Nov 8th Service



Due to the increase in virus spread in our area, services for this Sunday will be  by Zoom Only .

                            St. Andrew Presbyterian Church
Sunday Worship Service Bulletin, Sermon and Zoom Recording  

 To View Zoom Worship Service Click Here 

              

23rd  SUNDAY  AFTER PENTECOST                                          
                                              November 8, 2020


Val Gordon, Worship Leader
Mr. David Warfield, Director of Music Ministry
Elder, Dale Green Liturgist


     Hymn 342    Read by   Geoff Gordon 
Hymn 724   Read by    Tate Gordon

                                                           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                                                                                                                                          Psalm 78:1-7

Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, things that we have heard and known, that our ancestors have told us.
We will not hide them from their children; we will tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.
He established a decree in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach to their children;
that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and rise up and tell them to their children,
so that they should set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments.

* HYMN342                                   “Judge Eternal, Throned in Splendor”                              PICARDY 
  Judge Eternal, throned in splendor,
Lord of lords and King of kings,
with your living fire of judgment
purge this land of bitter things;
solace all its wide dominion
with the healing of your wings.


 Still the weary folk are pining
for the hour that brings release,
and the city’s crowded clangor
cries aloud for sin to cease,
and the homesteads and the woodlands
plead in silence for their peace.


 Crown, O God, your own endeavor;
cleave our darkness with your sword;
feed the faithless and the hungry
with the richness of your word;
cleanse the body of this nation
through the glory of the Lord. More than a century after it was written, this plea for national purification has lost none of its power, nor has the need for social justice frown less acute. 

PRAYER OF CONFESSION

Eternal God, our judge and redeemer,
we confess that we have tried to hide from you,
for we have done wrong.
We have lived for ourselves,
and apart from you.
We have turned from our neighbors,
and refused to bear the burdens of others.
We have ignored the pain of the world,
and passed by the hungry, the poor, and the oppressed. 

In your great mercy forgive our sins and free us from selfishness,
that we may choose your will
and obey your commandments; through Jesus Christ our Savior. 

  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                                                                                                                                                  Amos 5:18-24

Alas for you who desire the day of the LORD! Why do you want the day of the LORD? It is darkness, not light; as if someone fled from a lion and was met by a bear; or went into the house and rested a hand against the wall and was bitten by a snake.  Is not the day of the LORD darkness, not light, and gloom with no brightness in it?  I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.
Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals I will not look upon. Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps.  But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
                                          
The word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                   SECOND READING                                                                                                                                    Matthew 25:1-13

Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps.  The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’
But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’ Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
                                                                        
The word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                           
                                                                                                     
                                                                                                         PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION 
SERMON           
                                                          “More Oil Please”                           Given by Val Gordon
 
On Sunday afternoons when I was a kid we would sometimes go visit my grandmother, my dad’s mom who had 6 kids and three of them lived in the area so my grandmother’s house was the gathering spot.  Grandma had nuts , hard candy, a warm house, and contagious laugh but the thing I remember the most is listening to my dad and my uncle talk about the end of the world and what would happen.  This was an area of interest and study for both of them, particularly my uncle who was animated and opinionated …as a kid I was captured by the emotion as much as the content. I grew up thinking this was really important. 
 
And I was part of a church that talked about this.  In middle school I remember our youth group watched  movie Thief in the Night…all about the end times depicting the rapture or when this life as we know it was over and the people of God went to heaven.  In the movie when the rapture happened, people just disappeared—man was shaving and then suddenly only the electric razor was left on in the sink, two people were in a room and suddenly one was not anymore, blender was left spinning on counter, vacuum left running.
 
 This movie was not at all bizarre for me to watch.  I’d be lying if I didn’t say there were more times than I’d like to remember when I would come home to an empty house and I would wonder did the rapture happen and I didn’t make it.  Remember this was before the days of cell phones so it’s not like I could call my dad or sister and make sure they were still on earth…I had to wait…and I could really work myself into a tailspin.  I’m surprised I didn’t have full blown panic attacks while  waiting for someone to come home.  When my dad pulled into the driveway I could have cried with relief…because there was no way my dad would miss the rapture; it was not the end, dad is still here. 
 
