Wolcott United Methodist Church

During the Covid-19 Pandemic, our churches are closed and we are worshipping "virtually" via zoom. Please see the invitation to the zoom gathering for 10:00 am on Sunday mornings in a separate post. During July we will continue to worship via zoom. However, we will also be holding live services on the 1st and 3rd Sundays at Rev. Pat & Vernon's home at 169 Paine Ave, Morrisville, VT. See the invitation to the zoom gathering for more details.

4023 VT Route 15 , Wolcott , VT 05680
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802.888.0395

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The United Methodist Church

Service and Pastor Mike's sermon for August 2, 2020

posted on August 02

Wolcott and Binghamville
United Methodist Churches

9th Sunday of Pentecost   
                                                                 August 2, 2020
     
PRELUDE:  Bringing in the Light of Christ

 GREETING:
L:  The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
P:  And also with you.
L:  The risen Christ is with us.
P:  Praise the Lord!
 
ANNOUNCEMENTS + CELEBRATIONS
 
CALL TO WORSHIP:
L: How do we know our God? Lord, what are you
calling us to do that draws crowds to you?
P: Our world needs God’s healing touch and restoration.
Wherever our journey goes, God is with us.
Yes, we are seeking God’s healing touch and hope.
We are being sent forth to live your will!
L:: Today, we are asking God to send us into this world
two by two to witness holy boldness. With these hands and feet,
God is healing hearts, transforming lives, renewing souls,
raising us from death, and granting this new day!
P: Yes, we are seeking God’s healing touch! You are known
as the one who draws crowds throughout the world!
L: What is our call today? We will worship an awesome
God who sends forth healing to a dark world.
All: Let us worship God this day as new life comes
forth in the name of Jesus Christ!
 
OPENING HYMN: “Let Us Be Bread”   TFWS#2260
 
Let us be bread, blessed by the Lord,
Broken and shared, life for the world.
Let us be wine, love freely poured.
Let us be one in the Lord.
 
OPENING PRAYER
(Inspired by Genesis 32: 22-31, Psalm 17: 1-7, 15
and hymns as noted*)
O God, Savior of those who seek refuge,
1 our hearts are restless.2 The night is long;
we are weary from wrestling, grappling with disease
and dis-ease, the coronavirus and the racism virus
twisting, turning, yearning for relief. We are worn out;
our spirits limp. Oh, that our hearts might find
rest in you.2 We call upon you, for you will answer us.
You listen and hear our words. You attend to us:
1 Our cry goes up, “How long?” May our night of
weeping soon become the morn of song. 3 Oh that we,
like Jacob Israel, would prevail in holding fast to you,
we would not let you go until we know your name,
your nature. Speak to our hearts, in blessing speak and
tell us if your name is Love. 5 Do not let us go, we rest
our weary souls in you. Help us trace the rainbow through
the rain and feel the promise that morn shall tearless be.
4 Wondrously show yourself then this night will be over;
we shall awake beholding your presence and be satisfied.
5 ‘Tis Love! ‘tis Love! Thou didst for me, I hear thy whisper
in my heart. The morning breaks, the shadows flee, pure,
Universal Love thou art. To me, to all, thy mercies move;
thy nature and thy name is Love.
(Evie Doyon, lay pastor at Northfield United Methodist Parish,
Northfield, VT, and Green Mountain District Administrative Assistant
*Psalm and hymns (adapted): 1 Psalm 17; 2 Our hearts are restless until
they find rest in you - attributed to St. Augustine; 3 The Church’s
One Foundation, SJ Stone; 4 O Love that Wilt Not Let Me Go,
George Matheson; 5 Come O Thou Traveler Unknown, Charles Wesley)
 
 OFFERING: ”Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow” UMH#95
 
OFFERING PRAYER: Gracious God, we bring our gifts to
your altar, asking you to dedicate them to do the work
of love and compassion in the world. We learned from
Jesus, who had compassion on the crowds who gathered
to hear him teach, that putting what we have in the hands
of Jesus can bring abundance. Multiply these gifts with
the love in which they are offered, that they might bring
hope to those in need and might glorify and celebrate
your love for all your children.
In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen. (Matthew 14:13-21)
 
SCRIPTURE READINGS:
 
Romans 9:1-5
I’m speaking the truth in Christ—I’m not lying, as my conscience
assures me with the Holy Spirit: 2 I have great sadness and
constant pain in my heart. 3 I wish I could be cursed, cut off from
Christ if it helped my brothers and sisters, who are my flesh-and-blood
relatives. 4 They are Israelites. The adoption as God’s children, the glory,
 the covenants, the giving of the Law, the worship, and the promises
 belong to them. 5 The Jewish ancestors are theirs, and the Christ descended
from those ancestors. He is the one who rules over all things, who is God,
and who is blessed forever. Amen.
 
