- John T. Redman, CRE
August 8 Worship
Updated: Aug 9, 2021
Hello Union Church Presbyterians,
Worship this Sunday, August 8 will be in-person and streamed on YouTube to view at home. We will share prayers, songs, and reflections.
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 8, 2021 10:30 am
ELEVENTH 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.
MASKS REQUIRED: In deference to those who are immunocompromised and considering the high transmissibility of the Delta variant, we are asking everyone to wear a mask in worship, regardless of vaccination status. The ushers will ask everyone to mask up as they enter. Thank you for your cooperation.
FELLOWSHIP TIME hosts today are Sue Sloat and Donna Trafagander.
Thank you to all the volunteer hosts. Hosting 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 (845) 564-0572 or the office (845) 562-0954.
BARN SALE: Meeting Monday, Aug. 16 at 11:30 am. Please attend if you have signed up to volunteer. New volunteers welcome! Call Jeff Bousche (845) 913-8434 for more info.
DONATIONS: There are only 2 days left to drop off items for the Barn Sale: Aug.17 and Sept 14. Thank you for your donations.
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION Meeting Sunday, Sept 26 at 9:30 am in Fellowship Hall. We will discuss changes to the CE program and parent input. Contact Yvette Pickard for more info.
HABITAT FOR HUMANITY WALK Sunday, Sept. 12 at 1 pm. The Annual Walk for Housing is back and in person to raise critical funds for the program and raise awareness of local families’ struggles. The walk begins at Washington’s Headquarters at 84 Liberty St, Newbrurgh. Registration begins at 12 pm. For more information, please visit https://bit.ly/walk4Habitat.
FOOD PANTRY: OPEN Mon. Aug. 16 and Wed. Aug 18 from 9:30-11:30 am. Serving LOTS of people! If you would like to help, contact Kathy or Debby.
ORDER OF WORSHIP
PRELUDE Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing Played by Joseph Bush
on the Union Church Piano
CALL TO WORSHIP Adapted from Psalm 34
Leader: I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. PEOPLE: My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad. Leader: O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together. PEOPLE: I sought the LORD, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. Leader: Look to him, and be radiant; so your faces shall never be ashamed. PEOPLE: This poor soul cried, and was heard by the LORD, and was saved from every trouble. ALL: O taste and see that the LORD is good; happy are those who take refuge in him.
God of grace and infinite goodness, you feed us with the bread of life, and you sustain us with the peace that sets our longing hearts at rest. You fill our cup with kindness, and it overflows with the bounty of your all-encompassing care. You chose to dwell among us and in us through our Lord Jesus and we praise and adore you in his name, Amen.
CALL TO CONFESSION
We struggle, we stumble, we fall, and each and every time you pick us up again, setting us on the path of your word and your promise. Let us confess our sins together.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Merciful God, we confess that we do not live lives in imitation of you and Christ. We are not always kind, or tenderhearted, or forgiving or loving. Forgive us, we pray, and implant your spirit in our hearts that we should do naturally what is godly in every way. And may our actions reflect the eternal life promised by Jesus Christ. (A moment for silent personal confession)
ASSURANCE OF FORGIVENESS
All who come to God in Christ will receive his mercy and his blessing. By the Good News of God’s love, we are forgiven.
GLORIA PATRI Traditional, Second Century
PASSING OF THE PEACE
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.
HYMN OF PRAISE O Word of God, Incarnate Grosse Point Michigan Virtual Choir
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
Guide us, O God, by your Word, and Holy Spirit, that in your light we may see light, in your truth find freedom, and in your will discover peace; through Christ our Lord, Amen.
MESSAGE FOR CHILDREN OF ALL AGES
OLD TESTAMENT Isaiah 43: 1-7 Cathy McCarty
EPISTLE Philippians 4:4-9
GOSPEL John 8: 12-20
SERMON “NEW CREED, OR TWO CREEDS?” John Redman, CRE
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE & THE LORD’S PRAYER
Generous God who overwhelms us with goodness and mercy, we thank you for this day, giving us the gift of this life, calling us to be your people. When we are tempted to judge others harshly, remind us to forgive as we have been forgiven. When we feel paralyzed with doubt or awash in anxiety, grant us the peace that passes understanding. When we do not know what to do or where to turn, make your word a light unto our path so that we can take one step closer to Christ as he leads us in the way everlasting. Loving God who searches and knows us, do not let us turn away from the people who need to know they are not alone. And place your loving 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.
