Processional: Thy Word
Call to Worship:
One : We gather today to worship the One who created us,
All: The One who calls us,
One: The One who equips us,
All: The One who loves us without end.
One: With joyful hearts, let us worship God.
Children of God: welcome!
All: Welcome to this place of love and grace,
One: Welcome to this place of hope and perseverance.
All: God invites all of us to be a part of His beloved community,
One: God invites all of us to share in His good news:
All: We are welcome, just as we are. We are loved, just as we
One: In gratitude for all of this, let us worship God.
Opening Hymn - Rock of Ages - # 240
Opening Prayer and The Lord’s Prayer.
All: Our Father, who art in heaven….
One: This is the day that the Lord has made.
ALL: Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Let us pray for all who suffer from political persecution,
from political neglect, from the ongoing effects of Covid.
Let us pray that our political leaders will put the needs of our country and its people before all party considerations.
Let us now pray in the words of our holy example, Jesus Christ, as He taught
His apostles: ALL: Our Father who art in heaven…
Lenten Candle Lighting & Liturgy Reflection during the weeks of Lent, and at all times, offers us rich moments to strengthen our commitment and our faith.
Week One: Resistance
One : There are many temptations we face in our lives together. We face the temptation of putting our wants above another’s needs. We face the temptation of ignoring problems such as hunger, poverty, war, and disease, with the false hope that they will go away without our intervention. We face the temptations of wealth and consumerism. We face many temptations to stray from the path of our faith.
All: We light this candle as a symbol our faith in Jesus Christ to help us resist the temptations of the world.
Prayer: Lord, help us to keep our feet moving, our hands outstretched, and our hearts open to you. As we journey towards the cross this Lenten season, keep us from temptation and help us to do Your work in our world. Amen
OFFERING: To follow Co-vid protocol we have placed a collection box in the entrance of the Church.... if you wish to give. Thank you
God of Deliverance, you led your chosen people long ago out of the wilderness and into the Promised Land. Your people rejoiced and worshipped you with the first fruits of their labors. Their contributions were a symbol of devotion to your mighty presence in their lives and in the lives of following generations. Guide our gifts so that they may be multiplied to help those still languishing in the wilderness of uncertainty. Help our giving to inspire others as they journey toward the promise of Eternal Life. Through your holy son, Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen. Deuteronomy 26:1-11
Hymn - He Leadeth Me - # 650
Genesis 1: 26. Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”
Exodus 3:3. Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3 So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”
Job 33:4. The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
John 14:20. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.
This is the word of the Lord.
All:Thanks be to God.
Joe's message. ( note from webmaster : Thank you so much Joe for sharing this with all of us!
Where is God When We Need Him the Most
The Old Testament tells us that upon Creation, God said .”Let us make man in our image after our likeness.” Those simple words present humanity with a huge problem. To begin with, do any of us know what is God’s image? And if we do not know what is His image, how do we determine where He may be when we need Him most?
The ancient followers of the one God, the Hebrews who called Him YHWH, came to the decision that there is but one God. Note that it was blasphemy to give God a face. It was anathema to name Him even. His name is not clearly pronounced as YAHWEH. Rather it is uttered as an expulsion of breath: Y H W H! This is the sound the wind makes in the desert when it has no obstacle to slow it down or bend its turn. YHWH…YHWH. Where did it come from? Where was its origin?
Well, let us go back to the source we know. “Let us make man in our image,” It is obvious we cannot see God. But…The first commandment reiterates that: “I am the Lord thy God. Thou shall not have false gods before me.” YHWH does not reside on a large pedestal in a figure of precious gold. He/she is unseen, unfelt, unheard, untouched, and unsmelled. In other words, He/she can’t be approached by the five senses God gave us to help us navigate this incredible universe. So, where is He? Is He/she hiding? Note that I say, he/she, not just he. I do this because if God is the source of all creation, and we are made in His image. it’s obvious that he/she can’t be single gender focussed, neither male nor female. He/she must include all genders. No,not even only male and female genders. Nelson Wieppert came close to this realization in the benediction he often used and I took the liberty of copying:
“May the love of God, our father, the comfort of God, our mother, and the joy of Jesus, our brother, be with each of us as we leave this place.”
Our native friends believed in God. “They called Him The Great Spirit.” Now that isn’t far removed from “The Holy Spirit.” is it? And Moses, as scripture reminds us, saw God in the form of a burning bush, from which the flame came from within. God was there for Moses when Moses needed him the most.
