July 25 Worship
Updated: Jul 26
Hello Union Church Presbyterians,
Worship this Sunday, July 25 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. We are phasing out virtual fellowship.
ORDER OF WORSHIP
Union Church, Newburgh NY
July 25, 2021 10:30 am
NINTH 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.
FELLOWSHIP/COFEE HOUR 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 church office to sign up (845) 562-0954.
USHERS: Thank you to all the volunteer ushers for July and August. The usher list is posted above the flower chart in the entryway. Pastor John suggests signing up for two weeks at a time. If you would like to usher, please contact Dan and Karen Olson.
Spaghetti & Meatball Dinner Friday, Aug. 6 from 4-7pm. Meal includes mixed veg and roll, $8 for dinner and $2 for dessert. Take out only. Call the office to reserve your order.
SAVE THE DATE: Habitat for Humanity Walk Sunday, Sept. 12. Details to follow.
BARN SALE: Saturday Oct 2. Donation drop off is suspended for July to allow time for volunteers to sort donations. 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 How Great Thou Art in a Jazz rendition by Craig Curry
CALL TO WORSHIP Adapted from Psalm 145
Leader: All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD, and all your faithful shall bless you. PEOPLE: They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom, and tell of your power, Leader: to make known to all people your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
PEOPLE: The LORD upholds all who are falling, and raises up all who are bowed down. Leader: The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. PEOPLE: open your hand, satisfying the desire of every living thing. Leader: The LORD is just in all his ways, and kind in all his doings. ALL: The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
Oh God of deliverance, our hands are uplifted to give you honor, our eyes are opened to behold our blessings. You are caring and know all our needs. Your presence is our assurance that you accept our worship. Send forth your Spirit, and touch all who attend you here. Amen.
CALL TO CONFESSION
Lord, we try, and we stumble. You pick us up and we fail you again. And again. Let us come together to confess our faults, failings, and sins.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Lord, too often we block you by our refusal to just trust you and go ahead as you seem to direct. Please forgive us. Help us to count it a joy to be a participant in the great thing you are doing rather than being a mere bystander. Do with each of us as you will -- where you will, when you will, with whom you will. In Your holy name, I pray.
(A moment for silent personal confession)
ASSURANCE OF FORGIVENESS
Gracious God, In this time of uncertainty, you always bring us back to assurance and the knowledge that your love and your forgiveness is eternal. In the name of the Trinity, we are forgiven. Amen.
GLORIA PATRI Traditional, Second Century
PASSING OF THE PEACE
HYMN OF PRAISE God of Grace and God of Glory Gross Pointe, Michigan
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
God of heaven, You not only provide more than we need, but You send the gospel to the ends of the earth and Your messengers to every nation: Send Your Holy Spirit to transform us by the good news of everlasting life in Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
MESSAGE FOR CHILDREN OF ALL AGES
OLD TESTAMENT 2 Samuel 11:1-15 Mary Whidden
NEW TESTAMENT Ephesians 3:14-21
GOSPEL John 6:1-21
SERMON “More than Bread” John Redman, CRE
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE & THE LORD’S PRAYER
Dearest Lord, we gather in your all-seeing sight better to understand each other as we each go about our journeys with you, and to reach a greater understanding of your infinite love, knowledge and power. Speak to us with your wisdom and grace, that we may hear and know. Look at all of us as we are as this assembly of souls, and we ask you Father to look most especially over those we have named here, for their healing and relief:
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 together 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 Just as I am, without one plea Acapeldridge
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 Gonna Shout All Over Heaven By Jasper Sea (Zambia)
INVITATION TO FELLOWSHIP TIME
SERMON TEXT More than Bread
The Old Testament reading for today is one of the most famous and most salacious passages in the Bible. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned to you that in the mid-nineteenth century at the height of what we now call Victorianism that there were so-call ‘Ladies’ Bibles,’ with passages like this one edited heavily or even left out. They even edited some of the Psalms and of course the Song of Songs was just gone. All of the Sodom and Gomorrah stuff was cut, and so forth, which resulted in a decidedly thinner Bible, or at Least a thinner Old Testament. So David is walking along his rooftop terrace overlooking the city and he sees this beautiful woman bathing in a rooftop pool, most likely a mikvah, a purifying bath, and he decides he has to have her.
And what’s the theological interpretation of David’s lustful sin? Did he seduce Bathsheba, or did he rape her? Or did she tempt him with her rooftop bathing, knowing exactly what she was doing? There are three very different schools of interpretation on that, too. About two years ago, I was visiting the church in Liberty, NY and their sanctuary is surrounded by ten or twelve windows depicting various Biblical scenes, and the favorite they like to point out to visitors is David on his rooftop looking down at Bathsheba in her pool, with her female charms on view. And when she tells David she’s pregnant, what does he do? He does what guys in power have done from before that time to these very days we live in – he tries to scheme his way out of it, first by having Bathsheba’s husband Uriah come home from war and what’s the first thing a returning soldier will do when he comes home to his wife? But no, Uriah says he can’t be unfair to his own men while they are still on the battlefield, so he can’t go home to the comfort of Bathsheba.
Then David’s getting desperate and is thinking what do I do now? ‘Okay, I will send him to the front line.’ Uriah is killed, and David takes Bathsheba making her the eighth or ninth wife in David’s harem, and who will bear him several sons, most notably Solomon.
So, what do we get from this account? That positions of power give one great advantage? Yes, but they are fraught with moral problems and sometimes, yes accountability. Just ask Harvey Weinstein. But does this have any real effect on David? Is he the least bit guilty over this? Doesn’t seem to be, does he? Well, later David shows some remorse, but only after several events have clouded his and his family’s lives, from incestuous rape to fratricide, which will eventually result in a civil war with his son Absalom, who will finally die a horrible death. So much for the lives and morals of great kings.
