February 7 Worship
Updated: Feb 24, 2021
Hello Union Church Presbyterians,
Worship this Sunday, February 7 will be hosted on Zoom. We will share prayers, songs, and reflections. We will be celebrating Communion this Sunday. Please have a cracker/bread of your choice and juice/beverage on hand to join in this sacrament.
Full video: https://youtu.be/0GUzEL1w6ts
HOW TO JOIN:
(Or use zoom.us )
For smartphones and tablets, download and install the Zoom app.
If prompted: Click “JOIN Meeting” and enter:
Meeting ID: 975 5237 9549 Passcode: 036650
The Zoom meeting will open at 10:15 am to allow folks to connect and greet each other. If you have a camera, you will have the option to share your face and smile. You can also have a cup of your favorite morning beverage at hand.
The worship will include familiar elements (although recorded rather than live) as well as live leadership of prayers, scripture reading, and the sermon.
ORDER OF WORSHIP
Union Church, Newburgh NY
February 7, 2021 10:30 am
Fifth Sunday after Epiphany
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.
Food Pantry operates every other week. Next: Mon. Feb 15 and Wed. Feb 17 from 9:30-11:30 am. Serving LOTS of people! If you would like to help, contact Kathy or Debby.
Pledge Update: As of January 17, we have received 36 pledges (4 new) for 2021 in the amount of $91,120. This time last year, we received 43 pledges in the amount of $90,429.
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. Check email for access instructions. Questions? Call James at (301) 335-8677.
Save the Date: Roast Beef Dinner Fundraiser Fri, Feb 26 from 4-7pm
Delicious roast beef dinner, mashed potatoes, vegetables, and dinner roll.
Pick-up ONLY, $14 per plate. RSVP: by Wednesday, February 24.
CONTACT: Church office 562-0954 or Jeff Bousche 562-6242 for more information.
ORDER OF WORSHIP
PRELUDE You Are the Light (See acknowledgments at the end of the bulletin)*
From Text written by the late Congressman John Lewis
CALL TO WORSHIP Adapted from Psalm 147 John Safran Praise the LORD! How good it is to sing praises to our God; for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting. The LORD builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the outcasts of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure. The LORD lifts up the downtrodden; he casts the wicked to the ground. He covers the heavens with clouds, prepares rain for the earth, makes grass grow on the hills. He gives to the animals their food, and to the young ravens when they cry. His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the speed of a runner;
and the LORD takes pleasure, in those who hope in his steadfast love.
Praise the LORD!
Creator God open our hearts in compassion and receive these petitions on behalf of the needs of the church and the world. You call us to love and serve you and our sisters and brothers with hearts, minds and spirits. This we pray in Jesus name, Amen.
CALL TO CONFESSION
We try, but we always seem to come short of your expectations, Dear Lord. Let us confess our sins together.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION (muted please)
Almighty God, you love us, but we do not love you fully. You call, but we do not always listen. We often walk away from neighbors in need, wrapped in our own concerns.
God of grace help us to admit our sin, so that as you move toward us in mercy, we may repent, turn to you, and receive forgiveness, through Jesus Christ our Redeemer. Amen.
(A moment for silent personal confession)
ASSURANCE OF FORGIVENESS
Sisters and Brothers, the Lord of Heaven knows all our actions and all our prayers. In the name of Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.
PASSING OF THE PEACE
GLORIA PATRI Westminster Virtual Choir
HYMN OF PRAISE 531 O Love That Will Not Let Me Go
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
Lord, open our hearts and minds by the power of your Holy Spirit, that as the Scriptures are read and your Word is proclaimed, we may hear with joy what you say to us today. Amen.
MESSAGE FOR CHILDREN OF ALL AGES
OLD TESTAMENT READING Isaiah 40:21-31 John Safran
NEW TESTAMENT READING Mark 1: 29-39 John Redman, CRE
SERMON “Serving and Following” 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 special blessings on those we name here.
And Lord we pray for those in our own hearts whose names you already know, for their own healing and comfort, in your name and that of our redeemer Jesus Christ, who taught to pray, 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 Lets Break Bread Together on Our Knees
played by Dr. Jonathan Hall, Music Minister at First Presbyterian in Goshen
Invitation to the Table
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Words of Institution
Prayer after Communion
OFFERTORY ANTHEM United in His Love by Cindy Berry Union Chancel Choir
You can support the work of Union Church by mailing donations to 44 Balmville Rd, Newburgh, NY 12550 or visit newburghpresby.org/donate to donate online.
MINUTE FOR MISSION John Safran
PRAYER OF THANKS
DOXOLOGY Union Chancel Choir
POSTLUDE Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above
INVITATION TO COFFEE HOUR
*Prelude used by permission of the Cathedral Choir and Rose of the Compass under the direction of Kent Tritle, Director of Music at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine and made possible by Richard and Lois Pace.
SERMON TEXT Serving And Following
When Jesus and his four disciples leave the synagogue, they go the short distance to Simon’s house where his mother-in-law is very ill with a fever. There is a house today almost next door to the synagogue in Capernaum, that many people say is that very house. Have you ever wondered about Simon’s mother-in-law, when there is no mention of his wife? Ah well, she’s here as part of this week’s story.
Indeed, we are all parts of a story, each of us a thread that is woven into the tapestry of faith that God creates like a huge curtain as Isaiah says in our Old Testament lesson for today. But let’s go back to the house in Capernaum, because Jesus quickly cures her fever and before you know it she is up and around, rushing out to the kitchen to whip up something to serve her guests.
