Jan 24th Service



                            St. Andrew Presbyterian Church

Sunday Worship Service Recording  Bulletin & Sermon 

 To View The Service Recording Click Here


Service for the Lord’s Day

~Third SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY  ~
January 24th, 2021  10:00 a.m. 
Worship Leaders:
Val Gordon, Worship Leader
Mr. David Warfield, Director of Music Ministry
Elder Anne Knochenhauer, Liturgist

 Readers:
Geoff Gordon
Sadie Gordon
Tate Gordon

Kai Gordon

Recording Operations
Elder, Jeff Snider                                                         GATHERING WE PREPARE OURSELVES FOR WORSHIP BY PASSING THE PEACE OF CHRIST, ACKNOWLEDGING WHO WE ARE, 
AND RECEIVING THE ASSURANCE OF GOD’S GRACE.
PRELUDE                                                      Elevation                                                       Dom Paul Benoit                                                                                        
GREETING & ANNOUNCEMENTS 
OPENING PRAYER

   
CALL TO WORSHIP                                                                                                                                                            Geoff Gordon
 
That it is not we who chose Christ,
but Christ who chose us,
That we are not here because of our goodness
but because of Christ’s grace,
That we are not here to enlighten ourselves,
but to allow Christ to enlighten us,
That we have not come to be entertained
but to worship God with heart, soul, mind and strength.
and share our witness of God’s living presence in the world.
                                                                                                                       
      
*HYMN   307                                 God of Grace, and God of Glory                   Read by Tate Gordon                          God of grace and God of glory,
on thy people pour thy power;
crown thine ancient church’s story;
bring its bud to glorious flower.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
for the facing of this hour,
for the facing of this hour.Lo! the hosts of evil round us
scorn thy Christ, assail his ways!
From the fears that long have bound us
free our hearts to faith and praise.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
for the living of these days,
for the living of these days.Cure thy children’s warring madness;
bend our pride to thy control;
shame our wanton, selfish gladness,
rich in things and poor in soul.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
lest we miss thy kingdom’s goal,
lest we miss thy kingdom’s goal.Save us from weak resignation
to the evils we deplore.
Let the gift of thy salvation
be our glory evermore.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
serving thee whom we adore,
serving thee whom we adore.                                           PRAYER OF CONFESSION

Holy One, what a blessing and privilege we share
here in this sacred space and among this loving community.
But, like Jonah, we sometimes are jealous of what we share here.
We know that others are longing and thirsting for what we know and experience.
Forgive us our reluctance to open our doors,
open our hearts to others; some like us, some not.
We repent of our hesitations and unwillingness
to witness to those we have considered strangers and even enemies
for fear they just might become friends. Amen
  ASSURANCE OF GRACE
PASSING OF THE PEACE (USING ASL)
HEARING 
WE HEAR GOD’S WORD, WRITTEN & PROCLAIMED. GOD’S WORD IS CENTRAL TO OUR FAITH; 
HENCE WE PUT IT AT THE CENTER OF OUR WORSHIP.FIRST READING                                            Jonah 3:1-5, 10                                    Read by Kai Gordon
                                                                             
The word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time, saying, “Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days’ walk across. Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s walk. And he cried out, “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”
And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth. When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.
 
The word of the Lord.Thanks be to God.                     
                                                                      
                            SECOND READING                                 Mark 1:14-20
                                   
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God,  and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”

 As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea–for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.”

And immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.
 
 
The word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.


