Post Sabbatical Ruminations

Silverfalls

One of the things I can foresee as I return to work – and travel for work when gas prices have risen almost $2 more than before I started my Sabbatical – is going to be the need to connect more regularly with the peace, serenity, and messages offered by the Earth and all her creatures.  I will need to feel the trees, the sand, the wind, the surf…whatever medium the trail of my ongoing sacred pilgrimage brings to me.  But also, moving into the summer, I will begin to feel the heat. I will feel it burn, my whole body and being will get grouchy, and as always, I am (and will be) ever conscious of the big difference I can feel stepping between sun and shade, no matter where my feet take me.

This, in turn, reminds me to also feel the need for and reverence the sacred sustenance of water.  We are fortunate up here in the PNW that we are one of the micro-regions (at least on the west side of the Cascades) that will see either increased rain, or at least close to “normal” levels of rain, even during the ever-emerging new realities within our climate crisis. Southern Oregon, Eastern Oregon, California and all of the SW will, in fact, probably continue its inexorable trend to hotter and drier. Eastern Washington may do the same. Despite record rainfall in April and May, Oregon as a state is still in a protracted drought.  It takes years to re-balance to equilibrium a falling (or in some cases failing) water table.  Wells have to be dug deeper to bring up the cool, life-sustaining waters – and the deeper they draw water up from, the older that water is – in some cases hundreds if not thousands of years older.  When that happens, even more water needs to fall and soak into the ground, trickling down to those aquifers meters and meters below our poor Earth’s surface to refresh and re-balance historical levels.  The Earth needs it, and we, as her primary consumers, need to cut back our use of it (not to mention many other harmful practices that actually kill off parts of the intricate web of life food chain).

But I write all this to lift up for your consideration “sacred water” as a sacred focusing device for our ongoing pilgrimage/journey of faith. Yes, focus must shift in our work; and  teasing out the directions in all our Presbytery’s regions of what and where new forms and practices of ministry might lead has been a much needed seed-scattering.  Along with sacred water and sacred focus, I lift up one of my Sabbatical readings: Sacred Earth, Sacred Soul by John Philip Newell. The entire concept of Sacred, I believe, has been too little emphasized in our collective spirituality of late (I am talking about not only our faith but sister faiths with which we have much in common in the need to hold our Earth in hands of careful tending).  Understanding all as sacred, I believe, can prove to be a center collection point from which all of us, regardless of our spiritual pilgrimages, can find common ground. In this, all of us – regardless of our particular stream in the Great Current of Spirit – might offer our own contributions to the deeply held common “water table” from which all spiritual sustenance is then drawn.

And, despite the fact that I drive a Prius to work and back, maybe it is time to do more than just consider additional actions to practice what I preach – maybe it is past time to simply evolve and do them!

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Worship for May 29, 2022; the Seventh Sunday of Easter

THE GATHERING         * Stand if willing and able

Gathering Music: Hymn #14 “For the Beauty of the Earth”

Welcome and Announcements    

Prelude:”Brethren We Have Met To Worship” arr.

* Call to Worship 

I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord, the God who is and who was and who is to come.

Let us give thanks for all that was, let us celebrate all that is, and let us imagine all that will be.

Let us pray together:

* Prayer of the Day    

God of Mercy, hear our prayer; your Spirit is a wind of change, but we would recast it as a quiet breeze.  Your call is to the edges of the world, but we would confine it to the comfortable places.  Your will is to free us from the chains of injustice, but we would keep them on rather than disturb the peace. Holy God of every time and place, you gather us to hear of Jesus.  Help us see your infinite life in our own community and in all of creation, we pray in your holy name.  Amen.

* Hymn of Praise #260 “Alleluia! Sing to Jesus”

* Invitation to Healing

Let us come before God with contrite hearts, acknowledging our brokenness and trusting in forgiveness.

* Prayer of Wholeness

Faithful God, you are devoted to us.  Forgive us when we are not devoted to you.  We would rather be secure than be brave.  We would rather be in control than be faithful.  We know that you call out for us to follow, but we look for you in all the wrong places.  Forgive us, God of mercy.  Heal us from our self-centeredness.  Empower us to know the depth of your grace, and lead us to share that grace with the world…

* Sung Response #471 “O Lord, Hear My Prayer” 3x Third time plural

* Assurance of Pardon and Passing of the Peace

Friends, believe this Good News: God is One and God is Three – Love constantly flowing in, out, and through; the gift of Jesus Christ for me and for you. For this we say:

Thanks be to God!

Since God has loved us through Christ, let us love one another; the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all!

And also with you!

Please share a sign of peace with those worshiping with you.

* Sung Response #591 “Halle, Halle, …(chorus twice)

Celebrating Joys and where we have seen God at work

Sung Response #647 “Give Thanks”

THE WORD

Prayer of Illumination:

By the power of the Holy Spirit open our minds to the Word, your Son, who comes to us as one of us and ascends to the heavens to remain with us. Amen.

Hebrew Scripture: Psalm 97:1-12 pp. 736-737

“The Word of the Lord” “Thanks be to God”

Epistle Reading: Acts 16:16-34 pp. 182-183

“The Word of the Lord” “Thanks be to God”

Children’s Moment

Gospel Reading: John 17:20-26 p. 151

“The Gospel of the Lord” “Praise to you O Christ”

Message:TL 5-29-2022 YC TL Liberation, Salvation, Or…?” ~ Pastor Scott

Please spend several moments in silent reflection

RESPONSE TO THE WORD

* Hymn #680 “Soft Rains of Spring Flow”

* Affirmation of Faith: ~ Summary of the Law as recorded in Luke 10:27

Our Lord Jesus said: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”

Intercessory Prayers of the People

Call and response: “Lord, have mercy,” “Hear our prayers”

Minute for Mission

Invitation to Present Our Offerings

Give now with generous hearts that all people may hear God’s Word and be helped by the work of this church.

