(Led from the Wolcott UMC)
Bringing in the Light of Christ
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: (based on Ephesians 4:4-6)
L: We have come together as one.
P: One people, gathered in the name of the one God.
L: We will worship together as one.
P: One community, giving praise and honor to the Righteous One.
L: We are being empowered as one by One.
P: One body and one Spirit, called to the hope of one calling,
L: one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
P: one God and Father of all who is above all and through all and in all.
L: Now, in the name of the Three-in-One, we act as one.
P: One people, giving witness to the power of One.
(Based on Ephesians 4:4-6. Included in Worship Services for Election Day Communion Services, https://electiondaycommunion2016.files.wordpress.com/2016/10/edc-worship-resources1-003.pdf, page 3)
“We Are One in the Spirit” TFWS#2223
We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord,
we are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord,
and we pray that all unity may one day be restore:
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love;
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.
We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand,
we will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand,
and together we’ll spread the news that God is in our land: Refrain
We will work wit each other, we will work side by side,
we will work with each other, we will work side by side,
and we’ll guard human dignity and save human pride: Refrain
All praise to the Father, from whom all things come,
and all praise to Christ Jesus, God’s only Son,
and all praise to the Spirit, who makes us one: Refrain
OPENING PRAYER (
God our Mother and Father, we come to you as children. Be with us as we learn to see one another with new eyes, hear one another with new hearts, and treat one another in a new way. Amen. (Corrymeela Community, Ireland, 20th Century)
”Give Thanks” TFWS#2036
Give thanks with a grateful heart, give thanks to the Holy One,
Give thanks because he’s given Jesus Christ his Son. Repeat
And now let the weak say, “I am strong;” let the poor say, “I am rich
because of what the Lord has done for us.” Repeat
Give thanks. Give thanks.
Almighty Giver of All Good Gifts: Grow in us the wisdom to know that all we have to give is in our hands only because you have given to us first. Remind us that you have called us in Christ to be gentle, patient, and loving – and at one with your children everywhere. May the gifts we have been given and the gifts we share reflect the debt of our gratitude for your many blessings. We pray this in the holy name of Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Amen. (Ephesians 4:1-16)
: 2 Samuel 11:26-12:13a
When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband Uriah was dead, she mourned for her husband. 27
After the time of mourning was over, David sent for her and brought her back to his house. She became his wife and bore him a son. But what David had done was evil in the Lord’s eyes.
Nathan pronounces God’s judgment
So the Lord sent Nathan to David. When Nathan arrived, he said, “There were two men in the same city, one rich, one poor. 2
The rich man had a lot of sheep and cattle, 3
but the poor man had nothing—just one small ewe lamb that he had bought. He raised that lamb, and it grew up with him and his children. It would eat from his food and drink from his cup—even sleep in his arms! It was like a daughter to him. 4
“Now a traveler came to visit the rich man, but he wasn’t willing to take anything from his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had arrived. Instead, he took the poor man’s ewe lamb and prepared it for the visitor.” 5
David got very angry at the man, and he said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the one who did this is demonic! 6
He must restore the ewe lamb seven times over because he did this and because he had no compassion.” 7
“You are that man!” Nathan told David. “This is what the Lord God of Israel says: I anointed you king over Israel and delivered you from Saul’s power. 8
I gave your master’s house to you, and gave his wives into your embrace. I gave you the house of Israel and Judah. If that was too little, I would have given even more. 9
Why have you despised the Lord’s word by doing what is evil in his eyes? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and taken his wife as your own. You used the Ammonites to kill him. 10
Because of that, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite as your own, the sword will never leave your own house. 11
“This is what the Lord says: I am making trouble come against you from inside your own family. Before your very eyes I will take your wives away and give them to your friend, and he will have sex with your wives in broad daylight. 12
You did what you did secretly, but I will do what I am doing before all Israel in the light of day.” 13
“I’ve sinned against the Lord!” David said to Nathan, “The Lord has removed your sin,” Nathan replied to David. “You won’t die.
