August 23 Worship
Updated: Sep 24
ORDER OF WORSHIP Union Church, Newburgh NY August 23, 2020 10:00 am
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. Full service video: https://youtu.be/fFqkVh6cvMk
ANNOUNCEMENTS Food Pantry operates every other week. Next: Mon. Aug 31 and Wed. Sept. 2 from 9:30 to 11:30 am. Serving LOTS of people! If you would like to help, contact Kathy or Debby.
Virtual Fellowship Time begins immediately after worship. If you have joined worship on Zoom you don’t need to do anything more. If you are joining us for fellowship time only use mobile phone or computer video. Questions? Call James. Choral Music will precede the worship service beginning at 9:45 am as people ‘tune in’ to the Zoom service.
ORDER OF WORSHIP
PRELUDE Toccatta in D Major Peeters INTRODUCTION TO ZOOM WORSHIP Debby Hill
CALL TO WORSHIP from Psalm 138 Debby Hill Leader: Come brothers and sisters, let us unite in this hour to worship our God. Many: Our spirits gather through the power of the Holy Spirit Leader: In the midst of changes that challenge us and unsettle us
Many: We turn together to our steadfast God. Leader: Our God is the same loving presence that our ancestors worshipped, present to us now and forever more. OPENING PRAYER
PRAYER OF CONFESSION Rev. Peter Surgenor Merciful God, you pardon all who truly repent and turn to you. We humbly confess our sins and ask your mercy. We have not loved you with a pure heart, nor have we loved our neighbor as ourselves. We have not done justice, loved kindness, or walked humbly with you, our God. Have mercy on us, O God, in your loving-kindness. In your great compassion, cleanse us from our sin. Create in us a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within us. Do not cast us from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from us. Restore to us the joy of your salvation and sustain us with your bountiful Spirit. (Please continue to offer your own private prayer in the minute of silence.) Amen
ASSURANCE OF PARDON
The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting. I declare to you, in the name of Jesus Christ, we are forgiven. May the God of mercy, who forgives you all our sins, strengthen you in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep you in eternal life. Amen.
GLORIA PATRI ANTHEM Shall We Gather at the River PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION SCRIPTURES (see end of bulletin for texts) Old Testament Genesis 45:1-15 Mina Park New Testament Matthew 15:12-28 Rev. Surgenor SERMON Connected Flow Rev. Peter Surgenor
Sermon text at the end of bulletin
HYMN Shine on Me Graham Kendrick
OFFERING Libby Syzmanowicz You can support the work of Union Church by mailing donations to 44 Balmville Rd, Newburgh, NY 12550 or click here l to donate online. PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING DOXOLOGY
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE AND LORD’S PRAYER
God of mercy and healing, you who hear the cries of those in need, receive these petitions of your people that all who are troubled may know peace, comfort, and courage. Prayers of the People, concluding with: Life-giving God, heal our lives, that we may acknowledge your wonderful deeds and offer you thanks from generation to generation through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Hear us as we pray together the prayer that Jesus taught us: Our Father… BENEDICTION CHORAL BENEDICTION The Lord Bless You and Keep You INVITATION TO COFFEE HOUR Blessings! Rev. Cathy Surgenor Rev. Peter Surgenor firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com (845) 216-4328 (914) 907-9685 HYMN: Shall We Gather at the River Shall we gather at the river Where bright angel feet have trod With its crystal tide forever Flowing by the throne of God? Yes, we'll gather at the river The beautiful, the beautiful river Gather with the saints at the river That flows by the throne of God Soon we'll reach the shining river Soon our pilgrimage will cease Soon our happy hearts will quiver With the melody of peace Yes, we'll gather at the river The beautiful, the beautiful river Gather with the saints at the river That flows by the throne of God HYMN: Shine Jesus Shine Lord, the light of your love is shining In the midst of the darkness, shining Jesus, Light of the world, shine upon us Set us free by the truth you now bring us Shine on me, shine on me Shine, Jesus, shine Fill this land with the Father's glory Blaze, Spirit, blaze Set our hearts on fire Flow, river, flow Flood the nations with grace and mercy Send forth your word Lord, and let there be light Lord, I come to your awesome presence From the shadows into your radiance By the blood I may enter your brightness Search me, try me, consume all my darkness Shine on me, shine on me As we gaze on your kingly brightness So our faces display your likeness Ever changing from glory to glory Mirrored here may our lives tell your story Shine on me, shine on me
Old Testament Text: Exodus 1:8-2:10
Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. He said to his people, “Look, the Israelite people are more numerous and more powerful than we. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, or they will increase and, in the event of war, join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.” Therefore, they set taskmasters over them to oppress them with forced labor. They built supply cities, Pithom and Rameses, for Pharaoh. But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread, so that the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites. The Egyptians became ruthless in imposing tasks on the Israelites and made their lives bitter with hard service in mortar and brick and in every kind of field labor. They were ruthless in all the tasks that they imposed on them.
The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, “When you act as midwives to the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, she shall live.” But the midwives feared God; they did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but they let the boys live. So, the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this, and allowed the boys to live?” The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women; for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them.” So, God dealt well with the midwives; and the people multiplied and became very strong. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families. Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, “Every boy that is born to the Hebrews you shall throw into the Nile, but you shall let every girl live.”
Chapter 2: Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was a fine baby, she hid him three months. When she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him, and plastered it with bitumen and pitch; she put the child in it and placed it among the reeds on the bank of the river. His sister stood at a distance, to see what would happen to him.
