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  • Rev. Sandra Larson

June 21 Worship & Activities

Updated: Aug 10


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AT-HOME WORSHIP & ACTIVITIES

June 21, 2020

THOUGHT FOR REFLECTION

God alone is free enough from wounds to offer us fearless space... In and through God we can be faithful to each other in friendship, marriage, and community. This intimate bond with God, constantly nurtured by prayer, offers us a true home… “staying power” comes from the One who comes to stay. — Henri Nouwen

WELCOME

We are glad that you are joining us today and hope you feel God’s blessings. If you do not have a church home, we sincerely invite you to be a part of the Union Church fellowship.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Food Pantry operates every other week. Next: Mon. and Wed. June 8 and 10 from 9:30-11:30 am. Serving LOTS of people! If you would like to help, contact Kathy or Debby.

Opportunity for inactive and active Elders: training for serving communion, contact Pastor Sandy.

VIRTUAL Fellowship Time: Sunday, June 28 from 11:30-Noon

Use mobile phone or computer with video. Look for email for access.

ORDER OF WORSHIP

CALL

We come to worship God, the living God, who calls prophets, teachers, and people like us to bear witness. We come to praise God, the almighty God, who answers wounds of hatred and hurt with the power of grace. We worship God, all-gracious God, who chooses you and me to receive and carry the Word of life and hope.

PRAYER John Greenleaf Whittier

Dear Lord and Father of mankind, Forgive our foolish ways! Re-clothe us in our rightful mind, In purer lives Thy service find, In deeper reverence, praise.


In simple trust like theirs who heard Beside the Syrian sea The gracious calling of the Lord, Let us, like them, without a word Rise up and follow Thee.


O Sabbath rest by Galilee! O calm of hills above, Where Jesus knelt to share with Thee. The silence of eternity Interpreted by love!


With that deep hush subduing all. Our words and works that drown The tender whisper of Thy call, As noiseless let Thy blessing fall As fell Thy manna down.


Drop Thy still dews of quietness, Till all our strivings cease; Take from our souls the strain and stress, And let our ordered lives confess The beauty of Thy peace.


Breathe through the heats of our desire Thy coolness and Thy balm; Let sense be dumb, let flesh retire; Speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire, O still, small voice of calm.

HYMN God of our Fathers Lindsay Stelling, organ

Heather Stelling, trumpet

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God of our fathers, whose almighty hand Leads forth in beauty all the starry band Of shining worlds in splendor through the skies, Our grateful songs before Thy throne arise.

Thy love divine hath led us in the past, In this free land by Thee our lot is cast; Be Thou our ruler, guardian, guide and stay, Thy Word our law, Thy paths our chosen way.

From war’s alarms, from deadly pestilence, Be Thy strong arm our ever sure defense; Thy true religion in our hearts increase, Thy bounteous goodness nourish us in peace.

Refresh Thy people on their toilsome way, Lead us from night to never-ending day; Fill all our lives with love and grace divine, And glory, laud, and praise be ever Thine.

MESSAGE FOR ALL AGES God believes in you even when you don’t believe in yourself.

Face it—God’s crazy about you!

AFFIRMATION OF FAITH Westminster Larger Catechism Q.178 &180 (study questions) What is prayer? A. Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God, in the name of Christ, by the help of his Spirit; with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgement of his mercies. Q. What is it to pray in the name of Christ? A. To pray in the name of Christ is, in obedience to his command, and in confidence on his promises, to ask mercy for his sake; not by bare mentioning of his name, but by drawing our encouragement to pray, and our boldness, strength, and hope of acceptance in prayer, from Christ and his mediation.

HYMN Father I Adore You Click Here

Can be sung as a round.

PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE and LORD’S PRAYER

Lord, we pray for deeper trust in divine grace which cares for the world, our loved ones and ourselves. We are grateful for the assurances found in spiritual union with Your love. We pray for Gerri M. for comfort in grief, for Judith H and for Alan and Ruth as Judith faces greater health challenge—for bolstering their strong faith and… for all people to find solutions to adversities and fear (silent prayer…)

ANTHEM You Are the Hands Union Youth and Men’s Chancel Choir

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SCRIPTURE LESSON Psalm 86:1-10, a prayer of lament NRSV

Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. Preserve my life, for I am devoted to you; save your servant who trusts in you. You are my God; be gracious to me, O Lord, for to you do I cry all day long. Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call on you. Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer; listen to my cry of supplication. In the day of my trouble I call on you, for you will answer me.

There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours. All the nations you have made shall come and bow down before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God.

SERMON The Divine ‘Yes’ Rev. Sandy Larson

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SILENT REFLECTION

HYMN Breathe on Me Breath of God

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Offering Reminder: Please visit click here for online donations or send check to Union Church, 44 Balmville Rd, Newburgh NY 12550

HYMN Father, I Adore You Terry Coelho

“You shall have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20.3 Commandment Click here

BENEDICTION 1 Corinthians 1.3

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

CHORAL RESPONSE The Lord Bless You and Keep You Union Chancel Choir

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In God’s care,

Sandy, Interim Pastor

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For Reflection: Explain how you understand God saying “Yes.”

Fathers Day: Everyone can find ways to mentor, support or encourage young people.

Activities: Make a picture or word collage of circumstances or emotions through which God can show “Yes.” Avoid generalizations—be specific.

Fathers Day: Make a photo collage gift or memories with dad.