Ephesians 4:1-16: Unity of the body of Christ
Therefore, as a prisoner for the Lord, I encourage you to live as people worthy of the call you received from God. 2
Conduct yourselves with all humility, gentleness, and patience. Accept each other with love, 3
and make an effort to preserve the unity of the Spirit with the peace that ties you together. 4
You are one body and one spirit, just as God also called you in one hope. 5
There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6
and one God and Father of all, who is over all, through all, and in all. 7
God has given his grace to each one of us measured out by the gift that is given by Christ. 8
That’s why scripture says, When he climbed up to the heights, he captured prisoners, and he gave gifts to people
What does the phrase “he climbed up” mean if it doesn’t mean that he had first gone down into the lower regions, the earth? 10
The one who went down is the same one who climbed up above all the heavens so that he might fill everything. 11
He gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers. 12
His purpose was to equip God’s people for the work of serving and building up the body of Christ 13
until we all reach the unity of faith and knowledge of God’s Son. God’s goal is for us to become mature adults—to be fully grown, measured by the standard of the fullness of Christ. 14
As a result, we aren’t supposed to be infants any longer who can be tossed and blown around by every wind that comes from teaching with deceitful scheming and the tricks people play to deliberately mislead others. 15
Instead, by speaking the truth with love, let’s grow in every way into Christ, 16
who is the head. The whole body grows from him, as it is joined and held together by all the supporting ligaments. The body makes itself grow in that it builds itself up with love as each one does its part.
When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus. 25
When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”
Bread of life
Jesus replied, “I assure you that you are looking for me not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate all the food you wanted. 27
Don’t work for the food that doesn’t last but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Human One will give you. God the Father has confirmed him as his agent to give life.” 28
They asked, “What must we do in order to accomplish what God requires?” 29
Jesus replied, “This is what God requires, that you believe in him whom God sent.” 30
They asked, “What miraculous sign will you do, that we can see and believe you? What will you do? 31
Our ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, just as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat
Jesus told them, “I assure you, it wasn’t Moses who gave the bread from heaven to you, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33
The bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34
They said, “Sir, give us this bread all the time!” 35
Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
L: May God’s Word give light to our path and strength for our living.
P: THANKS BE TO GOD.
HYMN OF PREPARATION
: “Take Our Bread” UMH#640
Take our bread, we ask you; take our hearts, we love you,
Take our lives, O Father, we are yours, we are yours.
Yours as we stand at the table you set;
Yours as we eat the bread our hearts can’t forget.
We are the sign of your life with us yet,
we are yours, we are yours. Refrain
Your holy people standing washing in your blood,
Spirit filled yet hungry we await you food.
We are poor, bet we’ve brought ourselves the best we could;
We are yours, we are yours. Refrain
A Life Worthy”
Sometimes, the inspiration for a sermon comes from some of the least expected places, or perhaps not.
CONCERNS AND CELEBRATIONS:
Our little granddaughter, who broke her clavicle (just ask her, she will tell you which bone it was) after tumbling off a bench at a coffeeshop in Danville, had her birthday party delayed a couple of weeks.
Exhausted from chasing around a three year old who is healing well but needs to be prevented from taking another hard tumble on that side, Laurie and I headed on home, her sister following in a third car. We had decided that a stop at the Mennonite store was in order.
Now, once every week or two, I find it absolutely necessary to stop in there for some ginger snaps, which are some of the best cookies available east of Pagosa Springs. Over the course of those many visits, I have come to know the storekeeper and his young family a little bit. As we were waiting to cash out, another family had been gathering their selections and setting them on the counter. Laurie asked if she could add some apricots to our purchase (of course!) and we started chatting with the storekeeper. When it was our turn to cash out, my sister-in-law walked up with her selections. When she started reaching for her wallet, I announced that her purchase could be added to my bill.
“Feeling rich?” the young man queried.
“On a part time pastor's salary?” I jibed back.
