with force, as King David did. Rather through Jesus’ life, through His teachings, His ministry, the world is to recognize the greatest power to rule over us is God’s will. A will based on God’s truth, justice, kindness, love, and faith. Jesus will make it known such things will provide the greatest power to change this world, as God wants. Because what God wants is for us to be blessed, meaning God wants to make things right. And God will make things right, through the just ways that Jesus teaches us, and lives as an example.

 

So, looking at today’s lesson, what does it mean to be meek and blessed to inherit the earth?

It means you recognize the preciousness in what you have, and you look beyond yourself to give it to God to help others.

 

I like the way James writes about it in his 4th chapter of his letter to the churches.

1What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

 

All those things James just lists, are the opposite of meek and humility. But James goes on to write, 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up…. you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”. That my friends, is the meek, those who know it is best to follow God’s will, seeking God’s guidance, God’s way, as revealed through Jesus. Recognizing what you have is from God and should be used to help others. That’s what Jesus did. He helped others to do the same.

 

Think about the story of the feeding of the 5,000. Where the followers of Jesus have stayed with Him all day to hear His words of instruction and inspiration. And the evening comes, and the disciples tell Jesus to send them away, but He wants to feed them. Now all four gospels offer their version of this story, but my favorite comes from John 6 where the food they use to distribute comes from a child, a boy who has 5 loaves of bread and two fish. This young child, who heard and saw Jesus that day, was willing to give up all that he had for Jesus to use and bless others with. In fact, the text ends with, 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.

 

The meek child gave what he had to Jesus, and because he did, all were blessed.

 

To be meek is to be willing to give what you have to God, so God will bless others in Jesus name.

 

When I say the name Mother Teresa, many of you will recall a meek woman. Born in Macedonia to parents of Albanian-descent, in 1928 an 18-year-old Agnes Bojaxhiu decided to answer her call from God to become a nun and so she set off for Ireland to join the Sisters of Loreto in Dublin. It was there that she took the name Sister Mary Teresa after Saint Thérèse of Lisieux (leez yuh), a patron saint of missions.

 

In 1932 she was sent to Calcutta, where she was assigned to teach at Saint Mary's High School for Girls, a school run by the Loreto Sisters and dedicated to teaching girls from the city's poorest Bengali families. Sister Teresa learned to speak both Bengali and Hindi fluently as she taught geography and history and dedicated herself to alleviating the girls' poverty through education.

 

On May 24, 1937, she took her Final Profession of Vows to a life of poverty, chastity, and obedience. As was the custom for Loreto nuns, she took on the title of "Mother" upon making her final vows and thus became known as Mother Teresa.

 

Mother Teresa continued to teach at Saint Mary's, and in 1944 she became the school's principal. Through her kindness, generosity, and unfailing commitment to her students' education, she sought to lead them to a life of devotion to Christ.

 

On September 10, 1946, Mother Teresa experienced a second calling, the "call within a call" she would refer to it as. She was riding in a train from Calcutta to the Himalayan foothills for a retreat when she said Christ spoke to her and told her to abandon teaching to work in the slums of Calcutta aiding the city's poorest and sickest people.

 

Mother Teresa quickly translated her calling into concrete actions to help the city's poor. After six months of basic medical training, she voyaged for the first time into Calcutta's slums with no more specific a goal than to aid "the unwanted, the unloved, the uncared for." In October 1950, she founded the Missionaries of Charity. Word spread of her charity and donations poured in from around India and across the globe. Over the course of the 1950s and 1960s, she established a leper colony, an orphanage, a nursing home, a family clinic, and a string of mobile health clinics.

 

In 1971, Mother Teresa traveled to New York City to open her first American-based house of charity.

In 1982 during the seize of Beirut, Mother Teresa travelled through a war zone to evacuate 37 children. In 1985, Mother Teresa returned to New York and opened Gift of Love, a home to care for those infected with HIV/AIDS. And in 1986 Mother Teresa assisted following the Chernobyl explosion clean up.

Everywhere she went, she gave her entire self to God to be used to help and bless others.

 

In 1979, Mother Teresa received the Nobel Peace Prize for her humanitarian work. And by the time of her death in 1997, the Missionaries of Charity numbered more than 4,000 nuns and ran hundreds of orphanages, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and clinics around the world.

 

As one of her Vatican colleagues stated, “She built an empire of charity...she didn’t have a plan to conquer the world. Her idea was to be obedient to God.”[1]

 

Mother Teresa looked at the larger picture around her and knew God needed her to help. She looked beyond herself, asking the question what the Lord’s will is, and her faith led her to give all that she had to follow that will. And while she may never have appeared in a Super Bowl commercial, today Mother Teresa’s name is synonymous with humility, worldwide.

 

Blessed are the meek, because they humble themselves before God, and look at the larger picture, the larger vision of the world and God’s will. And thankfully they will inherit the earth and make it a better place.

 

I want to close with a definition of happiness Saint Teresa was known to share often. It comes from Saint Teresa of Liseaux: (leez yuh)

Happiness

May, today, there be peace within you.
May you trust God, that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities,
that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received,
and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing that you are a child of God.
Let His presence settle into your bones,
and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance,
and to bask in the sun.
It is there for each and every one of you.

 

May it be so. Amen.

 

Closing Song: The Way by LUMC Praise Band

https://soundcloud.com/jennifer-parks-snyder/the-way

 

Through every battle Through every heartbreak Through every circumstance
I believe that You are my fortress Oh, You are my portion And You are my hiding place, oh

Chorus: I believe You are the way, the truth, the life
I believe You are the way, the truth, the life

I believe Through every blessing Through every promise Through every breath I take
I believe that You are Provider Oh, You are Protector You are the One I love, oh Chorus

And it's a new horizon and I'm set on You
And You meet me here today with mercies that are new
All my fears and doubts, they can all come too
Because they can't stay long when I'm here with You
It's a new horizon and I'm set on You
And You meet me here today with mercies that are new
All my fears and doubts They can all come too
Because they can't stay long when  Chorus

Benediction: Mother Teresa often prayed these words before she worked with others: "Give me the strength to be ever the light of their lives, so that I may lead them at last to you." May humility of that prayer, inspire us to do the same, so the earth will know and offer praises to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

 

 

[1] Rev. Bernardo Cervellera, editor of the Vatican-affiliated missionary news agency AsiaNews

 
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