June 7, 2020 - Home Worship Service

June 7th Worship

 

Dear Church Family,

As protests continue, and worries prevail, I just want to thank you for your prayers and words that affirm our belief that all are one in Jesus Christ. As Jesus faced racism, ageism, and sexism in His time, the story continues, but as His followers, we do not say "us" and "them", we are all children of God.

Pope Francis released this statement yesterday: "we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life”

And our own Bishop sent out these words: Martin Luther King Jr. broadened the term “beloved community” to describe a society in which no one goes hungry or homeless, racism and bigotry would be overcome by an inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood, and love and trust would triumph over fear and hate.

Beloved communities do not allow racism and prejudice to flourish. Beloved communities do not accept discrimination and violence against those who are different because of pigments of skin. Beloved communities do not, through silence, permit institutional racism. Beloved communities do not allow the cries of the oppressed to echo unanswered for generations...Let us as individuals and as a conference join together and rededicate ourselves to bringing the beloved community of Christ to fruition so that all may be free from the chains of hate and fear."

  1. Church Family, continue with your prayers for our hearts to be healed of any divisions. Continue with your conversations to family and neighbors and friends how we can make known a kingdom of righteousness and justice for all.  If I can be of any assistance, I am here for you.

With Love and Peace,

Pastor Jenn

 

Welcome & Announcements: Good morning church!

 

Sunday 9:00 am Zoom Worship & Prayer there is no more 8am or 6pm Zoom gatherings.  

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/757496754?pwd=ZUwyam5pYlI5L0tGSVJqRnNFWmlndz09

Or dial 1 929 436 2866 (toll free)

Meeting ID: 757 496 754

Password: 522345

 

Worship:

I invite you to light a candle to welcome the Light of the World in your presence and prepare your heart for worship this day:

Call to Worship (taken from Psalm 137)

 

L:         When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream.

P:        Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy;

            then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”

L:         The Lord has done great things for us, and we rejoiced.

            Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like the watercourses in the Negeb.
                May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy.

P:        Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing,
            shall come home with shouts of joy carrying their sheaves.

 

 

 

Opening Song: Amazing Grace by Donna Farver

 

https://soundcloud.com/jennifer-parks-snyder/amazing-grace/s-QzKuJlkgSZJ

 

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found
Was blind but now I see

 

Was Grace that taught my heart to fear
And Grace, my fears relieved
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed

 

Through many dangers, toils and snares
We have already come
T'was Grace that brought us safe thus far
And Grace will lead us home

 

Opening Prayer:

God of community, we thank You for Your church. We thank You that, in spite of our imperfections, we can still come together in prayer and praise. We are grateful for the place we call home where we belong, washed in the waters of baptism and welcomed at Christ’s table. We pray that we might be Your courageous, strong people working for unity and peace, caring for those who are hungry and homeless, bringing Your love to those who long for new life. We pray through Christ, who is our sure foundation. 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!

When I was younger there was a tv show called Romper Room, where the host, Miss Mary Ann, would hold up a mirror and say: Romper, bomper, stomper boo. Tell me, tell me, tell me, do. Magic Mirror, tell me today, did all my friends have fun at play?  Then Miss Mary Ann would call out the names of children she “saw” in her mirror. And I would hope she would call my name and if she did, I shared that with my friends, and they shared with me. We loved our names being called out because Miss Mary Ann recognized us, and it made us feel special.

Each one of you is special. Each one of you is a special gift of God, and I want to tell you a secret, there are times when the adults around you forget that they are special gifts too. Maybe they don’t feel well, or maybe they seem sad or angry. But you know what, each day God looks through a magic mirror and sees each of us and hopes we have a good day, and hopes we can help each other have a good day too.

So the next time you see one of us struggling, I hope you can remember to share with us how we are special gifts of God too. The more we remember that, the happier we will be.

Prayer: Thank you God, for seeing each of us as special. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prayer & Lord’s Prayer:

Lord, we are not good at waiting for anything. We want to know what to do right now, right here. We want the plan all laid out for us so that we can project the end results. We have some real control issues to overcome, Lord. Take our spirits and release the need for control for them. Help us place our total trust in Your abiding love and presence. Give us patience and persistence in our ministries and mission. As we bring to You the names of dear ones whose lives are in need of your healing mercy and comfort, remind us that we also stand in need of those same mercies. Give us courage to accept Your love and strength to witness to Your love in all that we do. We ask this in the name of Jesus, who taught us to pray 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 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:

In thanksgiving for the fruitful abundance of God’s creation, let us give back a portion of what we have received.

 

Special Music:  Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone) by Andira & Jessica Dodge

https://soundcloud.com/word-rummager/amazing-grace-my-chains-are

 

Offertory: He is Lord by Donna Farver

https://soundcloud.com/jennifer-parks-snyder/he-is-lord/s-9k9iYPXDbXV

He is Lord, He is Lord!
He is risen from the dead and he is Lord!
Ev'ry knee shall bow, ev'ry tongue confess That Jesus Christ is Lord.

