Wolcott United Methodist Church

Welcome to the Wolcott, VT, United Methodist Church. Unfortunately, due to the uptick in covid-19 cases during the past few weeks, we have decided to suspend live worship once again. Worship will continue to be available via zoom every week, however, and the link can be found here on the front page of the website every Sunday morning. The service is also posted so that you can follow along and participate if you wish. Following the service, Pastor's Mike's sermon will be posted, as well. We welcome you to join us on Sunday mornings whether or not you are a regular part of our congregation.

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 Message for Sunday, January 17, 2021

posted on January 17

Wolcott and Binghamville
United Methodist Churches

      2nd Sunday after Epiphany      
                                                   January 17, 2021 - 10:00 a.m.
(Led from Pastor Mike's home due to the weather)  
GATHERING AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

PRELUDE:  Bringing in the Light of Christ
(A Call to Worship Inspired by Paul’s First Letter to
the Corinthians by Lindsey Baynham)
All: We enter with praise and awe,
L: Because the God of all has drawn us together.
All: In our worship, we draw nearer to God
in our connectedness to one another.
L: Because the many members of the one body have
shown that love is a more excellent way of life.
All: How wonderful it is to be in worship one more time.
 
OPENING HYMN: “Here I Am, Lord     UMH#593
 
OPENING PRAYER (based on 1 Samuel 3, John 1: 43-51 – in union):
 Beloved God, You know us inside and out and you still
call us to serve you. Lord, honestly we are often hesitant,
afraid, and wish to remain hidden. Empower us to listen
for and to hear your call Empower us to answer your call
with “Here I am Lord” Empower us to follow you when you
call us to follow you.
 
Lord of mercy and justice, so many have gone before us
working to bring Justice and peace to our country and
our world. Their footsteps seem too big to step into to
continue the work you have called us all to; so we
hesitantly step one step at a time, bringing your seeds of
hope, justice and peace in a world crying out for them.
 
 Lord of hope, we pray for our country, our leaders
and especially our new president as he is inaugurated
into leading our country in tumultuous times. We pray for
healing of our country, reconciliation, forgiveness and peace.  
 
Lord of peace, we pray for your compassion and
healing for those individuals in our congregation who need it.
We pray for your comfort and presence for those who are
grieving lonely and oppressed. We pray for warmth, shelter,
clothing and food for those who are without.
 
Lord we say to you this day, “Here we are your
servants willing to preach your word, offer care where care
is needed, presence where presence is needed, your love
where your love is needed.” Lord, strengthen us for our
ministry today and everyday. In the name of the Father,
Son and the Holy spirit. Amen. (Written by Rev Abi, and posted
on her Long and Winding Road blog. Reposted: 
https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2011/12/prayers-of-people-january-15-2012.html
 
OFFERING:    “Spirit Of The Living God”   UMH#393
 
Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.
Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.
Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me.
Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.
 
OFFERING PRAYER (in unison): God of wisdom, we are
amazed that you know everything and understand everyone.
Long ago, you established your plans to redeem the world
from our sin. Your prophets prepared the way for Jesus, who
lived as a teacher and healer, embodying your righteousness
and grace. Help us to grow in maturity as disciples who follow
Christ with trusting hearts. We dedicate these tithes and  
offerings for your work in our community of faith,
through Jesus’ name. Amen. (John 1:43-51)
  
SCRIPTURE READINGS:
 
1 Samuel 3:1-10 Samuel’s call
3 Now the boy Samuel was serving the LORD under Eli. The
LORD’s word was rare at that time, and visions weren’t widely
known. 2 One day Eli, whose eyes had grown so weak he was
unable to see, was lying down in his room. 3 God’s lamp hadn’t gone
out yet, and Samuel was lying down in the LORD’s temple, where God’s
chest was. 4 The LORD called to Samuel. “I’m here,” he said.
5 Samuel hurried to Eli and said, “I’m here. You called me?” “I didn’t
call you,” Eli replied. “Go lie down.” So he did. 6 Again the LORD
called Samuel, so Samuel got up, went to Eli, and said, “I’m here.
You called me?” “I didn’t call, my son,” Eli replied. “Go and lie down.”
(7 Now Samuel didn’t yet know the LORD, and the LORD’s word
hadn’t yet been revealed to him.) 8 A third time the LORD called
Samuel. He got up, went to Eli, and said, “I’m here. You called me?”
Then Eli realized that it was the LORD who was calling the boy. 9 So Eli
said to Samuel, “Go and lie down. If he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD.
Your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down where he’d
been. 10 Then the LORD came and stood there, calling just as before
“Samuel, Samuel!” Samuel said, “Speak. Your servant is listening.”
 
