ANNOUNCEMENTS

Good morning, everyone!
Welcome to our 31st online service.
We hope and pray that it is a blessing to you!

We are now worshiping both at home and in person.  We will continue to post Sunday services indefinitely and want you to stay safe!  Mary and Joanna are working mostly from home.  Tanae is updating our Facebook page, while Rebecca is in charge of our Instagram page and Jack has adopted our Twitter account.  Every day we add a new post right here on the website that automatically pops up on Facebook and Twitter as well.  If you missed any of this week’s posts, just scroll down to see them!  This week, Tammy has posted a new Sunday School lesson on Sheep and Shepherds as well.

Our Thrift Shop is open Saturdays only this summer; please contact Tracy to help on Saturdays or anytime during the week.  Wednesday morning Bible study (led by Rich) meets at 10 a.m. and Wednesday evening Bible study (led by Steve) at 7 p.m.; if the weather is nice we will meet outside.  

CALL TO WORSHIP

No matter where you are on your journey of faith,
May you be comforted today; may you be challenged and blessed.
MAY THE LORD GRACE US WITH HIS COMPANY,
AND SURROUND US WITH HIS SPIRIT.

UNISON PRAYER

 GOD OF LIGHT, ILLUMINATE OUR PATHS.
GOD OF FLAME, REFINE US WITH YOUR MIGHT.
GOD OF MERCY, WALK WITH US IN THE FIRE
THAT WE MIGHT NOT BE BURNED.  AMEN.

WORDS OF ASSURANCE:  2 Timothy 1:7, Good News Bible

 The Spirit that God has given us does not make us timid;
instead, his Spirit fills us with power, love and self-control.

THE LORD’S PRAYER

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 trespasses,
As we forgive those
Who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil,
For thine is the kingdom,
And the power,
And the glory forever.
Amen.

OPENING SONG:  “Here I Am To Worshp”

CONGREGATIONAL PRAYER
(Note: Add your own prayers at the beginning or end)

Lord of the wind and rain, help us through this storm.  Calm the winds of doubt and fear, and smooth the waves of anxiety and economic distress.  Give us so many reasons to praise you that we no longer have to look.  Lift our spirits with your own.

Bless Tanae, her father Tadao and her entire extended family as they gather for mutual support.  Bolster them with your courage and grace.  Help them to see your presence in every day and night.  Be with Marty as he undergoes surgery on Tuesday; be the hands of his doctors and bless them with wisdom.  Heal his heart.

As Liz S. and Barbara G. continue their chemotherapy treatments, ease their side effects and keep their minds fixed on the hope of recovery.  Bless them with patience and strength.  Be with Janet as she recovers from surgery; we thank you that her pain level is already less than it was before the operation.

We pray for others in our church family who are going through times of need:  for Amy, Pat, Jim, Sue, Joan, Stephan, Lois, Dannie, Kathleen, Ken, Bunny & Marty, Dawn, Harriet, Diane, Laurie & Steve, Paul, and Ruth; for all members of our extended family who are suffering; for this nation and for the world.

We come to you now in silent prayer …

Lord, as you know what is written in our hearts,
Attend now to our spirits, we pray in your name, Amen.

SONG:  “Your Name”

SCRIPTURE LESSON:  Ephesians 3:14-21, New International Version

I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

SUNDAY SERMON (when clicked, the video turns right-side up)

When I was a teenager, I really wanted a big, brown leather jacket, but I couldn’t afford it.  I borrowed a friend’s leather jacket for a day, and I felt tough.  The desire to own such a jacket has since decreased, because who would I impress?  What would be the point?  I’d be walking around Stop & Shop in my leather jacket, and people would be saying, “Man, that dude looks tough.”  Or more likely they’d just shop.

Much of our current news cycle reflects a jockeying for power.  We’ve just had the Stanley Cup, the NBA Championships and the MLB playoffs in the same month.  Men are saying they don’t want to wear masks because it makes them seem “weak.”  Politicians are flexing their muscles.  Protesters and counter-protesters are vying for control of the streets.

While all of this is going on, the typical American feels powerless.  We’ve been told we’re going to “just have to live with COVID-19.”  A stimulus package seems a long way off.  Teachers and students are overwhelmed with new rules and methods of learning.  We’re having difficulty making ends meet, or imagining a better life, or escaping feelings of helpless and hopelessness.

But after Jesus is resurrected, he tells his disciples to “wait in Jerusalem until I send the power from above.”  This power is the Holy Spirit, which arrives at Pentecost.  The Holy Spirit joins with our spirits to give us inner power.  And even this power, as great as it is, can be strengthened the more we use it, just like physical power.

This past weekend, a group of us spent a day at Camp Quinipet.  We thought they were doing us a favor letting us use the campgrounds, but it worked both ways.  We were the first family group to attend since March, and the director said it was a blessing to have people around again.  We didn’t know we had that power.

Occasionally someone will tell me that something I said in a sermon has changed their life, and when I ask what I said, they tell me something that I know I didn’t say.  This is when the power of the Holy Spirit gets a little scary.  I always pray that God will use my words as He pleases, but when I say something and God makes someone hear something else, I’m humbled in the face of divine intervention.

The power that God gives us is multifaceted.  We’re all familiar with the passage, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  But a different translation is, “I can endure all things through Christ, who gives me strength.”  This is the power of perseverance.  We are able to get through much more than we think we can, when we rely on God’s help.

A second type of power is the ability to make a difference in someone’s day.  We can do this with words, actions, or a combination of both.  We can even do it through prayer.  We have the power to move another person’s mood up or down; when we think about it, this is an incredible responsibility.

A third type of power is the ability to change things in the world by working together.  Time and time again we see this happen in history, although we often neglect to notice it while it’s happening.  Every movement has started small; every sea change begins with a ripple.

I heard a great trio of questions on Christian radio this week.  They went something like this:  “Do you remember who won last year’s Stanley Cup?  Can you name the winner of the 2017 NBA Championship?  Do you remember the name of a teacher you loved as a child?”

What is real power?  One of the signs outside our church reads, “Not every superhero wears a cape; mine carried a cross.”

Sometimes it is more powerful to listen than to speak, to wait rather than to react.  I used to own a poster that read, “Nothing is as strong as gentleness; nothing is as gentle as real strength.”  In the current climate, optimism is a superpower.  Faith is a superpower.  Love is a superpower.

We are not powerless.

The same power that created the world, that parted the Red Sea, that led Jesus to the cross, that allowed him to forgive his enemies, that raised him from the dead and that entered the disciples on Pentecost lives in us today.  With this power, Jesus conquered sin and death.  This same power can conquer fear, anxiety and despair.

And so, repeating the words of Paul, I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

OFFERING

Please use this time to make out a check to the church.
Thank you to all who have been contributing during this time, and helping the church to pay its bills!
As you write, please enjoy the NYC Virtual Choir and Orchestra’s version of “How Can I Keep from Singing”

OFFERTORY PRAYER

Thank you, Lord, for giving us the power to endure all things.  Thank you for the power to make a difference.  Thank you for being our Lord.  We dedicate these offerings in your holy name.  Amen.

BENEDICTION

This week, no matter what we may face, may we remember the power that God has placed within us, and know that we are not alone.  The battle is not ours, but God’s ~ and God has already won.  Amen.

Blest Be the Tie That Binds

Thank you to Kaitlyn and Lee for helping with today’s online service!
And thank you for worshiping with us!  We wish you God’s healing and hope!