Offertory:

* Doxology Hymn tune #606 with text from #607

* Prayer of Dedication

Eternal God, who brings joy out of sorrow, plenty out of want, life out of death: we thank you for the treasures of the earth, your creation, filled with your blessing, for it was in company with these earthly things that your Son came to dwell, showing us the enormity of your love. Because of Jesus, we, too, are brought to new life, called to pray and work for the renewal of others. Take these offerings for the sake of the one without whom our poverty of soul would be extreme; Jesus our Christ, who taught his disciples to pray, saying:

* The Lord’s Prayer (“…debts…debtors…”)

SENDING

* Closing Hymn #300 “We Are One in the Spirit”

* Charge

Live in love, abide in peace, walk softly upon the earth. Tend and serve all God’s creation and one another, for we are one in God.

* Benediction

“Deep Peace be with you…” ~ stc

* Congregational Song “Let There Be Peace on Earth”

Lyrics found on the inside front cover of the hymnal. Bathrooms and a diaper changing station are located in the Fellowship Hall.  Please join us across the way for refreshments and conversation following worship.

 

Questions for Reflection

What chains bind you, the people of your community, or your local environment at this time in your life?  Where each day do you notice the freedom of Christ working to break the chains apart?

Household Prayer: Morning

Good and gracious God, we rise with the morning light to give you thanks for rest and dreams, for warmth and safety, for the delight we have again today in a life filled with your goodness. Keep us in your care this day that we may walk in your path, glad for our friends, praying for our enemies, and eager to hear your Word; in Jesus’ name, Amen.

 Household Prayer: Evening

Merciful God, for all that we have done and failed to do this day we turn to you for respite. Forgive us for having shunned your desires; rejoice with us over moments that have filled us with joy. Bless your people, your lands, your waters, and the very air we breathe with peace. Protect us and your earth this night that we may wake again to praise your name and seek you in the dappled shadows of your land. Let the Holy Spirit abide in this house, Amen.

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Sabbatical Musings, Part the Fourth

On the eve of the NE Region of our Presbytery engaging in the “Creative Collaborations” workshop, some salient socio-cultural thoughts have come to mind…

  • The region of “Nones and Dones” will continue to expand from the PNW toward the east and south of this country – this is in reverse of the original colonial missionary model that pushed its way from the Eastern seaboard to the west and south with the founding of America.
  •  We are seeing young people flee from all institutions built by their great-grandparents – and this includes the institution of the church – hence the term “organized religion” or “institutionalized religion” becoming more like a derogatory term in some circles. Shrinking main-line protestant churches are the norm, not growing vibrant communities of faith.  Why?
  • Think service organization as opposed to propagation of the Gospel.  This is very different than American cultural assimilation of Christendom – which I believe is no longer happening in our time.  As M. Scott Peck once wrote in an illustrative story called “The Rabbi’s Gift,” “The spirit has gone out of the people.” [The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace (New York, NY: Touchstone Simon & Schuster, 1998)].
  •  One of my opinions rests in the challenge of shifting leadership models and cultures – in this case the DNA of corporate main-line Protestantism from the 1950s to something else resembling authentic communities of practice.  That means it is imperative to find ways for the church to become an intergenerational community focused on making real-life authentic, genuine differences in and for the community in which it sits.
  • If the determination and intent is to continue moving away from intergenerationality and back to “the way it was,” or to put in place age-segregated learning, absence of children in worship, and “traditional bible story curricula” as opposed to family-based passing on of our faith stories and the more messy/”noisy” intergenerationally collaborative worship models where all are welcome and have a place, I would hazard a guess that church can expect a 50% reduction in membership in the not-to distant future (possibly even two to three years from now, certainly by ten to fifteen years from now). 64% if that church is closer to the PNW than the S/SE. Community, by definition, includes all peoples regardless of age, stage, gender or persuasion.

The last two points you might take with a grain of salt, I suppose.  Here’s why:  I’m deep in the heart of the PNW, and I have a certain “GenX angst” perspective as I’ve watched all our young people flee just about every main-line protestant church in our presbytery, leaving all but the Silents and the Boomers in the pews. It doesn’t give me much hope for long-term job security, unless I can form creative collaborations and/or change myself and the church I work for to fit/serve contemporary spiritual needs.  That’s a tall order, but I might suggest it is survival for any pastor of today’s average traditional main line denominational church.

Culturally, at least here in the PNW, the metamorphosis that has been and continues to take place is this: from the point of the church being to, “Spread the Gospel” (equated with Evangelical-In-Your-Face-My-Way-Or-The-Highway Bible-Thumping Religion – Bad) to the point of, “Authentic communities of worship and practice to address real needs in the community.”

It’s almost like: “If you aren’t a community of practice doing real-life-tangible things, then it isn’t authentic.  Gospel of Salvation? Who cares, we can’t see the spiritual realm or the state of anyone’s soul, so it doesn’t matter.  We can see how people behave towards one another and if others’ compassion – no matter what faith – is reflected in real-life, showing love and justice for all people and the earth.  That’s what matters.”

