Sept 27th Bulletin and Sermon

                            St. Andrew Presbyterian Church

                                                        Bulletin and Sermon
To View the Zoom Recording Click HereSERVICE FOR THE LORD’S DAY
SEPTEMBER 27, 2020
10:00 AM 

WORSHIP LEADERS:Rev. Jason Santalucia, Pastor
 Mr. David Warfield,     Director of Music Ministry
Elder Dave Gaiewski , Liturgist  Gathering
(We prepare ourselves for worship by acknowledging who we are,
and receiving the assurance of God’s grace.) PRELUDE                                          “Lord, You Have Come to the Lakeshore”
                                                                                     (Hymn 721) This is one of the most popular songs to emerge from the 1970s revival of religious song in Spain. It asks singers to become like the fishermen who left their boats and nets to follow Jesus, first as disciples learning his way of love, then as apostles carrying that love to others.

                                                                              CALL TO WORSHIP   
Praise the Lord, who is our provider.The Lord is our hope. Our trust is in God.God brought us out of bondage and has made us free.The Lord is our hope. Our trust is in God.Glorious are the deeds of our God, and mighty are his acts.The Lord is our hope. Our trust is in God.

* HYMN                                                                 “Have Thine Own Way, Lord!”                     Adelaide                                             
  Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after thy will,
while I am waiting yielded and still.
Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Purer than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
as in thy presence humbly I bow.
Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me, I pray!
Power—all power—surely is thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!
Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway!
Fill with thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me!
OPENING PRAYER            

Almighty God, we have been wandering in the wilderness of sin. We have complained in the face of your mercy. We have been selfish in the face of your sacrifice. We have not done your will. Teach us humility. Teach us gratitude. Infuse your Spirit into our lives so that we might be reconciled to you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