Matthew 14:13-21 13
When Jesus heard about John, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted
place by himself. When the crowds learned this, they followed him on foot
 from the cities. 14 When Jesus arrived and saw a large crowd, he had
compassion for them and healed those who were sick. 15 That evening
his disciples came and said to him, “This is an isolated place and it’s
getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go into the villages and buy
food for themselves.” 16 But Jesus said to them, “There’s no need to send
them away. You give them something to eat.” 17 They replied, “We have
nothing here except five loaves of bread and two fish.” 18 He said,
 “Bring them here to me.” 19 He ordered the crowds to sit down on
the grass. He took the five loaves of bread and the two fish, looked up to
heaven, blessed them and broke the loaves apart and gave them to his
disciples. Then the disciples gave them to the crowds. 20 Everyone ate
until they were full, and they filled twelve baskets with the leftovers.
21 About five thousand men plus women and children had eaten.
 
L: May God’s Word give light to our path and strength for our living.
P: THANKS BE TO GOD.
 
*HYMN OF PREPARATION: “Tu Has Venido a la Orilla
 (Lord, You Have Come to the Lakeshore)” UMH#344
 
Lord, you have come to the lakeshore looking
neither for wealthy nor wise ones;
you only asked me to follow humbly.
 
Refrain
O Lord, with your eyes you have searched me,
and while smiling have spoken my name;
now my boat’s left on the shoreline behind me;
by your side I will seek other seas.
 
You know so well my possessions;
my boat carries no gold and no weapons;
you will find there my nets and labor.  Refrain
 
You need my hands, full of caring
through My labors to give others rest,
and constant love that keeps on loving. Refrain
 
You, who have fished other oceans,
ever longed for by souls who are waiting,
my loving friend, as thus you call me.  Refrain
 
MESSAGE:   “Crowds”

“I'm not sending anyone away, you feed 'em.”
 
 Imagine you're the manager of McDonald's or Burger King or Wendy's
or whatever. You've been watching crowds of people walking down
miracle mile all day long. A few have stopped in for a bite but most
just kept on going toward the waterfront.
 
A few people come back from the waterfront but you notice most
of them haven't returned. More and more people head to the waterfront.
You know they have to come back past your store and the closer it
gets to the supper rush you wonder if you are properly prepared.
 
You take quick inventory of your supplies, make a mental note of
how many people have come by and chat with your competition
to see if you all can handle the crowds together. You know the rush
is coming, you just don't know when for sure and want to be prepared.
You send some of your help down to the waterfront to get some idea.
 
They don't come back.
 
Eventually, a few people straggle by and you ask what's going on.
You hear stories of the blind being cured of their blindness, some of
the deaf can now hear and you could swear the guy that used to beg
outside your door because he couldn't walk a step danced on by,
a huge smile on his face.
 
With the supper rush pretty much over, you ask one of your
employees to watch the store, grab your evening robe and
head on down to the waterfront.
 
You can see there is a calmness. You didn't see anyone walk by
with food but you see families happily polishing off a meal......
all over the waterfront.
 
There's about a dozen guys walking around, each with a basket
in his arms, collecting leftovers.
 
“I didn't realize they had this much food down here.” you sort of
mumble to yourself, not intending for anyone to hear.
 
A child tugs on your sleeve. You look down to the child.
“They didn't.” she says.
 
“What?” you respond, puzzled that anyone had heard you.
 
“They didn't have that much food” she reiterates, pointing toward Jesus.
“He spent the day helping people, healing them and telling us stories
of the kingdom to come. When we started to get hungry, those guys
with the baskets told him He should send us back to miracle mile
for some supper but He said no. 'You feed 'em!' he hollered out.”
 
“I only saw five loaves and two fishes in one basket” she continued,
 “all of the other baskets were empty. Those guys took the loaves and
the fish to Jesus, He prayed over them, raised them toward the sky,
 gave them back to the guys and said again 'you feed 'em.' The guys
split up what was in the basket and started sharing everything with us.”
 