It causes me to wonder if we, or at least society, are (is) in the throws of (or on the cusp of) craving a revivalist need similar to the time and perspective of Paul Tillich and Karl Barth.  They were trying to re-embed Christianity in the social justice movement (and all that would mean).  Many of the secular issues then are also found and discussed today in the “Millennial Blueprint for America,” which is very cleverly crafted but leaves out almost entirely a sense of the centrality of spiritual grounding.  (Phase 1 report from the Think 2040 data collected by the Roosevelt Institute).

Well . . .  deep thoughts.  May God guide us all into the future of faith and what it is that is required of us – as long as it is to love mercy, act justly, and to walk humbly, I’m in.

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Sabbatical Musings, Part the Third

I pray:

Guide our feet to your path, O Lord, even though it be so very difficult for us to follow.  Illumine our minds and hearts, that we may live and move and have our being in You.

What an incredibly challenging time we live in!

For the past few months, I’ve been involved in setting up and planning for a one-day workshop in “Creative Collaborations” for the smaller churches in my region.  A HUGE percentage of all of them are in pastoral transitions of some sort or other and trying to pin down who and what they are, the kind of ministry they represent now, and what they want to do for ministry in the future.  But times have changed and are changing so rapidly that models of ministry that existed during the last time these small churches were in pastoral transitions and understood how to go about finding a new pastor/ministry leader are almost nonexistent.

So, out of curiosity, I went looking to see what kinds of “jobs” are actually out there for pastors looking for new positions.

In almost every MIF I’ve reviewed, there seems to be a craving for “a pastor who will attract youth and younger families to our church” and something along the lines that if that doesn’t happen, the church faces continued shrinkage and eventual closure.  Time and again (although not exclusively), congregations confess and sorrow over the fact that they have no children, youth, or young families.  Each of these congregations, I am beginning to believe, are operating out of models of ministry they have always known and been a part of – models that were perfect for a time and place, a moment in history, that supported creation, maintenance, and stewardship of an institutional church.

I have come to believe we are no longer in that time and place; and history has moved on. This, of course, presents some additional challenges, both to the churches and their search committees, and to pastors and ministry leaders looking for work.

“Pastor-Saviors” such as those being asked for will only disappoint, I’m afraid. I am fairly certain the silver bullet that converts “new young pastor” into “advertising specialist and youth/children/younger families magnet” has not been developed, or if there are hints of it, it seems to operate outside the traditional models (and perhaps even the knowledge base and skill set) that seem to be espoused by these search committees.  In a lot of cases, I can imagine these search committees know this is outside their knowledge base and skill set, which then puts that pressure right back on that “Pastor-Savior” position they are seeking to fill; and wah-la!  Stuck behind a wall of institutionalized reality in a feedback loop destined to frustrate, even endanger the church and any potential ministry leader.

In my understanding, it is God who plants the seed, the Holy Spirit who waters it, and Followers of the Way of Jesus who harvest.  There is no institution in that, it is a process – and it is organic.  It is a seed that grows in a field, or a forest that reemerges from the ashes.  How can “saving the church” be done by a “new young(er) pastor” at all?  Not to mention, if I were looking, I’m fairly certain I would not be considered “young” anymore by current folks graduating from seminary even if I myself might be considered “young” by current search committees!  Here, then, is the rub: into this incredibly changing and challenging world, those looking to serve in God’s Kin-dom in some ministry setting are faced with a dual reality.  The church that was, and the church that is yet to come.

For folks like myself, I’d be considered a “mid-career,” “middle-aged,” maybe even “under-experienced” pastor, since I’ve only been an ordained Minister of Word and Sacrament for 8 years, and in that capacity have only served as a part-time temporary stated supply solo pastor for a small rural congregation and a part-time temporary stated supply bridge pastor in an urban setting.  From my perspective, the whole “institution” of “Called and Installed Pastor” is in and of itself an endangered species.

How does someone like me fit into the world, the church, and the changes that have taken place and feel like s/he knows enough to navigate the changes and still be true to the purpose and ministry of God’s Kin-dom?

Which leads me to wonder….

Is the only way to pass on the faith from older generations to younger generations to communicate their love, their dedication, their passion for the work of the institutional church they grew up with and have come to be a part of?  If so, then no matter how passionate or loving they speak of their institution, their church, their community of faith as they have known it through the decades, it will not kindle a flame of similar longing, passion, and dedication in most members of the younger generations who have no allegiance to religious institutions – nor many other institutions, either. If the society as we know it has changed, and the institutional church as we know it has not changed, where does that leave us? If there is something else that needs to replace the institution of the church to become an effective tool and/or model of spiritual formation that can pass the Christian Faith on to younger generations, what is it?

Younger generations are engaged and living in the society our world has become, not the society of the past where institutions of faith were the locus and focus of community life.  Life has become too complex, too multifaceted, and too fragmented all at the same time for that to be the case anymore.  Many of our church buildings may indeed have central prominence in our physical communities – maybe even house or host essential services to those communities.  But there are just as many in larger communities that have become brew pubs, community centers, and/or event venues for a plethora of community needs other than faith formation; or should I say formation in an institutionalized faith?

In this liminal space in which we live and move and have our being, a replacement for institutional church as we have known it is still unknown, and in the minds of most adherents even admitting that this may be needed is fearful to even consider.  However, there are some markers as to what moves and engages younger generations of today.  It is of paramount concern to existing communities of faith to discover and learn what these markers are and how they play out – or might play out – in their respective communities.  To those more forward-thinking communities of faith facing transitions, their communal life together would do well to begin to craft their future ministry with those markers in mind; and by extension, to find ministry leaders to partner with them in this new voyage of discovery.  But how in the world can we bear to face such change or transformation of our understanding of community and faith formation?

