August 1 Worship
Updated: Aug 2
Hello Union Church Presbyterians,
Worship this Sunday, August 1 will be in-person and streamed on YouTube to view at home. We will share prayers, songs, and reflections. We will be celebrating Communion this Sunday.
HOW TO VIEW ON YOUTUBE: YouTube broadcast will begin at 10:25 am.
For ALL devices: https://www.youtube.com/user/NewburghPresby
IN PERSON FELLOWSHIP TODAY after worship
ORDER OF WORSHIP
Union Church, Newburgh NY
August 1, 2021 10:30 am
TENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
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.
FLOWERS today are given by the Pastor to the Glory of God and in memory of his mother, June Cogburn Redman, who would have been 100 years old.
SPAGHETTI & MEATBALL DINNER THIS Friday, Aug. 6 from 4-7pm. Take out only.
Meal includes mixed veg and roll, $8 for dinner and $2 for dessert. Call the office (845) 562-0954 to place your order.
FELLOWSHIP TIME HOSTS: We need volunteers to set up and provide goodies! It can be simple with a beverage and a nibble. Host with a friend! Call the office to sign up (845) 562-0954.
USHERS: Thank you to all the volunteer ushers for July and August. Pastor John suggests signing up for two weeks at a time. If you would like to usher, please contact Dan and Karen Olson.
SAVE THE DATE: Habitat for Humanity Walk Sunday, Sept. 12. Details to follow.
BARN SALE: Saturday Oct 2. Donation drop off resumes in August. Thank you for the donations! Contact Jeff Bousche (845) 913-8434 for more information.
FOOD PANTRY: OPEN Mon. Aug. 2 and Wed. Aug 3 from 9:30-11:30 am. Serving LOTS of people! If you would like to help, contact Kathy or Debby.
ORDER OF WORSHIP
PRELUDE What the World Needs Now Sung by Mat and Savanna Shaw
CALL TO WORSHIP Adapted from Psalm 78
Leader: Yet he commanded the skies above, and opened the doors of heaven; PEOPLE: He rained down on them manna to eat, and gave them the grain of heaven. Leader: Mortals ate of the bread of angels; he sent them food in abundance. PEOPLE: He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens, and by his power he led out the south wind; Leader: He rained flesh upon them like dust, winged birds like the sand of the seas; PEOPLE: He let them fall within their camp, all around their dwellings. ALL: And they ate and were well filled, for he gave them what they craved.
God of deliverance, our arms are uplifted to your honor and our eyes are opened to behold your blessings. You are merciful in providing us this haven of faith; you are caring and know all our needs. Send forth your spirit, and touch all who worship before you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
CALL TO CONFESSION
We all journey in faith, but we often wonder if that is enough. We often fool ourselves with thoughts that distract our focus from you and your work to be done. Let us confess our sins together.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Blessed Redeemer, have mercy upon us as we confess our sins. You endow us with goodness, yet we squander your blessings. We yearn for the possessions that our neighbors enjoy. Envy, greed, and selfishness consume us. Satisfaction eludes us as our cravings increase. Quiet our longing for material things, help us to trust in Jesus, who by faith provides for our needs.
(A moment for silent personal confession)
ASSURANCE OF FORGIVENESS
We gather in the sight of God to remember all that has been done for us and those around us. And in infinite wisdom and grace, God forgives us. Amen.
GLORIA PATRI Traditional, Second Century
PASSING OF THE PEACE
HYMN OF PRAISE Jesus is Calling
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
Gracious God, as we turn to your Word for us, may the Spirit of God rest upon us. Help us to be steadfast in our hearing, in our speaking, in our believing, and in our living. Amen.
MESSAGE FOR CHILDREN OF ALL AGES
OLD TESTAMENT Exodus 16:2-4, 9-15 Dan Olson
NEW TESTAMENT Ephesians 4: 1-16
GOSPEL READING John 6: 24-35
SERMON “What Sign Do You Give Us?” John Redman, CRE
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE & THE LORD’S PRAYER
Holy God of all creation, without your wisdom, we would be speechless;
without your peace, we would be heartless; without your presence, we would be graceless. We hunger for power, and you feed us the bread of humility; we long for freedom and you invite us to drink the cup of self-denial.
Faithful and Just God: our songs of gratitude will echo down the hallways of creation.
Bearer of Truth: our songs of praise will echo down the hallway of our hearts and our songs of joy will echo through the hallways of eternity, and we ask for your special healing touch on those we name here
And Gracious God, keep in our hearts all those whose names you already know and who ask for healing in their own quiet ways, and let us join to pray as Jesus taught us saying:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
COMMUNION HYMN Bread of Heaven
Invitation to the Table
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Words of Institution
Prayer after Communion
OFFERTORY ANTHEM How Deep the Father’s Love Acapella by David Wesley
OFFERING OF TITHES AND GIFTS
Let us all consider what we have been blessed with and how we can best share it with those in greater need, even as we gift our church for its greater work to the Glory of God and the undying love of Jesus.
PRAYER OF THANKS
DOXOLOGY Played by Dr. Kris Rizzotto
POSTLUDE Jazz Postlude from the Mt. Olive Church
based on Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’
INVITATION TO FELLOWSHIP TIME
SERMON TEXT What Sign Do You Give Us?
The text for this week sets up in much the same way as last week’s. The crowd is looking for Jesus. This time they have trailed around the lake to the new location on the other side. The crowd is still struggling with what happened, and the prophet/king understanding of who Jesus is will now be stretched. It is now time for Jesus to unpack, to deconstruct, the sign. The sign was not about having a belly full of food. The sign is about who Jesus is. The bread that filled their stomachs now becomes the metaphor Jesus uses to stretch their understanding, but let’s not let that bread metaphor get out of control and take it too far.