“My family and I were way back in the crowd. Dad said we should go
 back to miracle mile but mom wanted to stay and watch.
When those guys got back to us it was as though there had been
twenty thousand fish in those baskets. We were hungry and took a
couple of fish and a loaf and ate more than we would have at home!”
 
You watch as the 'guys', the disciples, continue through the crowd,
slowly filling each basket with the leftovers. You think back to your
own preparations to feed the crowds you had seen walk by. You
knew you didn't have enough burgers in your cooler to put on
the grill and wondered if your competition would each have
enough to meet the demand.
 
When I was preparing for today's sermon, I started searching through
my past sermons on this subject. I had remembered, three years ago,
walking into church at Wolcott, a dozen baskets of all sizes perched on
my arms. I remember spreading them out in front of the congregation so
they could visualize what twelve baskets of leftovers might look like.
 
“That was a pretty good message” I thought to myself. “I wonder if I
could proofread, edit and improve that one for today's sermon?” 
 
 Nah. Technology is great but what people really want is for stuff to
just work (I believe that last sentence is from 'The Hitchhiker's Guide
 to the Galaxy”). As it turns out, somewhere along the way my mind
probably pulled that one up for something then watched it disappear
in the ether. I probably used part of that bulletin for something else
and then saved it as something else. Oh well.
 
Wouldn't it have been a miracle for me, though, if somehow that
sermon just magically appeared? It would save me some time,
perhaps but would that truly have been appropriate for today?
For this time of being apart from each other? For maintaining
a six-foot minimum from seemingly healthy people?
 
Just imagine passing out those loaves and fishes to a crowd of some
fifteen or twenty thousand people gathered on the beach today.
That was truly the size of the crowd for the gospel doesn't tell us how
many women and children were in that crowd, only that there were
five thousand men.
 
Just imagine Jesus walking through that crowd and healing everyone
of their various ailments. Then remember that Jesus was in mourning.
He had just been told of his cousin, John the Baptist's, execution.
Could one have us walked through a crowd of that size and healed
everyone who needed healing?
 
In today's reading from the letter to the Romans, Paul too, seems to be
in mourning. He is lamenting the fact that many will hear the word
 of the Lord but few of his brethren will give up their traditions
and follow the simple commandments of Jesus, who is God with us.
 
Paul came from Hebrew tradition, as did Jesus, as did the many prophets.
Paul knows the miracle of the loaves and the fishes but he also knows
that miracles have to be explained away. He knows that for too many
centuries, God's word has become clay tablets that are simply tied to
one's wrists and forehead, that the practice of remembering God's law
has become one that is more a series of rituals and performances than
a way of life, a way of being, a way of loving each other and treating
each other with the same respect that God's grace endows
each and every one of us from birth.
 
Yes, he is lamenting what he knows will be the loss of friends
and family. For Paul, Christianity has become a way of living and a
way of loving. It is not so much tradition, despite the traditions
which were supposed to reinforce the word in our hearts and
minds, as it is an expectation of living to serve rather than to be served.
 
Lord, help us to remember that sometimes a miracle is just a miracle,
a blessing to be treated with the same love and respect that you treat us
 with. Help us as we attempt to recreate the miracle of the loaves and
the fishes as we share our meager portions with the poor and the
homeless. In Your blessed and Holy name we pray, Amen.
 
CONCERNS AND CELEBRATIONS 
 
 L:  For the thin skinned who wear every comment as a thorn,
and the tough-hided who are insensitive to the
needs around them, we ask for your truth and love.
P:  Loving Friend, hear our prayers.
 
L:  For the too-generous who can’t seem to say no, and
the mean-spirited who shut their hearts tightly
against compassion, we ask for your truth and love.
P:  Loving Friend, hear our prayers.
 
L:  For the anxious who imagine unseen dangers
around every corner, and the overconfident
who do not think before they leap,
we ask for your truth and love.
P:  Loving Friend, hear our prayers.
 
L:  For the young who sometimes think they know it all,
and for the foolish among the old who believe that ageing
automatically bestows wisdom, we ask for your truth and love.
P:  Loving Friend, hear our prayers.
 
L:  For the peacemakers who risk themselves for the cause of
reconciliation, and for the belligerent who put others at risk to
attain their selfish ends, we ask for your truth and love.
P:  Loving Friend, hear our prayers.
 