Our gospel reading today can easily from our perspective in 2020 be looked at as one of those end times passages.
 
Let’s make sure we understand the scene and context.
 
Jesus is telling a parable about the kingdom of heaven.   This has been a common theme for Jesus to describe the Kingdom of Heaven and what it will be like, often talking about it the form of parables.
 
Last week Dale talked leadership and it mattering who leads you.  Jesus knew that so he spent a lot of time talking about his leadership, his kingship and his Kingdom often through parables.   Parables were an indirect way to communicate information. Jesus is speaking to a predominant Jewish audience who know the law, and they think they know about God because they know Moses and they know the Old Testament about a Messiah coming.  Jesus shows up and tries to help them know I’m the one, the one you’ve been waiting for.  Some of them are not convinced. When they imagined a king coming to save them all these years they imagined a warrior king who would lead them into war and win and kick Ceasar off the throne and send him running for the hills .  And that was not Jesus as King.  The kingdom God was and is bringing to earth is not like the kingdom they imagined.   Jesus’ approach is not direct but trying to get them to stop, think and ask questions.
 
I wish I had this skill—I am often called too direct,  It’s not that direct is bad but unlike Jesus it can be my only style.  And ask my kids how effective that is…sometimes not so much,  I would do better to think about how to use stories and cultivating curiosity .  In general no one likes to be told what to do, and parables have a way of telling you what to do without telling you what to do.
 
The parable for today is the final mention of the Kingdom of Heaven. Over 30 times Jesus describes the Kingdom of Heaven in Matthew and this is his conclusion to the topic. 
 
Let’s make sure we understand what Jesus has been saying about the Kingdom of Heaven through parables before we try to unpack this one.
 
Jesus has described it like
•  A Mustard seed, the smallest of seeds can grow to become largest tree where birds make their homes signifying that something really small and seemingly insignificant can become something unexpected.  The new Kingdom was like that—started small with Jesus and his small band of disciples, yet the message of the Kingdom would be spread to the whole world.
• A treasure hidden in a field that when found, you sell everything to buy the field because the treasure or Jesus is worth it all.  The Kingdom was worth all we have.
• He told the parable of the Lost sheep, a shepherd who would leave the 99 to find the 1 sheep that was lost to help show what the King of this Kingdom of Heaven is like—someone who wants everyone to be in his kingdom, that not one sheep or person would be exempted .
• He told a parable about forgiveness, that he is the God who forgives those who choose to follow Him.. The Kingdom is  a Kingdom of grace. 
 • The Parable of vineyard workers  where everyone was paid the same if they came at 9am or 3pm. For Jesus just choosing him no matter what time of day or what season of life you got your “money” as an example of you got relationship with him. The Kingdom is inclusive.
 
These parables about the Kingdom of Heaven were attempts to help people shift  their paradigms about kings and kingdoms.  
 
Jesus would say later “my kingdom is not of this world.” And in case we like to think that we are any different than the people Jesus was speaking to, I don’t think we are.   I think understanding Jesus’ version of kingship and the new Kingdom is just as relevant today as it was for the people in Jesus’ day.  Most of us had a preferred candidate to win the election this week.  Most of us who are believers likely picked their candidate based on their values of which faith plays a role.  And I think most likely believed that God was on their side.  But I am pretty sure God stands above our win/lose mentality.   I remember years ago seeing a spiritual director, someone who I would talk to about my faith journey and their role was to ask me questions.   In that particular season I was in conflict with someone.  And I remember saying to Tom, At this point I don’t even care if I am right or wrong I just want God to tell who he is believes is right, who is he for and who he is against.  And Tom  smiled which he did often and said, “What if God is for you both?”  A question I did not like at the time, but proved then and twenty years later to be one of the most profound truths for me—what if God is for you both?  What if God’s kingdom is not like a court room?  What if God’s Kingdom is not about winning or losing?   
 
