Sixth Sunday of Easter
The United Church of Christ Conference Ministers have created a worship service for May 17, 2020. To view this service go to https://vimeo.com/415858831.
Rev. Char Burch does the Welcome for this service!
Mental Health Sunday Greeting from the Council of Conference Ministers
Written by Brigit Stevens
The timing of this worship video is in the month of May 2020. And during the month of May in the United Church of Christ, we honor Mental Health Sunday. This year it is marked as May 17th. Regardless of the date, we honor and celebrate our siblings in Christ who struggle with mental illness.
Individuals caught in the grip of mental illness are all around us. They are our friends, our coworkers, our family members, our parishioners. They are us. They, we, are beautiful in our gifts—our love, our talents, our wisdom, our play. And then they, we, are not so lovely. We are needy or angry, withdrawn or unreliable, demanding, ungrateful, or unendingly sad. And they, we, are beloved children of God, just the way we are.
In the United Church of Christ, we embrace three core values: God’s continuing testament, extending extravagant welcome, and changing lives. All three of these values are lived out well as we affirm that mental health and wellness are components of human health and wellness. And then, we create practices, advocate for policies, and seek out leadership, not just inclusion, that ends stigma around mental illness and supports holistic approaches to health and wellness.
Welcome to worship. May you be blessed in your whole being by the gifts and graces of God offered here
Call to Worship (Based on Psalm 66)
One: Bless God all you people,
Many: Make the voice of God’s praise be heard.
One: Come and listen all you who fear God,
Many: And you will hear of all that God has done for us.
One: God hears our prayers.
Many: Thanks be to God who cares for us!
Passing of the Peace (Call, text, write a note or email a friend.)
Opening Prayer (Collect from the Episcopalians)
O God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as surpass our understanding. Pour unto our hearts such love towards you, that we loving you in all things and above all things may obtain your promises which exceed all that we can desire through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, on God for ever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 3:13-22
Meditation Our Companion and Advocate
How do we “sanctify Christ as Lord” in our hearts? To “sanctify” something is to set it apart as holy. Holiness resides within each one of us. It calls us to see holiness in others. It calls us to do the right thing in the name of Love, even when the right thing isn’t easy. Sometimes the right thing, and the hardest thing, is to follow the commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves. We often focus about loving our neighbor, but we also must hear the second part… love ourselves. The Spirit is in us, Jesus says, and to love ourselves is to love God, to love the Jesus in each of us, and to love the Spirit that is our Companion and Helper. Dr. Marcia McFee
It is hard to love someone or something in the abstract. Human beings need to see, hear and feel in order to love. That is why Jesus came to us in human form so that we might know and understand the love of God. We have a Savior who understands us and our needs, because he was human just like us. The very human Jesus teaches us to love one another and God.
Jesus understands that we need help in our walk of faith, so he sends the Holy Spirit to be with us. We have the wonderful stories about Jesus’ life, but not his actual person. We do have the Spirit who is so important to our lives of faith. When we pray it is the Spirit who gives us that sense of God’s presence. We cannot see the Spirit with our eyes, but we can feel the Spirit with our hearts and follow the Spirit’s guidance.
Jesus uses the word Advocate which can also be translated as Companion or Comforter to describe the Spirit. The Children’s Bulletin for today uses a picture of a teddy bear to convey the loving comfort of the Holy Spirit. I love this! The Holy Spirit is like the prayer shawls that we share with those who need a symbol of God’s loving comfort in their lives. The Holy Comforter wraps us up in the warmth of God’s love.
Jesus tells us to let the Holy Spirit to work in and through us to love others as Jesus loved us. The Spirit/Companion encourages us to do what Jesus asks of us in truth and love. When God asks you to do a task that seems impossible, call upon the Spirit to see you through. The Holy Comforter will be there to give you strength to live the life that Jesus calls us to live. Amen!
Holy, Holy, Holy, my heart, my heart adores you.
My heart knows how to say to you, “Holy are you.”
Remember that we are not alone. That God is with us always.
Call to mind those that you miss this Sunday and those who need God’s loving care and presence and ask God to care for them.
Loving God, Savior and Comforter, we give thanks and praise that you surround us with your loving care and fill us with the truth of your way. We are never alone, because you are with us always. Even now when we feel as though we have been alone for so long in our social isolation, you are with us. You are with all who are essential workers. You are with those in our nursing homes, hospitals and more. You are with all of us, giving us strength in these strange times.
We take time to lift up in prayer all of those who are in our hearts today.
Let us now prayer the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray:
Simon, Howard, Julia, Ahna, Mike, Josh, Priscilla, Duane, Janet, Grandpa David, Dorothy, Jacob, Jenny, Ann, Dale, Gayle, Don, Cheryl, Dustin, Pat, Student with eating disorder, Tate, Patricia, Roland, aryann, Amanda, Virginia, Matthew, Tom, Naomi, Vic, Jennelle, Charlie, James, Rick, Christy, Reagan, Kim, Lee, Kevin, Gaylynn, Liz’s sister in law, Naomi, Nathan, Jason, Cheryl, Daniel, Betty, Dax, Carter, Laurie’s mom, Jock, Nancy, Pat, Malachi and Karen, Carolyn, Ellen, Shirley, Mary, Karen, Paul, Hal, Richard, Crystal, Edie, Paula, Jim, Truett, Brett and Danielle, Judy, Laura F, Shirley, Butch, Joyce., Macie, Michel, Dorothy L, family of child who donated a heart to Truett, Corey, Lauren, Anonymous Cancer Patient, Luis, Bernice, Mike, Clyde, Gary S., Linda, Pat, Gary, Dave, Laurie Lee, Gail, Brenda, Breana, Dean, Corey, Jeff, Nancy, Terry, Rev. Cantrell.
Prayer of Dedication
God you are with us always. You are our advocate and companion in good times and in bad. Accept these gifts of our gratitude and love. Amen.
Remember that you are not alone,
The Holy Comforter is your companion for life’s journey.
May the love and comfort of God surround you today and always. Amen.
*Adapted from www.worshipdesignstudio.com by Dr. Marcia Mc Fee
St. Peter’s CCLI #133033 for hymns used.