L:  For politicians who well understand their ignorance and
weakness, and those who are self-deluded enough to see
 themselves as the wise and infallible, we ask for your truth and love.
P:  Loving Friend, hear our prayers.
 
L:  For union leaders who are dedicated to serving their
members, and others who use their position just to build their
own little empire, we ask for your truth and love.
P:  Loving Friend, hear our prayers.
 
L:  For the churches who act as if they have all the answers,
and for the churches that are too reticent about the Gospel
committed to their stewardship, we ask for your truth and love.
P:  Loving Friend, hear our prayers.
 
L:  For the sick and injured who long for healing,
and for some who become so attached to the sympathy
they remain an invalid, we ask for your truth and love.
P:  Loving Friend, hear our prayers.
 
L:  For the dying who pray that the end will come quickly,
and for others who cling frantically to every moment of breath,
we ask for your truth and love.
P:  Loving Friend, hear our prayers.
 
L:  For the grieving who wonder if their tears will ever
stop flowing, and for some whose grief seems banked up
like a dam within their hearts, we ask for your truth and love.
P:  Loving Friend, hear our prayers.
(©BD Pewter, http://www.bruceprewer.com/DocA/47SUN18.htm)
 
THE LORD’S PRAYER   “Kyrie”   TFWS#2275
 
Kyrie, Kyrie eleison. (repeat)
Christe, Christe eleison.  (repeat)
Kyrie, Kyrie eleison,  (repeat)
eleison. 
 
CELEBRATION OF HOLY COMMUNION
 
(Pause to invite those who have not already prepared elements
 quickly to do so. Assure them that even an English muffin can
become a sacrament, even a cup of water or tea a remembrance
of God’s redeeming love. Communion does not need elements.
They can “taste and see that God is good,”
Psalm 34:8, even if they do not partake.)
 
Invitation
For Holy Communion this morning, we sanctify our time
and many tables for a sacrament never confined
to sanctuaries or precious surfaces — carved with
“Do this in Remembrance of Me,” but always following
wherever one of God precious children, like a sheep astray,
is lost or needs a guiding. Christ is our shepherd.
In the loneliest lockdown, we do not want for companionship.
In crowded families — distance-learning and never catching breath,
we find an inner source of still waters. In the soul-stretching days
of health care and emergency professionals,
decision-makers for others, and essential workers with daily risk,
we meet a restorer of souls. In the paths of tight-eousness —
assisted living, correctional facility, shelter, immigration detention,
nursing home, housing for those who are simply poor —
we find a leader, a staff to lean on, a rod that points a new way.
Christ leads us not around it, but through the valley of the shadow —
and turns to us, as Jesus did when he came through
the walls of a locked room in the afternoon of resurrection, said,
“Peace be with you,” and then asked if they had anything to give
him to eat. Give the gentle Shepherd who is the Risen Christ
your bread, your cup and your heart.
 
Prayer of Consecration
L: We have bread and cup and heart.  Our church community
is dispersed in distance, but we are one in Christ.
In your many kitchens, and living rooms, rest your hands lightly
upon these elements which we set aside today to be a sacrament.
Let us ask God’s blessing upon them and upon us and upon those
who are in our prayers this morning.
All: Gentle Host, you prepare a table before us in the
threatening presence of virus. You anoint our hearts,
bless our bread and our cups overflow. Surely as we shelter
in place we find both the goodness of community and
mercy to those most vulnerable. Now and all the days
of our lives we claim that this house — these many houses
where we dwell and also, our precious church buildings, are,
indeed, the house of God. Send your Spirit of life and love,
power and blessing upon your children who are staying at home
so that this Bread may be broken and gathered in love
and this Cup poured out to give hope to all. Risen Christ,
live in us, that we may live in you. Breathe in us,
that we may breathe in you. Amen.
 
Words of Remembering
 
L: We remember the sharing of bread in many places —
wilderness manna, tents and caves of shepherds,
Abigail’s saddle bags, the lunch of a small boy, the fish
of the disciples and the loaf of Emmaus. And we remember that
Paul the apostle wrote letters to congregations throughout
places we now call Greece, Turkey and Macedonia,
and they were the first “remote” worship resources,
including these Communion words sent to the church at Corinth:
For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you,
that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed,
took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks,
he broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way he took the cup also,
 after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup,
you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
 
Sharing of the Elements
L: Let us in our many places receive the gift of God, the Bread of Heaven.
All: We are one in Christ in the bread we share.
L: Let us in our many places receive the gift of God, the Cup of Blessing.
All: We are one in Christ in the cup we share.
 