I would invite you to walk this next week of Palms and Passion with your feet treading the path and journey of Christ himself.  Perhaps we may begin to find some of those markers in his story – for in his story we find our story, and in our story, we find the world.

Amen?  May it be so.

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Sabbatical Musings, Part the Second

Author’s Note: I have been a part of a Lenten Group practicing the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius this year for Lent and as a part of my Sabbatical.  Today’s “Sabbatical Musings” arise from one of the Examen sessions on Reverence.

What is reverence?  For me, it is something akin to tender care and positive regard – seeing the Divine in another person, place, or even thing.  It can be “dearly loved” feelings coupled with appropriate action or external demonstration of one’s internal feelings of regard.

1). St. Ignatius asks, “How, when, and for what do others reverence me?”  I found this a very difficult question.  I can better come to terms with it if the question asked is more along the lines of “When am I held in reverence by others?” I discovered that what made the original question difficult was along the lines of a frame of reference (perhaps informed by my contemporary context instead of that of St. Ignatius’ time).  To me, the original question borders on “hero worship.”  I think this is a slippery slope to idolatrous thinking toward that which is not Divine.  When person to person, I am uncomfortable with “hero worship” mentality because reverence, to me, is more in light of recognizing the Divine in another – which is more appropriate than “worship” of a faulty, limited human begin.

Unconditional love is much more comforting to me to think about than being “reverenced.”  If my children love me and I am a perfect father to them, this I could understand.  Yet I know I’m not a perfect father – so that leaves me with profound gratitude that my children do still love me unreservedly.

As far as I can tell, my mother loves me in that way – and I her – even though on another level I know she is challenged with problems of her own.  I wonder how love and reverence connect here.

2). St. Ignatius asks us, “How, when, and for what do I reverence myself?”  Again, a difficult question for all the same reasons as above.  I take care of my body – listening to it’s changing needs as i age and addressing concerns that arise.  In that sense, I revere myself, by taking care of myself and holding my body in positive regard.

3). Finally, St. Ignatius asks, “How, when, and for what does the Lord reverence me?”  Again, for me and my understanding of “reverence,” the language is very uncomfortable here.  the Lord reverence ME?  How very inappropriate….perhaps.  On a very esoteric level, I suppose the Lord might reverence me in the similar way that the Psalmist writes, ‘ I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”  If I could somehow anthropomorphize God, I can imagine that God walks among all creation even as I walk through the woods or along the shore of the ocean: in appreciation.  As God walks among people, each is seen as wonderfully made.

Reflection: how do I feel about being reverenced?  It makes me want to live even more into an intentional and reciprocal reverent modality with all creation and all people around me.  I struggle, though, with being able to do that with those unlike me – those who are in most need of it!  The houseless, other “races” of humanity, other ethnic cultural peoples than my own tribe.  I have so far to go before I can love all – even if at one step removed I can revere and appreciate all; but that one step between is such a huge step.

It is the difference between tribe and other, familial and stranger, faith and faith, east and west, creature and Created.

Yet God took that step and stepped into humanity.  Jesus did walk among us, God incarnate. And we are made in God’s image even as he was.  Lord I believe, help my unbelief!  Lord I want to love, help my unloving!  Selah

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Sabbatical Musings, Part the First

“For such a time as this…”

Rain drops on the window speak to me of my worlds – in, out; reflection, tactile; each drop showing in its entirety the reflected worlds within and without.

On the window, those raindrops sit isolated but a part of a greater whole of stormy weather all around. I sit, dry, listening to the drum of drops upon the roof.

Upon further reflection, this is a message about where I belong. Outside the raindrop, I too am reflected in its surface, yet I also, in my work, have been “filling in the gaps” between. See, I am a daddy first in this chapter of life, and a homemaker second, if a poor one. So in my work outside of my Children’s lives in school, I fit myself into my work around the edges; like the raindrops, in between each bubble of liquid life is the “fill in space.” I close my eyes and pray – some in silence, hoping to hear God’s voice in the rain…

Where do I belong? In the middle, in the midst, in the cracks around each raindrop.

I open my eyes, start the car, and wipe away the rain; now a clean slate for more drops to fall.

~ Scott

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Worship for Sunday, February 27, 2022; Transfiguration Sunday

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THE GATHERING

* Stand if willing and able

Gathering Music Hymn #39 “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”

Welcome and Announcements    

Prelude: “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” ~ arr. Kenon D. Renfrow

* Call to Worship 

From the very beginning, God calls us.

God sets us apart with a meaning and a purpose.

Through the labyrinthine journey of our lives, Jesus walks with us.

And reassures us in many and various ways.

Even if our path seems unclear at times,

The Holy Spirit is with us and sustains us through it all.

Let us pray together:

* Morning Prayer

God of life, death, and resurrection, we are grateful for life and all its gifts.  Increase in us the stuff that life is made of – especially love – that we may both abide with you eternally and reflect your eternal love to others in the present, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

* Hymn of Praise #156 “Sing of God Made Manifest”

* Invitation to Healing

In the light of Christ, we see the shadows of our world and of our hearts. Trusting in God’s loving grace, let us confess our sins before God and one another.