John 1:43-51
43 The next day Jesus wanted to go into Galilee, and he found Philip.
Jesus said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Philip was from Bethsaida, the
hometown of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to
him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law and the
Prophets: Jesus, Joseph’s son, from Nazareth.” 46 Nathanael responded,
“Can anything from Nazareth be good?” Philip said, “Come and see.”
47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said about him, “Here
is a genuine Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” 48 Nathanael asked
him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered, “Before Philip called
you, I saw you under the fig tree.” 49 Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are
God’s Son. You are the king of Israel.” 50 Jesus answered, “Do you believe
because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater
things than these! 51 I assure you that you will see heaven open and God’s
angels going up to heaven and down to earth on the Human One.”
 
HYMN OF PREPARATION:    “The Summons”    TFWS#2130 (vss.1,2,4)

THE MESSAGE:   “Follow Me”

Just a note as to how Samuel came to be in this particular temple at this particular
time. You see, Samuel's mom was a second, concurrent wife to his dad, who had
already conceived an earlier family and was attempting to start a second one with
Samuel's mom. She wasn't having much luck with that and went down to the
 temple to pray for fertility. As part of her prayer, she made a deal with God
that if she should be relieved of her barrenness, she would dedicate her firstborn
son to God as soon as he was weaned.
 
Eli, the chief priest, heard her prayers and thought this was pretty cool. “From
your mouth to God's ears” he tells her. Hannah (that's the palindrome Hannah,
from the inside working out: two n's to a's to h's) goes home to her hubby, tells
 him her plan and voila! Nine months later, out pops Samuel! Hannah is tickled,
 her barrenness is now officially at an end and she honors her deal with God.
As soon as Samuel is on solid food, she turns him over to the temple, sort of a
living sacrifice of her firstborn to the service of the Lord.
 
Eli brings Samuel up in the service of the Lord and it is in this service, about the
time that it happens: “Samuel”. Soft at first, so as not to wake Eli, Samuel hears
his name called and off he trots to ask Eli: “What?”
 
Eli, of course, groggy from a hard day's work of cooking off the primest cuts
of beef and fat for himself tells Samuel to go back to bed.
 
Samuel trots on back, checks on the Ark and promptly nods off to sleep. Sure
enough, the Lord calls him a second time, a little louder this time: “Samuel!”.
 
Dutifully, he heads over to Eli's quarters, wakes him up again.
“You rang?” he inquires a second time.
 
Eli is probably wondering what's going on. He hasn't called the boy.  
Somewhere in his groggy foggy mind, he remembers that the Lord used to
speak to him from time to time so he instructs the boy to say:
“Your servant is here,” the next time he is called.
 
“Don't wake me up again, boy.” I can imagine Eli telling him.  It’s a bit
like when the cats want to go out at three o'clock in the morning (then
back in, then back out, then back in again. Well, you get the picture).
 
Samuel returns to his station, goes back to sleep and is once more
roused with the words: “Samuel, Samuel”.
 
These days, I have to show up for work on the mountain in my instructor's
uniform.  It sort of pops out of the myriad of outfits in the parking lot. Jacket and pants
are the same baby blue with black and white slashes that seem to scream out:  “I work
here! This is the best place to get your questions answered in the parking lot!”  (They don’t
 give the parking lot attendants bright outfits that pop out with that same statement).
 
 Usually, I'm just trying to get my boots on in the slush, gather my gear and head over
to lineup without interruption, a bit like Eli's sleep, but that bright blue is just a very
loud invitation. From two cars over, a woman spots me and announces “We have
lessons at ten o'clock! Can you tell us where to go?” Seems every time I hear that question
I have to choke down the old, sarcastic side of me (I wonder if Eli did the same thing?),
pop on my brightest smile and cheerily invite: “Absolutely! Follow me!” then lead them
to the appropriate lift, across the heated walkway and up the hill to the lesson area.
 
