May 9 Worship
Updated: May 10
Hello Union Church Presbyterians,
Worship this Sunday, May 9 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 9, 2021 10:30 am
Fifth Sunday of Easter, Mother’s Day
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.
Chancel Flowers are given by Sue and Dave Young to the Glory of God and in memory of Sue’s mom, Pearl, and Dave’s mom Louise.
Fundraising: GARAGE SALE Sat. May 22, 8-4 pm in our parking lot.
25 spaces available for $25 per space. Tables available for rent $5 each. Refreshments will be available. Call the church office (845) 562-0954 to reserve your spot.
BARN SALE: Sat. Oct 2. Accepting items Mondays and Wednesdays from 9-11 am and Sundays from 11:30-12:30 pm. NO CLOTHING. NO furniture that needs to be carried by more than one person. Contact Jeff Bousche (845) 913-8434 for more information.
Food Pantry operates every other week. Next: Mon. May 10 and Wed. May 12 from 9:30-11:30 am. Serving LOTS of people! If you would like to help, contact Kathy or Debby.
VIRTUAL Fellowship Time: Begins after worship on Zoom. Questions? Call Pastor John at (914) 474-0722.
ORDER OF WORSHIP
PRELUDE All the Earth with Joy is Sounding
CALL TO WORSHIP Adapted from Psalm 98 Leader: O sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things. His right hand and his holy arm have gotten him victory. PEOPLE: Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises.
Leader: Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody. PEOPLE: With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD.
Leader: Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who live in it. PEOPLE: Let the floods clap their hands; let the hills sing together for joy ALL: At the presence of the LORD, for he is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.
Dear Lord, today we each turn to you to give thanks for own mothers. With your own gift of life, she bore me in her womb and gave me life. She tenderly, patiently cared for me and taught me to walk and talk. She read to me and made me laugh. No one delighted in my successes more; no one could comfort me better in my failures. I am so grateful for how she mothered me and mentored me. And for those whose mothers have passed into your kingdom Lord, we know that they are greeted always with your love and grace. In the name of Jesus, our Lord and Savior forever and ever. Amen
CALL TO CONFESSION
Even in this glory of springtime, we are reminded of our shortcomings as we reflect on the gifts of our God and our sometimes-poor attempts at reconciliation. Let us confess our sins together.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Most merciful God, it grieves us to realize admit to you how often we place limits or time or place on your presence among us and gracious love for us. Forgive us we pray. Teach us to remain open in all our reverence for you, not hindered by schedule fo calendar, but guided by your unwavering Spirit. In Jesus name, we pray.
(A moment for silent personal confession)
ASSURANCE OF FORGIVENESS
Friends in Christ, believe in the Good News of the Gospels and know that by the Love of God our Father and the grace of his Son, we are forgiven. Amen
GLORIA PATRI Traditional, Second Century
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. Aand 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 All Creatures of Our God and King
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
God, source of all light, by your Word you give light to the soul. Pour out on us the spirit of wisdom and understanding that our hearts and minds may be opened. Amen.
NEW TESTAMENT READING Acts 10: 44-48 Mary Whidden
GOSPEL READING John 15: 9-17
SERMON There is Joy in My Heart John Redman, CRE
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE & THE LORD’S PRAYER
And Lord, we ask you to watch over and bring comfort and healing to those whom 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.
OFFERTORY ANTHEM O Sing to the Lord Birmingham Boys Choir
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 Lloyd T. Hayes
POSTLUDE Join in Exaltation Acapeldridge
INVITATION TO COFFEE HOUR
SERMON TEXT “There is Joy in My Heart”
What is joy? Do you know joy? Do you feel it? Do you sense what Jesus means by ‘Joy’ when he says it, in our Gospel lesson for today? We have carols like Joy to the World, or those old Sunday School songs like Joy, Joy, Joy deep in my heart. But what is this joy, exactly? Exhilaration? Of course. That rush you get when the roller coaster tops the hill and starts to run through the course? That tingling feeling that comes with your first passionate kiss? The first time you hold a grandchild? A friend of mine who is a Navy pilot described pure joy as ‘touchdown of your first night landing on an aircraft carrier in twenty-foot seas.’
But Jesus says, “that my joy be in you and that your joy be complete.” To Jesus, in this passage, love and joy become one. We experience this joy through the love that he has shared with us even as he gives us his single greatest commandment: to love each other as I have loved you.
This is not the first nor the last time that Jesus tells his disciples this, but it seems he needs to keep reminding them about that love thing, and especially about that joy thing.
And through this section of John’s Gospel, joy and love are Jesus’s call to us. William Barclay says: “A gloomy Christian is a contradiction in terms, and nothing in all religious history has done Christianity more harm than its connection with stern rules and long faces. It is true that the Christian is a sinner, but he is a redeemed sinner, and therein lies his joy.”