                                                                                                                                                                          PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION 

SERMON           
                                                    INVITATIONS TO CHANGE
 “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”  Arguably the Bible’s shortest sermon.  A sermon that had amazing impact.   Jonah – very reluctantly if you recall –  gave this message to his sworn enemies, the people of Ninevah – and much to his surprise they took it serious.  They believed God.   They proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth, both symbols of repentance. They repented of their evil doing.  The effect of the Ninevites believing and repenting was that God changed his mind.  Ninevah was not, in fact, overthrown.  I thought about trying for an 8 word message and calling it a day today, but alas I struggled to find 8 words that would have that kind of impact.  Sorry. I don’t feel too badly though because Jesus’ own messages tended to be longer than 8 words.Take the ones from today –there are two messages in our new testament reading that seem to occur at two different times. “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” 19 words and fairly cryptic.  Hard to see the immediate impact that message had . Or his second that was  directed towards two people, Simon and Andrew when he said  “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” 9 words.  With an immediate impact –they left their nets and followed him.  You wonder if they really understand what they were signing on for.  Likely not.  But they accepted Jesus’ invitation anyway In my pre COVID life I traveled quite a bit for work and so flying always meant some obligatory chit chat with some fellow traveler much more extroverted than myself and it’s always a puzzle to describe what I do for a living.  I prefer a statement that is interesting and could allow for a meaningful interaction if we both want it, but won’t leave the other person thinking I’m a Martian.  That can be hard with my job.  Ask one of my kids whose teacher recently asked him what I did and you get she works for a Christian organization and spends a lot of time in zoom meetings.   All true, but I prefer change guru or I facilitate and lead organizational level transformational change, a mouthful of adjectives that sounds interesting and makes me feel important. Regardless I do think a lot about change, I have likely read or know about most every book on change dynamics and change leadership and change theory and I think a lot about  what makes people, groups and organizations change.   And our scriptures today are fascinating to me from the change perspective. Jonah is an interesting case study on change leadership.  Initially Jonah is invited by God to go to Ninevah and he refuses, runs away from God or sails away technically on a boat, almost causing the boat to shipwreck  due to a storm stirred up by God because he has run away from him.  Jonah tells them to throw him overboard, gets swallowed by a fish, cries out to God, fish spits him out and off he goes to Ninevah with the 8 word message from God that leads to an incredible change.  You could say that Jonah right now is an INCREDIBLE change leader—the people hear it, they believe and they do something about it.  That is exactly what you hope for when you are trying to lead change.  And if you think leading change is just for the Jonahs or the gurus, or me,  let me dispel that myth.  All of us are constantly leading change.  Some of you may have made New Year’s resolution or wanted to or thought about it or feel guilty that you didn’t, but every one of us thought something about change as Jan 1st rolled around,  Change we wanted to see in ourselves.  And I dare to say that all of you have at least one change initiative you are leading outside of yourself.  This may be a change you want in your spouse, a change in your children,  a change from a sibling, a change in how your boss treats you, etc.  If you are human, you are likely trying to change someone else to do, act, or say something that is new.  Certainly one big change we all want to see for the world this year is an end to our quarantined state and the suffering for so many people and we hope for a change that vaccines will be distributed faster, we may hope for positive change from the new administration that took office this week, we may long for change in our country and the divisiveness that exists politically and racially.   The desire for change exists for even the person least change oriented So think for a minute about a change you are hoping for outside of yourself and imagine being able to say 8 words and it’s done.  That’s Jonah experience.  And as someone who wants to be a really good change leader and knows how hard it is to lead change I’m just a bit annoyed.  Because it’s not usually that easy. And Jonah’s response is to revel in God’s power, filled with gratitude for having the opportunity to have this kind of transformational impact.  No. Our successful change leader tells God how mad he is that God does the opposite of his 8 word sermon.  He is mad that instead of destruction, God chooses to be gracious, merciful, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing the Ninevites.  And because God is gracious, merciful, slow to anger,  abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing the Ninevites, Jonah wants to die . Yep sometimes I think we forget this part of the story, but it’s there. And God is funny.  I know he’s not thrown off and he knows everything and so He  knew this would be Jonah’s response but his response is so funny. “Is it right for you to be angry?”  Very therapist like.  The change leader in me is fascinated because God is always inviting people to change.   He wanted that for Ninevah and now he is inviting Jonah to change.  And God does this by asking a question to prompt self- reflection:  is it right for you to be angry? Jonah does not seem to like this question or receive this opportunity to self -reflect and change his perspective. He leaves the city of Ninevah and creates some sort of structure for himself in the shade and waits to see what God will do with the city.   And then scripture says that the Lord appoints a bush to create more shade for Jonah as sounds like it may have been uncomfortable in the hot sun and Jonah is pleased about this bush. But then God appoints a worm to attack the bush which kills it.  