But what about the rest of us. Haven’t there been times when we needed God and, maybe, he wasn’t there? Where was He then? Don’t we have the right to know? Don’t we feel we have the right to know?
Now, we aren’t all cut from the same cloth. It would be a boring world if that were so. And we must all admit that this world is far from boring. In fact, often it is utterly the opposite from boring. It is exciting, it is dangerous, it is horrifying, it is deadly. Far, far from boring.
You know, there was a song from the 60’s whose title was : “I never promised you a rose garden.” In those few words the lyricist was inspired by God to give us an answer to the question, Where was God when you needed Him most?
But Rabbi Jonathan Sacks offers a more in-depth answer. Let me summarize his words:
Faith is such an intensely personal experience. The answer to where was God in the Holocaust is an answer that is personal to each person who was there. He says,
“The first time I went to Auschwitz I was simply overwhelmed. I stood on the train tracks that brought Jews from all over Europe, to be gassed, to be burned, and to be turned to ash. I went to the lager in Auschwitz, the camp, and saw all the suitcases, the glasses, the hair. The Nazis kept everything, everything they could lay their hands on, except for one thing…their lives…..
I just broke down, and I wept and cried out, “God, where were you?”
“And words came into my mind…not claiming to be revelation…just words. And this is what they said, “”I was in the words, you shall not murder…I was in the words you shall not oppress a stranger…I was in the words said to Cain, the first murder in the bible, Your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.”” “And suddenly I knew, when God speaks and humans refuse to listen, even God - as it were - is helpless. He knew Cain was about to kill Abel, but He didn’t stop him. He knew Pharaoh was about to kill Israelite children, but He didn’t stop him - Bottom line: God gives us freedom, and He never takes it back. But He tells us how to use that freedom, and when human beings refuse to listen, then even God is powerless.”
Rabbi Sacks then gives us another answer about many Jews in the Holocaust. Some felt that God was with them, personally giving them the strength to endure. He said there were people who lost their faith in Auschwitz. and there were people who kept their faith. And there were still others. There were those people who found new faith in Auschwitz.
Rabbi Sacks tells another story of Victor Frankl, an Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist, philosopher, author, and Holocaust survivor, who had everything taken away from him including his book. He was devastated. Then they stripped him and sent him to the showers. Of course, he felt this was the end. But it turned out that he was one of the lucky ones because this was actually just a shower. Then they gave him other clothes to put on, clothes from another Jew, and he felt something in a pocket that turned out to be two scrap of paper. One had the words torn from a prayer book, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord your God, the Lord is One.” The second said: “Love the Lord your God, with all your might, with all your soul, with all your heart.”
Frankl said, “Those words transfixed me, they suddenly saved me. And I thought, Now, you must live those words, you must live every single thing you’ve ever taught and practiced. You must do that every day in Auschwitz and give other people the will to live.” And that’s what Frankl did.
So, where is God when we need him most? He is always there. We can know Him in our prayers, in our meditations, but most of all in our actions as they affect others of God’s people.
How do we know his bidding? Inspired scripture for one, perhaps. But perhaps more relevantly, within our own hearts, within our own consciences, where God dwells in every one of us. This is where we find God’s image. This is where he dwells within us. He calls out to our invisible sixth sense, where He resides together with us, where His image merges with ours. Where our likenesses become one with Christ.
Now, in these terrible times for the people of Ukraine, many will be asking, “Where is God?” And we can only answer in words expressed to us by Rabbi Sacks, “He is here with us, He is there with the people of Ukraine. He is with the whole Universe that He alone created. And through our prayers, and through our meditations, and through all our good works, we can find Him, we can recognize Him, and He alone can offer us his one true Word.
Hymn - We’ve a Story to Tell to the Nations - # 765
Message: Where is God when we need Him most.
Closing Prayer: Psalm 23
Now, by the grace of Yahweh, the one God of Moses and all the world, and by the grace of Jesus Christ, the Son who is both one with the Father, and who has enabled us to be one also with Him and with all mankind, I charge you to go back into the world of the 5 senses and to bring with you the love that Jesus decreed, that we love all people as much as He has loved us, and that we forgive all people for their transgressions as He has forgiven us, by the love of God to all His creation. Amen
Closing Hymn - Amazing Grace - # 670
Good Morning… Welcome to our service today!
A huge thank you to Joe for leading us in worship today.
Thanks to our music team…
Thanks Debra for filling in for Nancy.
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