September 25 - October 1, 2022

For the week of September 25 to October 1, 2022 – 16th week after Pentecost

Morning prayer: Lord, Your word tells us that there is great good in godliness combined with contentment.  Help us, dear Lord, to be content with what we have; to seek heavenly treasures rather than those things of this world which rust corrodes and moths consume.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. (Discipleship Ministries)

Hymn: #374  Standing on the Promises

  1. Standing on the promises of Christ my King, through eternal ages let His praises ring;

Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing, standing on the promises of God. 


Melody: Standing, standing, standing on the promises of God, my Savior;

          Standing, standing, I’m standing on the promises of God.

Harmony:  Standing on the promises, standing on the promises,

standing on the promises of God, my Savior;

          Standing on the promises, standing on the promises, I’m standing on the promises of God.

  1. Standing on the promises that cannot fail, when the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,

By the living Word of God I shall prevail, standing on the promises of God. 

  1. Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord, bound to Him eternally by love’s strong cord,

Overcoming daily with the Spirit’s sword, standing on the promises of God. 

  1. Standing on the promises I cannot fall, listening every moment to the Spirit’s call,

Resting in my Savior as my all in all, standing on the promises of God. 

Call to Worship

Come and worship!

We will praise the One between, within, and over.

Trust in the One who co-creates the was, the now, and the will-be.

Our hope is in the One who creates expansive love calling us to do the same.

Follow the One who never breaks covenant.

We follow the One whose extravagant love calls us to co-create justice for the oppressed, feed the hungry, unlock prisons, and welcome strangers, orphans, and widows.

Praise the One whose justice is grace-full and inclusive.

We praise the Spirit that spans the ages. Amen!

Children’s message Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15

The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD in the tenth year of King Zedekiah of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar.  At that time the army of the king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem, and the prophet Jeremiah was confined in the court of the guard that was in the palace of the king of Judah, where King Zedekiah of Judah had confined him.

Jeremiah said, The word of the LORD came to me: Hanamel son of your uncle Shallum is going to come to you and say, "Buy my field that is at Anathoth, for the right of redemption by purchase is yours." Then my cousin Hanamel came to me in the court of the guard, in accordance with the word of the LORD, and said to me, "Buy my field that is at Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, for the right of possession and redemption is yours; buy it for yourself." Then I knew that this was the word of the LORD. And I bought the field at Anathoth from my cousin Hanamel, and weighed out the money to him, seventeen shekels of silver. I signed the deed, sealed it, got witnesses, and weighed the money on scales. Then I took the sealed deed of purchase, containing the terms and conditions, and the open copy; and I gave the deed of purchase to Baruch son of Neriah son of Mahseiah, in the presence of my cousin Hanamel, in the presence of the witnesses who signed the deed of purchase, and in the presence of all the Judeans who were sitting in the court of the guard. In their presence I charged Baruch, saying, Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Take these deeds, both this sealed deed of purchase and this open deed, and put them in an earthenware jar, in order that they may last for a long time. For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Houses and fields and vineyards shall again be bought in this land.

Children’s Message

Sometimes things can be difficult.  We might have hard times.  School can be hard sometimes.  Maybe you have a friend who is going through a sad time.  Jeremiah, the prophet, is in a really hard time right now in this story.  He is in prison and there is a war going on around him in Jerusalem.  It was a terrible time for the people of Jerusalem. 

But God has just said before this passage that God has something new for the people.  God is sharing a promise of hope for the people. 

Since Jeremiah himself is imprisoned, and there is war going on in the land, it doesn’t make sense at all for him to buy land.  It’s not even very good land. But he does buy the land.  Because remember, God has told him to buy the land, for there will be new growth on the land.  There will be homes and businesses on it again. 

God is giving hope even as the people are in their darkest hour, their most difficult time.  Jeremiah’s faith is in God’s promise, which is greater than the present difficulties. Jeremiah knows nothing is too difficult for God.  God can bring a surprising, good future, a radical new reality out of the worst situation. Many years later Mary, Jesus’ mother, will hear the Lord’s angel say to her, “for nothing will be impossible for God.” 

We can trust God.  We can believe God can make a difficult time better, even as it doesn’t make sense.  God can flip things upside down for the better.  We can place our hope in God’s promises for a better future.

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 spotlightRemember the Bloomsburg Fair workers in your prayers.  We no longer financially support a ministry to the “carnies”.  But if you visit the Fair, remember those who depend on these fairs for their livelihood and bless them with your attitude. 

Offering prayer: God of justice and mercy, we come to worship You this day as ones who, on the great balance scale of Your creation, are more like the rich man in the Gospel story than we are Lazarus. The parable Jesus tells reminds us that the chasm between rich and poor is hard to cross in the life to come, but not so for us this day, as we strive to see God’s kingdom at work in our world. As we offer gifts today, may we do so striving to be those blessed to be a blessing. In Christ’s holy name, we pray. Amen.

Hymn #378 Amazing Grace

  1. 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.

  1. ‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved;

How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed.

  1. Through many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come;

‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.

  1. The Lord has promised good to me, His word my hope secures;

He will my shield and portion be, and long as life endures.

  1. Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail, and mortal life shall cease,

I shall possess, within the veil, a life of joy and peace.

  1. When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun,

We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we’d first begun.

Gospel Lesson Luke 16:19-31

19“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. 22The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. 23In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. 24He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’ 25But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. 26Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’ 27He said, ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house— 28for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.’ 29Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’ 30He said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

Message: Cross the Gulf            Pastor Lisa Mitchell


Names are so important.  It’s comfortable to be with people who know our names… well most times.  Recently I was in Sunbury for an event, when I saw a man, who I recognized from Bloomsburg and commented that we could have driven down together as we were both from Bloomsburg.  He came over to talk to me and called me by name, although we did not know each other well at all.  I said, “Wow, you know my name. Thank You.”