And then God prepares a sweltering wind that causes Jonah to get so much sun that Jonah asks to die, again.  God in his therapist /change leader guruness says –Is it right for you to be angry about the bush?” And our human change leader says, “Yes, angry enough to die.”  And then God interprets this little parable he had created for Jonah, a nice change technique if you will and says you are concerned about bush and are ready to die because a bush that you did nothing to create or sustain has died.  If that bush is so important, How could the lives 120 thousand people in Ninevah not be important?  It’s interesting picture of change.  Jonah changed at some point—he decided to be the prophet God asked him to be after running away.  The people change because they believed Jonah’s message and did not want to be destroyed. Jury is out whether Jonah was able to change  as second time and accept God’s mercy.  If I try to put myself in Jonah’s shoes I can see that it might have been embarrassing for Jonah—to give a message and then have it not be true.  Maybe he felt tricked by God.  You said this would happen and it didn’t.  Maybe he felt vulnerable—you made me look stupid giving a message that never came true? Change is hard because it can require a humility that is embarrassing or exposing. Harvard Business Review has their top 10 reasons people resist change—I’ll give a few of them here. ·        We don’t like the loss of control that change can bring·        We don’t like the uncertainty that comes with change·        We resist change if it feels like everything is changing all at once·        We resist change when it feels like a loss of face·        If the change makes us feel stupid or incompetent and we don’t know how to chang·        We resist change when we can see how the change will impact other things negatively —conflict in relationships, job eliminations for us or someone we love·        Change can mean we have to deal with the past– old wounds and resentments that were seemingly put to bed get re surfacedWe get a different response to change in our gospel reading.  At the initial read it seems like the first soon to be disciples are more eager to change than Jonah.  They are willing to leave their livelihood and family and what is known and comfortable and familiar and follow Jesus to fish for people .  We look at them and think wow they are really open to change. And that’s true.  Partly.  They are invited to change and they do respond positively, immediately and decisively on that day.  They said yes to something that must have intrigued and inspired them—Jesus took their knowledge and identity as fisherman and cast a different but related vision for them to fish for people.  So although they don’t really get it, there must have been something that drew them to leave their nets and follow.  But they had no idea what it would mean to change and become a follower of Jesus.  They soon would come understand what this change required and we will watch them while they are confused, frustrated ,try and fail to change the further we get into the gospels.   They all will have their Jonah moment where Jesus asks them hard,  probing,  self-reflective questions that both are trying to help them understand what it means to follow him and questions to help them consider if they want to change. Maybe it took more risk to say yes to following Jesus and yes to change than what I am giving them credit.  After all the they may have heard that John the Baptist was arrested. The forerunner who was preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  John the Baptist was fulfilling the prophecy that there would be one who would come and prepare the way for the Lord as written in Isaiah.According to Isaiah his role was to    make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
    and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
    and the rough places a plain.
 Essentially John’s mission was to deal with all the roadblocks that would get in the way of Jesus being received as the Messiah.  John’s perspective was that our need for repentance for the forgiveness of sins was critical to address to make the paths straight The word repent means to turn from sin to God. Literally turn around and go in a different direction. One pastor says the word repent best translates “to change your disposition towards life and reality, to have a transformed default setting about what’s important.”  The change that John is crying out for is a change of heart toward sin, the world and God.  There’s no way to change like this unless you know your sin, you can identify the ways your behavior or heart are NOT inclined towards God.   John is a change leader, inviting people to examine themselves, to identify sin in their lives and to receive forgiveness.  And this got him in jail. Not sure how much this affected how people responded to Jesus’ first message of change as recorded by Mark “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” Jesus is announcing a big change—the start of a new kingdom, the Kingdom of God.  A kingdom of which He is the new King. The Kingdom of God has come near because He, Jesus has come near.  You want to know about the Kingdom, know the King, God in the form of Jesus the exact representation of the King himself. Jesus is essentially saying repent—stop living as your own king and believe in the good news, let me be King over your heart, submit to me as King. This 9 word sermon  ends and then it’s almost like Jesus gives them a parable with Simon and Andrew—it’s a picture of repenting and believing—leaving their nets and following Jesus.  When they left their nets they left their jobs, security and identity as fisherman.  Later James and John do the same thing leaving all the same things as Simon and Andrew plus family. Jesus invites them to change and take on a new identity as fisher of people. Invitations to change. This seems to be the invitation in both passages this morning. Jonah responded to invitation reluctantly, initially when he’s asked to go to Ninevah and then again when God is trying to help him understand why he showed mercy. I don’t think he’s alone.  There are times when God is inviting us to change and we resist.  It feels impossible to change in the way we are being invited.  Sometimes we resist the invitation to change because we don’t want to change.  We are protective of our broken or incomplete selves.  When Geoff and I were first married and got into conflict , he would say you fight like a street fighter-you always go below the belt.  