The Greek word for joy is chara, It is related to chairo [khah'-ee-ro], which means to rejoice and also to charis [khar'-ece], which means … grace.
Ah, grace, the grace that God grants through the life and mission of Jesus, that’s all part of the joy message.
And then Jesus calls his disciples “friends.” This has a special connotation in Biblical terms: Abraham was a “friend of God.” The Book of Proverbs says wisdom is said to make men “friends of God.” This comes from a custom known in the Middle East as “friend of the king.” These were very special people who had extraordinary access to the King, even to the right to come to his bedchamber first thing in the morning, before he could talk to his advisors, his generals or statesmen.
Did you ever watch the HBO series “Game of Thrones,” where the closest one to the King is known as the Hand of the King? This person had the most intimate connection with the king, and to his power. And that’s what being a “friend of God” means here. Jesus calls us to be his friends and also friends of God. That’s quite an offer. We no longer need to see God as someone distant up on some big throne, or as if we are in the midst of a crowd, straining to catch a fleeting glimpse of God as he passes by in some procession. And through Jesus, we have that intimacy with God. He’s not a distant stranger, but our close friend.
Then Jesus talks about how we are his true friends and not his servants, because servants never know what their masters think, just what they are expected to do. The word for servant is “doulos,” which in literal translation is “a living tool.” But we aren’t mere tools following orders for their own sake.
No, now as friends, we are partners, sharing in the joy of that experience, and he asks us to go out and become ambassadors, sharing that gift of joy and friendship with God in way that will last and have meaning.
And then he closes with “the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name.” Ok, what does that really mean? We know that we won’t receive everything we could possibly pray for, that’s not the point.
There are those prosperity preachers out there who will tell you that if you believe hard enough and strong enough, every one of your prayers will be answered, but we know that’s not how it really works. Prayer is a powerful force in our lives, but it gets that power from our faith, from knowing that our special intimate relationship with Christ and with God the Father, is close, is real, is powerful. What this is saying is not that God will grant us every wish made in prayer, but that God will grant us the wisdom and the love required to be good disciples of Christ, in short -- to be good Christians.
Jesus also says that he has chosen these to be his followers, his friends, his ambassadors to the greater world. Wait a minute – these guys are a bunch of peasants and fishermen from Galilee, what do they know about all this messianic messaging? What do they know of the prophetic sayings of Isiah? Things are about to change, in a big way
According to our reading from Acts this morning, a group of Gentiles led by the Roman Centurion Cornelius has invited Peter to come to his house in Caesarea. All this is in the previous parts of this chapter in Acts. Peter’s arrival at the house and then being invited in is itself unusual, because devout Jews were never supposed to enter the house of one who didn’t follow Jewish Law. Cornelius is called a god-fearing man, which means he attends the Jewish synagogue but because he is not circumcised, he cannot be truly accepted to Judaism. But Peter enters the house and Cornelius falls at his feet, and Peter tells him to get up. Certain barriers are already coming down. And then Cornelius tells Peter that he has had a vision in his prayers and has been told to invite Peter to come to his home, and so he sent for Peter. Cornelius has related all this to Peter, who in turn tells Cornelius that he too, has had a vision in prayer that he doesn’t need to keep strictly kosher any longer, as God has no favorites. So Peter tells this group of Gentiles the story of Jesus and his resurrection and, as Peter is finishing this message the entire group is overcome with the joy of the Holy Spirit. And the several Jews who have come along with Peter are overcome as well, finding it hard to believe that the Holy Spirit has poured out on these outsiders.
This passage in Acts becomes what is colloquially known as the ‘Gentile Pentecost’ as compared to the amazing account in Acts, Chapter 2 of that incredible moment when wind and fire and the breath of the Holy Spirit has inhabited everyone in the Temple of that original Pentecost, with speaking in multiple tongues of all nationalities. And here this group of Gentiles is so overcome by the Holy Spirit that they are as taken as those original worshippers were in Chapter 2. And then Peter calls for water to be brought and to baptize them. Up to this point, one could become a follower of Jesus only through being born as a Jew, or by first being converted to Judaism and then being baptized and accepted as one of the People of the Way, as early Christians called themselves.
So here we have a total turnaround with Peter and the other church leaders suddenly welcoming the Gentile worshippers, taken as a sign that God has given His Spirit not just to the Jews, but to everyone.
Ans this baptism is not the purview of the leaders, being selective about who gets baptized. The Pastor may do the act of baptism, but it’s the Church that receives the child on behalf of Jesus Christ, and this is what was established on that occasion. And this final verse is significant too, though at first reading you might not think so. The Gentiles ask Peter to wait with them for a few days. Why is that, do you suppose? Well, they were intensely eager to learn more, to know more about this amazing faith.
A few more days with Peter would teach them even more before he went along on his way. What an incredible way to begin membership in a congregation – as not the end of a journey, but the end of the beginning of that amazing journey with this mystery we call faith.
My fellow travelers in 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