May 24, 2020 - Home Worship Service

May 24th:  Ascension Sunday /Memorial Day

Worship online with Pastor Jenn and your church family via ZOOM at 8:00 am.  (Hopefully! The ZOOM platform has been experiencing its own difficulties.) Use the same meeting ID and the same password every week. Call in using any phone: 1 929 436 2866 TOLL FREE. Connect with any computer, tablet or smart phone:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87216893763?pwd=b2lPWE4ySmlHUytwbS90dm1JaTFjQT09

Meeting ID: 872 1689 3763               Password: 013676

 

Welcome & Announcements: Good morning church!

Just a few announcements: There is no 6pm ZOOM this week. Due to the holiday, Pastor Jenn will be unavailable that evening.

I will offer a ZOOM gathering at 9:00 am Sunday. Zoom is a way to be connected via computer or telephone. You can call the phone number listed- it is toll free. This will be time of sharing joys and concerns and having prayer time. If there is a problem, call or text my cell at 570-317-0422 and I will try to assist.

9:00 am Zoom Meeting

https://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:

Prelude:  Surely the Presence of the Lord is in this Place

https://youtu.be/hD9-1ZQctV4

Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place.
I can feel God's mighty power and God's grace.
I can hear the brush of angel's wings, I see glory on each face.
Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place

Call to Worship:

L: Our hearts are filled with Jesus’ love. He teaches us so much.
P: Yet we have so much to learn to prepare us for mission in this world.
L: Christ has risen! Even though we thought love and hope had died!
P: God is here with us right now, lifting and healing our lives.

Opening Song:  America (My Country, Tis of Thee)

https://youtu.be/VKj7FLg3WVA

My country, 'tis of thee, Sweet land of liberty, Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died, Land of the pilgrims' pride,
From ev'ry mountainside Let freedom ring!

My native country, thee, Land of the noble free, Thy name I love;
I love thy rocks and rills, Thy woods and templed hills;
My heart with rapture thrills, Like that above.

Let music swell the breeze, And ring from all the trees Sweet freedom's song;
Let mortal tongues awake; Let all that breathe partake;
Let rocks their silence break, The sound prolong.

Our fathers' God to Thee, Author of liberty, To Thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright, With freedom's holy light,
Protect us by Thy might, Great God our King.

Opening Prayer:
Lord of amazing visions, prepare our hearts and our spirits this day to receive Your glad tidings. Help make us ready to be Your disciples in all that we do, say, and think. For we ask this in the name of our beloved Savior Jesus Christ. 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!

This weekend we celebrate Memorial Day, a day to remember those who gave their lives so we can experience the freedoms we do today.  Including the freedom to worship here.

The first Memorial Day was observed on May 30th, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery

Some know this day as Decoration Day- because traditionally it is the time graves of soldiers are decorated.

In fact since the late 1950's on the Thursday before Memorial Day, American soldiers place small American flags at each of the gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. They then patrol 24 hours a day during the weekend to ensure that each flag remains standing.

We are encouraged to honor them too with what is known as the National Moment of Silence. On Memorial Day, at 3pm local time, all Americans are encouraged to pause from whatever you are doing and to remember those who gave their all for us.

So if you can, maybe remind your family that tomorrow at 3pm to stop and say this prayer:

Thank you God, for a day to remember those who have given so much for us. Bless their families and our country with Your peace and love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Enjoy this coloring sheet!

 

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:

We are invited to give an accounting of the hope that sustains us, the love and presence of God that upholds all. Out of this sustaining hope, let us give our gifts today for those who also need this hope.

Offering: We want to thank all of you for your continued gifts that are helping us do ministry in different ways during these times. Some of you are experiencing economic hardships related to the pandemic and your offering may be diminished. Our prayers are with you as you struggle to make ends meet. To the rest, if you can send in your offering, we invite you to do so as ministry 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. The option of electronic transfer of funds is available. Contact our church treasurer, Amy Dent (aedent@pa.metrocast.net; 570-458-4299). She will guide you through the process to authorize your bank to transfer funds into the church account.

Offering Song: America the Beautiful

https://youtu.be/Tcg11sx1vYM

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 these gifts, O Lord of all, that we might worship You with great joy
and serve Your people with great love. In Christ’s name, amen.

Song of Preparation:  Be Still, My Soul

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1yT8uV-fdFy6j026ueY4oLR_M3pCHr3FE/view?usp=sharing

Be still my soul the Lord is on thy side, Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain
Leave to thy God to order and provide, In every change He faithful will remain
Be still my soul thy best, thy heavenly friend, Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end

Be still my soul when dearest friends depart, And all is darkened in the vale of tears
Then shalt thou better know His love His heart, Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears
Be still my soul the waves and winds shall know, His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below

Be still my soul the hour is hastening on, When we shall be forever with the Lord
When disappointment grief and fear are gone, Sorrow forgot love's purest joys restored
Be still my soul when change and tears are past, All safe and blessed we shall meet at last

Scripture Lesson: Acts 1:1-11  The Promise of the Holy Spirit and The Ascension of Jesus

1In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning 2until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom He had chosen. 3After His suffering He presented Himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over the course of forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. 4While staying with them, He ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. ‘This’, He said, ‘is what you have heard from Me; 5for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’

6 So when they had come together, they asked Him, ‘Lord, is this the time when You will restore the kingdom to Israel?’ 7He replied, ‘It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by His own authority. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ 9When He had said this, as they were watching, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him out of their sight. 10While He was going and they were gazing up towards heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11They said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up towards heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven.’