OFFERTORY ANTHEM Breathe on Me, Breath of God
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 The Irish Blessing
INVITATION TO FELLOWSHIP TIME
SERMON TEXT NEW CREED or TWO CREEDS?
“Rejoice in the Lord! Be heartfelt in your supplication and your requests for God’s grace. And the Peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. On the advice of some here, I decided that following the Lectionary isn’t necessary every week, so we are taking some departure here, on more than one level, as you shall see. I wasn’t too excited about four weeks in a row of this same chapter 6 of John with some verses overlapping those of the previous or the following week. So, we will leave that chapter behind for a week or so and explore some other avenues of faith. And I invite you to send along your own suggestions on sermon topics or themes. And Paul continues, “keep on doing these things that you have learned and received and seen and the God of Peace will be with you.” These excerpted phrases of the glory of faith stand in sharp contrast to Jesus’s words in John Chapter 8, about the authority of his father, and his own authority.
I believe I’ve already told you that I am not a big fan of Paul and his strict ideas about Christian conduct and his own interpretation of the early Church. But that’s a reminder that Paul wrote these letters a full 10 years before the first Gospels even began to be written down. So how does this letter to the Philippians relate to other Christians, and more importantly, to we Christians, here today? It’s an incredibly optimistic view of faith in a world that was forming up into splintered factions as early Christian churches were already developing highly divergent views on how a congregation should operate. Does that sound familiar? Divergent views on how a congregation should operate? This letter is also one of the foremost in Paul’s writings about reconciling differences within a congregation, but we don't’ see that in the brief excerpt here today. We only see the joyful celebration of faith. Mm, maybe that’s not so bad after all, eh? That we come together despite our differences in the joyful celebration of faith? And in affirming that faith through our creeds of belief.
But we live in a time of differences; boy, don’t we see that today? Everything is questioned. And others are asking where’s the relevance of Scripture to my life today? Where is the foundation of our belief centered today? What does it all really mean to us and how does it relate? It’s a question raised often from that time long ago to our times now.
In fact, over 70 years ago, in an essay entitled “Two Creeds for Every Church,” the philosopher and essayist William Pepperell Montague addressed the fact that modern Christians exist in a very different world from the ancient Church and their creeds of belief. Our Presbyterian Book of Confessions is loaded with over 600 years of various creeds and confessions, but most all center back to the most basic, the Apostle’s Creed.
But some people no longer accept the traditional ideas of virgin birth or the Ascension to heaven, for example, while others see those all those creeds and confessions as missing key items like the mention of Jesus’s ministry and social justice. But Montague disagreed both with those who thought we should interpret the ancient creeds symbolically and with those who wanted to replace those creeds with a modern creed that more clearly matched the beliefs of people today.
His solution was to propose that churches adopt two creeds: a classic creed representing the traditional precepts of the church and a modern creed representing the views of many Christians today. The latter would be a creed open to constant revision as our knowledge of science, philosophy, religion, and other subjects continues to advance. So a few years ago, as a project in a course on Reformed Theology, I took on this idea of a new creed for our time.
The original creed in the time of Paul and the Apostles was just three words: “Jesus is Lord.” That was it.
Then the Apostle’s creed came into being in one form or another in the early second century of the Church, and was further revised and edited and added to in the third, fourth and fifth centuries. It ended up in its present form in the eighth century and it has remained the same for fourteen hundred years.
We all know it, in fact we just recited it a few minutes ago:
I BELIEVE in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.
But what’s all this about a new creed? Well, let’s try this one out:
I BELIEVE in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord, who was born of a young peasant woman, trained as a carpenter and baptized by His cousin John. He taught many, He healed many, and He angered many. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried. He defeated death and He offers us grace and love in the name of God the Father Almighty; from that time through all time to come.