There are varying responses to this paradigm shift in Jesus’ day.  Some love it, embrace it, get healed physically, socially and emotionally, get freed from demons, literal ones and others like fear and shame.  Others, mostly the religious leaders who were experts on the law of Moses enter into a power struggle with Jesus.  They don’t like this upside down nature of the kingdom where the greatest leaders are those who serve when they have gotten honor from holding people accountable to the rules, where they are encouraged to be like little children who are curious and playful when they’ve spent their lives acting like experts. They don’t like that Jesus likes sinners, people they have spent their lives judging and avoiding.  
 
I still at times don’t understand that the Kingdom of this world is not the Kingdom of our God.  I spoke about winners and losers all this past week…it took a while to even hear my own rhetoric as contrary to the Kingdom.  I kept thinking this week–what parable might Jesus tell me to help me understand Jesus as King and the upside down-ness of his Kingdom right now?
 
By the time Jesus gets to the parable we read today it’s at the end of his life on earth, some think days away from going to the cross.   This parable follows a long discourse based on a question the disciples ask Tell us, what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?
           .  
It’s unlikely that the disciples are asking about the end times –they wouldn’t really understand any of that but more likely that they are asking about the Fall of Jerusalem ..they want to know when and they want to know what the signs are and Jesus gives a lengthy sermon trying to help them understand how they will know…. And then he tells three parables….the first is our reading today about the 10 virgins…
To understand the parable, we need to understand wedding culture in these times.  Weddings were multiple days of events.  And the person of interest was the bridegroom, not the bride like it is today.  No one really looks at the groom these days, certainly people don’t overly analyze his choice of dress like we do with the bride, but in these times…the focus was on the bridegroom.  And the virgins or what we might call the bridesmaids waited for bridegroom to show up. 
A wedding was a great occasion. The whole village turned out to accompany the couple to their new home, and they went by the longest possible road, in order that they might receive the cheers of as many as possible.   Typically the bridegroom led a procession of his bridesmaids and bride from her home to his home. And the procession took place at night… The bridegroom could come at any time and the bridal party have to be ready to go out into the street at any time to meet him, whenever he chooses to come. … In this time period no one is allowed on the streets after dark without a lighted lamp. And also tradition that once the wedding begins  the door are closed and those who are late are not admitted. All part of wedding culture.  The bride and groom did not go away for a honeymoon; they stayed at home; they were treated, and even addressed, as prince and princess.  The party lasted the full week and guests were invited for the whole shebang.
Back to this parable, the bridegroom is running late to get to the bridesmaids, pretty normal.  It’s deep into the night that they are waiting for the groom to join him in the final the procession back to his house for the wedding.  All 10 bridesmaids are tired and go to sleep.  All good.  In the middle of the night they are woken because the bridegroom is coming close which is when 5 of them realize they will not have enough oil in their lamps to make it.  This is a critical part of the bridesmaid job—lighting the procession to the wedding and they are not ready…seems like a bit of fear kicks in when they realize this, they want the other 5 bridesmaids to share which they don’t because they know they will all run out of oil so while they are off buying some oil they miss the bridegroom, miss the procession and ultimately miss the whole party.
Why the raw deal for the 5 bridesmaid who run out of oil?   Jesus calls them foolish. 
The key distinction seems to be about being prepared.   Not about being tired, not about going to sleep—it as after all late into the night, not about not having a lamp, but it’s about not having ENOUGH oil for the lamp.. Sort of like having a cell phone with no batteries.  Doesn’t really do much good..esp for the people who are needing to contact you.  A lamp without oil is a dead cellphone.  Pretty useless. 