It’s fine to fight but stop taking low blows. Fight more like a professional trained boxer.  That seems like a very normal request looking back, but at the time I did like that.   On the one hand it was very exposing and embarrassing that this was what I was like and that someone named it.  AND I wasn’t sure I wanted to change.  My street fighter tendencies were there for a reason. They were my armor and protection against people and the world that were cruel…if I stopped street fighting what would that mean?  I would lose all my defenses and open myself up to possibly being manipulated and used.  How will I not become a doormat?    Who would I be without this –how would this change be good?  I spent years in training as a street fighter, years  perfecting this skill of being cruel with my words.   I was a master of it and was very unskilled in professional boxing.  How do you fight and not be cruel?  Even if I said yes to changing I wouldn’t even know how to begin to be different.  But it was clear I was being asked to change.  God and Geoff were inviting me to change.  A wise friend said to me as I was struggling to want to want to change.  Street fighting saved your life when you were young, it was a strategy to survive.  But you don’t need to survive anymore…and in fact if you can’t change you are going to lose your husband, you will lose every person in your life and if you ever have kids  you will lose them too because you push everyone away. And those words started me on the pathway of change.  Resisting God ‘s invitation to change because it’s too hard, or we don’t know if we can do it or we don’t want to because we are skeptical that change will be good for us doesn’t keep God from continuing to invite us to change.  God comes to us like he came to Jonah, sometimes doing something dramatic to get our attention, hopefully that won’t mean we get swallowed by a fish, but you get the point, sometimes God has something so good for us he goes to great lengths to help us see,  Sometimes God saddles up to us quietly, gently asking questions to probe self-reflection.  Either way God never stops inviting us to change. My husband Geoff thinks that sometimes we resist change because God is offering us something too good to be true.  That sometimes God’s invitation to change seems too good to be true.  Maybe it’s a job offer that is a new direction of something you’ve always wanted to do but you think how could I take that—what if I fail? Maybe it’s moving to a new house in a new neighborhood. Or maybe it’s an invitation to stop working so hard.  Is it possible God could want me to relax and enjoy life a little???   That seems too good to be true. Geoff has a phrase that he likes to say “when the Lord  is trying to give you a gift, you take it.”  Not all God’s invitations to change are hard. Some may sound too good to be true and we ignore a gift of change God is giving us. But my assumption is that God is constantly presenting us with invitations to change. How has God been inviting you to change?  How is he using the people around you to show you that?  What has been your response?  I find God to be quite gentle and more compassionate than what I expect when I am honest about what I am thinking and feeling about these changes I am being invited into.  Part of the process of change is the honest dialogue with God and trusted people.  God does not treat us like robots, telling us to change and expecting we will do it on command.  God invites us to change and journeys alongside of us in our process of transformation. God as change leader invites us to change, all the days of our lives.  We as change recipients can decide our response to God’s invitation, we get to decide if we say yes to change. A few years back I wrote a book with some friends about helping communities change, something I  am passionate about.  And the book describes communities and how to help them change and is filled with strategies and tactics to help communities change, but hands down my favorite chapter of the book, the chapter of the book I personally contributed to the most to and feel most passionate about and wish I could write 10 more books about is entitled Be the Change.  Those are not new words and certainly I am not the first person to use this phrase as Gandhi said it best with his famous quote “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” Be the change represents how Jesus lived his years on earth.  Jesus in everything he said and did lived out the change God’s kingdom was and is bringing to earth. The kingdom of God that he declared had come near was not like current Kingdom…and Jesus would go to great lengths to help people understand this new Kingdom and why it was good news. Many people did not like this new Kingdom, they did not think it was good news.  Jesus as he led change faced resistance and backlash and rejection and threats and eventually death because of his commitment to bring this new kingdom and change the course of history.  The most powerful tool for change was himself. He embodied the change he hoped to see. If you are like me than you may be more in touch with how things need to change around you sometimes more than how you need to change.  I’m certainly more vocal about changes that I believe need to happen.  As someone who is systems thinker I am flabbergasted by the lack of energy and planning that was done in how to rollout a vaccine—for months and months we created space and money for people to work on vaccine and no one thought to get the systems experts together to do multiple scenario plans for a rollout.  You like me may have cried out for change as it relates to racial injustice we have witnessed for many years but culminating in exponential level of deaths of people of color this past year.  Be the change.   Live out the change we want to see. We can trust God to be the master change leader.  We don’t have to have the master plan for becoming who God wants us to be.  If we listen to his invitations and respond in the ways he suggests, we will be the change we want to see in the world.  This might be my 13  word sermon  that is not super tight or pithy but is my theory of change.    Say yes to God’s invitations to change and we will be the change. I will close with a quote from Amanda Gorman, the young poet laureate who stole the show during the inauguration this week.  She gave this 23 word closing to her poem “The Hill We Climb” that is more eloquent than me but fitting for our message today- For there is always light if only we are brave enough to see it.  If only we are brave enough to be it 

