June 11, 2023 - Home Worship

For the week of June 11-17 – 2nd Sunday after Pentecost

Morning Prayer New every morning is Your love, Great God of light, and all day long You are working for good in the world. Stir up our desire to serve You, to live peacefully with our neighbors, and to devote each day to Your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ the Lord. Amen. (UM Book of Worship)

Hymn #657 This Is the Day

This is the day, this is the day, that the Lord hath made, that the Lord hath made.

Let us rejoice, let us rejoice, and be glad in it, and be glad in it.

This is the day that the Lord hath made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

This is the day, this is the day, that the Lord hath made.

Psalm 50:7-15

50:7 "Hear, O my people, and I will speak, O Israel, I will testify against you. I am God, your God.

50:8 Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you; your burnt offerings are continually before Me.

50:9 I will not accept a bull from your house, or goats from your folds.

50:10 For every wild animal of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills.

50:11 I know all the birds of the air, and all that moves in the field is Mine.

50:12 "If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and all that is in it is Mine.

50:13 Do I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?

50:14 Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High.

50:15 Call on Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me."

Children’s Time Romans 4:20-25

No distrust made him (Abraham) waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, being fully convinced that God was able to do what He had promised. Therefore his faith “was reckoned to him as righteousness.”

Now the words, “it was reckoned to him,” were written not for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification.

Children’s Message 

We have faith in many things. We each had faith in the chairs we are seated in. Our experience with chairs has given us the faith to sit in them. Our experience has been that the chairs will hold our weight. Each time we sit, we are supported. Now, if we sit down on a chair and it would break, fold up under us, or tip us over, we would be very cautious as to where we sit. Because we have found the chairs to be faithful, we can trust the chair.

This works the same way with God. Paul tells us that Abraham grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, being fully convinced that God was able to do what He had promised. Abraham’s experience with God gave him the ability to grow his faith deeply. We can grow our faith in God, too. We can count on God’s promises, because God is faithful.

Prayers of Intercession:  Thank You, Lord, for hearing our prayers for those dear to our hearts.  We now pray as You have 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 sins, as we forgive those who sin 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. 

Offering spotlight: VBS Thursdays!  A free summer fun night each week, lavishing the love of God on children; showing them the way to Jesus Christ by personifying His Spirit.    

Offering prayer: God of eternity and God of the next moment: we offer our gifts today having heard Your call through Jesus to follow. Remind us again this day that being a follower doesn’t end at the offering plate. There is a weight to this call – one that demands we not only say “yes” to following but that we also say “no” to thousands of things that will lead us away from the discipleship path. Guide us that we might not wander off that road. In Christ, we pray. Amen. (Discipleship Ministries)

Hymn of Preparation #698 God of the Ages

  1. God of the ages, whose almighty hand leads forth in beauty all the starry band
    of shining worlds in splendor through the skies,

our grateful songs before Thy throne arise.

  1. Thy love divine hath led us in the past; in this free land with Thee our lot is cast;
    be Thou our ruler, guardian, guide, and stay, Thy Word our law,

Thy paths our chosen way.

  1. From war's alarms, from deadly pestilence, be Thy strong arm our ever sure defense;
    Thy true religion in our hearts increase; Thy bounteous goodness nourish us in peace.
  2. Refresh Thy people on their toilsome way; lead us from night to never-ending day;
    fill all our lives with love and grace divine, and glory, laud, and praise be ever Thine.

Scripture:  Matthew 9:9-13

As Jesus was walking along, He saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and He said to him, “Follow Me.” And he got up and followed Him. And as He sat at dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were sitting with Him and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when He heard this, He said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”

Message:  Pastor Becky

One of the most important tasks in reading and studying scripture is identifying ourselves correctly in it, because our goal should be to be transformed by it. After all, we believe it to be living words that continue to speak to us as a channel of God’s grace, building our faith and bearing witness to it in the world.

Jesus was out and about, sees Matthew, calls him to follow and Matthew joins Jesus and His disciples. For supper that night, they are joined by other tax collectors and sinners. This gets the attention of the Pharisees.

Now before we get too far, let’s talk about the Pharisees. They were the religious leaders. They knew their prayers, paid their tithe. They were the pillars of their community. They assembled for worship. They responded to the law and knew their scriptures. They cared for their neighbor and responded to the needs of the widow, the orphan and the stranger among them. They had connections with the Temple and the synagogues. And they were noticing Jesus – He is on their radar. Jesus is one of them in every way I described them. They are of the same upbringing, same religious background, same family lines. What has gotten their attention is the way in which Jesus invites any and all into His presence. Jesus has no limits or boundaries in the way of people.

They chastise Jesus for this and then Jesus speaks and points them to His mission with one simple instruction: Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy, not sacrifice.

This instruction is for us. Its urgency may be even greater for us as we look at what has become of the mission; what has passed as understanding and embracing of Jesus and His teachings.

So - mercy… Jesus is quoting Hosea 6:6 “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” As I have said numerous times, Jesus didn’t say anything new; He, while Son of God, is a prophet and continues to call God’s people back to the relationship. This coming back to God isn’t to place us in a box for safekeeping until death to release us into life. We are called back to be a vessel of this steadfast love of God. The private devotion counts for nothing, if the public, the way we live out our lives with each other and creation aren’t marked by relationship. You can read your scriptures, meditate on your devotions, say your prayers – but if that effort or time with God doesn’t transform your outward self, it is pointless, really an all for naught.

Mercy is the character of God. Jesus proclaims in it in the Beatitudes, Matthew 5:7 “Blessed are the merciful for they will receive mercy.” and again in the Sermon on Plain in Luke 6:36 “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” Mercy is compassion in action. Mercy works against injustice and oppression. Mercy sees the plight of the marginalized and works for their inclusion, to see their dignity restored. Mercy is what breaks our hearts and moves us to their side.

The opposite of mercy for Jesus is sacrifice.

We are talking about sacrifice in its basest sense. Think of the Temple system. Something had to die: a dove, a bull, a ram, or a lamb for the restoration of the relationship with God.

The tax collectors and sinners, the ones Jesus is inviting in were the outcasts and without help – they would be sacrifices – allowed to die in their sin or allowed to die because of another’s sin acted upon them.

The poor, the widow, the orphan, and the stranger all offered up as sacrifice to appease a righteous sense of the law and to comfort those discomforted by their existence.

Our prayer at the communion table is that we present ourselves as a holy living sacrifice – a continuous, over and over and over giving ourselves up, putting our physical bodies in the way of oppression and injustice: tasking our minds to understanding and defeating the systems that would oppress and criminalize; allowing our hearts to constantly be open and broken for the “others” of the world.

GO and LEARN – this isn’t something we do here huddled together, hiding from the world – but what we do in community, using and embracing the power of the Holy Spirit to fully live into Jesus’ desire that steadfast love – MERCY – will follow so sacrifice is no more, so none would be lost.

Hymn #467 Trust and Obey

  1. When we walk with the Lord in the light of His word,

what a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still, and with all who will trust and obey.

Refrain: Trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus,

but to trust and obey.

  1. Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share, but our toil He doth richly repay;
    not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross, but is blest if we trust and obey. (Refrain)
  2. But we never can prove the delights of His love until all on the altar we lay;
    for the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows, are for them who will trust and obey.
  3. Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet, or we'll walk by His side in the way;
    what He says we will do, where He sends we will go; never fear, only trust and obey.

Go into your week with the blessings of The Father, The Son, The Holy Spirit.