Of course, generally we remember people’s names who are more famous, or who are the heads of something, government, countries, companies, colleges, the church, maybe.  Then there are many people who we might never know their names.  Their faces fade into the background.  Everyday people we see on the street but might never know them. 

In this story, the person who is named is not the rich and powerful person, the person in authority.  No, the person who is named here is poor, hungry.  He is such an outcast that the dogs lick him.  He does not have a place to lay his head let alone be in good health.  He is an outsider; he’s outside the gate.  Jesus knows his name, Lazarus.  Not the Lazarus who Jesus raised from the dead in John 11.  Not Jesus’ friend Lazarus.  But Jesus knows him.  He knows that the only food he receives are meager leftovers from the unnamed, but probably powerful rich man. 

Isn’t it just like Jesus to flip things upside down ignoring the status of the rich man in his purple robes.  Jesus, in his frustration, is speaking right to the Pharisees with their love of money, as they ridiculed Jesus.  He has just told them that they cannot serve God and wealth.   You see Pharisees considered wealth to be a proof of a person’s righteousness. So here Jesus startled these Pharisees, with this story of the diseased beggar, Lazarus, who is rewarded and the rich man, who is punished. 

Jesus is proclaiming Good News while the Pharisees willfully misunderstood the message that He is proclaiming.  Jesus has said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of others; but God knows your hearts; for what is prized by human beings is an abomination in the sight of God.”  God knows your heart.

Jesus has also just proclaimed in the previous verses, “The law and the prophets were in effect until John came; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is proclaimed, and everyone tries to enter it by force.” Luke 16:16.  What in the world does that mean? Entering the kingdom of God by force?

What if what Jesus was describing in trying to enter the kingdom of God “by force,” wasn’t what we might understand but a different kind of force? What if He wasn’t talking about strongarming one’s way into God’s realm by brute strength or superior weaponry: No guns and guts to God’s glory.   What if, instead, Jesus was talking about those who think they deserve entrance into God’s glory by their status or wealth, and maybe even a little charity. They thought they were owed a place in God’s kin-dom because they believe they are in God’s circle, they are righteous enough to enter in.  Hmmm.

So when Jesus speaks of the anonymous rich person, who is He talking about?  He could be anyone. He could be those people Jesus was accusing of loving money. He could be those who have all that they need and want while they are surrounded by those who have not.  Jesus could be identifying the gap that exists in this world, and suggesting that gulfs continue to be a problem.

Interestingly the unidentified rich person expects Lazarus to serve him.  Even as he asks for mercy for himself in his own suffering, he sees Lazarus as only a means to his own personal salvation, not as a person, a human.  Even if he was a little charitable in giving Lazarus a few crumbs and allowing him to lay at his gate, there is no mention that the rich man had ever connected with Lazarus, had ever made eye contact with him, let alone reached out to show mercy to Lazarus.

The question of whether the rich man was a good man or had a good heart isn’t really addressed by Jesus in this story. The problem is the gulf. The gulf in life was between the rich and the poor. Jesus, as Luke records the story, may not be as concerned with the condition of the heart as much as the disposition of wealth.

There is a gulf.  While the rich man did not bridge the gulf to Lazarus in life; the gulf continues to keep Lazarus from reaching the rich man in his suffering.   Jesus is calling all His listeners to pay attention to the gulfs that exist in our world. How do we close the gulfs between the haves and the have nots? How do we close the gulfs between those who hold power and those who live on the margins? How do we close the gulfs . . . or how do we cross them? Interesting word choice there, don’t you think? It takes a cross to close the gulf that exists between people.

Did the rich man even see Lazarus? He saw him as a possible means of relief from his suffering; but did he see him there before laying at his gate? He was generous enough to not run Lazarus off, but did he really see him? Transformation begins with seeing. Transformation begins with Jesus.  Jesus sees us.  He sees Lazarus, each Lazarus today in the here and now, God’s realm on earth.  Jesus sees all the people.  That’s why we in the United Methodist Church continue to say “See All the People.”  How are we seeing Jesus in every person, on the street, on TV, on social media, in our community?   How are we asking and allowing Jesus to Cross the Gulf for us, to be our bridge to others?  Let us always have hope that through Jesus we may cross the gulf.  Through Jesus the golf can be closed.

Let us pray.  Lord Jesus, there is no gulf between You and us, no gulf between Lazarus and You.  Please, transform us that we may be Your vessel for crossing and closing the gulfs between wealth and poverty in our midst.  Transform us, in Christ we pray. Amen.

Closing Hymn: #395 Take Time to Be Holy

  1. Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord; abide in Him always, and feed on His word.
    Make friends of God's children, help those who are weak,
    forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.
  2. Take time to be holy, the world rushes on; spend much time in secret with Jesus alone.
    By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be; thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.
  3. Take time to be holy, let Him be thy guide, and run not before Him, whatever betide.
    In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord, and, looking to Jesus, still trust in His word.
  4. Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul, each thought and each motive beneath His control.
    Thus led by His spirit to fountains of love, thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.

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

BenedictionAs we leave this place, may our eyes be opened to those who lie at our gates. With the love of Christ within us, may we see the hungry and the hurting, the abused and the forgotten. And may we seek to share the blessings we have been given. In the name of God, Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer, may we go out and live the Kin-dom. Amen.

Contents © 2023 Lightstreet United Methodist Church • Church Website Builder by mychurchwebsite.netPrivacy Policy