July 11th

 Click Here To View Our Worship Service 
~Service for the Lord’s Day~
July 11, 2021
10:00 a.m.

 Worship Leaders:
Rev. Joan Priest, Worship Leader
 Paul Mortilla , Ministry of Music
Elder Kelly Milton , Liturgist
Dave Gaiewski , Recording Operations
                                                                                Usher/Greeter Diane  Snider


PRELUDE                                                                       Improvisation

CALL TO WORSHIP       One:  We are called to love the Lord our God
ALL:  We are called to love with all our heart and soul
One:  We are called to love the Lord our God
ALL:  We are called to love with all our mind and strength
One:  We are called to love the Lord our God
ALL:  And we are called to love our neighbor as ourselves.
One:  Come, let us love our God
ALL:  and share God’s love in this time of worship!

OPENING PRAYER                                                                                                                                                                                                                                *OPENING HYMN: #20                          All Things Bright and Beautiful
All things bright and beautiful,
all creatures great and small,
all things wise and wonderful,
the Lord God made them all. Each little flower that opens,
each little bird that sings,
God made their glowing colors;
God made their tiny wings. [Refrain] The purple-headed mountain,
the river running by,
the sunset, and the morning
that brightens up the sky: [Refrain] The cold wind in the winter,
the pleasant summer sun,
the ripe fruits in the garden,
God made them every one. [Refrain] God gave us eyes to see them,
and lips that we might tell
how great is God Almighty,
who has made all things well. [Refrain]
  PRAYER OF CONFESSION                                 Gracious God, we come together to worship, a people who would like to think that we love you with all our hearts and souls, with all our might, but there are so many other things in our lives that clamor for our attention that we often relegate you to times when we want you to rescue us.
     So here we are, standing before you today, with our human foibles and our short attention spans, asking that you would make yourself known to us, that you would help us to recognize the presence of the Holy, that you would continue to challenge us,
inspire us, and make us into the people you want us to be.  Amen. 


# 581                                                                                                                              GLORIA PATRIGlory be to the Father,
and to the Son,
and to the Holy Ghost;
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.
Amen, amen.HEARING 
HENCE WE PUT IT AT THE CENTER OF OUR WORSHIP.FIRST READING                                                                                                                                            Philippians 2:1-11                                                                                                                                          The Word of the Lord.    
       Thanks be to God.  Prayer for Illumination                                                                                                                                  SECOND READING                                                                                                              Luke 10:25-37     
The word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.                                                                                                        SERMON       Welcome to Hotel Compassion   