This is the Word of the Lord

Thanks be to God!

 

Sermon: He Ascended Into Heaven

Through everything that is going on, I found that the way funerals are conducted through COVID seems to be my most trying experience of ministry. Yes, even beyond the technology challenges. Because typically when a parishioner is nearing death, I get called in to minister, to pray, to talk to that person and express gratitude for what they have done for the Church and for myself.  It’s closure that brings some peace. But through COVID, I could not.

 

The passing of Denny Deska is still a challenge for me because I could not go to his home or even the hospital. Yes, we spoke over the phone, and I know for certain he was prepared to go to the next life to be with Dawn, but there is that lack of closure with his passing that is hard for me to process. I know it is the same for the rest of you, his church family. And imagine what his biological family is experiencing too. Wouldn’t it be nice to see him, to talk to him, to see that great laugh of his, or taste his great cooking again?

Before Jesus ascended, the disciples asked, ‘Lord, is this the time when You will restore the kingdom to Israel?7He replied, ‘It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by His own authority. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’

Then the text says He was taken away, lifted up out of their sight. And the disciples just stood there. Maybe they thought He was going for a little ride. Maybe they thought this Holy Spirit Jesus spoke about was coming next. Who knew what they thought, until the angels came and dispersed them, to move on.

It’s that moving on we all struggle with. We wait for a deceased loved one’s car to pull into our drive. Or hear their voice over the phone. We look at the chair they used to sit in, and wish they were still there. Many times we are looking for them, and life is a stand still.

But friends, the power of this message today is, that’s not what our loved ones want of us. Because that’s not what they are doing.

You see Luke is sharing this story with us because as theologian Will Willimon writes, “The crucified one is now fully exalted and vindicated. The divine identity and power of Jesus is fully revealed.”[1] Which means, by the power of the resurrected Jesus our loved ones are living new lives, in a new creation by God, where there is no pain, no sorrow, no regrets.

And we, who believe in Jesus, know this. We are called to be Christ's witnesses of the living God who came among us, teaching us justice and righteousness, and in the end defeated all that is wrong and evil, including our own personal sins. So that while there are a lot of hardships in this world and in our lives, our God, revealed in Jesus, reigns over heaven and earth, giving us not only hope, but truths we become witnesses to.

The other day Denny’s son and daughter-in-law, Dwayne and Kim Deska stopped by to give their offering and we talked about how they were processing the loss of Denny. Dwayne shared how he has his moments of truly missing him, but everyday on his way to work there is a big cardinal that flies past him. It’s bright red, so you can’t miss it, he said. And Dwayne knows that is a sign from his Dad, a sign that says Denny’s free, he’s healed, and he will always be with Dwayne.

Just as our departed loved ones live on in each of us, this text invites us to open our hearts and minds to allow Jesus Christ to continue to live in us too. Let us continue to be witnesses of our gracious, loving God, sharing what we believe with others in Christ's name. Allowing God to save the unsaved, and comfort those in need.

Because there’s no denying, Jesus was here in body, but now He is in heaven where He welcomes our loved ones with open arms. Still, in spirit, Jesus lives in each one of us, in our hearts, if we allow Him to. Guiding us in our daily lives, living in us to help us follow Him, to repent of our sins, to love God and love each other, and to be witnesses to these truths we know and believe.

Closing Song: We Believe by LUMC Praise Band

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1vTaSsHoxz23P4uVxRAk1bVRRCHndBe31

In this time of desperation When all we know is doubt and fear
There is only one foundation We believe, we believe
In this broken generation When all is dark, You help us see
There is only one salvation We believe, we believe

Refrain: We believe in God the Father, We believe in Jesus Christ
We believe in the Holy Spirit, And He's given us new life
We believe in the crucifixion, We believe that He conquered death
We believe in the resurrection, And He's comin' back again, we believe

So, let our faith be more than anthems greater than the songs we sing
And in our weakness and temptations We believe, we believe

Refrain:

Let the lost be found and the dead be raised
In the here and now, let love invade
Let the church live love our God will see We believe, we believe
And the gates of hell will not prevail
For the power of God, has torn the vail
Now we know Your love will never fail We believe, we believe

Refrain

Benediction

We believe!

The Lord has come to earth.

We believe!

Christ has risen from death itself.

We believe!

Christ’s glory is ours to share. Amen

 

 

[1] https://www.ministrymatters.com/all/entry/10150/may-24-2020-who-sits-on-the-throne

MAY 24, 2020 - WHO SITS ON THE THRONE? THE ASCENSION OF THE LORD

By William H. Willimon

 

 
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