                            RESPONDING GOD HAS SPOKEN, AND WE RESPOND. WE AFFIRM OUR FAITH, PRAY FOR THE WORLD, RE-COMMIT OURSELVES TO MISSION, 
PRESENT OUR TITHES & GIFTS, AND OFFER THANKS THAT GOD CONTINUES TO SPEAK 
TODAY.* AFFIRMATION OF FAITH    

In our remembrance we know
silence is not enough
to change the world
I have come that you may have life and life to the full

In our remembrance we know
silence is not enough
to bring peace to the world
Behold I make all things new

In our remembrance we know
silence is not enough
to change the minds of leaders
Your light must shine before people

In our remembrance we know
silence is not enough
to change the way we do things
This is what I command you: love one another

In our remembrance we know
silence is not enough
to convey the truth of war
Every tree is known by the fruit is bears.
The mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

In our remembrance we know
silence is not enough
but your words are
Come and follow me 

 * HYMN                                                                       Lord of the Dance                         Read by Sadie Gordon    
 I danced in the morning when the world was begun,
And I danced in the moon and the stars and the sun,
And I came down from heaven and I danced on the earth;
At Bethlehem I had my birth.

Refrain:
Dance, then, wherever you may be;
I am the Lord of the Dance, said he,
I’ll lead you all, wherever you may be,
And I’ll lead you all in the Dance, said he.
 I danced for the scribe and the Pharisee,
But they would not dance, and they wouldn’t follow me;
I danced for the fishermen, for James and for John;
They came with me and the dance went on. [Refrain]

 I danced on the Sabbath and I cured the lame:
The holy people said it was a shame.
They whipped and they stripped and they hung me on high,
And they left me there on a Cross to die. [Refrain]

 I danced on a Friday when the sky turned black;
It’s hard to dance with the devil on your back.
They buried my body and they thought I’d gone;
But I am the Dance and I still go on. [Refrain]

 They cut me down and I leapt up high;
I am the life that’ll never, never die;
I’ll live in you if you’ll live in me:
I am the Lord of the Dance, said he. [Refrain] PRESENTING OUR TITHES & OFFERINGS        
(We invite you to make your offering online. Thank you to everyone for your generous support!)

 *PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING & DEDICATION

Eternal God, the refuge and help of all your children,
we praise you for all you have given us,
for all you have done for us,
for all that you are to us.
In our weakness, you are strength,
in our darkness, you are light,
in our sorrow, you are comfort and peace.
We cannot number your blessings,
we cannot declare your love:
For all your blessings we bless you.
May we live as in your presence,
and love the things that you love,
and serve you in our daily lives;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
     
 SHARING OUR JOYS & CONCERNS
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE & THE LORD’S PRAYER
                            SENDING     WE HEAR THE CHARGE, RECEIVE THE BENEDICTION, AND ARE SENT TO CARRY GOD’S WORD INTO THE WORLD.*CHARGE & BENEDICTION

The invitation is given to every person by Jesus Christ:
“Come to me! Follow me! Be my disciples!”

In the name of Christ,
accept the invitation to discipleship.

In the name of Christ,
as his disciples, worship and praise God.

In the midst of a world where cruelty abounds,
proclaim the God of Compassion.

In the midst of despair that threatens to swallow up
whole lives, whole peoples,
 proclaim the God of Hope.

In the midst of indifference and apathy,
 proclaim the God of Love.



 
*POSTLUDE                                             God of Grace                                                      Paul Manz