Worship at Home for Sunday, June 28, 2020

Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

Opening Hymn “For the Beauty of the Earth”

 

Opening Prayer 

Divine Goodness, Holy One,

Pause us for this moment,

bear us up in this time,

hold us for eternity.

We revel in your wondrous works.

We grasp for adequate ways to sing our praise.

We seek to be lost in your beauty.

And all the people say, “Amen.”

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

Scripture Readings

Psalm 135: 1-3; 13-21 (Inclusive Bible)

Alleluia! Praise the Name of YHWH—

            sing praise, you who serve the Most High,

            who stand in the house of YHWH,

            in the courts of Gods house!

Alleluia! God is good!

            [Sing praises to Gods name because it is beautiful!] (a)

YHWH, your Name stands forever;

            your fame is told from one generation to the next.

For you do justice for your people;

            and you have compassion for your faithful.

The idols of the nations are silver and gold,

            the work of human hands.

They have mouths but they cant speak;

            they have eyes but they cant see.

They have ears but cant hear;

            there is never a breath on their lips.

Their makers will come to be like them,

            and so will all who trust in them!

House of Israel, bless YHWH!

Priests of the temple, bless YHWH!

Attendants of the sanctuary, bless YHWH!

You who revere YHWH, bless YHWH!

Blessings from Zion upon YHWH,

            who dwells in Jerusalem!

Alleluia!

 

Matthew 10:40-42

40 "Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet's reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; 42 and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward."

 

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: Being in Awe of God

This summer I have been taking to heart our Beguiled by Beauty series and spending time just enjoying God’s beautiful world. In the morning I sit on the back porch to observe the sunrise. The birds are so beautiful in their singing and flying. I love to watch the bluebird that sits on the clothesline and has been raising baby birds in one of the blue bird houses in Luster Park. At night I look out at dusk and watch the fading light of the sun and thrill to the dance of the fireflies as darkness envelopes the park. The world is beautiful!

I have been trying to quiet the narration in my head those words of worry and to do lists that never seem to end. Instead, I try to empty my words and seek to fill my mind and heart with the awe and beauty of our God. For those of us who spend a great deal of our life dealing with words and actions, being still and knowing God’s majesty and wonder takes practice.

Some moments in life are instantly awe filling. In March of 2014 the boys and I spent two nights at the Grand Canyon. We arrived and checked into the hotel which was in the park and nestled in a stand of pine trees. The hotel was nice, but not on the rim. We had a dinner in the hotel cafeteria. The boys said how much they liked it in the park. Then I said that we needed to take a short walk. The boys wondered why we were taking a walk after dinner. But when the trail ended at a viewing spot on the Grand Canyon rim, we were rooted in awe as we saw the sun setting in the west and a full moon rising in the east over the canyon. This was one of the most amazing things that I had ever seen. Words cannot describe the beauty of the colors in the sky and the canyon below.

Sometimes I wonder if what God wants from us is to simply be in worshipful amazement. To empty ourselves of ego and just praise God from the depths of our hearts. Loving God is our true purpose. As human beings we can use our gifts and talents in the service of God. The dangers come when we seek to hoard God’s creation and praise for ourselves. When our talents are used for purposes other than in the service of God, idolatry may happen. Human beings often create things that they choose to worship rather than worshipping God. These things are not alive, or as the psalmist puts it “They have mouths but cannot speak.” In our lives we need to evaluate what is of God, so that we do not mistakenly worship empty idols.

Churches are a human created way of gathering to worship God. During this time of pandemic, we have found ourselves worshipping outside of the walls of our church building. For 146 years, St. Peter’s has been a presence in the Owensville community. St. Peter’s beautiful building is a human creation that serves as a place to worship God. St. Peter’s is also a group of people who seek to worship and serve God.

As your pastor, I can prepare materials for worship, reach out to people for spiritual care, be present at Helping Hands and more. However, it is the members who are the church. Much of what has held St. Peter’s together as a group has been the routine of worship, social activities, fund raisers and meetings. When these routines are broken, do we still exist as a congregation?

Last week in my Sermon, I spoke about a woman whose routines were important to her. When a life shattering event occurred, she needed to make changes. The pandemic has been a life shattering event in our world and church. We have made changes to our lives and our routines. Most of our congregation has not returned to worship in person. Our social groups have not officially met. At this time, we need to reexamine St. Peter’s mission in our community. How are we spreading the good news of Jesus? Should we continue as a church? If so, what are we going to do to keep St. Peter’s as a faithful presence in Owensville?

For me sharing the Good News of Jesus is a calling that is not dependent on my job as pastor. I am glad when the Gospel is welcomed by those I meet. Sharing the love of God is something we all can do. In the lesson from Matthew for this Sunday, we read that "Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.” Matthew 10:40. When the church becomes more than a building, we are thankful when the message of Jesus is welcomed by those who hear it. Our prayer is that the good news of God’s love will be welcomed by all even in changing circumstances.

God’s love is an awesome thing. It is greater than the beauty of the Grand Canyon at sunset and moonrise on a spring evening. It is greater than the troubles of a pandemic. It overcomes barriers that humans create. As the psalmist says,

YHWH, your Name stands forever;

            your fame is told from one generation to the next.

For you do justice for your people;

            and you have compassion for your faithful. Psalm 135:13-14

No matter what happens God is forever. Let us keep an awe of God in our hearts and share God's good news always.

Prayer:
Awesome God, we give you thanks and praise as we live in amazement of all that you are, all that you have created and all that you offer. Even in this time when our ways of being faithful people is being turned upside down, you are with us. Even when we struggle how to be faithful people and to live in a just manner, you are with us. Help us to share the good news to all we meet in both words and actions.

Let us take a moment to lift ourselves and others in prayer. We pray this Sunday for the commencement ceremony at Owensville High School this afternoon. 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:

  • Owensville High School Graduation Ceremony at 6pm Sunday.
  • Wendy Kammer and her family at the loss of her mother Marilyn Lanning.
  • For our nation and God’s healing from racism and violence.
  • 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.
  • Write a poem, sing a song, paint a picture and more in praise of God.
  • Donate via PayPal on our website or write a check.
  • Send a loving note to someone.

Prayer of Dedication

God of mystery and love, we give ourselves and these gifts for your service in this world. Bless both the gift and the giver. Amen.

 

*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 “How Great Thou Art”  

 

 

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

Contents © 2021 St. Peter´s UCC in Owensville, Missouri • Church Website Builder by mychurchwebsite.netPrivacy Policy