* Prayer of Wholeness

God of life, your reign is marked by justice and peace; you are on the side of those who are oppressed.  Our lives are marked by comfort and avoidance; we choose what is fair instead of what is just.  You seek transformation and compassion in this world, yet we are content to wait for the promise of heaven.  Forgive our failings, Lord, and convict us by your Spirit.  Move us beyond our shallow faith to know the depth of your life among us; through Jesus Christ your love incarnate we pray…

* Kyrie #437 “You Are the Lord, Giver of Mercy”  

* Assurance of God’s Presence and Passing of the Peace

Friends, believe this Good News: God is One and God is Three – Love constantly flowing in, out, and through; the gift of Jesus Christ for me and for you. For this we say:

Thanks be to God!

Since God has loved us through Christ, let us love one another; the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all!

And also with you!

Please share a sign of peace with those worshiping with you.

* Sung Response Hymn #591 “Halle, Halle, …Chorus 2x –

Celebrating Joys and where we have seen God at work

Sung Response: #628 “Praise, I Will Praise You, Lord”

THE WORD

Prayer of Illumination:

By your Spirit, O God, enlighten our hearts, open our minds, fill our vision with your radiance, and give us life as we hear your Word today. Amen.

Hebrew Scriptures: Psalm 99 p. 738-739 OT

“The Word of the Lord” “Thanks be to God”

Children’s Moment

Epistle Reading: 2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2 p. 242 NT

“The Word of the Lord” “Thanks be to God”

Gospel Reading: Luke 9:28-36 (37-43) p. 95 NT

“The Gospel of the Lord” “Praise to you, O Christ”

Message “Something Else” ~ Pastor Scott Crane

Please spend several moments in silent reflection 

RESPONSE TO THE WORD

* Hymn of Response: #193 “Jesus, Take Us to the Mountain”

* Affirmation of Faith: Summary of the Law according to Luke 10:27

Our Lord Jesus said: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”

Intercessory Prayers of the People

Call and response: “Lord, have mercy on us” “Hear our prayers”

Minute for Mission

Invitation to Present Our Offerings

Offertory: “Song from Valders” ~ by Edvard Grieg

* Doxology Hymn #606 (with text below)

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;

Praise Christ, all creatures here below;

Praise Holy Spirit evermore;

Praise Triune God whom we adore.  Amen.

* Prayer of Dedication

Holy One, we give you thanks for your generosity to us. Bless all the gifts we offer, even our very selves; in the name of Jesus, who taught his disciples to pray, saying:

* The Lord’s Prayer (…debts…debtors…)

SENDING 

* Closing Hymn #366 “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling”

* Charge:

Since we have such hope, live and act with boldness! Love and serve the Lord in the freedom of the Spirit.

* Benediction:

May the glory of the Lord shine upon you, the Word of the Lord live within you, and the Spirit of the Lord give you peace.

* Congregational Song “Let There Be Peace on Earth”

Lyrics found on the inside front cover of the hymnal. Bathrooms and a diaper changing station are located in the Fellowship Hall. 

Questions for Reflection

Look at Luke 9:35: “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” Where have you heard words like these before in the Gospels? (Hint: see Luke 3:22.) Where have you heard words like these in your own life? When have you had a strong sense of being chosen, claimed, and called by God? How have you responded?

Household Prayer: Morning

Lord Jesus Christ, as morning dawns, be our light in this new day.
Let our lives reflect your glory,
our words show forth your goodness, and our actions shine with your grace; in your holy name we pray. Amen.

Household Prayer: Evening

Lord Jesus Christ, as evening comes, be our light and hope in darkness. Draw near to us in grace,
surround us with your presence and fill us with your peace; in your holy name we pray. Amen.

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Worship for Sunday, February 20, 2020: Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time/After the Epiphany

THE GATHERING         

* Stand if willing and able

Gathering Music: Hymn #32 “I Sing the Mighty Power of God”

Welcome and Announcements    

Prelude: “I Hear Thy Welcome Voice” ~ by John Purifoy

* Call to Worship 

Here we are, O Christ.  You bid us listen to the stories of God

Passed down by the faithful from age to age.

You bid us listen to your words

Teaching us how to live, love, and serve.

You bid us listen to the voice of God,

Proclaiming the broken world “beloved.”

O People of God: Listen and worship.

For God is here among us!

Let us pray together:

* Morning Prayer

God of abundant mercy, you can turn evil into good, sorrow into rejoicing, and death into everlasting life.  Teach us your way of grace: to meet hatred with kindness, to answer curses with blessing, to love without holding back, to give without thought of return; all in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

* Hymn of Praise #386 “Come, Worship God”

* Invitation to Healing

Jesus promised that God is kind even to the ungrateful and the wicked, even to us.  Trusting in God’s loving kindness, let us confess our sin.

* Prayer of Wholeness

Merciful God, we confess that we have not always followed your ways or trusted your promises.  We love only those who love us; we show kindness only to those who are kind to us; we give only when we expect to receive.  Forgive us, Lord.  Fill our hearts with your selfless love.  Change our lives by your matchless grace.  These things we pray through Christ our Savior. (Please continue in silent personal confession)

* Kyrie #437 “You Are the Lord, Giver of Mercy”  

* Assurance of God’s Presence and Passing of the Peace

Friends, believe this Good News: God is One and God is Three – Love constantly flowing in, out, and through; the gift of Jesus Christ for me and for you. For this we say:

Thanks be to God!

Since God has loved us through Christ, let us love one another; the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all!

And also with you!