Prayer of Thanksgiving
L: Let us pray in thanksgiving for this meal of grace,
rejoicing that, in the holy dispersion of virtual worship,
we claim the risen Christ’s love is not limited by buildings
made with human hands, nor contained in human ceremonies,
and celebrating the God’s shepherding that carries us
into the unknown, to listen and follow,
to lead and be led, to feed and be fed.
All: Savior, like a shepherd lead us, much we need your
tender care. In your pleasant pastures feed us for our
use your folds prepare. Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus,
hear your children when we pray. Blessed Jesus,
blessed Jesus, hear your children when we pray.
Iesu no ke Kahuhipa, Kahuhipa maika`i e
Eia makou ka `ohana, Ke ho`olohe a
hahai E aloha, e aloha, Alaka`i a hanai mai E aloha,
e aloha, Alaka`i a hanai mai. Amen.
One possible translation of the Hawai’ian:
Jesus for the Shepherd, Good Shepherd,
Here we are, the family, Listen and follow O Love,
lead your children to you. O Love, feed your children.
(William Bradbury, Laiana translator Lorenzo Lyons)
 
CLOSING HYMN“We Are God's People” TFWS#2220
 
We are God’s people, the chosen of the Lord,
born of the Spirit, established by the Word.
Our cornerstone is Christ alone,
and strong in Christ we stand;
O let us live transparently and
walk heart to heart and hand in hand.
 
We are God’s loved ones, the Bride of Christ, our Lord,
for we have know it, the love of God outpoured.
Now let us learn how to return the gift of love once given;
O let us share each joy and care
and live with a zeal that pleases heaven.

We are the body of which the Lord is Head,
called to obey Christ, now risen from the dead.
God wills us be a family diverse, yet truly one;
O let us give our gifts to God and
so shall God’s work on earth be done.
 
We are a temple, the Spirit’s dwelling place,
formed in great weakness, a cup to hold God’s grace.
We die alone, for on its own, ember loses fire;
yet join in one the flame burns on
to give warmth and light and to inspire.
 
SENDING FORTH:
L:  Go now into the world, strengthened by the gifts
with which Christ has fed you. Be generous to others,
for Christ has given extravagantly. Live by God’s word,
avoiding lies and violence. Walk in God’s paths and never stray.
 
And may God’s wonderful love be with you everywhere;
May Christ Jesus feed you with his body and word;
And may the Holy Spirit confirm the truth in you and fill
you with God’s presence always.
 
We go in peace to love and serve the Lord,
In the name of Christ. Amen.
(©2002 Nathan Nettleton, LaughingBird.net)
 
Congregational Response:   “Bind Us Together”  TFWS#2226
 
Bind us together, Lord, bind us together
with cords that cannot be broken.
Bind us together, Lord, bind us together, Lord,
bind us together, in love.
There is only one God, there is only on King;
There is only one body, that is why we sing.
Bind us together, Lord, bind us together
with cords that cannot be broken,
Bind us together, Lord,
bind us together, in love.
 
We are led this morning by Michael Thorpe
you may call/text Pastor Mike at 802-355-9574
     
"Prayer is not a substitute for action;
            it is an action for which there is no substitute."
 
Mayerling Anderson   Josh Ducharme   Sabrena Ducharme   Craig Lawson 
Cheri Craig  Nikki Ducharme  Arthur Hooper  Nathanial McElroy 
James and DeeDee Clark  Angel and Royce Dunn   Janet Lanphear   Lori Jones   
Vernon Thompson   Kelly Maxfield   Charmane Raye   Becky Thorpe   
Charles Tinker   Eva Lancaster   Linda Martin 
Emily (a parishioner of a colleague of Rev. Pat’s in northern Maine)   
Gary Hazard    Paul (a friend of Sherry Anderson)     
Louise Thorpe (Pastor Mike’s mother)
Keith and Tammy Ingalls from Eden, whose 37-year-old daughter,
Tara Stubbs just died from cancer. 
(She was a good friend of Nathaniel McElroy.) 
Mike and Christine Hendon

 
 

Wolcott United Methodist Church

802.888.0395