Of course, they can't actually see my smile these days.
 
Follow me are the same words I use when I lead a group of students to the lift,
to a special, little used trail, to an uncrowded lift on the weekend. They are the
same words Jesus used when He called Phillip into the ministry. Phillip may
have used the same words when he called Nathaneal. Nathaneal was a little
cautious about jumping onboard, however.
 
“What good can come out of Nazareth?” he asked. Nazareth, at the time, was a
hick town if ever there was a hick town. It was a hole in the hillside with maybe
 two hundred people in it. Most of the people lived-in bell-shaped caves they had
 carved out of the chalk stone that prevailed in the area. The town was, quite l
iterally, the pits. Women and children hid there when wars waged around them,
 money was hidden in pits carved under the pits when the tax man came around.
Nazareth was the original tax shelter. Nathaneal knew the reputation of the town.
 
“Please allow me to introduce myself, I'm a man of wealth and taste. I've been around
for a million years, stole many a man's soul and faith.” These words by the Rolling
Stones deliver a message of warning. “Pleased to meet you, won't you guess my
name?”  they go on. “But what's puzzling you, is the nature of my game”.
 
Nathaneal, I would guess, may have been wary of the well-dressed stranger. He probably
knew that a tax collector would have been pretty well dressed. Perhaps tax collectors,
 emerging empty handed from Nazareth taxed the neighboring towns a little heavier to
 make up the difference. Perhaps he was wary of a well-dressed Rabbi,greedily culling
the best stuff from the offerings brought to temple in the same manner as Eli's sons.
 
His question didn't slow down Phillip's response. “Come and see!”
Phillip replies to Nathaneal's query.
 
“I know you are a man without deceit.” Jesus tells him.
 
We have to be careful who we follow. Following the man of wealth and taste has
led to dire consequences for those who have followed and believed his lies.  Riots
beatings, killings and threats of killings are not a path to the truth, the way and the
life. Nathaneal was aware and wary of this and recognized it when he saw it.
 
I have always tried to vote for the candidate who I thought best followed Jesus.
I don't think this practice has ever failed me. Sometimes it has been the Republican
candidate, other times the Democrat. Other times, it has been to ensure that the
person in office is no longer in that office.
 
I have always been wary of the politician or preacher in the flashy suit. Like
Nathaneal, I have always looked for the candidate who dressed more simply,
the one who ran on a platform of looking out for the poor, the one who looked
out for the  health of our citizens by ensuring the health of our planet.
 
I don't know what this coming week holds in store for us. Will the heavens be watching
as we strive to move forward toward a more united nation, or will they be rent
open by those who prefer to follow the forces of temptation?
 
Lord, we know that the person who makes the most outrageous promises is often
not to be trusted to do Your will, is often only looking out for personal profit. Help
us to know Your way, help us to follow you without deceit, as Nathaneal did.
In Your blessed and Holy Name, we pray, Amen.
 
CONCERNS AND CELEBRATIONS
The Lord’s Prayer
 
CLOSING HYMN: “Open My Eyes, That I May See”      UMH#454
 
Open my eyes, that I may see glimpse of truth thou hast for me;
Place in my hands the wonderful key that shall unclasp and set me free.
 
Refrain
Silently now I wait for thee, ready my God, thy will to see,
Open my
1)eyes 2)ears 3)heart
Illumine me, Spirit divine.
 
Open my ears, that I may hear voices of truth thou sendest clear;
And while the wavenotes fall on my ear, everything false will disappear.  Refrain
 
Open my mouth and let me bear gladly the warm truth everywhere;
Open my heart and let me prepare love with thy children thus to share.  Refrain
 
CLOSING PRAYER (Taylor Marie James)
Some days it’s going to feel like the world is on your back. You’re
going to open the mailbox, and all you’re going to see are bills. Your
responsibilities are just going to keep piling up, To the point where
you don’t have a single ounce of motivation in your body.
 
