March 22, 2020 - Worship and Devotions

March 22, 2020 Home Worship

Dear Friends,

 

As we continue to be encouraged to have social distancing, our hearts, minds, and spirits need lifted and healed. Therefore, receive this home worship service for the week of March 22nd. If you can send in your offering, we invite you to do so as ministry still continues. There are still needs to be met through the services we support such as local food banks, health care ministries, and of course the staff of this congregation who are still working around the clock to check in with members, disinfect buildings, and discern and provide worship possibilities. Thank you and God bless.

 

-PJenn

 

Call to Worship

When the world is dark and full of fear, when we cannot see God
we will turn on the light.
When we cannot find our way back to love and peace
we will turn on the light.
When our vision dims due to the darkness within
we will turn on the light.
Christ opens our eyes with the gift of sight.
Hallelujah! Praise God, the light of the world!

 

Opening Hymn: Be Thou My Vision

 

https://youtu.be/Optrm7lF16s (feel free to type this in or copy and paste in your web browser to sing along or listen and enjoy)


1. Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart; Naught be all else to me, save that thou art;
Thou my best thought, by day or by night, Waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.

2. Be thou my Wisdom, and thou my true Word; I ever with thee and thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, and I thy true son, Thou in me dwelling, and I with thee one.

3. High King of heaven, my victory won, May I reach heaven's joys, O bright heaven's Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall, Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

Scripture Lesson: Matthew 18: 15-20

15 “If another member of the church[d] sins against you,[e] go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one.[f] 16 But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18 Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. 19 Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”

Sermon: What Jesus Believes: His Life has Purpose, A Purpose We are to Share

As with any business or school, the Church is struggling to discern what to do as we face this battle against the Coronavirus 19.

We cannot corporately worship, but we can reach out to each other and to the God who calls us together to be reminded of our faith and the beliefs of our Savior that changed the world, making the kingdom of God known.

The last few weeks we discussed how Jesus believes we are called to partner with God and with each other in this kingdom. And now the passage you just read are the beliefs of how we as the body of Christ, the local church is to behave with one another.

What Jesus offers are church body rules, you could say. And isn’t it interesting that Jesus points out that when two have a disagreement, it effects the whole congregation? Sort of like dominoes, you set them up near each other, and when one falls into another, it sets off the tumbling of the rest.

You see Jesus believes that as the faithful, we recognize the call to life together. We discussed that last week, our co-ministry with each other. Further in that life together, we need to be sensitive and care for one another’s needs (physical, spiritual, emotional).

This was not exactly new to the people of the Jewish faith. In Leviticus 19:17-18 the Lord commanded: You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

Of course, the rules of fellowship continue through what God is doing in Jesus.

The Christian community as a whole is concerned with the ethics of its individual members so that when there is a problem, it must intervene in the spirit of love and forgiveness so that there is an eventual restoration of the community.

Therefore, if two cannot resolve their differences, Jesus says, 16 But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses.

That too, is a reiteration of the commands from God to Moses and the Israelites. In Deuteronomy 19:15 we read A single witness shall not suffice to convict a person of any crime or wrongdoing in connection with any offence that may be committed. Only on the evidence of two or three witnesses shall a charge be sustained.

But then Jesus adds these words, 18 Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. 19 Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.

What is he getting at? Jesus believes his life has purpose, the purpose to draw people to God and to each other. He is the embodiment of the greatest commandment to love God and love others (Matthew 22:35–40) and Jesus allowed this purpose to guide his daily living and decision-making.

If we look at the beginning of his ministry in Matthew 4, we read: 23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people. 24So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought to him all the sick, those who were afflicted with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, and paralytics, and he cured them. 25And great crowds followed him from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and from beyond the Jordan. Matthew 4:23-25

Jesus taught good news of the kingdom, and cured people, so that as he healed them, he brought them back into the community, so they too could hear how God was present and at work to help and save people.

Remember, that those who were sick in Jesus’ day were outcasts and shunned. Why? Because people were afraid to get their sickness. They were not allowed to leave their homes, or they were cast out of the city, or left on their own on the streets. Further, they could not enter the temple.