(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                                                                                  Exodus 17:1-7
        From the wilderness of Sin the whole congregation of the Israelites journeyed by stages, as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. The people quarreled with Moses, and said, “Give us water to drink.” Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” But the people thirsted there for water; and the people complained against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?”
        So Moses cried out to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” The Lord said to Moses, “Go on ahead of the people, and take some of the elders of Israel with you; take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will be standing there in front of you on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so that the people may drink.” Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. He called the place Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarreled and tested the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”
The word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
                                         SECOND READING                                                                             Matthew 21:23-32
        When he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” Jesus said to them, “I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?”
        And they argued with one another, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet.” So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.
        “What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ He answered, ‘I will not’; but later he changed his mind and went. The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir’; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.”
        Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.”
The word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION                                                                           Sermon given by                                                              Rev. Jason Santalucia, Pastor
                                                                           September 2 , 2020
                                                                                   “It’s Not About Us”
        This week I knew I was getting ready to give my last sermon maybe ever, and I was putting a lot of pressure on myself. I wanted it to be the most powerful, inspiring sermon I’ve ever preached. I wanted it to be my masterpiece—my Mona Lisa, my Ninth Symphony, my exegetical Ode to Joy that would leave all of you weeping in the pews because you’ve never beheld such magnificence.
        And then I thought, Man, I’m such an idiot.
        First of all, if my preaching hasn’t moved you in any way by now, chances are one more sermon isn’t going to make a difference. And second of all—and this is the really important thing—it’s not about me. Yes, this is my last Sunday in the pulpit, and my last Sunday as a pastor. When I hang up my robe after the service, that’s it. I’m done. But even so, today isn’t about me. And it’s not about you. It’s not about any of us.
        It’s about what Christian faith is always about. It’s about the fact that we are set right with God through Jesus Christ, and we don’t have to do anything to earn that; it’s purely a gift. As Paul Tillich put it, we are accepted, and all we have to do is accept that we’re accepted despite our unacceptable-ness. We don’t have to be perfect. We don’t have to say certain things or believe certain things. We don’t have to live up to any kind of standard.
        That’s what the other Paul—the Apostle Paul—means when he says in Romans that where sin increases, grace abounds all the more.[1] All we have to do is graciously receive that which was graciously given, and the rest is just details.
        It’s pretty simple when you get right down to it. It’s about the good news, this life of faith we share together. But still, we human beings have a way making it about us. We have a way of putting the spotlight on our own priorities, our own agendas, our own ideas about what’s important and what’s not, what’s central and what’s peripheral.
        And that’s when we get ourselves into trouble—when we start focusing on our own stuff instead of the gospel. That’s when our ways get out of line with God’s ways, and we start going off in some other direction—like in the readings today. Both of these stories are about people who made it about them.
        In the first reading, the Israelites are at it again. Last week they were complaining in the wilderness about not having enough food, and this week they’re complaining in the wilderness about not having enough water. So they start giving Moses a hard time. Poor Moses. Why’d you bring us out here? they sneer at him. So you could kill us all with thirst? And the funny thing is, they haven’t even been out there that long. But they’ve forgotten already what God did for them in the past and what God has promised them in the future. And instead of holding on to that and being thankful, they’re ready to turn around and go back to Egypt and be slaves again.
        It’s all about their discomfort. It’s all about their anxiety. It’s all about what they think is going to save them.
        In the second reading, the chief priests and the elders find Jesus teaching in the temple, and they’re not too happy about it. They shake their fingers at him and demand to know, Who do you think you are?By what authority are you doing this? And of course he refuses to play their game. In typical Jesus fashion, he turns their question back onto them. He compares them to a son who tells his father he’s going go work in the family vineyard but never actually does. And what he means is, they present themselves as authorities. They act as if they’re doing God’s work. But they don’t actually follow God with their whole heart. They don’t actually practice what they preach. They just like putting up fences around God and deciding who gets in and who stays out.
        It’s all about their insecurity. It’s all about their need to control. It’s all about their small understanding of who God is.
        But I don’t want to get too judgy. When it comes to the good news, we’re all guilty once in a while of making it about us. Instead of being thankful for God’s grace and trusting in God’s goodness, we’re all guilty once in a while of getting too wrapped up in ourselves and listening to our own voices instead of being open to whatever it is God might be saying to us, and wherever it is God might be leading us.
        It’s easy to do—believe me. And I think it happens especially when we’re going through times of transition, and we’re dealing with a lot of uncertainty, and we’re feeling stressed about it—like the people in both readings today. Obviously the exodus was a major transition, and the Israelites were dealing with a lot of uncertainty. But the first century, when Jesus lived, was also a time of massive social and political unrest in Israel, and nobody knew where all that was headed, including the chief priests and the elders—the religious leaders of the day.
        So I’m not surprised at all by what we see in these stories—people reacting to what was going on around them. But what I really want to say to you this morning is that, as you go through your own time of transition and uncertainty, each one of you needs to remember it’s not about you. It’s not about your discomfort or anxiety. It’s not about what you think is going to save St. Andrew. It’s not about your need to control. It’s not about your understanding of who God is.
        It’s about holding on to God’s grace, and being thankful. It’s about remembering all the ways that God has supported this church in the past. It’s about trusting that God will continue to do so in the future. And most of all, it’s about joy—the joy of knowing that you are accepted, and all you have to do is graciously receive that which was graciously given, and the rest is just details.  That’s what the life of the church should always be about. Amen.
                                                                                                  [1] Romans 5:20. 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                                                                         from the Confession of  1967                                                                                                                
We acknowledge that God’s sovereign love is a mystery beyond the reach of human minds. We ascribe to God superlatives of power, wisdom, and goodness.  But in Jesus Christ God reveals love by showing power in the form of a servant, wisdom in the folly of the cross, and goodness in receiving sinful people. The power of God’s love in Christ transforms the world and discloses that the Redeemer is the Lord and Creator who made all things to serve the purpose of divine love. Amen.


                                       * HYMN  134                                                “Joy to the World”                                              ANTIOCH
 Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her king;
let every heart prepare him room,
and heaven and nature sing,
and heaven and nature sing,
and heaven, and heaven and nature sing.

Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let all their songs employ,
while fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
repeat the sounding joy,
repeat the sounding joy,
repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
nor thorns infest the ground;
he comes to make his blessings flow
far as the curse is found,
far as the curse is found,
far as, far as the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
and makes the nations prove
the glories of his righteousness
and wonders of his love,
and wonders of his love,
and wonders, wonders of his love.
 While Isaac Watts did not write this text strictly for Christmas use, he did purposely cast his paraphrase of Psalm 98:4-9 in Christian terms, titling it”The Messiah’s coming and kingdom.” So “the Lord here is Jesus Christ, rather than the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

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!)

Loving God, we bring you our gifts, grateful that we have something to share, glad to be part of a network of mission and mercy that encompasses the earth. Bless all the ministries supported by this congregation and the efforts of your people everywhere to love and care for their neighbors. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.


(We hear the charge, receive the benediction,and are sent to carry God’s Word into the world.)CHARGE & BENEDICTION                              

The Lord bless and keep you.
The Lord bless and keep you.
The Lord be gracious and kind to you.
The Lord be gracious and kind to you.
The Lord look upon you with favor, and give you peace.
The Lord look upon you with favor, and give you peace.
And all God’s people said:
POSTLUDE                                        “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee”                               Janet Linker 

                                                                * Please rise in body or in spirit.