I believe in the power of the Holy Spirit; the universal Church of Christ; the Communion of sharing our gifts with others; the forgiveness of our sins; the Grace of God’s love, and that each soul may have life everlasting. Amen.
So, let’s break down this version of a new Apostles’ Creed about what it might say and why. First, the Virgin birth is widely accepted by biblical scholars today as a problem of Matthew’s Gospel, probably from an incorrect Hebrew translation, that uses ‘young woman’ interchangeably with ‘virgin.’
And I think that the ancient creeds put too much emphasis on the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus with no mention of his work and the vital message that it carries. Without going into the issues of social justice or the activism of Jesus, I leave it that He taught many, He healed many, and He angered many. The cornerstone of our reformed faith is His message of Love and Grace.
Ascending to Heaven, sitting in judgment, or having one’s merits checked off by St. Peter at the Gates of Heaven are ideas born of a cosmology that sees Heaven as above an inverted bowl over the plate of a flat earth. Since our universe now transcends the very limits of our imagining, we need to expand our views accordingly in how the power of God and the Message of Christ is infinite and everlasting.
Physical body resurrected? Again, the idea of the message was tied to His presence. If His ideas and message can’t be defeated, we don’t need His physical presence to feel Him with us and in us, back then or now or whenever.
Finally, yes the Holy Spirit brings the power of the Pentecost, carrying us on its mighty wind to our universal belief in Jesus and in God’s Grace and Love, uniting the Trinity in the Good News of the Father’s covenant with the undying message of Jesus, driven by the power of the Spirit.
As I said before, our Book of Confessions that forms the first half of the Presbyterian Constitution shows the evolution of various confessions and creeds over time, building on one another, or even taking a new tack on the idea of “reform.” ‘Reformed and always reforming’ is more than a slogan; it’s the foundation of our entire denomination.
Now as I was writing all this, I envisioned standing here and offering this version, then perhaps expecting a stone silence in reaction, or maybe someone or more than one out there might be thinking “how dare he say such things!” Or having some thoughts about ‘heresy?’ Could be, we know that a lot of churchgoers in a lot of congregations are uncomfortable with changes and new things, and that’s always been the case to one degree or another for over fourteen hundred years, or just take a look at Paul’s letters and you see how that’s been the case for nearly two thousand years since the very beginnings of our Church.
But what about us, renewing a sense of relevance to our lives today, dragging our creeds out of the hidebound traditions that have caused many to leave our denomination for various reasons, but one of the foremost seems to be because it ‘has nothing to say’ to them in their lives today.
And then, as some others believe -- if a creed can stand on its own for fourteen centuries, why should we want to change it? Someone recently said that the eight deadliest words in Christianity today are “Because we have always done it that way.” Now, I’m not advocating that we shelve the old creed and adopt mine or another one. But I am encouraging every one of us to re-think what our history and our Scriptures can say to us today. If Scripture is alive, and I believe it is, then it has to have life and to have life it has to relate to us on some level or another.
In conclusion, we have a Gospel lesson that seems to sound more like Paul’s exhortations of authority about how we should act and believe, and in Paul’s letter, we have the joy and adoration reflected from God’s love, and from Isaiah we have the promise of God’s grace and faithfulness through all generations, both then and now and with those to come. Then regardless of what creed we may say, our core belief is in the infinite Love of the Father, the undying Grace of the Son, and incredible healing power of the Holy Spirit. Amen
Generous God who overwhelms us with goodness and mercy, we thank you for this day, giving us the gift of this life, calling us to be your people. When we are tempted to judge others harshly, remind us to forgive as we have been forgiven. When we feel paralyzed with doubt or awash in anxiety, grant us the peace that passes understanding. When we do not know what to do or where to turn, make your word a light unto our path so that we can take one step closer to Christ as he leads us in the way everlasting. Loving God who searches and knows us, do not let us turn away from the people who need to know they are not alone. And place your loving touch on those we name here
John Redman, CRE
Mobile: (914) 474-0722
44 Balmville Rd, Newburgh NY 12550
Phone: (845) 562-0954 Fax: (845) 562-0955