- John T. Redman, CRE
May 30 Worship
Updated: Jun 2, 2021
Hello Union Church Presbyterians,
Worship this Sunday, May 30 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
VIRTUAL FELLOWSHIP on ZOOM at 11:45 am
For computers: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/2536635871
For smartphones and tablets, download and install the Zoom app.
If prompted: Click “JOIN Meeting” and enter:
Meeting ID: 253 663 5871 Passcode: NO Passcode required
ORDER OF WORSHIP
Union Church, Newburgh NY
May 30, 2021 10:30 am
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.
OFFICE CLOSED Mon, May 31 for Memorial Day.
BARN SALE: Sat. Oct 2. Accepting items June through August, the first and third Mondays and Wednesdays from 9-11 am. NO CLOTHING. NO large furniture. Volunteers needed.
Contact Jeff Bousche (845) 913-8434 for more information.
FOOD PANTRY: OPEN Mon. June 7 and Wed. June 9 from 9:30-11:30 am.
Union Food Pantry is happy to announce the start of the “Union Clothes Closet” upstairs in FH. This area will house our clothing donations and provide space for sorting and displaying clothing and other donations. Union will now have a food pantry and a clothes closet!
We have other plans to further help the folks we serve, and we will keep you posted. For now, you can help by donating summer clothing, as well as gently used bedding and towels.
Thanks for helping our church in its mission! Debby and Kathy
To support Clara Wilkinson and her work with the Choshen Farm Project in Zambia, Africa, please visit: https://choshenfarm.kindful.com/clara-wilkinson-2020/clara-wilkinson1?fbclid=IwAR046P07QRWn7bJZTKJdgkEwfR15MRDGO7kt6EDgiCGYhuJord9Xse02Syk.
ORDER OF WORSHIP
PRELUDE I’ll Fly Away Schola Diffusa, the Pandemic Virtual Choir
When it was recorded in May of 2020 it was dedicated to the 350,000 lives lost in the pandemic to that point. Since then, the worldwide death toll is nearly ten times that at 3.4 million souls.
CALL TO WORSHIP Adapted from Psalm 29 Leader: Ascribe to the LORD the glory of his name; worship the LORD in holy splendor. PEOPLE: The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD, over mighty waters. Leader: The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty. PEOPLE: The voice of the LORD flashes forth flames of fire. Leader: The voice of the LORD causes the oaks to whirl, and strips the forest bare; and in his temple all say, "Glory!" ALL: May the LORD give strength to his people! May the LORD bless his people with peace!
As we search for the sanctity of the Holy Trinity, may we come to know each aspect of your wondrous being, as we bow in awe of your creations, embrace your love of all things, and breathe in the sweet fragrance of your power. Amen.
CALL TO CONFESSION
Children of God, as we are all your children, we thank you our heavenly parent for your continuing care and forgiveness, in the name of Jesus, we are forgiven. Amen.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Father of us all, you give us life and love and all of creation, yet we waste ourselves and our resources through selfishness and greed. You bring us light, yet we hide in the shadows of our own sins. Forgive us Father, as you shine the light of your grace on our pathways through the love of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
(A moment for silent personal confession)
ASSURANCE OF FORGIVENESS
My brothers and sisters in this journey of faith, believe the Good News and know that by the love of God and the grace of our savior we are forgiven. Amen.
GLORIA PATRI Traditional, Second Century
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. Who was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again and ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.I believe in the Holy Spirit, in the holy catholic Church, the communion of the saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
PASSING OF THE PEACE
HYMN OF PRAISE Love Divine, All Loves Excelling
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
You beckon us to follow you, dear Lord, and to proclaim your word to everyone. We are like Isaiah, hearing God’s voice and responding, “Here am I! send me.” We offer ourselves at the threshold of your sanctuary, to be sent forth as the Holy Spirit will guide us. Amen.
OLD TESTAMENT Isaiah 6: 1-8 Cathy McCarty
EPISTLE Romans 8:12-17 John Redman
GOSPEL John 3: 1-17 Cathy McCarty
SERMON The Winds of the Spirit John Redman, CRE
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE & THE LORD’S PRAYER
Almighty God, you speak and the heavens tremble; you move and leaves of the trees shiver Most Holy God, whose love for the world is made real to us through your Son and Spirit, fill us with a sense of your saving presence and actions. Look upon us as the heavenly parent you are, with Jesus as our brother and fellow heir. And look with us to those we remember in our prayers for their healing, their recovery, for those in grief and sorrow. We ask for special prayerful consideration for.
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.
OFFERTORY ANTHEM Whom Shall I Send? National Youth Choir of Scotland
VIDEO VISIT from Clara Wilkinson, on her work with the Chosen Farm Project in Zambia, Africa.