 

Offering Prayer:

Bless, O God, the money in this offering that it may touch the lives of many, and bless as well the money that remains in our pockets that our choices may be careful, faithful, and wise. As we pay for gasoline or groceries or gifts may we remember Your love that sustains us in all times. Amen.

 

Scripture Lesson: Lamentations 3:1-20

3I am one who has seen affliction under the rod of God’s wrath; 2 he has driven and brought me into darkness without any light; 3 against me alone he turns his hand, again and again, all day long. 4 He has made my flesh and my skin waste away, and broken my bones; 5 he has besieged and enveloped me with bitterness and tribulation; 6 he has made me sit in darkness like the dead of long ago. 7 He has walled me about so that I cannot escape; he has put heavy chains on me; 8 though I call and cry for help, he shuts out my prayer;

9 he has blocked my ways with hewn stones, he has made my paths crooked. 10 He is a bear lying in wait for me, a lion in hiding; 11 he led me off my way and tore me to pieces; he has made me desolate; 12 he bent his bow and set me as a mark for his arrow. 13 He shot into my vitals the arrows of his quiver; 14 I have become the laughing-stock of all my people, the object of their taunt-songs all day long. 15 He has filled me with bitterness, he has glutted me with wormwood. 16 He has made my teeth grind on gravel, and made me cower in ashes; 17 my soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; 18 so I say, ‘Gone is my glory, and all that I had hoped for from the Lord.’ 19 The thought of my affliction and my homelessness  is wormwood and gall! 20 My soul continually thinks of it and is bowed down within me.

 

Sermon: Starting Over: Life Lessons from Ezra-Nehemiah: Knowledge is His Power

Actions have consequences. We know that. We have seen it over the past months, an illness that we do not have a vaccine for, can spread easily across the globe. An unjust action that is piled on top of another and another leads to protests, that sadly can turn into riots and destruction. Actions have consequences.

In the Bible you will see the same. Jealousy can lead to violence like Cain and Abel. And turning back can turn you into a pile of salt like Lot’s wife. And turning from God and God’s law in God’s kingdom, can make you weak, arrogant, and cost the lives of thousands. Actions have consequences, it’s no secret that is a truth of life.

But is there another way that those consequences can be positive and helpful? In Proverbs 24:5 we read, Wise warriors are mightier than strong ones, and those who have knowledge than those who have strength. Put another way, knowledge is power. You are probably familiar with that phrase, particularly if you grew up with Saturday morning’s Schoohouse Rock lessons. But the term comes from this proverb, that Francis Bacon wrote about in 1597 that is often misquoted. We see it as “knowledge is power” but actually he wrote, scientia potestas est, translated as "knowledge is His power", because the context of the sentence refers to the qualities of God and is in a discussion of heresies that deny the power of God.

Actions that can have positive consequences are those that build upon knowledge. For you and I, we must learn to build our knowledge on God. Not just what God says in Scriptures, but what God does, what God offers, and how God works with humans through difficulties to bring us out safely on the other side.

We are starting a new sermon series: What’s Next: God’s Dream of the Story of Rebuilding Jerusalem.  We will be looking at the Babylonian Exile of Judah and its people and how their faith helped them, healed them, to rebuild when they were released to come back to Jerusalem. We have been in a time of exile, we have been cut off from our church and each other, however we are going to begin to slowly and carefully attempt to build back up. But things will be different. During this study, I want to explore how the Israelites got through their time of exile and rebuilt themselves. I want to explore the dreams God shared with them to do so. And I invite you to join me in discerning what God’s dreams may be for the rebuilding of the Lightstreet Extended Parish.

So first, we will begin with the review of the Babylonian exile. Around 605 BC Egypt and Babylon were seeking world domination. The new king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, went out and defeated the Egyptians at Carchemish. He then marched on to Judah, during King Jehoiakim's reign, and took thousands of Hebrews back to Babylon (this group would include Daniel of Daniel in the lion’s den).

Before the Babylonians left, they had laid claim to Israel, but the Israelites rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar’s rules, so he made two more attacks, each time taking more captives so that only the weakest, poorest, and least threatening Jews remained. At that point, King Nebuchadnezzar set up King Zedekiah, of David's line to sit on the throne of Judah and made him swear an oath of allegiance (2 Chr 36:10-12). Zedekiah was not a very good king, and certainly did not follow God’s way. He rebelled and allied with other enemies, so Nebuchadnezzar heard about this and came back for the last time in 586 BC to reduce Jerusalem to rubble and set the Temple in flames.

In 2 Kings 24:13-14, we read And he carried out from there all the treasures of the house of the LORD and the treasures of the king's house, and he cut in pieces all the articles of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of the LORD, as the LORD had said. Also he carried into captivity all Jerusalem: all the captains and all the mighty men of valor, ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths. None remained except the poorest people of the land.

It would be a march of nearly 900 miles from Jerusalem to Babylon, which would have taken months of traveling. Imagine, going months separated from family, separated from your home, from your community, from your work and economy, from your faith. You can imagine, can’t you?