Humor: Believe in the Lord and the Lord shall deliver. Do not confuse God with Domino’s. “Hello! “says God. “I will be handling all your problems today. I will not need your help. So have a good day.”


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SERMON The Divine ‘Yes’ Sandy Larson

Psalm 86.1-10 and 2 Corinthians 1:18

One of the most treasured words in romance literature and in real life is the three-letter word a woman responds when a man asks, “Will you marry me?” Similarly, the Apostle Paul uses the divine YES to describe God’s promise of unconditional love. Referring to Jesus, I Corinthians 1.18 says, “The divine ‘yes’ has at last sounded in him, for in him is the ‘yes’ that affirms all the promises of God. [Moffatt translation] God’s love was the driving force of creation from the beginning. Jesus demonstrates God’s care in ways that people can hear, if we listen.

Preaching is a partnership between listeners and the preacher. Like those who heard Jesus’ parables, sermon listeners in our time can find inspiration in sermons; or the listener can block the Biblical message. How do you listen to preaching? I promised myself that during my Interim ministry with Union Church, I would offer a sample of widely acclaimed preaching. Methodist evangelist E. Stanley Jones preached about 60,000 sermons across the globe. He also wrote many books, two of which have sold over a million copies and are still available on Amazon.

At age 87 E. Stanley Jones had a stroke. Even so, he told his daughter: “I cannot die now. I have to complete another book – The Divine “Yes!” Despite impairments to his sight, hearing, speech, and restricted use of one arm, E. Stanley Jones completed the book.

Especially in times of difficulty, everyone longs for comfort, assurance, and some sort of... life warranty. Many people wonder what they can count on. Christian faith offers such hope. Even in crises, God is with us; and God says YES to our hopes. Like an ideal parent, God promises to be present with us and promises give us what we need. Sometimes, the answer is “Yes, later.” Sometimes the answer is “No—you will understand later.” The Lord asks us to say “yes” in return.

I have talked with you often about the lasting legacy value of writing a memoir and words of wisdom for your survivors. Despite huge obstacles, E. Stanley Jones composed a final book, which includes his renowned sermon, The Divine Yes, published in 1975.

Here are excerpts from this inspiring sermon preached many times around the world by E. Stanley Jones. The sermon begins: Jesus is the Yes—the divine Yes. Jones explains: Many people think Christianity is a No to living. “You should not do this or that if you are a Christian.” Yet listen to the text from Corinthians: “The divine ‘yes’ has at last sounded in Jesus, for in him is the ‘yes’ that affirms all the promises of God.” The mood of the present day is cynicism. Many people are soured on life. This age has 3 sneers for everything and 3 cheers for nothing. We have a social code of “I don’t believe in this.” and “I don’t believe in that.” Yet we have to live by saying “yes.” In contrast to human “No’s,’ a divine YES has sounded through Jesus Christ. He demonstrates the promises of God. He shows us the divine Yes—not a human guess.

Millions of people try to decide their destiny according to their “feelings” or by consulting their horoscopes-–as if transient emotions or if lumps of matter could decide the destiny of a spiritual being made in the image of God and with their own power of choice!

I believe the genesis of religion is an urge for life. We want to live more fully and better—to say a resounding YES to life. Jesus declared, “I have come that they might have life, and that the might have it more abundantly (KJV).

Many people question whether there is a God. Jesus simply said, “He that has seen me has seen the Father.” I respond, ”Is God like Christ? If so, God is good and trustable. I could not imagine God being better than what I see in Jesus.”

A little boy was in the US while his parents were across the sea as missionaries. On Christmas day, the school principal said to himself, “That boy will be homesick for his parents. So he asked the boy, “What would you like most of all this Christmas morning?” The boy pointed to a picture of has father and said, “I would like most of all that my father would step out of that frame and come and be with me.” That wish mirrors a homesick cry of humanity: “I want my heavenly Father to be with me.” God HAS stepped out of the frame of the universe and we have seen him in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is God personalized—with us. Jesus is a YES to a human cry for love and guidance.

Jesus demonstrates that human nature can be changed. He offers a change so radical that he called it a New Birth. Nicodemus asked, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter into his mother’s womb and be born again?“ Jesus answered, “No, it isn’t that. It is birth through the Spirit.” Jesus showed that we can respond YES to new birth. We can extend our conscious and subconscious mind. Jesus demonstrated that new birth can turn someone from hate to love, from defeat to victory. What you have been or what you are does not limit the Spirit’s power for inspiring new life.

When the apostles went to the upper room after Jesus died, they were timid believers and stymied by fears. When they received the Holy Spirit, they changed from living oppositional us-them relationships to collegial “we” relationships. Peter said, “This Jesus, God raised up and of that we are all witnesses. Having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out that which you see and hear.” Through the Holy Spirit, we have continuing access to Jesus, who shows us how to find YES. He demonstrates that God can and does reside in our hearts and subconscious minds. If we are open to the Holy Spirit, the Spirit will make us like Christ.

Jesus demonstrates that there is a God, and shows a way to the divine YES and Jesus demonstrates God’s promises and that humankind CAN be changed. He shows us that our emptiness can be come fullness empowered by the Holy Spirit. Jesus demonstrates that the divine YES can bring new life. That new life cannot be shaken by adversity, old age or even death. Christ inspires and invites us to say YES to his YES. We can be freed from fear.

Say YES to the Divine YES of new life!


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Union Church

44 Balmville Road

Newburgh, New York 12550

Phone: (845) 562-0954

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