Worship at Home for Sunday, August 9, 2020

Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

Video Opening 

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

God, we gather in worship today,
to spend time dedicated to worship, prayer and spiritual renewal.

Open our hearts and minds to the possibilities of your power,

and free us from the fears that cause us to sink. Amen.

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


Children’s Message /sunday_school_for_august_9_2020

Scripture Readings

Psalm 85:8-13

8 Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts. 9 Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land. 10 Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other. 11 Faithfulness will spring up from the ground, and righteousness will look down from the sky. 12 The Lord will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase. 13 Righteousness will go before him, and will make a path for his steps.

Matthew 14:22-33

22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. 25 And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, "Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid." 28 Peter answered him, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water." 29 He said, "Come." So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!" 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?" 32 When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."

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: Facing Storms Together

I arise today

Through God’s strength to pilot me:

God’s might to uphold me,

God’s wisdom to guide me,

God’s eye to look before me,

God’s ear to hear me,

God’s word to speak for me,

God’s hand to guard me,

God’s way to lie before me,

God’s shield to protect me,

God’s host to save me

From snares of devils,

From temptations of vices,

From everyone who shall wish me ill,

Afar and anear,

Alone and in multitude.

Saint Patrick’s Breastplate

St. Patrick prayed for protection from all the troubles that could befall him each day. The world can be a troubling place, but God offers us protection and companionship for the journey. Yet why do we feel so alone at times? And why do we need to be alone with God?

The Gospel lesson for today comes after the story of the feeding of the five thousand. Jesus would not let the disciples send away the 5,000 people until they had been fed. The disciples learned that even a meager meal of five loaves and two fish could be shared to fill the hungry completely. After the miracles of healing and feeding, Jesus needed to be alone with God.

So, Jesus puts the disciples into the boat and sends them on a journey without him. Then Jesus dismisses the 5,000 who have been healed and fed. Jesus then takes a much-needed rest for prayer and to be with the Father and Holy Spirit. Even God’s Son needs a spiritual wellness break.

The disciples are sailing without their leader. I wonder what they were feeling. Tired from a day of organizing a crowd? Happy to be on the water and away from the crowd? Disappointed that Jesus wanted to be away from them for a while? Wondering what was going to happened next? Wondering why some of those in the boat were selected by Jesus?

As the church we are sailing through a world that loves us, ignores us and means us harm. At times it feels like Jesus has waved goodbye from a distant shore. We, the passengers/crew of the boat, believe that we can manage on our own but miss the presence of our teacher and savior. We wonder about some of the people in the boat with us. How can they think that? How could Jesus have picked him? We spend time learning to sail together despite or maybe even because of our differences. Then storms come.

The church has faced many storms and changing seas. The world keeps changing around us like the waves that tossed the disciples’ boat. We experience ups and downs, crashing waves, thunder and lightning. We argue about the best way to pilot our boat as the storm threatens to swamp our boat. Sailing in a storm is cold and wet and frightening. It requires trust and faith.

Faith is what Jesus asked of those disciples in the boat. After his time of prayer, Jesus calmly walks across the water to the storm-tossed boat. The disciples see him and, in their weariness, jump to the conclusion that Jesus is a ghost. They fail to recognize Jesus and the possibility of miracles.

How many times have we been like the disciples? How have we as the followers of Jesus failed to recognize the help that is being offered to us? Why do we see changing circumstances as scary ghosts not helpful blessings?

Impulsive Peter jumps out of the boat when he recognizes Jesus and starts walking toward him. Sometimes we act without thinking as Peter does, because if we think about it too long, we will be paralyzed by fear and doubt. When I lived in the Chicago area, I used to joke that if I thought about my driving, I would be too paralyzed with fear to drive. That is true for other times in my life when I acted with faith. Like when I said yes to accepting a refugee family from Haiti into my home back in the 1990’s. One of the church members commented that if I thought about what I was doing, I probably wouldn’t be doing it.

Think about a time in your life when you simply acted, because you just knew what needed to be done. Later did you wonder how you did it. If you were acting for God, did you feel God guiding you and holding you up as you did what needed to be done.

Another way to think about what is happening is completing a ropes/challenge course such as the one at Camp MoVal. Stepping out onto the course requires trust in the safety devices and faith that you can complete the challenge. Sometimes a camper will step out in confidence only to freeze in the middle. Shouts of encouragement will come from campers and staff on the ground. With faith restored our camper will move on to the joy of completion.

Poor Pete,r while walking toward Jesus, suddenly realizes that he has abandoned his crew and is doing the impossible. It is then that Peter sinks, but fear not for Jesus is there to lend a helping hand. In faith Peter takes Jesus’ hand. Together they walk across the water to the boat where. Peter and Jesus join the rest of the disciples.

Once they are all together, Jesus calms the stormy seas. Jesus eases the troubled waters. Together they sail smoothly. Maybe we all need to be together in the boat to sail forward. We, the church members, who have many different ideas and ways of being. We need to sail through storms together even when we are different from one another. We need to trust in the strength of Jesus to guide us together.

It is Jesus who will guide the storm-tossed boat of the church. It is God who protects the church from the troubles that will come. It is to God that we pray and place our trust as we sail together. Let us take a moment to re-read the words from the Breastplate of St. Patrick that are at the beginning of this meditation replacing “I” with “We” and “me’ with “us”. Together we can face the ills of the world. You and me together with the help of God.

Introduction to hymn video: The song “Together We’re Strong” is part of video created by the United Church of Christ for the National Youth Event which was held virtually Saturday, July 25 and Sunday, July 26. In the video people are seen holding up different signs about being better together. Some people hold up signs about things that they believe. Confession, I was surprised about some of the signs. Then I realized that we are all in this boat together, those I agree with and those that I don’t. Together we are strong!

God we are sailing together in a small boat. May we be thankful for smooth waters with gentle breezes at our backs. May we trust you to give us courage and strength to sail through storms. May we learn to appreciate and give thanks to all our travelling companions, those who are like us and those who are not. Forgive us when we argue with our shipmates. Forgives us when see fear where you offer hope. May we always be assured of the grace which is offered to us through our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

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.

Special prayers:

  • The Back to School Fair on Friday, August 14.
  • Healing from racism, classism, violence and more.
  • Prayer request for all the people who have been affected by the Coronavirus.
  • Those members of our church and wider community who have been serving others


  • Give thanks for all God’s blessings during the storms of life.
  • Share what you have whatever it is, it is enough.
  • Donate via PayPal on our website or write a check.

Prayer of Dedication

God you are with us even in the darkest storm. For this we give you thanks. May these gifts that we give today, be a blessing to others on stormy seas and a sign of our gratitude. Amen.



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