And once in Babylon, everything was different.

The Lamentation we read, shares the discouragement and pain of this exile. Theologians believe it was written by one who went through the experience of the exile, which led them to lament, to mourn, to cry out. In Scripture, you may recall laments express our pain, they tell an experience that was and is difficult, and they ask God to bring about some change. Maybe the change will be a spiritual peace, maybe it will be God opening a window/door to another way. The point of a lament is to know it is okay to go to God with your hurt, your anger, even direct it to God, if that is how you feel.

In this text, the author starts out sharing the horrors they have witnessed.  3I am one who has seen affliction under the rod of God’s wrath; 2 he has driven and brought me into darkness without any light; 3 against me alone he turns his hand, again and again, all day long... 7 He has walled me about so that I cannot escape; he has put heavy chains on me; 8 though I call and cry for help, he shuts out my prayer; 9 he has blocked my ways with hewn stones, he has made my paths crooked.

Notice, who is the enemy in this passage? God’s wrath, right? God’s righteous wrath and anger towards the writer, who is writing on behalf of Israel, who fell away from God and God’s ways. So Israel is lamenting for what has occurred through this exile. And it’s not just physical oppression, it’s mental and emotional. 15 He has filled me with bitterness, he has glutted me with wormwood. Wormwood is a very bitter plant, as is gall, both used for medicinal reasons in ancient times, but both terrible to taste. So the author says God’s wrath has left him and Israel bitter. 17 my soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; 18 so I say, ‘Gone is my glory, and all that I had hoped for from the Lord.’ 19 The thought of my affliction and my homelessness  is wormwood and gall! 20 My soul continually thinks of it and is bowed down within me.

The author writes 20 verses of memories, afflictions, devastation, and admits to a hopelessness. This passage begs the question, where do we find hope to cling to when everything is turned upside down? Or torn apart? Or destroyed? And where is there hope when we witness brutal violence that leads to other brutal violence and destruction? You can understand how it may be hard to find hope in such situations. It may be hard to discern the presence of God amidst such tragedies.

However, this is not the last word. Lamentations 3:19-26 19 I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. 20 I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. 21 Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: 22 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”

For the author, he knows God, and he knows God’s way. And it simply does not make sense that the God of great love has abandoned them to this torture. So as he writes in verse 21, 21 Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: 22 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.

The author is choosing to remember God as merciful, and this is the hope he clings to. Knowledge of His power (that is God’s power) is Israel’s saving grace. His power to release the captives of Egypt. His power to form a kingdom under David. His power is real and merciful, so for now Israel must wait. 25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him.26 It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

Friends as we witness horrors and destruction, as we witness sickness and death, the Bible teaches us, knowledge of His power is our saving grace. And for you and I, we believe in His power to save us through Jesus Christ. His power to empower us through the Holy Spirit. His power to create new mercies each day. And each and every day, you and I have the opportunity to get up and live those mercies out. So we encourage one another, we help one another, we let righteousness and justice prevail. We use the knowledge of His power to lead us and lead those around us to do better, and to be better. Because actions have consequences, and those that can have positive consequences are those built on the knowledge and trust of God’s power.

 

Responsive Reading (Psalm 137 and Lamentations)

God we find ourselves weary, weeping, and wondering.

God we hope for a new day!

God we find ourselves away from home, lost, and out of sorts.

God we hope for a new day!

God we find ourselves lonely in a crowd, hungry in a feast,

and thirsty in water overflowing.

God we hope for a new day!

God we find ourselves forgetting, erasing, and dismembering.

God we hope for a new day!

God we find ourselves voiceless, sightless, and heartless.

God we hope for a new day!

God we find ourselves seeking you, knowing you, remembering you and Your ways.

God we hope for a new day and open ourselves to let hope in Your power, prevail.

Amen.

 

Closing Song: by LUMC Praise Band

 

https://soundcloud.com/jennifer-parks-snyder/this-is-amazing-grace/s-dAL941pZUwB

 

This is Amazing Grace

Who breaks the power of sin and darkness

Whose love is mighty and so much stronger

The King of Glory, the King above all kings

 

Who shakes the whole earth with holy thunder

And leaves us breathless in awe and wonder

The King of Glory, the King above all kings

 

Chorus: This is amazing grace this is unfailing love.

That You would take my place that You would bear my cross

You lay down Your life that I would be set free

Oh, Jesus, I sing for all that You've done for me

 

Who brings our chaos back into order

Who makes the orphan a son and daughter

The King of Glory, the King of Glory

 

Who rules the nations with truth and justice

Shines like the sun in all of its brilliance

The King of Glory, the King above all kings

 

Chorus:

 

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain

Worthy is the King who conquered the grave (repeat 3 times)

Worthy, worthy, worthy

 

Chorus:

 

Benediction: Now may the God of hope comfort you, give you voice, and guide you home. May the spirit of God provide memory, feasting, and vision. May Christ heal you, restore you, and bless you today and in the days to come, Amen.

 
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