Please share a sign of peace with those worshiping with you.

* Sung Response Hymn #591 “Halle, Halle, …Chorus 2x –

Celebrating Joys and where we have seen God at work

Sung Response: #628 “Praise, I Will Praise You, Lord”

THE WORD

Prayer of Illumination:

Gracious God, by your Word you provide all we need – for salvation, for wholeness, for abundant life.  Now draw us close in your Spirit so that we may discover your will and live according to your purposes; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Hebrew Scriptures: Psalm 37:1-11, 39-40 p. 687-689 OT

“The Word of the Lord” “Thanks be to God”

Children’s Moment

Epistle Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:35-38, 42-50 p. 237-238 NT

“The Word of the Lord” “Thanks be to God”

Gospel Reading: Luke 6:27-38 p. 88 NT

“The Gospel of the Lord” “Praise to you, O Christ”

Sermon:TL 2-20-2022 YC E7 Generous Sayings~ Pastor Scott Crane

Please spend several moments in silent reflection

RESPONSE TO THE WORD 

* Hymn of Response: #753 “Make Me a Channel of Your Peace”

* Affirmation of Faith: Summary of the Law according to Luke 10:27

Our Lord Jesus said: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”

Intercessory Prayers of the People

Call and response: “Lord, have mercy on us” “Hear our prayers”

Minute for Mission: Presbyterian Media Sunday

Invitation to Present Our Offerings

Offertory: “Andantino” ~ by Aram Khachaturian

* Doxology Hymn #606 (with text below)

Praise, God from whom all blessings flow;

Praise Christ, all creatures here below;

Praise Holy Spirit evermore;

Praise Triune God whom we adore.  Amen.

* Prayer of Dedication

Holy One, we give you thanks for your generosity to us. Bless all the gifts we offer, even our very selves; in the name of Jesus, who taught his disciples to pray, saying:

* The Lord’s Prayer (…debts…debtors…)

SENDING

* Closing Hymn #372 “O for a World”

* Charge:

Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give and it will be given to you. For God is kind to all and full of mercy. Filled with life-giving spirit of our Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer, we bear the image of the risen one and take delight in the abundance of what we have already received.

* Benediction:

* Congregational Song “Let There Be Peace on Earth”

Lyrics found on the inside front cover of the hymnal. Bathrooms and a diaper changing station are located in the Fellowship Hall.  Please join us across the way for refreshments and conversation following worship. 

Questions for Reflection

  1. How has God sent you to be a preserver of what is good and healthy?
  2. How is your family living up to the wisdom that Joseph showed in caring for the people of Egypt and, eventually, even his own kin?
  3. When have you extended and received mercy and forgiveness?
  4. Which part of the Sermon on the Plain challenges you the most? Why?
  5. For whom are you called to pray at this time and place? Practice praying for those people and places in which you find it difficult to extend mercy.
  6. Are there stories of rift and reconciliation in your church? Your community? Your family? What happened to cause the schism? Did healing occur? When healing does occur, how do you respond?
  7. Notice when you find yourself rushing to judgment. What are you thinking and why?

Household Prayer: Morning

In the morning when I rise, O God, you are with me strong and sure, turning my dreams into insights and teaching me the delights of your law.  You preserve my life day after day, and in return, I rejoice at the new dawn.  Guard my waiting this day, O Lord, guide my feet and my hands, give me stillness and patience so that I may offer delight to those I meet, reaping joy in return; in Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Household Prayer: Evening

Lord, throughout this day you have rescued us from harm and despair, giving us instead the joy of accomplishment and fellowship with our family and friends.  Protect us through the night Holy One, that in our dreams we will not be shaken but will see you face to face and wake renewed.  We take refuge in you; in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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Worship for Sunday February 13, 2022: Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany

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THE GATHERING         

* Stand if willing and able

Gathering Music: Hymn #666 “O Splendor of God’s Glory Bright”

Welcome and Announcements    

Prelude: “Lovely” by Bill Bay

* Call to Worship 

When we turn our hearts away from God and toward ourselves, putting trust in our own strength,

We become like a shrub in the desert, living in a parched, salty place.

When we trust in God, when our trust is God, we are like a tree planted by water.

Our roots go deep, we are ever-green; even in a drought we are not anxious, but bear fruit, full and beautiful, gifts of the God who made us.

Let us pray together:

* Morning Prayer

Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires, known, and from whom no secrets are hid:  Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, giving you praise through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

* Hymn of Praise #644 “Give Thanks, O Christian People”

* Invitation to Healing

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  But when we confess our sins, God who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  Trusting in God’s grace, let us confess our sin.

* Prayer of Wholeness

Merciful God, we confess to you and one another that we forget sometimes who we are, and whose we are, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone.  We have not loved you with our whole heart and mind and strength.  We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.  In your mercy, forgive what we have been, help us amend what we are, and direct what we shall be, that we may delight in your will and walk in your ways, to the glory of your holy name…  (continue in silent prayer of confession) …

* Kyrie #437 “You Are the Lord, Giver of Mercy”  

* Assurance of God’s Presence and Passing of the Peace

Friends, believe this Good News: God is One and God is Three – Love constantly flowing in, out, and through; the gift of Jesus Christ for me and for you. For this we say:

Thanks be to God!

Since God has loved us through Christ, let us love one another; the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all!

And also with you!

Please share a sign of peace with those worshiping with you.