So like most parables we need to find who represents what in the story.  Jesus in the OT often referred to Himself as the bridegroom.  Which would make us the bridesmaids.  Lamps in the literal sense help you to see in darkness.  Lamps in Jewish culture were often symbols of “lighting” the way for the righteous.   The lamp could represent many things—but seems to have something to do with the presence of our God in our lives.   Jesus as the light of the world said that his followers were to be lights to the world.  Just as the lamps in the parable paved the way for the bridegroom, so it is that followers of Jesus should shine their light for the world.  Oil for the lamp seems to represent the holy spirit. The way God chooses to inhabit humans is with his spirit…and the 5 foolish bridesmaid have run out of this oil, meaning his followers have let the oil of the holy spirit run dry, allowed their faith in God to wane.  Jesus wants his followers, his disciples not let that happen.  In the same way a dead cell phone is useless, if you are a follower of me and your lamp runs out of oil, you too are useless .
And the parable also tells us that the oil couldn’t be borrowed.  The 5 foolish could not borrow the 5 wise bridesmaid oil–every bridesmaid needs their own oil,  I think signifying that each of us is responsible for cultivating the oil of the HS…we can’t borrow it.  Some have likened this to the example of a vaccine, apropos for our day and age –the vaccine dosage needed for measles, mumps and eventually COVID 19 is a set amount–sharing my vaccine with someone else means we both aren’t protected from the virus—better to give the whole thing to you than for you to share with me—at least one of is protected.  Similar to our relationship with God.  You can’t borrow mine and I can’t borrow yours.  This can be hard. As a parent I long for my kids to have a thriving meaningful faith filled life of loving and being loved by Jesus, but it’s theirs to choose. They can’t borrow mine or Geoff’s.
So how does one “get more oil?”
As Jesus’s disciples they were called to be with Jesus, cultivate relationship with Jesus, personally.   When Jesus first called his 12 disciples the first thing he called them to do was to be with him, spend time with me, hang out with me, talk to me.  Before he gave them any authority to be on mission with Him what he wanted most from them was that they spent time with Him.  This is true for us today—Jesus wants us to be with Him.  He wants us to know Him personally as the good King.  Spending time with Jesus  in prayer, scripture, worship is our way of saying, “More oil please. “
And then Jesus wants us to serve.  Jesus was raising the disciples up to lead his church.  He was going back to father and had modeled  and mentored the disciples to do the works of His Father with him: Pray the sick, Care for the Poor, Loosen the binds of injustice. Justice was a critical part of God’s mission and heart.  
“More oil”  in part also means doing the work of righteousness and justice. Especially if look at our OT reading this morning–  an intense rebuke by the prophet Amos to the Israelites for their failure in doing this work of justice.  He is speaking to the Israelites, the people of God here—the people who had a covenant relationship with God and He with them. And Amos is aghast.  You think you want the day of Lord?  The day of the Lord is not what you think.  It’s darkness not light.   I hate your festivals and I don’t accept your worship—your religious practice practices mean nothing to me. 
Let justice roll down like water and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream, that’s what the Day of the Lord will bring.  I’m coming to bring that and you are guilty of not being about that. This is not the first time the people of God have been indicted for their oppression—they were rebuked for neglecting widows and orphans, oppressing the poor, cheating people out of money.   Amos hammers home the hypocrisy of it all.  You gather to worship but at the same time perpetuate injustice and “I hate it” says the Lord. 
God is clear about his heart for justice and as his representatives he says to us like he said to Abraham, “keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice.”Doing righteousness–  the Hebrew word here means the right relationship between people.  Meaning righteousness is seeking for all people to have their God given dignity.  Doing justice–word here means Restorative justice,  seeking out vulnerable people. Not with just charity,  but as an advocate for vulnerable and changing social structures to prevent injustice.
 