     Bao Xishuan is listed in Guinness book of world records as one of the tallest men in the world, over 8 feet tall.  Even his arm extends almost 3 ½ feet. In 2006, this Mongolian herdsman got a call from Chinese Veterinarian’s, that he was urgently needed at the Funshun Aquarium. And no, it didn’t involve basketball. The doctors had repeatedly failed to remove painful plastic shards that two dolphins had swallowed, and the animals were slowly starving. All surgical instruments had failed to remove the fragments. Mr. Bao immediately traveled to the aquarium, and workers pried the animals’ jaws open with towels so he wouldn’t be bitten. With scores of onlookers watching, Bao reached deep into the animals’ stomachs and removed as many shards as he could find. The fragments he couldn’t reach were safely digested and the dolphins made a full recovery. Bao accepted a few pats on the (lower) back and returned to his fields.
     In 2007, 50 year old construction worker Wesley Autrey was taking his two daughters, ages four and six, to school on the subway in New York City. While waiting for the train, fellow passenger Cameron Hollopeter had a seizure and fell off the platform, landing between the two rails. Just at that moment the headlights of a rapidly approaching train appeared in the subway tunnel. Acting quickly, and with no thought for himself, Wesley jumped down onto the tracks to rescue the stricken man by dragging him out of the way of the train. But he immediately realized that the train was coming too fast and there wasn’t time to pull the man off the tracks. So Wesley pressed the man into the hollowed-out space between the rails and spread his own body over him to protect him as the train passed over the two of them. The train cleared Wesley by mere inches, coming close enough to leave grease marks on his knit cap. When the train came to a halt, Wesley called up to the frightened onlookers on the platform. “There are two little girls up there. Let them know their Daddy is OK.” 
    Maybe, maybe if I had arms 3 ½ feet long, I might have helped the Dolphins, but jump onto the subway track?  Probably not.  Does that mean I’m not a true Good Samaritan?  What is a Good Samaritan?  Who is my neighbor?
     This scripture passage is so familiar, most of you could recite it by heart.  But as it is with our entire bible, once you begin to study even the most familiar of scripture passages, something new is always revealed.  So this morning, let’s explore this very familiar passage of the Parable of the Good Samaritan.
     A lawyer, or one who specialized in the interpretation of Jewish laws, has put Jesus to the test.  He asks, “what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”  Jesus by now is used to the trickery of such questions and puts it right back at him, “what does the law say Mr. lawyer?”  And the lawyer responds with the two most famous love commandments:  the way to eternal life is by one supreme love for God joined with a compassionate love for one’s neighbor.  Jesus agrees, now go and do this and you shall live. 
     But since almost everyone in power back then objected to Jesus’ “neighbors”, those with whom he associated with, who were mostly non-Jews, Gentiles, and heaven forbid, women, the lawyer asks, “okay, then who exactly is my neighbor?”  In other words, where does one draw the line between the neighbor and the non-neighbor, the ones entitled to this consideration of kindness from me and those who are not.  Remember back then people with leprosy or disease, foreigners, were definitely not neighbors, and by law, there was to be no contact with them.  This lawyer knew the law.  And so Jesus recites the parable of the Good Samaritan.
     In Jesus’ day the road from Jerusalem to Jericho was a mountainous road and full of twists and turns, which made it ideal for robbers to hide and attack unsuspected travelers.  Therefore, travelers risked their lives to take this journey.  A man, who was victimized on this road, was in need.  He was helpless and dying.
     No matter how many times we hear this parable, if we are honest with ourselves, most of us relate a little bit to the Priest and Levite – maybe not about becoming unclean if we touched the injured man, although in today’s COVID world maybe!  but the preoccupied, too busy part; and possibly the – too scared to help – part.  I don’t know about you but I would never stop on a dangerous highway and pick up someone on the road.  I might call the police or 911, but stop, nope, not me.  And notice – Jesus doesn’t blame the Priest and Levite.  He never calls them wicked, or anything like that, he understands tradition.  The Priest and the Levite had held their positions since birth.  The duty of a Priest was to make the sacrifices in the Temple.  He may have been going to a service that day and if he touched the man who may have been dead, the Priest wouldn’t have been able to perform any ceremony for 7 days.  Levites were in charge of lesser matters in the Temple, such as music and liturgy preparation, but also avoided defilement.  The thing is, both of these men valued their service to God, more than service to a child of God.  And that was Jesus’ point.
     And Samaritans, Samaritans were definitely not neighbors back then.  When the Jews and Samaritans were taken into exile some 500 years earlier, the land of Samaria was resettled by people from Babylonia and Syria, and a racially mixed population resulted.  The Jews returned and despised these racially mixed Samaritans who still called themselves Jews.
     So if you think about it, the man who proved neighborly may have even been despised by the wounded man.  And thus the lawyer loses his argument.  Jesus proves that even a despised person, a Samaritan, was a neighbor – closer to the heart of God.  Notice, the Lawyer won’t even say the word Samaritan when asked which one was the neighbor – he simply states, “the one who showed mercy”.  So, if the lawyer wanted eternal life, he would have to drop his national and racial prejudices, help reshape traditional worship to allow those serving to give compassion where it is needed most, lessen the strict laws against a suffering humanity, and show true mercy.  