* Sung Response Hymn #591 “Halle, Halle, …Chorus 2x –

Celebrating Joys and where we have seen God at work

Sung Response: Hymn #628 “Praise, I Will Praise You, Lord”

THE WORD

Prayer of Illumination:

Creator God, you created us with free will and freedom of choice.  By the power of the Holy Spirit, speak your Word through the words of scripture, that we may live according to your will; through Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray.  Amen.

Hebrew Scriptures: Psalm 1 p.

“The Word of the Lord” “Thanks be to God”

Epistle Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:12-20 p.

“The Word of the Lord” “Thanks be to God”

Children’s Moment

Gospel Reading: Luke 6:17-26 p.

“The Gospel of the Lord” “Praise to you O Christ”

Message:TL 2-13-2022 YC E6 Sayings~ Pastor Scott

Please spend several moments in silent reflection

RESPONSE TO THE WORD

* Hymn of Response #816 “If Thou But Trust In God …”

* Affirmation of Faith: Summary of the Law according to Luke 10:27

Our Lord Jesus said: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”

Intercessory Prayers of the People

Call and response: “Lord, have mercy on us” “Hear our prayers”

Minute for Mission

Invitation to the Offering: Even though we are not currently meeting in our buildings, the church still has monthly expenses to meet. With true generosity of heart, please make checks out in the amount of your normal tithe or offering to: First Presbyterian Church of Trout Lake, PO Box 210, Trout Lake, WA 98650. We thank you for your continued commitment and support of our ministry.

Offertory: “Badinage” by Cornelius Gurlitt

* Doxology Hymn #606 (with text below)

Praise, God from whom all blessings flow;

Praise Christ, all creatures here below;

Praise Holy Spirit evermore;

Praise Triune God whom we adore.  Amen.

* Prayer of Dedication

Holy One, we give you thanks for your generosity to us. Bless all gifts we offer, even our very selves; in the name of Jesus, who taught his disciples to pray, saying:  

* The Lord’s Prayer “…debts….debtors…” 

SENDING

* Closing Hymn #767 “Together We Serve”

* Charge:

Hear the word of our Lord, Jesus Christ: When people hate you, exclude you, revile you, defame you, do not dismay, for that is also how they treated the prophets before you!

* Benediction

* Congregational Song “Let There Be Peace on Earth”

Lyrics found on the inside front cover of the hymnal. Bathrooms and a diaper changing station are located in the Fellowship Hall.  Please join us across the way for refreshments and conversation following worship.

Questions for Reflection

One commentator on Luke 6:17–26 writes, “‘Blessed’ (Gk: makarios) does
not simply describe a state of happiness or bliss. Rather, it refers in a theological sense to one’s standing before God (Deut. 33:29; Ps. 1:1; 40:4).” As you reflect on the blessings and woes in Luke’s Gospel and on the use of the word “happy” in Psalm 1:1 and “blessed” in Jeremiah 17:7, how does this meaning of “blessed” or “happy” contrast with contemporary uses of this word, even by some preachers? What is one change you can make in your own life before God that would bring you into closer accord with Jesus’ understanding of blessedness?

Household Prayer: Morning

Gracious God, thank you for the gift of this new day. Guide my steps as I face choices to care for the earth or not,
to show compassion toward others or not, to care for myself or not,
to be true to Christ or not.  May each of my choices draw me closer to you. Amen.

Household Prayer: Evening

Tonight I come home to you in prayer, my God. Thank you for guiding me through this day, even when I was not conscious of it.
Now I give this day back to you, entrusting all that I did and all that I left undone to your compassionate care.
May I rest in peace. Amen.

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Worship with Communion for February 6, 2022; the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time/After the Epiphany

THE GATHERING

                                             * Those willing and able please stand

Gathering Music: Hymn #69 “I, the Lord of Sea and Sky”

Welcome and Announcements    

Prelude: “Here is Bread, Here is Wine” by Graham Kendrick

* Call to Worship

In the sanctuary, God, the Holy One, whose glory fills the whole earth, calls us.

Beside the sea, along ordinary paths, in our daily work, God calls us.

We respond with our whole heart, singing God’s praise and giving thanks.

In steadfast love, God fulfills the divine purposes for our lives.

Let us pray together:

* Morning Prayer

Holy One, earth and heaven reverberate with your glory, and humans and angels alike sing your praises.  Open our minds to your breathtaking work in the world, even as you call us to spread the good news of Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray.  Amen.

* Hymn of Praise: #41 “O Worship the King, All Glorious Above!”

* Invitation to Healing

In God, we find light for our darkness, and through that light we discover the things that separate us from God and one another. In this discovery we are invited to offer ourselves to God, that we might receive – and also give – healing wholeness.  Let us pray together, saying:

* Prayer of Wholeness

God of Light, you call us home from our exiles, yet we remain wandering and lost. You came to dwell among us, yet we refuse to welcome you. Forgive us, God of grace. Gather us up in your arms and hold us close, that we may live to praise you, for the sake of Christ our Lord, Amen.

* Kyrie #437 “You Are the Lord, Giver of Mercy” 

* Assurance of God’s Presence and Passing of the Peace

Friends, believe this Good News: God is One and God is Three – Love constantly flowing in, out, and through; the gift of Jesus Christ for me and for you. For this we say:  Thanks be to God!

Since God has loved us through Christ, let us love one another; the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!  And also with you!

Please share a sign of peace with those worshiping with you.