Here’s some examples from scripture of what it means to bring about righteousness and  justiceOpen your mouth for those who can’t speak for themselvesRescue the disadvantaged and don’t tolerate violence against the immigrant orphan or widow The Lord God upholds justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry and sets the prisoner free. 
Remember that Israel started out as the oppressed with Egypt as oppressor.  They were treated unjustly, they were the vulnerable.  And yet now they are guilty ones.  No longer oppressed, they gained power and have tragically become oppressors themselves– something we see a lot in history. God’s response to this legacy of injustice is giving us Jesus, the righteous one,  who did justice and yet died on behalf of us who have not always been so inclined.
 
We all contribute to injustice.  We are like the people Amos is speaking to .  Even if we don’t actively perpetrate injustice, we likely benefit personally from unjust systems. Typically we take issues with injustice serious when our bodies or personal lives feel on the line.  But for justice to roll we need to prioritize the lives and dignity and influence of others over ourselves.
 
The disciples experienced the righteousness of Jesus and the dignity Jesus had for all human beings and they got a taste of what it meant to pursue justice as they watched Jesus advocate for the poor and oppressed and expose systems that allowed that oppression to continue.  It changed them. When Jesus calls the disciples to be prepared I think he is calling them, calling us to be prepared by making other people’s problem our own.  It’s another part of saying More Oil Please.  Spending time with Jesus and allowing him to shift our paradigms for what it means to be His followers and thinking about others, particularly others who are disadvantaged and oppressed are all part of filling our lamps with oil.
 
So if we know how to keep oil in our lamps, why do we run out?  Why did the 5 bridesmaid run out?  I have one child who gets headaches and I will say, “ did you drink enough water today?”  And child will say “yes I just downed a class.”  And what we all know is that if you wait to drink water until you have a headache you can’t prevent the headache.  You needed water a few hours before. 
There’s no crash course preparation for us as followers…part of being prepared is seeing our faith journey like a marathon and not like a sprint.  And to get through the marathon you need water at mile 5, 8 and 10 (I’m making that up I’m sure there’s a science to this)—but what I do know is that if you wait to mile 20 to have your first sip of water you’re probably in trouble.  Keeping the oil or the holy spirit’s work in us is a marathon, daily dixie cups of water, oil that cultivates our relationship with God.
Readiness is not a last minute scramble.  It’s well paced.   In an era where we can binge watch seasons of a show on a rainy Saturday or where we can super-size drink tends to lend itself to over consumption of a good thing in a short period time verses the concept of a daily dixie cup.  Daily dixie cups of oil can take more discipline than we are accustomed to, but I think that’s what it means to keep the oil in our lamp full.  Daily prayer can come in many forms—free flowing talking to God, praying the hours, sharing of gratefuls and grumbles around the dinner table and praying for each person, taking a walk through nature, aware and grateful of the Creator, daily confession of the ways we live for ourselves and prioritize self-preservation over self-sacrifice,  daily scripture to meditate on and guide our thoughts and actions, daily generosity of serving others with our time, money and care.    For all the ways we can choose to be with Jesus and serve in mission with Jesus it’s a daily choice to be oriented upward and outward, not a crash course.  Preparedness is a well-paced spiritual marathon, not a sprint.
 
I would say although I am not perfect at behaviors that help me fill my dixie cup daily with oil, I have some spiritual practices that I commit to…and I was so grateful for them–they prepared me for the election marathon.  They sustained me through the uncertainty, helped me see the ways I was forgetting the upside down nature of the kingdom, have offered me hope, perspective, peace.    Preparedness is a well-paced spiritual marathon, not a sprint.
 
In the parable, the bridesmaids were filled with expectation as they waited for the bridegroom.  There was a sense of urgency and responsibility.  The bridesmaid had places of honor, walking alongside the bride and bridegroom, guests at a grand multi day celebration.  There is joy and excitement that comes with the responsibility of being a bridesmaid.  I think Jesus hopes the same for us,  that the filling up of our lives with oil would be joyful preparation, not daily drudgery—that as we choose to spend time with Jesus and serve him that we would be surprised and delighted by this King and surprised by his delight over us and the transformation of helping us become more of who we long to be. 
 
And that’s probably how I have reconciled what used to get drudged up for me every time I read passages in scripture that referred to end times. Joyful preparation not anxious fear or panic.  Fear is not a good daily motivator for how to live. Might help you not do something that is wildly dangerous. It can help you when you experience a threat and move quickly to get to safety.  But not when you are talking about a marathon. Being prepared and ready is something that is about daily life, daily disciplines.  Fear is not a great motivator for that. Fear of getting fat as a daily reality can lead to an eating disorder.  Constant fear of failure can lead to workaholism or becoming  the type of boss or employee that is unhealthy or abusive. 
 
The virgins weren’t afraid, they just weren’t ready.  All were sleeping, waiting but 5 weren’t ready.  That likely kicked the 5 foolish ones into a fear mode when they realized that, but that was not Jesus’ point. I don’t think he was thinking , “Good,  glad you got finally got scared.”  His point is you weren’t ready.  You forgot to grab water at mile 9 and mile14 and now it’s mile 23.
 
