Worship at Home for Sunday, July 5, 2020

Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

Moment of Silence

Opening Prayer

Divine Goodness, Holy One,

Pause us for this moment,

bear us up in this time,

hold us for eternity.

We tune our spirits to truth.

We begin to let go of expectations.

We allow all beings the fullness of their own beauty.

And all the people say, “Amen.”

Passing of the Peace

Opening Hymn “Open Now Thy Gates of Beauty”

Scripture Readings

Song of Songs 2:8-13

Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

Sermon: To God You Are Beautiful

The Song of Songs is a beautiful book in the Bible but is often only heard at weddings. The book is a poem written as a dialogue between a man and a woman who love each other, the beloved and the lover. Some scholars believe that this was written as a wedding song which is why couples will sometimes choose to have portions of the book read at their wedding. To be honest weddings are the only time that I have written sermons based on passages from the Song of Songs.

People have questioned over the years why this book was included in the Bible. Jewish Tradition views the Song of Songs as a love poem between God and God’s people. Christian Tradition often reads Song of Songs as the love Jesus has for the Church. The Song of Songs is part of the wisdom tradition of Hebrew scriptures. Perhaps the wisdom in this book is that love is precious and to be valued more than money. Song of Songs 8:7 tells us:

Many waters cannot, quench love;

rivers cannot wash it way.

If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love,

it would be utterly scorned.

Dr. Marcia McFee from the Worship Design Studio suggests that we might like to read and listen to the Song of Songs as though God is the lover and we are the beloved of God. Take a moment and think about God loving you and calling you beautiful. Song of Songs 2:10 New International Version says,

My lover spoke and said to me,

“Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me. “

Let your heart rest in the thought that God is calling you beautiful and inviting you to follow in God’s ways.

You may be saying to yourself that it is a long time since anyone has called me beautiful. My hair is gray, my face is lined, and my body does not move like it used to do. But to God you are beautiful just the way you are. All of us are beautiful to God, and we are beloved by God. No need to ask why, we just are because God created us to be beautiful in God’s image.

The world might say that we are not enough as we are. The people criticized Jesus saying that he was not enough. Jesus was scolded for eating and drinking too much and with the wrong people. Jesus saw beauty in people that others had decided were ugly and unlovable. Jesus called this love wisdom.

Jesus seeks to give us rest from those voices that tell us that we are not beautiful. That we are not enough. Jesus offers us rest from the burdens of this world. Jesus offers to us the easy yoke of God’s love. God who loves us and calls us beautiful just the way we are. Take a moment to look into the mirror and say to yourself, “God loves me and calls me beautiful.” Now smile and feel the rest and the love which Jesus speaks of and offers to us.

29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matthew 11:29-30

God loves us. God offers us rest in the yoke of Christ. To God you are beautiful. Amen.

To learn more about the Song of Songs go to this page at the Bible Project.

Prayer:
God you love us and have created us to be beautiful in your eyes. Help us to see the beauty in ourselves, other people and the world which you created. Slow us down and open our hearts to the beauty in this world. Help us to see the good even when there are times of struggle and strife. Grant healing and hope in this time of pandemic and confusion. Help our nation to grow and heal from all that divides us.

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

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, Clyde, Gary S., Linda, Pat, Gary, Dave, Laurie Lee, Gail, Brenda, Breana, Dean, Corey, Jeff, Nancy, Terry, Rev. Cantrell, Family of Garrett Braun.

Special prayers:

  • Prayers for our nation on this Independence Day Weekend.
  • 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 at this time: Senior Center, Helping Hands, Gasconade R-2 Schools, Nursing Homes, Pharmacies, Medical Offices, Police Department, Volunteer Fire Department, EMS, 911 and more.

Goodwill/Offering

  • Take time to just be in the beauty of God. Tell someone that they are beautiful.
  • Donate via PayPal on our website or write a check.

Prayer of Dedication

God who created us and loves us, we give you these gifts out of gratitude for the love which you have shown to us. Bless these gifts and may they be used to share your love and beauty with all. Amen.

 

Meal with God

I invite you to take time to break bread with God. Use the bits of the Communion Prayer found in the bulletin to guide your prayer as you eat bread and drink juice with Jesus. Imagine the people that you love are with you at the table and give thanks for the beauty and love of God.

 

Benediction:  

The world is so varied and beautiful.

Seek wisdom wherever it is to be found.

And may the goodness of the Creator,

the companionship of the Christ,

and the insight of the Spirit,

infuse your life now and always. Amen.

Closing Hymn “God of Our Fathers” (National Hymn, Author: Daniel C. Roberts)  

Portions of the worship come from www.worshipdesignstudios/beguiled. Used with permission.

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