This Scripture Lesson from John takes us back and forth across the Sea of Galilee with people wanting to know where Jesus went to and where he is and just what’s up with all this? So let’s back track for a minute and see where we have come from in the passages leading up to this one in Chapter 6. Jesus feeds 5000 with a few loaves and fishes, according to all four Gospels. Matthew, with his tax collector precision, says that there were 5000 men, assuming that there was likely a nearly equal number of women and who knows how many children fed that day? Ten thousand? Fifteen? Twenty?
This Miraculous event and its historical accuracy have been contested for nearly 600 years, with its beginnings in the Age of Reason. How could this physically happen is the scientist’s question. Others have argued that this is pure allegory, as the message of Jesus fills them just as bread would do. And Jesus himself referred to these events not as miracles but as “signs.” Still others people have looked at the reality of the time and place. The word has spread about this amazing rabbi and his teachings, and people from all around are coming to hear Him. Whether it was 500 or 5000, that meant they came from a larger distance than a small village or two on the Sea of Galilee.
And that meant that they were travelling some distance, on foot. And if you had set out to hear this rabbi, walking several miles, would you leave your home without taking anything to eat or drink?
Are we to believe that among these 5 or 10 thousand adults that the only one who brought any food was John’s Gospel account of this kid with the five small loaves and the two fish?
Ever been to a tailgate party at West Point or at Giants’ Stadium? And would you even think of arriving empty-handed? No, you probably wouldn’t. But even if you did, there would likely be plenty to go around, with leftovers, too, might there? And maybe that’s the real miracle – that when they had gathered and heard him, His word swept over them and they all became one, and they all shared in the bounty that each had brought for themselves, so that not one of those souls went hungry that day, not physically and when they had heard His message, certainly not spiritually.
But then we have this crowd coming to look for Jesus, asking for how this whole giving us bread thing might continue to work. And they quote from the Old Testament, pointing to the manna from heaven sent to the Israelites in the Wilderness, given to them by Moses.
But Jesus counters by saying that that manna was not from Moses, but from God Himself. And furthermore, Jesus says “God sent that manna to those people then, but He sends this Bread now, and not just for now but for time everlasting.”
Notice the change in tense … God gave them manna back then, but now God gives you this bread that sustains you, now and for generations to come.
Of course, most of this goes over the heads of those who are following Jesus, because they have been fed. But is that it? No, that’s not the point, according to Jesus. He says, “It’s not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven but My Father, who gives you the true bread from heaven.” And maybe it starts to sink in to at least some of them.
As Bible Commentator Matthew Henry said back in the seventeenth century:
“He is the Bread, which the Father gives, which he has made to be the food of our souls. Bread nourishes only by the powers of a living body; but Christ is himself living Bread, and nourishes by his own power. He is the Bread that came down from heaven. The doctrine of Christ crucified is now as strengthening and comforting to a believer as ever it was.”
That’s a commentary written nearly 400 years ago that sounds like it could have been written yesterday. So as we Christians today struggle to find relevance of Scripture in our daily lives, the relevance of this living bread brings it right back home, doesn’t it?
As we anticipate Communion next week, there’s the idea of living bread, just as Jesus says to the woman at the well, he will give living water, says much about how we encounter this ritual. Many people find comfort in the uniformity of communion, a stable ritual that will vary little from church to church or even denomination to denomination. We attended a Catholic wedding mass last week and though there is vast difference in how we celebrate versus how they do it, the words of the institution are nearly identical. Still others wonder if maybe there is a different way of celebrating this sacrament, as if changing it up might make it more significant or more relevant, or less routine.
But I submit to you that each time we approach that table, each time we touch the bread of taste the cup – whether grape juice or wine – that it is anything BUT routine, or irrelevant. The beauty, the mystery, the connection that each of us brings each time we share in the Lord’s table is as personal, as intimate, and even as original as the very first time that that bread was broken and that cup was shared.
When it comes to ideas of routine, a comment by none other than Martin Luther perhaps says it best: “God’s wonderful works which happen daily are lightly esteemed, not because they are of no import but because they happen so constantly and without interruption.
Man is used to the miracle that God rules the world and upholds all creation, and because things daily run their appointed course, it seems insignificant, and no man thinks it worth his while to meditate upon it or to regard it as God’s wonderful work, And yet, THAT is a Greater Miracle than Christ feeding five thousand men with five loaves OR making wine from water.”
Being part of God’s creation is in itself a miracle, Luther says and we may want to ponder on that for a moment, how our daily or weekly routines really do become part of God’s creation.
But whether you call it a miracle or a sign, you have this apparition of Jesus walking on the water. Matthew’s version of this is almost funny, where Peter sees Jesus coming toward the boat and he jumps out to walk toward Jesus and of course immediately sinks and flails around and Jesus reaches out to pull him back into the boat. But in John’s account in the midst of this rain and wind, the disciples can barely see that it’s Jesus, and then when he says, “It is I, don’t be afraid,” and immediately they are touching upon the safety of dry land.
And before I close, we just have to mention the Epistle reading today which is yet another passage from Ephesians, a letter which has not been ascribed to the true pen of Paul, but one that more recently has actually been thought of as maybe a real Pauline letter, reflecting on his later life and how he has confronted not only his own impending death, but the life that we can know in Jesus, even before our own deaths, seated not in repentance from sin, but from the saving grace of Jesus in our lives, in this moment, in this place, and in our hearts.
And so, my fellow siblings in this mystery we call faith, I have shared these thoughts and words with you today by 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