* Sung Response Hymn #591 “Halle, Halle” Chorus 2x

Celebrating Our Joys & Where We Have Seen God at Work

Sung Response Hymn #628 “Praise, I Will Praise you, Lord”

THE WORD

Prayer of Illumination:

O God, wash and anoint us with your word of truth.  In the name of Jesus we pray.  Amen.

Hebrew Scripture Reading: Psalm 138 p. 768 OT

 “The Word of the Lord” “Thanks be to God”

Children’s Moment

Gospel Reading: Luke 5:1-11 p. 85-86 NT

“The Gospel of the Lord” “Praise to you O Christ”

Meditation: TL 2-6-2022 YC E5 Call and Response~ Pastor Scott

RESPONSE TO THE WORD

* Hymn of Response: Hymn #170 “You Walk along Our Shoreline”

* Affirmation of Faith: ~ Summary of the Law as recorded in Luke 10:27

Our Lord Jesus said: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”

Intercessory Prayers of the People

Call and response: “Lord in your mercy,” “Hear our prayers.”

Celebrating the Lord’s Supper

An Offering of Poetry and Song

Even though we are not currently meeting in our buildings, the church still has monthly expenses to meet. With true generosity of heart, please make checks out in the amount of your normal tithe or offering to: First Presbyterian Church of Trout Lake, PO Box 210, Trout Lake, WA 98650. We thank you for your continued commitment and support of our ministry.

2-3-2022 Early Buds

Offertory: “Musette” by Felix Le Couppey

* Doxology Hymn #606

* Prayer of Dedication

Holy One, we give you thanks for your generosity to us. Bless these gifts we offer, in the name of Jesus, who taught his disciples to pray, saying:

* The Lord’s Prayer (…debts…debtors…)

Invitation to the Lord’s Table

This is the joyful feast of the people of God!

People will come from north and south and from east and west to sit at table in the kingdom of God.

According to Luke, when our risen Lord was at table with his disciples, he took bread, blessed and broke, and gave it to them.

Their eyes were opened, and they recognized him.

This is the Lord’s table.  Our Savior invites those who trust him to share the feast that he has prepared.

Great Thanksgiving

The Lord be with you.  And also with you. Lift up your hearts.  We lift them up to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. It is right to give our thanks and praise.

How can we thank you, O God?  For sun and moon and stars, for breath and life and all things good, for your steadfast promise and your faithful love, for the day that is surely coming when all things will be made new. With saints, with angels, and with the whole creation, we join the ancient and eternal hymn:

Hymn #562 “Holy, Holy, Holy”

Together, we continue: Blessed is Jesus Christ, our Savior: Through Christ all things came into being; he is the light that darkness cannot overcome, your Word made flesh, full of grace and truth. We remember how, when the hour had come, Jesus took his place at the table with the apostles and spoke these words:

“Take, eat.  This is my body given for you.  Do this in remembrance of me.”

We remember Jesus also said: “I am the vine, you are the branches…Believe in me and never thirst.” After supper he poured a cup and spoke these words:

“This cup is the new covenant sealed in my blood, shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.  Whenever you drink it, do this in remembrance of me.”

With thanks and praise we offer ourselves to you, sharing this holy meal, remembering Christ’s dying and rising, and praying: Come Lord Jesus!

Hymn #563: “Christ Has Died; Christ Is Risen”

According to Christ’s commandment, we remember his death, we proclaim his resurrection, we await his coming in glory.

Pour out your Holy Spirit upon us and upon these your gifts of bread and cup, that the bread we break and the cup we bless may be the communion of the body and blood of Christ.  Calling on the power of the Holy Spirit, we pray:

That we may be made one with the risen Christ and with all God’s creation; that we may be faithful as Christ’s body in ministry in the world, and that we may live in anticipation of the fullness of God’s realm.

Through Christ, with Christ, in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor are yours, almighty God, now and forever!  Amen?

Amen!

So be it. All has been prepared and the table awaits.  These are the gifts of God for the people of God.

Thanks be to God!

Communion of the People

Zoom participants are invited to share your own bread and cup together at home. When all have finished partaking of the sacraments, all may join:

Hymn of Reflection: #727 “The Servant Song” After all have partaken.

Prayer following Communion 

Let us pray together:

Holy and astounding God, at this table, in this meal, we have been met by Christ – the reflection of your glory, the imprint of your being.  As we go from this place may our lives be a joyful song, proclaiming the good news of your righteousness and peace for the whole world.  Amen.

SENDING

Closing Hymn: #761 “Called as Partners in Christ’s Service”

Charge:

Do not be afraid!  Go and fish for people, for the Lord is with you, and you have partners upon whom to call.

Benediction: “Deep peace be with you…”

         Friends, this worship has ended, let our service begin!

Congregational Song: “Let There Be Peace on Earth”

Questions for Reflection

The disciples had already fished all night without catching anything; what quality or characteristic in Peter might have helped him “give it another try” when Jesus invited him to cast his net again? What quality or characteristic within you helps you to keep trying, to start again, after disappointment or even failure?

Household Prayer: Morning

God, I give you thanks this morning as I watch the beauty of the newborn light, listen to the first stirrings of a new day in nature, and ponder the miracle of my own breathing and your presence in it all. Holy, Holy, Holy! Increase my strength of soul today. Amen.

Household Prayer: Evening

Thank you, God, for the gift of this day.
Like the fisher folk who became disciples,
I have put in a day of work.
As evening comes, it is time to rest.
If, as I review my day, I am tempted to say,
“I am not worthy of your presence, God,” reassure me with the calming words of Jesus, “Do not be afraid, come be with me.” Amen.

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