And so, Jesus heals them, he not only takes away their sickness, he takes away their isolation, their banishment, and brings them back to the community, back to the temple, back to God.

Therefore, Jesus invites us to do the same, as the body of Christ on earth, knowing, believing our purpose is to carry on the mission of Christ. Jesus says, “20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”

The purpose of Christ was for us to center ourselves on his teachings, his way of life. And he promises to be with us to continue those teachings. And today that means that we as the Church must not separate ourselves from each other through this outbreak, but rather, continue to keep connected in safe manners. Maybe by calls, technology, or even postal mail.

Let me share another example of how this was achieved this past week.

Thursday morning, I and 34 other neighbors in Lightstreet found a grocery bag filled with cereal, pasta, and soup. Here is a picture of another gift bag from my neighbor who posted on Facebook:

The recipient wrote: On my way to work this morning, I noticed a bag out front. I stopped and got out and found this amazing gift! (I saw at least 10 other bags like this on other neighbors porches as well) I am very grateful and overwhelmed by the selflessness in these times of hoarding…With the world in such chaos right now we need these rays of light that will help to see us through. Thank you to the Lightstreet angels. God loves you and I do too! Thank you!

Well it turns out; the angels of Lightstreet were members of our church family. A single mother and her 7-year-old daughter decided to do this. As the mother said, “We wanted to let our light shine and we had extra food, so we shared it” (the mother is a queen of couponing!). Together they packed the food, and the little girl hand wrote the notes that simply stated, “God loves you”. Then early Thursday morning, they walked through the rain and put it at the doorsteps of their neighbors. And later when they walked the neighborhood again the mother told me that if they saw that a bag was taken, the little girl would dance around with joy, knowing their light was received.

Pretty incredible, right?

Those two special gifts of God believe what Jesus believes, that is where two or three are gathered, he is here, he is here leading us to love God and love each other. And the more we do that, the more the kingdom of God is near.

May we all take to heart that same belief and continue to be the Church Christ leads us to be and the world needs us to be, where the rules of love are conveyed and shared in new safe ways.

Let us pray: Gracious God, who created us in Your own image, we are grateful for all that you have done for us, for all that you are doing in us, and for all that you will do through us. Open our eyes to see your presence among us, moving in powerful ways at all times and in all places. Open our ears to hear familiar words in new ways—ways that will change us and challenge us to become the people you created us to be. Grant us the power and the courage to come out of the darkness and into the light of Jesus Christ, that we may serve you by serving others. We love you with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. And so, we pray these words Jesus taught us, 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. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen

Sending Forth Song: https://youtu.be/itiB52mVJ9Y My Lighthouse by Rend Collective

In my wrestling and in my doubt. In my failures You won't walk out. Your great love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea, You are the peace in my troubled sea

In the silence, You won't let go. In the questions, Your truth will hold. Your great love will lead me through.
You are the peace in my troubled sea. You are the peace in my troubled sea.

Chorus: My lighthouse, my lighthouse. Shining in the darkness. I will follow You. My lighthouse, my lighthouse. I will trust the promise. You will carry me safe to shore (oh-oh-oh-oh-oh) Safe to shore (oh-oh-oh-oh-oh) Safe to shore (oh-oh-oh-oh-oh). Safe to shore

I won't fear what tomorrow brings. With each morning I'll rise and sing. My God's love will lead me through.
You are the peace in my troubled sea. You are the peace in my troubled sea. (Chorus)

Fire before us, You're the brightest. You will lead us through the storms. (repeat 3 times)


Chorus: My lighthouse, my lighthouse. Shining in the darkness. I will follow You. My lighthouse, my lighthouse. I will trust the promise. You will carry me safe to shore (oh-oh-oh-oh-oh) Safe to shore (oh-oh-oh-oh-oh) Safe to shore (oh-oh-oh-oh-oh). Safe to shore.

 

Benediction

Go into the world, carrying the light of Christ into the darkness!
We go, with hearts full and eyes open!
Receive God’s love and care, and share that love and care with others!
We go, with eyes reflecting God’s light and hands open to share it!
May you walk in the light of Christ all the days of your life!
We will follow Christ wherever he leads us! Amen!

 

 
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