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4023 VT Route 15
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posted on June 16
Trinity Sunday June 16, 2019
Worship Leader: Pastor Michael Thorpe
*Please stand as you are able
Glory to the Father, who has woven garments of glory for the resurrection. Worship to the Son, who was clothed in them at his rising. Thanksgiving to the Spirit, who keeps them for all the saints.
ANNOUNCEMENTS, AND CELEBRATIONS
PRELUDE: Bringing in the Light of Christ
CALL TO WORSHIP (by The Rev. Nathan Decker From Joel 2:28, Micah 6:8, Amos 5:24, and Hosea 14:2):
L: Creator God… Call us all.
P: You declared, O Lord, that our sons and daughters would prophecy; the young will see visions, while the elders dream dreams.
L: Resurrected Christ… guide us all.
P: You have told us, Great God, what is required: to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with You. Leader: Holy, Holy, Holy Spirit…move us to action. People: So that justice rolls like water and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
L: Take away all guilt; accept that which is good.
All: We offer our worship -- the fruit of our lips to you, our God. Amen.
OPENING HYMN: "Holy, Holy, Holy” UMH#64
OPENING PRAYER (in unison):
Holy, Holy, Holy, Merciful, Eternal, and Mighty, by your grace you have shown us who you are, One in Three, and Three in One. We glorify you as Trinity, even as we worship you in your Unity. Open our hearts to receive your word to us today, that not only in our worship but in our lives we may serve and reflect your Triune Love all our days. Amen. (Adapted from John Wesley’s Sunday Service, 1784)
OFFERING: ”Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow” UMH#95
Offertory Prayer (in unison):
Mighty God, who is both one and three, we praise you as God above us, God beside us, and God within us. We bring our gifts to you in worship and gratitude as our Creator and Provider of all good things. We bring our gifts to you as Sustainer, Spirit within us, giving us power to make an impact on the lives of your children, wherever they may be. We bring our gifts to you as our Redeemer, who saved our lives from our shortcomings and failures, so we might be brought into the presence of your boundless love, convinced that we have, in turn, been called to help others find that grace-filled love. Bless these gifts we give and bless the transformational impact they might have. In your holy name, we pray. Amen. (Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31)
WORD AND RESPONSE: Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31
Hymn: "Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise" UMH#103
Scripture: Psalm 8 UMH#743
Hymn: "How Majestic is Your Name" TFWS#2023
Scripture: Romans 5:1-5
Hymn: "My Hope is Built" UMH#368
Scripture: John 16:12-15
L:The word of God for the People of God
P:THANKS BE TO GOD.
*HYMN OF PREPARATION: “Come, Thou, Almighty King” UMH#61
May the meditations of my heart and the words from my mouth be acceptable in your sight O Lord.
I have often spoken of my morning walk. Somehow, my day just doesn't seem right without it. So there I was, on my morning walk, in a different type of wilderness: the streets of downtown Manchester, New Hampshire.
In reality, I was looking for a place to eat breakfast. Preparing a meal in Mom's kitchen in Townsend just isn't practical during Annual conference: the fixings are somewhat sparse for what I am used to and cleanup would just take too long.
At 7:30 in the morning, the streets seem pretty barren but it isn't long before the faces appear: many are gaunt and huddled together to stay warm, all trying to blend into the
background, trying not to stand out and be noticed.
I find a delightful little shop, Baked, enjoy my simple and deliciously prepared warm breakfast, then cross the street again to return to the start of Conference.
Happy and with a full tummy, I greet all I meet on my way back: “Good morning.” “Good morning.” “Good morning.”. A smile on my face, dressed for the cool weather, I am in a good mood and am determined to share it.
A well dressed couple approach me on the sidewalk, conference name tags bouncing on their chests as they walk. “Good morning!” I eagerly smile at them. The man, who moments before had sort of been looking in my direction, directed his gaze straight ahead and kept walking without so much as acknowledging my presence. His female companion glanced for a moment in my direction then immediately averted her gaze as well, also unwilling to
acknowledge either my greeting or even my presence.
Puzzled I continued on my walk, receiving similar results to my greeting with several other folks from conference I met on my way. As I drew closer to the hotel, however, I came up to a young man huddled under a blanket on the curb near a parking meter, charging his phone in an outlet on the meter.
“Perhaps I can brighten his day a bit” I think to myself “Good morning”. For the first time in a half dozen blocks of greetings, the young man does more than just smile: his face and eyes brighten as he looks up at me: “good morning” he replies, warmly.
I pass by several other people in dirty clothes, belongings stuffed into a trash bag, a haggard aura about them, with the same result. “Good morning.” is their warm reply.
“I work with the homeless and others on a daily basis” I remind myself “I will make every effort to share my breakfast with the first person in need I meet tomorrow.” I promise myself.
The theme for annual conference this year was Micah 6:8: “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Or in the words of the hymn: justice, kindness, walk humbly with your God.
The words were there and were emphasized throughout the morning. There were many people from other churches who happily greeted me inside the conference hall, both clergy and laity. I bumped into Doni Copenhaver numerous times. I visited with Kathy and Kirk Thompson.