The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her attendants walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to bring it. When she opened it, she saw the child. He was crying, and she took pity on him. “This must be one of the Hebrews' children,” she said. Then his sister said to Pharaoh's daughter, “Shall I go and get you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?” Pharaoh's daughter said to her, “Yes.” So, the girl went and called the child’s mother. Pharaoh's daughter said to her, “Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give you your wages.” So, the woman took the child and nursed it. When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, and she took him as her son. She named him Moses, “because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.”
New Testament Text: Romans 12:1-8
I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.
Exodus 1:8-2:10 and Romans 12:18 Rev. Peter Surgenor
I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.
Here we are near the banks of the Hudson River. Our scripture lesson reminds us of the importance of the Nile river in our faith story. Here we are on the banks of the Hudson River. The Hudson was the superhighway of the 1700’s, the 1800’s and much of the 1900’s. Here we are on a part of the river that flows in two directions depending on the tide and the wind. But let’s think for a few moments about the Hudson upstream.It has its’ source in Lake Tear of the Clouds on the shoulder of Mount Marcy (highest peak in NY). That sounds romantic, but in reality, it is a swampy pond not much larger than either of the ponds on Chestnut St. But every story and every institution and every river needs a source. The Hudson has lots of contributors as it flows down from Mt Marcy. The Schroon, Mowhawk and many more.
Our text this morning points us to the Nile River. It also has a tidal portion, but not as long as the Hudson. The Nile also was the superhighway of ancient times. Water flowed through the dessert, water from the Nile was diverted to support crop growth and the Nile provided transport of goods much more efficiently than by cart or animal. This economic engine supported the Egyptian Dynasties and Empire. The related wealth could support and required a large armed force for defense and for conquering neighboring lands.
And from our scripture last week we remember that God led Joseph to Egypt and used him as a witness and rescuer of his family. But over time stories lose their importance or popularity. Our text this morning begins with the simple statement—There was a new leader of the empire and he did not know Joseph. Joseph was important to his family, but his story had been told less and less. And the new leader only saw trouble in the increasing number of Israelites in his land while he conveniently overlooked how much of the workforce they were and how important they had become to supporting his wealth.
Now this amnesia is not unusual in Egypt, in the rest of the world and in our own stories. Some ruler had the pyramids built, but the how they were built story is still a subject of speculation. How did Union Church get to Balmville Road? Not the most important fact every day, but one we should not lose in our story.
So, this confident clueless leader of the Egyptians decided to act on his impressions and quietly decided to solve his problem. How to change the tide? Less births. He spoke quietly with two midwives and gave them his strategy—not remembering or realizing that they were also Israelites! These two women recognized a message that did not place blame on them but also did not fulfill the leaders desire.
As with grumpy leaders in many stories, this one had an innocent daughter. Young adult who was not involved in affairs of her father’s court. A young woman who could not resist the attraction of a newborn child floating at risk in the river, Nile. She takes action and the course of history was changed.
This story reminds us that Union Church is also at a mixing point. Looking for a new pastoral leader. I am sure you are not looking for a despot like the Pharaoh in this story, but for a new compassionate and inspirational leader.
In the same way that the Hudson and the Nile rivers have many tributaries which change their color, chemistry and flow, so Union Church will be changed. But don’t expect the experience of this story in Egypt. Your new pastor will be quick to discover old stories and to find key persons in the community—but in doing so will begin to flavor the story in a new way. So change is coming—but don’t be afraid.
Step back and remember the story of this church and important dates: 1837, 1956, 1966, and 1977—each is a moment of great physical change, but in that time period there has also been a number of pastoral changes. You will thrive in this one.
It is important to remember that our stories are never stagnant. New characters will enter even as some familiar ones move on. In our stories we need to include characters like the midwives—or become actors like the midwives who saw God’s plan and gently shaped the story to ensure survival as they thwarted the leader’s plan. Just as every previous pastor here has done.
The flow (of a river or of a story) the flow of our faith is connected to our history, adapted by our present and looking toward our future. We are not independent actors expecting everyone around us to improvise based on our words or actions. Instead, as we are reminded in Romans 12 -we are like parts of the body (whether individual, community, church, or nation) and each part gets its meaning from the whole body (not from its individuality).
Your new pastor will be reading about you (in a Church Information Form, on your website, and in statistics and newspapers). They will get to know you as much as possible from the outside and will bring their own perceptions to this community of faith just as every previous pastor has. Can you be like the midwives—remember they faced death at the hands of a despot and still found a way to teach and found the words to honor God while saving lives.
This church will flow into the future—connected to scripture, connected to our history, and connected in our lives of faith. But it will take a willingness to be changed in light of new characters in the story, to be flexible and to be people of faith.
Just because we think we know what we are up to— we are often incorrect. Henry Stanley set off in the 1800’s to find the “lost” missionary Dr Livingston in Africa. But where Livingston was making journeys (like the apostle Paul) across the lower third of Africa, Stanley started from the Biblical story and headed up river on the Nile. They were literally a continent apart! Henry Hudson sailed up the Hudson River hoping to find a passage to India. Instead he opened travel north and south to the Saint Lawrence River and later the westward passage to Lake Erie and middle America.
Enter the story looking for new opportunities and avoid looking for a continuation of the old story. Which of us will be a character like Pharaoh’s daughter, innocently embracing a new opportunity. Remember that unless the wind and tide are strong, we are generally flowing downstream on the river of life. (We have not learned to go “Back to the Future” yet) Which reminds us that at the mouth of the Nile is the broad diversity of the Mediterranean Sea. At the mouth of the Hudson lie all the possibilities of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
We are connected flowing through this story of life together. Look for new connections and opportunities to be faithful.