“And it's Saturday!” he exclaimed. “Is your sermon ready?”
“No” I replied. “It's David this week. He was not a very good example.”
“No, he wasn't” the storekeeper affirmed. “Good luck!”
If you have been following David's story this season of Pentecost, you are now fully aware that David has moved well beyond that whole slaying of a giant with a slingshot and pebble thing. We have moved from that to his selection, as the runt of the litter, to succeed Saul as king of Israel. We have also learned that David had become a bit greedy with the collection of young women in his harem, even having men killed so he could claim their beautiful young wives for himself.
Like I said in the Mennonite store, David was not a good example of leading a worthy life.
We now have Nathan, the prophet who succeeded Samuel, bringing a parable to David, to serve as a warning. This passage reminds me of the Santana song: “You got to change your evil ways”. Nathan makes it plain to David that repentance is crucial to his very survival. He points out in his prophecy that David is in grave danger from within his own household.
It isn't enough that this parable awakens David to the many arrogant errors he has made over the course of his adult life, it very specifically warns David of what will befall him if he does not “Change his evil ways” to paraphrase the words from that Santana song. Indeed, Nathan informs him that his undoing will come from within his own family and that that member will, publicly, have sex with David's many wives.
I haven't looked far enough ahead in the lectionary to learn if we will witness that particular event but, spoiler alert, David's son, Absalom, follows in his father's footsteps and demonstrates his sexual prowess with all of David's concubines in just a few chapters, when David leaves Jerusalem to try to outsmart the now rogue and wayward Absalom.
Nathan, despite this bleak prediction, announces that David is eligible for absolution, which David wholeheartedly and solemnly requests. David knows the example he has set for his children and understands that a power grab by a young bull often ends in the brutal slaying of the old bull. Indeed, in David's repentance, we see the example that is gradually revealed to us in the New Testament, whereby we ourselves are offered the opportunity to change our own evil ways.
David tried to hide, to disguise his corrupt practices but his acts were revealed to many despite his attempts to cover them up. The deeper he fell into greed and depravity, the harder it became for him to keep them hidden. Indeed, his many witnesses to his misdeeds were probably the very ones whispering in the corners as the secrets made themselves obvious.
As we come to understand the love of Jesus, we come to the realization that we truly are one body of Christ, one body of believers. Jesus reminds the crowds that had just been fed by five barley loaves and two fishes that they had indeed received manna from heaven just as their ancestors had so many centuries before them. He lets us know that the true manna, the true food from heaven is God's love, the knowledge that God is with us as we are with each other.
David walked away from that, thinking that he, the great giant slayer, the one who killed tens of thousands of Israel's would be invaders, the one who the local populace sang songs about, was the one and only provider of power for Israel. When Nathan informed him from whence his true power came, David came to realize that in order for him to continue to live a life that is worthy, he would have to accept that offer of life everlasting from God.
We have that same opportunity. Many of us feel as though we have lived a life that is worthy yet, like David, consider that that success has merely come from within ourselves, leaving the one who helps us realize those successes out of the picture. That path often leads to personal greed. We consider ourselves unable to be corrupted by sex, drugs and rock and roll.
Yet, like David before us, the mighty fall like autumn leaves when faced with the option of taking that next drink of self power that can eventually lead us to self loathing. We easily succumb to the temptations that we feel we can resist or set limits for on our own, only to be overcome by those excesses.
We were reminded last week that our humanness cannot fully realize the height, nor depth nor width of God's love for us; that we cannot imagine the power and acts we can realize together in this path that we call Christianity. David was reminded of this by Nathan, we have the many letters and parables that Jesus told his present followers to help us to imagine the possibilities of leading a life that is worthy.
Let us be in prayer:
Lord, help us to help each other. Help us to love you and in loving you, love each other. Help us to know that you provide us the opportunity to come to you when we are in need, when we are in doubt, when we need that answer that only You can provide. In Your blessed and most Holy Name we pray, Amen.