Throughout the day, we are reminded of our mandate: Justice, Kindness, Walk humbly with our God. As vote after
vote, none of which I am allowed to participate in, fails to produce results and contention and tempers flare from time to time, I wonder where the humility went. L, G, B, T, Q and all the other letters seem to be the only place to which justice and kindness are permitted. Disillusioned, I look forward to Friday morning.
I get up bright and early, looking forward to bible study with Dr. Elaine Heath. We immediately open our bibles to the Micah passage. She replaces the word kindness, or mercy, with the Hebrew “chesed”, a more complete term for the full and complete love and joy of the Lord for all of humanity that we have anglicized to simpler terms of kindness or mercy.
Session over, I rush out to get something to eat, remembering my promise to myself from the day before: “have courage” I remind myself “you already do this in Morrisville”.
I don't get very far before the Lord provides. By the end of the first block, two women approach me, one a little younger than me, the other seemingly in her twenties. “I'm not from around here, sir” the older one explains to me. “Can you tell us how to get to a diner for some breakfast?” she asks.
I am almost bowled over from the stench of alcohol and cigarettes. I am not sure if just one or both of the women are loaded. The older one is jaundiced, possibly from alcohol abuse but I don't judge or assume. The younger one steps a bit closer. The alcohol isn't just on her breath, it is emanating from every pore of her body. The edema causing her bloating tells me that her liver is no longer able to filter the alcohol from her blood. I know renal failure is not far behind.
“Walk with me!” I smile to them. They tag along, the younger one having an extremely difficult time staying with us. I slow down and wait for her. “When was your last drink?” I ask. She looks up at me, trying to look into my eyes, which are expressing only peace to her. “Just a little while ago” she says.
“Have you been to a meeting?” I ask.
She tells me she had given that up. She had earned a one year pin, a two year pin, a three year pin. The older woman pauses “did you notice the yellowing of my skin?” she asks me.
“Also alcohol?” I inquire.
“No” she replies “a home tattoo that didn't go so well.
We get to the restaurant. The older woman goes in to use the bathroom, I remain outside with the younger one, who is finishing a cigarette. While we are waiting, I call AA to find a meeting for her. She staggers inside with me and we find a table.
To make a long story short, we sat down and prayed together. I made sure they were fed. I made sure that I started the process of spiritual healing for the younger one. I left them information for the AA meeting, getting the older one to promise me she would make the effort to get the younger one to the meeting, writing the address and time on a napkin. “a city bus can take you there.” I tell her.
Later that day, after more failed votes I still couldn't participate in, we get to the resolutions that are now officially closing down churches. I have looked ahead and learned that the Methodist Church in Peabody, Mass is closing. The church my maternal grandparents were probably married in, they are buried together in the Peabody cemetery. Jill Colley-Robinson steps up to close the Monkton church, then there is one more, one I missed:
Grace United Methodist in Bangor, Maine. The church where I was most likely baptized.
The church had been surrounded by the heavily drug afflicted, the dozen or so members in regular attendance no longer felt safe going to the church.
I was about to stand up and mention the baptism thing but a tall African-American man stood up and hobbled up to another mike. Tears streaming down his cheeks, his confession for all to hear: “that church saved me” he said simply, “I was one of those addicts”.
I spoke with him at the next break. I spoke of my walk that morning. He told me how a similar walk by members of the Bangor had saved not only his soul but his life as well. “keep doing what you do, Mike.” he commanded me, grabbing me in a warm embrace. I look forward to meeting Theron again.
When I left for conference, it was my full intention to come home and write of the trinity, of how the delicate and continuous dance between Father, Son and the Holy Spirit constantly bring us to grace.
Instead, I was to experience the Trinity, up close and personal. For a few brief moments the trinity was at play with me and those two women who had asked for directions.
Today's scriptures seem somewhat indirect in their explanation of the Trinity. Full of metaphor, careful study seems to be required for a fuller understanding of those passages. Qouting from retired Elder Steve Harper in the upper room disciplines: “The readings in Psalms and Proverbs refer us to God. IN Romans, Paul opens the lens wider to include “our Lord Jesus Christ.” And the Gospel lesson describes the actions and relationships of all three persons of the Trinity.”
The overall message in the Trinity is that God delights in us. We have a responsibility as Christians to not only be in relationship with God but to share that relationship with others. When we stare straight ahead and ignore the greetings of others on the street we are denying God that relationship of Trinity with himself, ourself and those we meet.
In my moment with Theron, the man who had once been on the streets of Bangor, the Trinity was at work in us both and we both knew it. Neither of us knew nor cared which of us represented the Father or which the Son but we both understood the Holy Spirit and knew the Holy Spirit was actively moving with us and between us, forever uniting us in our mission.
Lord, your spirit moves with us and among us, helping us to be in relationship not only with you but with others as well. As you worked with the downtrodden of society, help us to remember that work and duplicate that work. Let the Holy Spirit move among us, through us and with us as we open ourselves each day to the work you have placed before us. In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.
CONCERNS AND CELEBRATIONS
The Lord's Prayer "Kyrie" TFWS#2225
HYMN: “It is Well with My Soul ” UMH#377
L: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you and remain with you always. Go in peace to love and serve our Triune God.
P: Thanks be to God!
CONGREGATIONAL RESPONSE: “Bind Us Together” TFWS#2226