The bridegroom in the parable likely isn’t mad that their not ready, he’s sad that they missed the weeklong party.   That was true for Jesus too. It was sad when people rejected him and chose not to follow him.  Some of the most moving scripture to read is when Jesus weeps over Jerusalem, Jerusalem who represents the people who Jesus spent the most time with , who know him, who he desperately and creatively tried to help them see who his father was and what his father’s Kingdom of Heaven would be like and it’s gutting to Jesus when they reject this new King and New kingdom.
 
If Jesus is devasted by those who reject him, how much more is he devasted by those who really know Him.  This parable was said to his disciples, his followers, those who had the most intimate knowledge and understanding of who he was and what his Kingdom was and is bringing and his call to them is, “don’t let your oil run out, don’t be foolish, don’t miss my party…”
 
And he hopes our response is “More oil please.”
  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 life and in death we belong to God. Through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, We trust in the one triune God, the Holy One of Israel, whom alone we worship and serve.We trust in God the Holy Spirit, everywhere the giver and renewer of life. The Spirit justifies us by grace through faith, sets us free to accept ourselves and to love God and neighbor, and binds us together with all believers in the one body of Christ, the church. The same Spirit who inspired the prophets and apostles rules our faith and life in Christ through Scripture, engages us through the Word proclaimed, claims us in the waters of baptism,
feeds us with the bread of life and the cup of salvation, and calls women and men to all ministries of the church. 
In a broken and fearful world the Spirit gives us courage to pray without ceasing, to witness among all peoples to Christ as Lord and Savior, to unmask idolatries in church and culture,
to hear the voices of peoples long silenced, and to work with others for justice, freedom, and peace. 
In gratitude to God, empowered by the Spirit, we strive to serve Christ in our daily tasks and to live holy and joyful lives, even as we watch for God’s new heaven and new earth, praying, “Come, Lord Jesus!” With believers in every time and place, we rejoice that nothing in life or in death can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Amen.
                                                                                            * HYMN  724                                       “O Jesus, I Have Promised”                              ANGEL’S STORY
  O Jesus, I have promised
to serve thee to the end;
be thou forever near me,
my Master and my Friend;
I shall not fear the battle
if thou art by my side,
nor wander from the pathway
if thou wilt be my guide.


  O let me feel thee near me!
The world is ever near;
I see the sights that dazzle,
the tempting sounds I hear;
my foes are ever near me,
around me and within;
but Jesus, draw thou nearer,
and shield my soul from sin.


 O let me hear thee speaking
in accents clear and still,
above the storms of passion,
the murmurs of self will.
O speak to reassure me,
to hasten or control;
O speak and make me listen,
thou guardian of my soul. 


 O Jesus, thou hast promised 
to all who follow thee,
that where thou art in glory
there shall thy servant be;
and, Jesus, I have promised
to serve thee to the end;
O give me grace to follow,
my Master and my Friend. 

 Written to highlight the promises made by the author’s daughter and two sons at their confirmation, this   text equally well recalls the promises of discipleship made in Baptism and in the Reaffirmation of the Batismal Covenant.  The tune was written for a text now unused.
                                                         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!)
PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING & DEDICATIONAlmighty and merciful God, from whom comes all that is good, we praise you for your mercies,
for your goodness that has created us, your grace that has sustained us, your discipline that has corrected us, your patience that has borne with us, and your love that has redeemed us.  
Help us to love you, and to be thankful for all your gifts by serving you and delighting to do your will, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 
SHARING OUR JOYS & CONCERNS
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE & THE LORD’S PRAYER
 


Moment for Stewardship                                                                                                                     Dale Green

                                                                                               SENDING     WE HEAR THE CHARGE, RECEIVE THE BENEDICTION, AND ARE SENT TO CARRY GOD’S WORD INTO THE WORLD.  
CHARGE & BENEDICTION   
POSTLUDE                                                  “ Prelude in a Classic Style “                                    Gordon Young
 
        
                
 
*Please rise in body or in spirit.