     Now the word Mercy is key here, for mercy, “Eleos” means blessing, unwarranted
compassion, pardon, kindness, generosity. 
     One evening many years ago, we heard a loud noise outside of our house – looking out – we saw that a car had crashed into our stone wall.  A confused woman was standing next to the car.  So while I quickly rushed our then small children and our dog upstairs until I knew what was going on and called 911, my husband went outside, and seeing that clearly the woman had had a stroke or seizure of some kind, gently guided her inside.  As the ambulance arrived, I ran to the door – a bit nervous and distracted – and I glanced over and there was my husband sitting on the couch next to this woman, gently holding her hand, speaking softly to her, keeping her calm.  And I thought, wait, which one of us is the minister here?  Who was the Good Samaritan?  The one who showed mercy, compassion and care.
       The main point of this parable is the action taken – not all of the circumstances.  We must keep that in mind.  The person showed compassion to a stranger.  Period.  A stranger is anyone is need, not necessarily dire need, but in need.  But there is a reason why Jesus goes into excessive description of what the Samaritan does – feels pity, bandages wounds, pours oil which softens the wounds and wine which cleans the wounds, lifts him onto an animal, carries him to an inn, secures the innkeepers hospitality – this is all to invite us to do the same, as one theologian writes, “we are meant to tingle with the healing sting of wine, to be calmed under the soothing caress of oil, to enjoy the relief of someone taking charge of what has become a nightmarish situation and finally to experience the gracious welcome of being checked in at the Hotel Compassion, all expenses paid.”  (1)  When we understand what it feels like to be abandoned, lifted up, and given care and compassion, and then we will know how to show mercy. 
    Some years ago, an experiment was conducted with seminary students. Researchers gathered a group of ministry students in a classroom and told them that each of them had an assignment. Their assignment was to record a talk about the Parable of the Good Samaritan. The thing was, the recordings were going to be done in a building on the other side of the campus, and because of a tight schedule, they needed to hurry to that building. Unbeknownst to the students, on the path to the other building the researchers had planted an actor to play the part of a man in distress, slumped by the side of a building, coughing and wheezing. The students were going to make a presentation about the Good Samaritan. But what would happen, the researchers wondered, when they actually encountered a man in need? Would they be Good Samaritans? Well, no, as a matter of fact, they were not. Almost all of them rushed past the hurting man. One student even stepped over the man’s body as he hurried to teach about the Good Samaritan!
     Now, we should not look down at these seminary students who couldn’t put the Parable of the Good Samaritan into practice, because neither can we, most of the time. Simply knowing in our minds what the right thing to do is, does not mean we can do it. If we are going to be Good Samaritans, then this will mean more than a change of mind. It will take a change of heart, striving to be more compassionate towards everyone.
     Robert Wuthnow, a professor at Princeton University, once conducted some research about why some people are generous and compassionate, while others are not. He found out that for many compassionate people something had happened to them. Someone had acted with compassion toward them, and this experience had transformed their lives.
       The one I relate to the most in this parable, is the wounded one – we all know many different kinds of wounds in our lives, we know pain that comes through rejection of being passed over for that job or promotion, we know heartache from the loss of loved ones, or even loss of our independence through injury or age, we know loneliness, when people don’t know what to say to us when we have been diagnosed with cancer, are in the middle of a divorce, or just lost our spouse.  And we know what it’s like to go to a church and no one greets you or walk into a crowded room and no one makes eye contact.  We know what it’s like to be wounded, to be a stranger in need of a neighbor.  And we certainly know what it’s like to have a someone befriend us; who does know what to say or not to say and just be with us in our pain. 
       Our needs may not be seen as clearly as the open wounds of the man robbed in the parable or a person fallen onto a subway rail or as a car accident right in front of our home, but the wounds are there.  Heartache, frustration, anger, loneliness, pain, these wounds are here.
     What the lawyer discovered – and what we discover, too – is that we cannot stand on the sidelines and figure out how to be good, defining our terms – is this person my neighbor or not – figuring out just what we have to do to inherit eternal life. As Rev. Long states, For all of our religious virtues and attitudes, we just cannot do it. We are helpless to be Good Samaritans on our own strength. In other words, we are the person in the ditch, the one who lies helpless and wounded beside the road, the one who needs to be rescued. And along comes a Good Samaritan, a Good Samaritan named Jesus – despised and rejected – who comes to save us, speaks tenderly to us, lifts us into his arms, and takes us to the place of healing. (2)
     Only when we have been healed ourselves, do we truly know the power within us to heal others.  And we become as Henri Nouwen called, wounded healers.  So, the question is not the lawyer’s, “Who is my neighbor’?” The question is, who has been neighbor to you? Jesus Christ has been neighbor to you. The crucified one has been neighbor to you. Have you felt his mercy make your own heart merciful? Then in your heart you will know what this means: Go and do likewise. (3)  Be of the same mind, the same love, the same spirit as Christ Jesus. And God help us make this a Hotel of Compassion.  Amen.
(1). Willson, The Rev. Patrick J. “Who we are” Christian Century.
(2,3) Long, The Rev. Thomas. Meeting the Good Samaritan.