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 Toccata in D Major by Flor Peeters, played by Dr. Margaret Small
SERMON TEXT A Scriptural Trifecta for Trinity Sunday
When I saw the Lectionary readings for this Trinity Sunday, it was as though I’d hit a perfect trifecta, but there is no hint of betting or gambling about this because all three are a sure thing. What I mean by that is the passage from Isaiah, about those winged seraphim flying all about and the mere hem of the Lord’s robe filling the entire Temple is then topped by Paul’s assertion in his letter to the Romans, that the spiritual life will guide us on our way, and then does it ever get any better than a Gospel lesson that contains not just John 3: 16 but also John 3: 17!
About those six-winged creatures called seraphim. Have you ever wondered why they use pairs of wings to cover their faces and their feet, and only two to fly? As Hebrew theology teaches, they covered their faces so that they could not look upon the face of God, and that ‘covering the feet’ is a euphemism for covering the nakedness of other body parts. And there sits the Lord on a high and lofty throne and the mere hem of his robe fills the Temple. And as these creatures call out to one another, praising the Lord, the whole Temple, indeed, the whole earth shakes in the power and smoke fills the Temple from these huge bowls of flame that illuminate the place.
So, it is any wonder when Isaiah says “Woe is me, I am lost, a poor sinner even though I have seen the Lord.” Even as far back as five hundred years ago, Biblical Commentator Matthew Henry said of this passage that the seraphim (which in Hebrew means ‘burners’) burn in the love for God and zeal for his glory against sin. Henry also says that the train of the Lord’s robe fills the Temple as God’s power fills all of creation.
Another who comments on Isaiah’s vision chalk it up to Isaiah being overcome by the thick smoke of the incense and he envisions these burning seraphs darting about from the flickering light and shadow of the Temple flames. And that burning coal that cleans the sin from Isaiah’s lips? The mere experience is enough to sear the sin from Isaiah as he is called to be God’s prophet. To the Hebrews, being cleansed of sin is supposed to be painful, so there you have it. But as Paul’s letter to the Romans goes on to interpret being cleansed of our sins, we are spiritually adopted as God’s children as we cry out “Abba! Father!”
Here is how Eugene Peterson says it in his contemporary translation of this passage. “So don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. There’s nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God’s spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go! This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us – an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!”
And of course, the third chapter of John, with just about the most famous verse in all of Scripture. But first, let’s climb up to it, with Jesus and Nicodemus, whom we met in scripture back during Lent. Nicodemus is a Pharisee, a Jewish leader and teacher who comes to see Jesus under cover of darkness, so his fellow teachers won’t see him doing such a strange thing. Nicodemus will also be the man who accompanies Joseph of Arimathea to place Jesus in the tomb, carrying along that big bundle of aloe and myrrh.
But in this encounter, someone as wise as Nicodemus the pharisee is supposed to be, seems awfully dense, doesn’t he, especially when it comes to that idea of being born again? Jesus is patient with him, and to paraphrase a bit, Jesus says, “Come on Nick, get with it, and listen for real –it’s baptism that carries you like wind over water to a new life. You can touch new life in a baby, but the person who takes shape in that body comes from something you can’t touch – the Spirit -- the living spirit.”
As Nicodemus continues to struggle with comprehending all this, Jesus seems to become a bit more impatient, finally saying, “If you don’t believe what I tell you about earthly things, how can you believe the things of heaven? Nick, just work with me here, ok? You’ve just got to believe me when I say that this is how God has worked it out for us: You can’t go up if you haven’t already come down from heaven, and even then, that one will need to be raised up like Moses raised up the serpent in the desert, but if you look up to him, believe in him, trust in his word, you will gain that real, eternal life.
For that is God’s promise, he loves his Son so much that he sends him to do this work, and all you have to do is take him up on the offer. And believe me, Nick, I am not here to judge you, I am here to help save you. And I don’t do that by myself, but as part of my Father, and with the power of the Spirit.”
So maybe Jesus wasn’t all that familiar with Nicodemus, but you get the picture, don’t you? But Nicodemus comes around, because where is he on the day of crucifixion? Trudging with the body in a shroud, with Joseph of Arimathea, racing against the sunset to find a proper tomb. And what a surprise it will be to discover that the very same tomb will be empty again in such a short time.
The journey of Nicodemus isn’t so different from our own journeys, is it? We all start from doubt and confusion, and we wander through scripture and belief, or even some disbelief, carrying the shroud and the spices, and trying to find a place for Jesus when we realize he has already risen to inhabit our hearts.
And so, my sisters and brothers in this special journey, we know this by the unending Love of the Father, the ultimate 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