It is important to remember that John’s language is more poetic than prosaic. It is not the individual parts that need point-by-point explanation, but this bread and manna comparative metaphor really points to how Jesus wants them to see him. It also recalls the conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well of Jacob. In that, as Jesus talks of living water that will last forever, the woman half-jokingly says, “Oh give me that water so I won’t ever be thirsty, and I can quit coming to this well that is so far from my house.“
The woman is talking about water the same way this crowd around Jesus talks about bread, and the obvious comparison of manna from Heaven that came to the Israelites in the wilderness. But Jesus has other points to make, because it’s not about bread, or having a full stomach, but about having a full spirit, a soul, if you will. That’s the real bread, and it comes by faith and belief. But the crowd still asks “if this living bread is the work of God, what should we do as God’s work? Jesus answers simply that it is to believe, that’s the work.
Now, is it that these people are really thick, and really not getting it, or is it that John’s poetic and mystical style draws out this whole bread and manna metaphor to make his own point? And these works, what are they, the people ask, expecting the usual lists of good works to perform and bad works to avoid, but instead of a list, Jesus is telling them of a full relationship with God, as a friend, not someone to be feared, but someone whom we can trust.
Biblical commentator William Barclay says: ”It is only because Jesus came to tell us that God is our father and loves us and wants nothing more than to forgive, that the old distance and enmity and fear, are taken away and this new relationship with him is made possible.”
But the crowd still demands some sort of sign to prove that Jesus really is who he says he is. Why don’t you bring down manna from heaven as Moses did, they imply? The Jewish tradition held that manna was the supreme work of Moses, and that the Messiah would just have to surpass that as a sign of his being the true Messiah.
Did you know that part of the Jewish belief was that a container of the true manna was hidden in the Ark of the Covenant along with the tablets of the Ten Commandments and when the temple was destroyed by the Babylonians that Jeremiah managed to rescue this manna and hide it away, to be produced again at the arrival of the Messiah to prove his claims?
Is it any wonder that this crowd is asking for some kind of sign? And Jesus once again deflects them by saying that it wasn’t Moses that gave them manna, but God himself that did this, and God once again is giving them symbolic heavenly bread, and the only real satisfaction of this ‘hunger,’ is the bread that Jesus represents. That should be pretty easy for us to understand today, but it wasn’t so easy for that crowd back then. And our Lectionary for this month of August will drag us through this argument each Sunday with a slightly different variation on bread, from the bread of life to Jesus proclaiming the communion bread as his body, and that believers will never hunger or thirst. There will be great arguments and disagreements, followers will leave Jesus behind, and he will remain steadfast in his simple truth that he is the bread of life.
As we progress through the sixth chapter of John in the next few weeks, I can’t help but wonder, how this Gospel came about. There are broad theories about the authorship and timeline. Generally, scholars date the time of this Gospel’s writing to be around the turn of the second century from about 95 to 105 CE. But did John write it? It’s possible say some, with the accepted idea that John was the youngest of the twelve disciples, perhaps only 12 or 13 when Jesus called him. That would have made him about 80 years old by the turn of the century and most scholars believe that the Gospel was written by followers of John who had gathered in or near Ephesus, the fourth largest city in the Roman Empire.
Most scholars agree that Revelation was written on the exile island of Patmos, by someone named John, or at least writing under that name, and that it could possibly have been written a full 10 years before the Gospel, so where does that leave us?
Haven’t we always considered that Revelation was the final book of the New Testament, mainly because that’s where it is placed, not to mention the extreme apocalyptic visions it contains? Even though John is less a biographical Gospel than the three Synoptic ones, there are specific notations and mentions that cry out for an eyewitness account, such as the six stone jars at the wedding at Cana, or the location of the sheep gate and the pool near the Temple in Jerusalem. These details speak of an intimate knowledge of Jerusalem and Judea, which may not have been so clear to the writers of Mark, Matthew, or Luke.
So, let’s think for a moment that John, the youngest disciple, does flee or migrate to Ephesus, establish a school or a congregation, get exiled to Patmos by the Romans, or perhaps die there even before Paul writes his letter to the Ephesians. Or he may have lived into his eighties, though that is unlikely. But he has followers who have taken his name, and maybe the irony of this Gospel is that observations and accounts of the life of Jesus are taken from the notes and observations of one who walked alongside Jesus. And yet, in the previous Gospels, we have more accounts from writers who only knew Jesus from other sources, not the least of which would have been the letters of Paul, and whose followers were being persecuted throughout the Roman Empire.
This mystery doesn’t end anywhere near history, though does it? No, it doesn’t, and it doesn’t really need to. The gospels, especially John, open before us as works of faith, not history or biography. John also differs from the three synoptic Gospels in that it seems to have been aimed at a very Hellenistic audience, with a style reminiscent of Greek commentary, and this audience is decidedly less familiar with the Jewish traditions and theologies expressed in the others, especially in the Book of Matthew, with its strong adherence to Jewish law and customs.
And that’s what makes this Gospel so compelling to us today, even as we wrestle with interpretations we see that solid foundation of real experience with God’s love, with the Grace of his son Jesus, and with the powerful healing force of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
John Redman, CRE
Mobile: (914) 474-0722
44 Balmville Rd, Newburgh NY 12550
Phone: (845) 562-0954 Fax: (845) 562-0955