TODAY.                                                                                           * HYMN:#203                                    Jesu, Jesu, Fill Us with Your LoveRefrain:
Jesu, Jesu, fill us with your love;
show us how to serve
the neighbors we have from you. Kneels at the feet of his friends,
silently washes their feet,
Master who acts as a slave to them. [Refrain] Neighbors are wealthy and poor,
varied in color and race;
neighbors are near us and far away. [Refrain] These are the ones we should serve;
these are the ones we should love;
all these are neighbors to us and you. [Refrain] Loving puts us on our knees,
willing to wash others’ feet;
this is the way we should live like you. [Refrain] ORDINATION & INSTALLATION     


Elder:  Class of 2021

Robert Williams                 Worship Committee Chair 

Elder:  Class of 2022
William Furgueson              Martketing & Outreach Chair

 SENTENCES OF SCRIPTUREThere are varieties of gifts, but it is the same Spirit who gives them.
There are different ways of serving God, but it is the same Lord who is served.
God works through each person in a unique way, but it is God’s purpose that is accomplished.
To each is given a gift of the Spirit to be used for the common good.  


Do we, the members of the church accept. Robert Williams and William Furgueson  as  elders, chosen by God through the voice of this congregation to lead us in the way of Jesus Christ?
We do.

Do we agree to encourage them, to respect their decisions, and to follow as they guide us, serving Jesus Christ who alone is Head of the Church?
We do.


PRESENTING OUR TITHES & OFFERINGS         (If you’re joining us via Zoom,
we invite you to make your offering online.
Thank you to everyone for your generous support!)
*Doxology #606                                                                                                         OLD HUNDREDTH 
     Praise God, From whom All blessings Flow
     Praise God, All Creatures Here below
     Praise God, above ye heavenly host
     Creator, Christ and Holy Ghost.  Amen.
      God, you have given each of us gifts to use as members of the body of Christ. Here are our gifts – the work of our hands, our hearts, and our lives. We pray that they may help to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to our world, today and always, here and everywhere. Amen.

   *CLOSING HYMN:#542                        God Be with You Till we Meet Again                          (vs.1,2)     
 God be with you till we meet again;
loving counsels guide, uphold you,
with a shepherd’s care enfold you:
God be with you till we meet again. God be with you till we meet again;
unseen wings protecting hide you,
daily manna still provide you:
God be with you till we meet again. God be with you till we meet again;
when life’s perils thick confound you,
put unfailing arms around you:
God be with you till we meet again. God be with you till we meet again;
keep love’s banner floating o’er you;
smite death’s threatening wave before you:
God be with you till we meet again.                                                                                                   SENDING     WE HEAR THE CHARGE, RECEIVE THE BENEDICTION, AND ARE SENT TO CARRY GOD’S WORD INTO THE WORLD.*CHARGE & BENEDICTION

*POSTLUDE  Improvisation