L: Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. We, your people come before you today and lay prostrate at your feet. We realize that what is done in the dark will surely come to light when left unacknowledged and unrepented. It will fester, not only polluting our spirit, mind, and body, but the spirits, minds, and bodies of the community around us. We thank you for the members of your body that in love and with holy reverence, to you, reveal our faults and secret sins that lie within us. May you give us a spirit that is teachable, repentant, and open to receiving correction and edification from whatever source or disciple of Christ you choose to use. May we never be too proud, too important, or too educated for correction. Pride comes before the fall, and we choose to stand this day facing head on every fault, failure, and frustration in our life. We will not shrink from the dirt of our lives. We will not hide the pain. We will be a place of safety for other believers and, in doing so, will ourselves find safety. Thank you, Father, for your mercy and grace that withholds the punishment that our sin deserved. Bless us, your body, may we continue to uphold one another in prayer and wisdom, speaking only that which the Holy Spirit gives us utterance to speak. In the name of Jesus, we pray,
SERVICE OF HOLY COMMUNION UMH#15
The Great Thanksgiving
L: The Lord is with you.
P: And with you also.
L: Lift up your hearts.
P: We lift them up to the Lord.
L: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
P: It is right to give him thanks and praise. . .
L: And so, with your people on earth and all the company of heaven, we praise your name and join their unending hymn: P: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest. . . L: And so, in remembrance of these your mighty acts in Jesus Christ, we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving as a holy and living sacrifice, in union with Christ’s offering for us, as we proclaim the mystery of faith. P: Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again. . . L: And now, with the confidence of children of God, let us pray:
The Lord’s Prayer
The Sharing of Bread and Cup
“Shalom to You” UMH#666
Shalom to you now, shalom, my friends.
May God’s full mercies bless you, my friends.
In all your living and through you loving,
Christ be your shalom, Christ be your shalom.
L: Go out abounding in thanksgiving and living your lives in union with him.
Go forth in peace.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ
and the love of God
and the communion of the Holy Spirit
be with you all.
: “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 God,
there is only one 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, 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 Arthur Hooper Gary Hazard Kelly Maxfield
Irene Nicolson Nancy Eles Howard Reynolds Sabrene Ducharme
Josh and Shannon Ducharme Nathaniel McElroy
Kim (a friend of Linda Martin’s) who needs a kidney transplant
Linda Martin's sister-in-law whose cancer has spread to her lungs
Kerryann, Linda Martin's sister Janice's daughter, who is
in the hospital with pancreatitis
Linda (Pastor Mike’s Mom and Aunt Cathy’s sister)
who is struggling with stomach issues
Friend of Mike's Aunt Cathy, who is suffering from cancer
For the families of those who have lost their lives in mass
shootings during the past weeks and months
That those who are having doubts for whatever
reason about receiving the covid vaccine will come to accept its
value not only for themselves but for keeping others safe, as well00
Andy Crews, who is in rehab for alcohol addiction, and for his wife Lisa
Those in the Middle East who are struggling with each other and
cannot seem to accept that all of them are God’s children
Peggy Kuiee, a friend of Mike’s Aunt Cathy, who has had 4 stents put in but
still has one that is 80% blocked and is waiting for the results of a CT Scan
Twin boys due around the end of September whose mother
is being watched for pre-eclampsia
Michael’s mother, Lou, who is experiencing ongoing health issues
Families of the residents of the condominium in Florida that collapsed
Lucy, Pastor Mike and Laurie’s 3-year-old granddaughter, who broke her clavicle
but is making good progress
Sherida LaRose, who is at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital for a last try at a
treatment for her Lymphoma
Dreanna Dolan Bolio, newly married, whose husband Jacob has been deployed
by the Vermont National Guard and who is struggling with loneliness
Family of Wes Carr (friends of Mike’s mom) who passed this past week and
wife, Jane, has dementia
Amanda (friend of Amy’s sister) who has been diagnosed with cancer
Amy, friend of Bruce Webb, who broke her femur