In our time of struggling for racial equality and gender equality, some women get a bit annoyed at this passage where the woman is immediately up and serving. The Greek word is diakoneo, which means to serve, or more literally ‘to wait upon,’ which may give some women even more reason to be annoyed. By the way, that Greek word diakeneo is the root of our word for Deacons, those who serve.
You might also wonder if this woman, Simon’s mother-in-law, became one of the women who followed Jesus. We often think of Jesus and his disciples as this band of twelve following their master, but many times the Gospels allow for others as part of the group. And women were most certainly among them. In the Fifteenth chapter of Mark, it’s the female followers who observe the crucifixion from a distance, after all the males have run away into hiding. We don’t know if Simon’s mother-in-law was among them, but she could well have been, and immediately after this, Mark says that these women had followed and served Jesus and had come from Galilee to Jerusalem with him.
And where do you suppose Mark got this story from? We think that this Gospel was written by a man named John Mark who had also accompanied Paul on one his first journeys, and that this was written about forty years after the crucifixion, or about ten or twelve years after Paul’s letters. Since Mark knew Paul, it stands to reason that he also knew Peter and possibly it’s Simon Peter, now known as Peter, who told him the story of the mother-in-law. We certainly don’t know anything about Simon Peter’s wife, do we?
In the third and especially in the fourth century of our common era, the role of women in the church was minimized almost to the point of extinction. But look at the epistles of Paul, where women as church leaders are often referred to and Paul even addresses some of his letters to women in various congregations. So back then, women were valued and highly respected in their work for the church and it was only centuries later when men were all in contention for the greater power of the church that women were sidelined, and their influence minimized.
But according to Acts 16, Lydia was a successful businesswoman, a dye merchant specializing in purple dye, the most expensive. And she was instrumental in establishing the church at Philippi, as was Priscilla in Corinth, though I wonder how she felt about some of that stuff Paul said in his letters about women being subservient to men.
And there was Tabitha, who spent her life making clothes for the poorest people, and by that she was well-loved. When she died, the entire community was devastated and when some learned that Peter was nearby, they went to see him and ask for help in their mourning. Peter went to see the body of Tabitha and he raised her from the dead.
What about Phoebe, who was so highly regarded by Paul that he entrusted her to be his messenger to the church at Rome? A deaconess and leader in her own church, she risked persecution and possibly death to be a missionary throughout the western part of the Roman empire. All these women were heroines of the cause of Christ before the Gospels were even written, and remember them because of Paul’s high regard for them.
So much for minimizing women and their work, but the Gospel goes on to describe all the people who then came for healing and because some of these demons knew his name, he didn’t allow them to call it out as they had in the synagogue, because he didn’t want to be called the Holy One of God.
When he had gone out alone to pray, Simon and the others found him and said “Hey, everybody is looking for you!” And that’s when Jesus announces that this is why he’s started this whole thing to pronounce the good news and set about the healing, which he does throughout Galilee.
And this reading from Isaiah today contains some of the most poetic phrases in the entire Bible, and it predicts the message of God’s grace that will be embodied in Jesus. First Isaiah calls us to attention.
Have you not heard? Have you not known? Don’t you realize that God has immense power?
Someone asked me the other day about whether or not I am a God-fearing man. And I replied, “Absolutely, because I am not in fear of God.” That stumped him for a minute and then I said “God fearing, in the translation from Hebrew doesn’t mean you are afraid of God, it means you are in awe of God.” That’s what God-fearing actually means, and this passage God’s incredible care for us, stretching the heavens over us tiny insects, and who asks us to look up to the stars and see that God named every one of those. Have you not known? Have you not heard? He is the Creator of the ends of the earth, and beyond.
These words were written when the nation of Israel was being delivered a second time, as they were sent back to Jerusalem from their captivity in Babylon, reflecting the previous exodus from Egypt, reminding the people how they should be grateful for the power of God to watch over them not just in times of trouble, but in every time under heaven.
And in the final verses of today’s reading, we find the inspiration of football locker rooms and living rooms throughout our country, where we all will be mindful later today as we watch those young persons who will not faint or be weary but will seem to rise up with wings like eagles as they run and not be weary. Those words were most valuable a couple of years ago when Philadelphians had a stake in the Super Bowl. And it’s been nearly ten years since we New Yorkers reached back to Genesis for “there were in that time giants in the world.”
No, the Super Bowl does not merit some Biblical standard, despite our cultural standards these days, since this passage really talks about how the older generations of Israel returned to Jerusalem from Babylon, seeing total destruction, and asking for support from a younger generation to begin again.
So, what’s in all this for us today? In deliverance from the captivity of a horrible disease with treatment that may bring us hope and healing? With renewed energy to help and heal those less fortunate than ourselves, even as we question our own energies? That’s what Jesus does when he slides out in early morning to be alone and to pray, and to conclude that his mission is at hand. These things are what we all aspire to in our own journeys in faith, and from the days of Isaiah to this one, they still hold true.
As Jesus realized when he went out that early morning to reflect and to pray, he knew that the time had come for him to deliver the message of hope and healing to Galilee, then to Jerusalem, and on to the world. And may we all follow in that pathway of hope and healing and life and love.
And to my sisters and brothers in faith, may you all know that I share these thoughts and words today with the love of the Father, the grace of the Son, and the healing power 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