Worship at Home for Sunday, August 30, 2020

Bless to Me by Dirk Damonte

Written for the Worship Design Studio Series, used with permission.

 

Bless to me, Bless to me,

As with Angels and saints, so with me.

Each shade and light, day and night, time in your love,

Spirit bless to me. O Spirit bless to me.

 

Moment of Silence

 

Opening Prayer (Psalm 26)

God, we seek to follow in your ways and be blameless in your sight.
Help us when the world would cause us to live in ways that are not your ways. May we dedicate ourselves to you and open our hearts in prayer.  May we praise you always! Amen.

 

Passing of the Peace (Smile and wave to those around you.)

 

Children’s Message: Moses and the Burning Bush

Mission Moment from our Mission Partner in Lebannon

 

Our Mission Partners are supported by our donations to Our Churches Wider Mission and gifts to Global Ministries.

To learn more about our church partners in Lebannon go to https://www.globalministries.org/lebanon_hope 

Scripture Readings

Romans 12:9-21

9 Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; 10 love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. 18 If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." 20 No, "if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads." 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

 

Matthew 16:21-28

21 From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, "God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you." 23 But he turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things." 24 Then Jesus told his disciples, "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life? 27 "For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done. 28 Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom."

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Sermon: Holy Follow the Leader

Have you ever played follow the leader? It is a popular children’s game in which one child is selected to be the leader. The other children line up behind the leader and follow wherever the leader goes or do whatever the leader does. If the leader flaps his arms, the others flap their arms. If the leader climbs up the slide and goes down the slide, the followers climb up the slide and go down the slide. Followers who fail to follow the leader need to leave the game. The one child who successfully follows the leader through all places and actions gets to be the next leader.

When Jesus calls the disciples, he asks that they follow him, opiso mou are the Greek words used in Matthew for the call to discipleship which translate as “behind me” or “after me”. In some ways we could say that Jesus is inviting the disciples to a Holy the Follow the Leader Life.

Follow the leader can be simple or it can be challenging. Sometimes we are asked to follow in places where we rather not go. In today’s Gospel lesson, Jesus is telling the disciples that he will suffer and be killed. Let’s be honest, this is a place that no one wants to go.

It is no surprise that the disciples are confused and upset. Peter takes Jesus to the side and tries to talk him out of it. This is the same Peter who recognized that Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God only a few verses earlier. This same Peter who has been commissioned as the Rock on whom Jesus will build his church. Jesus’ words frighten Peter. The idea that the Son of God would suffer and be killed is too much for Peter..

Peter the Rock is being very human at this moment. If someone we loved told us that they were going to die, we would try to deny the possibility. We would look for a miracle, another way to go. Please no! It is good that Peter feels comfortable enough with Jesus to express his fears which are founded in love for Jesus.

But Peter is wrong, and Jesus is quick to tell him so. “Get behind me Satan!” Jesus says to Peter using the same Greek words opiso mou for behind me or after me. Jesus is the Holy Leader. We are not to argue about God’s ways. We are to follow. Even when we are possessed by ideas that are not God’s ways, we are asked to follow.

Jesus then goes on to explain to all the disciples about taking up the cross and following him. This is not a game. This is Holy Follow the Leader and it will not be easy. But it will lead to a new life in Christ.

I love that Jesus is willing to listen to Peter, even if Peter is making a mistake. Sometimes we need to make mistakes so that we can learn. Learning to live as Jesus asks to live is hard. We all make mistakes. Like Peter we are rocks with chips and cracks. We are human.

How are humans to participate in this Holy Follow the Leader so many generations after Jesus walked on the earth with the disciples? Paul gives us guidance in Romans 12:9-21. We are called to love sincerely, hate what is evil and cling to what is good. We are asked to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer. Sharing with God’s people who are in need. Be happy with those who are happy. Be sad with those who are sad. Do not be too proud. Do not repay evil for evil. Be at peace with one another and let God be the one who avenges us when wrong is done to us. Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.

Holy Follow the Leader is not easy, but nothing worth having ever is. It is good to know that we are forgiven when we falter. We can lift up our fears and concerns to God. May we follow Jesus always and see Christ in his glory.

Prayer:
Heavenly God, your ways are not our ways and your thoughts are not our thoughts. Help us to see your way in this world. Following you is hard and easier paths seem to be the solution. Remind us to get behind you and follow the path that leads to new life in Christ.

Loving God, there are so many places that need the strength of the Holy Spirit. There are wildfires again in California, hurricanes off the Atlantic coast, places of war, persecution and pandemic around the world. May your peace and comfort surround all who need it.

Let us take a moment to lift ourselves and others in prayer. We pray for those on our prayer list. Let us read through the names on our prayer list and imagine that God is surrounding them and us with healing love and strength.

Silent Prayer followed by the Lord’s Prayer

Prayer list:

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, Aryanna, 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, Bernice, Mike, Gary S., Linda, Pat, Gary, Dave, Laurie Lee, Gail, Brenda, Breana, Dean, Corey, Jeff, Nancy, Terry, Rev. Cantrell, Family of Garrett Braun, Bev, Edgar, Angie, Mark, Mystick who has been missing as requested by Aunt Laura, prayers for someone who has been wronged.

Special prayers:

  • Gasconade R-2 Students, Teachers and Staff
  • Those affected by Covid-19.

 

Goodwill/Offering

  • Give thanks for all God’s blessings during foundational times in our lives.
  • Share what you have whatever it is, it is enough.
  • Donate via PayPal on our website or write a check.

Prayer of Dedication

Holy God of the burning bush we give these gifts in thanks for all that you do for us and call us to be. May we and our offerings be acceptable in your sight. Bless both the gift and the giver. Amen.

Benediction

May the road rise to meet you,

May the wind be always at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face.

And the rain fall soft upon your fields.

And until we meet again,

May you be held in the palm of God’s hand.

Old Irish Verse

 

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