Worship at Home for Sunday, September 20, 2020

Video Opening

“I Will Sing of Your Love, Love, Love” by Christopher Grundy.

© 2018 Christopher Grundy, all publishing rights reserved. Permission given congregations to play recording during worship or education programs, and to stream online.

 

Moment of Silence

 

Opening Prayer

God, we call upon your name and give you thanks and praise. For you have done great things for us. Even though we speak of your great deeds, we sometimes feel lost and abandoned. We question you and our identities. Fill us with your spirit and lead us out of our fear. Help us to know that we are people of your creation. May we trust in you always. Amen.

 

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

 

Children’s Message God Provides Manna

Scripture Readings

Exodus 16:2-15

2 The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. 3 The Israelites said to them, "If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger." 4 Then the Lord said to Moses, "I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not. 5 On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather on other days." 6 So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, "In the evening you shall know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, 7 and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your complaining against the Lord. For what are we, that you complain against us?" 8 And Moses said, "When the Lord gives you meat to eat in the evening and your fill of bread in the morning, because the Lord has heard the complaining that you utter against him —- what are we? Your complaining is not against us but against the Lord." 9 Then Moses said to Aaron, "Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, 'Draw near to the Lord, for he has heard your complaining.'" 10 And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked toward the wilderness, and the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. 11 The Lord spoke to Moses and said, 12 "I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, 'At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.'" 13 In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. 14 When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. 15 When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, "What is it?" For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, "It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat."

Matthew 20:1-16

1 "For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2 After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 When he went out about nine o'clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; 4 and he said to them, "You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.' So they went. 5 When he went out again about noon and about three o'clock, he did the same. 6 And about five o'clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, "Why are you standing here idle all day?' 7 They said to him, "Because no one has hired us.' He said to them, "You also go into the vineyard.' 8 When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, "Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.' 9 When those hired about five o'clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage. 10 Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. 11 And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, 12 saying, "These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.' 13 But he replied to one of them, "Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? 14 Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. 15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?' 16 So the last will be first, and the first will be last."

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: Trusting God When Everything Has Changed

Change is difficult. Even good change can be trying. I remember shaking hands with church members the Sunday after I returned from my honeymoon, one of the ladies smiled and said, “Have a good day Mrs. DeLong!” I blinked wondering, if she had forgotten my name. She laughed and said, “You’ll get used to your new name.” As a new bride, I had not fully grasped that I had a new identity as Mrs. DeLong. Years later, it is now a jolt to hear someone refer to me by my maiden name.

We all have ways in which we identify ourselves throughout our lives. Take a moment to think of ways that you refer to yourself: son, daughter, student, teacher, parent, husband, wife and more. Some identities we would just as soon put behind us: cancer patient, unemployed, prisoner, victim. Some identities we embrace enthusiastically: newlywed, graduate, new hire, lottery winner. Still changes in how we and the world see us can be challenging.

Even good transitions can be tricky, some people spend their whole working lives looking forward to retirement, but when they do retire find the loss of their working identity difficult. At first retirement may feel like a vacation, but some workers miss the routine so much that they look for a new job.

The Hebrew slaves were happy to be released from slavery, but now they find themselves wandering around a desert being led by a mysterious man who claims to speak to God. They are not sure who they are and begin to miss their old identities and regular routines as slaves. Through the rosy haze of nostalgia, which is enhanced by the difficulties of desert travel, they begin to grumble.

God hears their grumbling and provides food for the journey. Bread in the morning and meat at night. There are even extra portions so that food gathering need not take place on the Sabbath. Even when everything changed, God was still with them. When their identities changed from slave to desert wanderer, God was still with them.

This year many of us wish that life could go back to what it was. The term “essential worker” has taken on new meaning. Some essential workers feel as though they are those who must go to work in person while others have the option of socially isolating at home. Many people are feeling a loss of control in their lives and deep sense of loneliness. We have all had changes forced upon us. We may feel as though we are moving through a strange desert uncertain about which guide to follow.

Even in our confusion, fear and isolation, God is still with us. God will provide for us. Pray today and ask for God to fill that Spiritual hunger that is crying out for comfort. The answer may be different and surprising. Manna received its name because the Hebrews asked, “What is it?” We may not recognize the manna which God is giving to us at this time but collect your daily share and use it for your sustenance. God is still with us and loves us, especially when everything has changed.

Prayer:
God who is with us and gives us manna, we offer up our hearts in prayer. We give you thanks for the food that you provide for our desert journeys, those of the physical and spiritual kind. Forgive us when we grumble and question your guidance. May we learn to trust in the new life which you offer to us through our savior Jesus. May we learn to trust in the Holy Spirit to guide us. May we not be greedy, but trust that you will provide our daily needs. For the kingdom, power and glory are yours always.

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, Bev, Edgar, Angie, Mark, Mystick who has been missing as requested by Aunt Laura, Mamie

Special prayers:

  • Gasconade R-2 Students, Teachers and Staff
  • Those affected by Covid-19.
  • Those affected by Hurricane Sally and the wildfires out west.
  • First responders in our community.

 

Goodwill/Offering

During this month of our Three Great Loves stewardship campaign, please take time to consider how you through St. Peter’s UCC can share God’s Love of Creation.

  • Give thanks for all God’s care for us.
  • Share what you have whatever it is, it is enough.
  • Donate via PayPal on our website or write a check.

 

Prayer of Dedication for Love of Creation
By the Rev. Susan A. Blain

Minister for Worship and Gospel Arts, JLCM

Love of Creation

Overflowing Love,

You called the world into being and named it “Good”.

Mountain heights and ocean depths,

Dry desert and fertile field,

And all creatures who find what they need from your abundance,

Adapting, growing, celebrating your life within them.

You set us, creatures all, into the midst of this wonder

and make us stewards.

We offer these gifts to you for Love of Creation.

Take and multiply them,

Show us how to tend your Creation in justice,

Protecting its fragile systems,

Nurturing its sweet waters,

Sharing the abundance of its lands.

All this we ask in your name,

who breathed into the clay of our bodies the breath of life,

and in the name of Jesus, who shared with us our life in Creation.

Benediction

May the love of God surround you today and every day. Amen.

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