You feel like a broken record playing in somebody else’s home. Your
mind is constantly moving, trying to figure out how to deal with one thing
Before you have finished the other. How to add this into the pile. How
this bill is going to get paid. And how you're going to fit in an extra shift,
 Because you need the money, but you lack the time. With all of this
on your mind, You’re going to call on the Lord for any type of
reassurance That you’re doing something right, And ask for a sign, Or a
word, Or a slap in the face. And when you don’t get anything back,
you’re going to feel discouraged and disappointed, As if you don’t even
know who you’re talking to anymore.
 
But he’s still there, watching over you and making sure that your life is
nothing that you can’t handle. He’s  going to come to you When your heart
is open And your mind is free, because he wants to be your first priority.
He’s going to call you so casually, and out of the blue, You’re going to
be just like Samuel, Thinking that someone else is shouting your name.
 
The Lord knows that these moments are rare, so he’s going to keep
calling and calling, until he gathers your attention.
 
When this happens, you need to know how to receive his message.
 
The Lord already knows who you are, and the last thing he wants Is for
your mind to get too full of everything else, once again.
 
Like you read in the text, He waits until you are listening for him to speak.
 
So, just as Eli told Samuel: Tell the Lord to speak and then listen,
I challenge you to tell the Lord to speak, and you listen, instead of talking
about your problems and wants, and never hearing what he has to tell you.
If you want relief, and you want to experience the greatness of God given
through faith, I challenge you to listen.   (Taylor Marie James is an
undergraduate student at Emory University and a member of the Ben Hill United
Methodist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. Taylor has plans to attend medical school.)
 
SENDING FORTH:
L:  Go now. Listen for the voice of the Lord and follow wherever
it leads. Do not be dominated by anything. Allow no room within
yourselves for deceit but offer yourselves as a temple for the Holy Spirit.
And may God be with you and speak through you, May Christ Jesus
be one with you and raise you to life; And may the Holy Spirit dwell
within you and make you holy. We go in peace to love and serve the Lord . . .
In the name of Christ. Amen. (© 2002 Nathan Nettleton, http://www.laughingbird.net/
Reposted: https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2011/12/commission-benediction-epiphany-2.html)
 
Congregational Response:   “Bind Us Together”  TFWS#2226
 
We are led this morning by Michael Thorpe and Pat Thompson 
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    Sabrena Ducharme   Cheri Craig   Arthur Hooper  
Nathanial McElroy    James and DeeDee Clark    Angel and Royce Dunn  
Janet Lanphear   Kelly Maxfield  Charles Tinker  Eva Lancaster     
 Emily (a parishioner of a colleague of Rev. Pat’s in northern Maine) –
who is waiting for a compatible heart so she can have her transplant   
Gary Hazard         Paul (a friend of Sherry Anderson)     
Families of Esther Greaves, Robert Harris, Kristine Hendon and
Emerson Blaisdell – all of whom have passed recently  
  Fawn (Barbara Backus’ niece) who is receiving chemo for her cancer
And for her mother, Carol   
Kim (a friend of Linda Martin’s) who needs a kidney transplant
Howard (a retired clergy friend of Rev. Pat’s) who has been diagnosed
with aggressive pancreatic cancer and his wife, Dee    
Linda Martin's sister-in-law who has stage 4 cancer
Jane (Vernon’s sister), who is now waiting to have a hip replacement
Greg McElroy’s daughter’s father-in-law, Joe, who has been having heart issues
Josh Ducharme, recovering from a blood marrow transplant, and his wife,
Shannon, who is currently receiving chemotherapy for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
Sarah Backus Chambers (Barb Backus’ daughter) and her husband, Joe,
whose niece recently died from a drug overdose
Kelly Robtoy, who has recently had surgery and been unable to have
visits from her family    
Dan Thorpe (Pastor Mike’s son) who fell off his workshop roof and
damaged several ribs and transverse vertebrae processes but is
now able to get around a little    
Friends of Diane from Binghamville who have Covid
Family of Helen McElroy’s aunt who passed this week
Addison (a friend of Laurie Thorpe) who is having tests this week
Prayers for a peaceful transition of power in our country this week
as Joe Biden is inaugurated as the new President of the United States

Wolcott United Methodist Church

802.888.0395