Wolcott United Methodist Church

Welcome to the Wolcott, VT, United Methodist Church. Beginning with our Ash Wednesday Service on Wednesday, March 2, at 6:00PM, all of our services will be held both -in-person at the church and via zoom. Please feel free to join us in-person or online for any of these services. Our regular Sunday morning service is at 10:00am.

4023 VT Route 15 , Wolcott , VT 05680
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(802) 851-2031

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The United Methodist Church

Service and Pastor Mike's Message for the 9th Sunday After Pentecost, August 7, 2022 at 10:00am

posted on August 07

Wolcott United Methodist Church
9th Sunday after Pentecost
August 7, 2022
GREETING
L:  The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
And also with you.
The risen Christ is with us.
Praise the Lord!
 
PRELUDE: Bringing in the Light of Christ
 
ANNOUNCEMENTS & CELEBRATIONS:
 
CALL TO WORSHIP:
L: God calls us here today.
P: We bring our full selves to God: our strengths and our weaknesses.
L: God calls YOU here today.
P: We offer all we are to God: our talents and our inadequacies.
L: God calls every part of us to bring divine love and light into the world!
P: We respond to that call, trusting that God is at work within us.
All:  AMEN.  
(Katie Minnis)
 
OPENING PRAYER (in unison):
God of the Past, Present, and Future, seldom do we know what you’ll ask of us each day. Many times, we are in the moment when we feel the nudging of your spirit to act. As we spend time in your house today, may our souls be aligned with you, so that we may readily respond when you call!
Amen.  (Katie Minnis)
 
RESPONSIVE PSALM:    Psalm 50:1-8,22-23    UMH#783
 
L:  1 The Mighty One, God the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.
P:  2 Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth.
L:  3 Our God comes, and does not keep silence, before whom is a devouring fire, round about  Whom is a mighty storm.
P:  4 God calls to the heavens above and to the earth, that the people may be judged.
L:  5 Gather to me my faithful ones, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice.”
P:  6 The heavens declare God’s righteousness, for God alone is judge!
L:  7 “Hear, O my people, and I will speak, O Israel, I will testify against you.  I am God, your God.”
P:  8 I do not reprove you for your sacrifices; your burnt offerings are continually before me.
L:  22 Mark this, then, you who forget God, lest I rend, and there be none to deliver!
P:  23 These things you have done and I have been silent; you thought that I was one like one like yourself. 
      But now I rebuke you, and lay the charge before you.
 
*OPENING HYMN:    “From the Rising of the Sun”    TFWS#2024
 
From the rising of the sun, to the going down of the same,
the name of the Lord shall be praised.
From the rising of the sun, to the going down of the same,
the name of the Lord shall be praised.
So praise ye the Lord.  Praise ye the Lord.
From the rising of the sun, to the going down of the same,
the name of the Lord shall be praised.
 
OFFERING:    “Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow”   UMH#95
 
Praise God from whom all blessings, praise him all creatures here below;
praise him above ye heavenly host, praise Father, Son, and Holy ghost.  Amen.
 
OFFERING PRAYER (in unison):
God of love and grace, we bring our offerings this day and ask that they might be dedicated to strengthening your church for the making of disciples for Jesus Christ. Your prophet Isaiah reminds us that offering money or possessions is not enough. Isaiah proclaims to the Israelites that unless their offerings are accompanied by a wiliness to “learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow,” the offerings are futile. Open our ears to hear what pleases you and open our eyes to see the opportunities all around us. We pray in Christ’s name. Amen. (Isaiah 1:1,10-20)
 
SCRIPTURE READINGS:  
 
      Isaiah 1:1,10-20
1 The vision of Isaiah son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.  10 Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom! Listen to the teaching of our God, you people of Gomorrah! 11 What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the LORD; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats. 12 When you come to appear before me, who asked this from your hand? Trample my courts no more; 13 bringing offerings is futile; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and sabbath and calling of convocation-- I cannot endure solemn assemblies with iniquity. 14 Your new moons and your appointed festivals my soul hates; they have become a burden to me, I am weary of bearing them. 15 When you stretch out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood.16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, 17 learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow. 18 Come now, let us argue it out, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be like snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. 19 If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land;  20 but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.
 
Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16
3 By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.  8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he stayed for a time in the land he had been promised, as in a foreign land, living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 By faith he received power of procreation, even though he was too old--and Sarah herself was barren--because he considered him faithful who had promised.  12 Therefore from one person, and this one as good as dead, descendants were born, "as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore." 13 All of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them. They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth, 14 for people who speak in this way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of the land that they had left behind, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; indeed, he has prepared a city for them.
 
HYMN:     “Faith of Our Fathers”    UMH#710
 
Faith of our fathers, living still, in spite of dungeon, fire, and sword;
O how our hearts beat high with joy when-e’er we hear that glorious word!
 
Refrain:
Faith of our fathers, holy faith!  We will be true to thee till death.
 
Faith of our fathers, we will strive to win all nations unto thee;
and through the truth that comes from God, we all shall then be truly free.  Refrain
 
Faith of our fathers, we will love both friend and foe in all our strife;
and preach thee, too, as love know how by kindly words and virtuous life.
 
Luke 12:32-40
32 "Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 35 "Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; 36 be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks. 37 Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them. 38 If he comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves. 39 "But know this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour."
 
L: May God’s Word give light to our path and strength for our living.
 P: THANKS BE TO GOD.
 
HYMN OF PREPARATION:    “How Firm a Foundation”    UMH#529
 
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord, 
is laid for your faith in his excellent word!
What more can he say than to you he hath said,
to you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?
“Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
for I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.
 
“When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
the rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
for I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
and sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.
 
“When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
my grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
the flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.
 
“The soul that on Jesus still leans for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
that soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no, never forsake.”
 
THE MESSAGE:    “Learn to Do Good”
It is here in Isaiah that we are first called to question the 'laws' of Moses, those many, many rules that tell us how to behave, how to judge, how to be better than our neighbors, how to be clean, how to be considered unclean, who we can have sex with, who we can't have sex with, how to make offerings to the Lord, how to prepare to make offerings to the Lord, how to build a temple, how to ornament a temple, how to build an altar, what to eat, what we can eat, what we cannot eat and on and on and on and on.
            God is telling Isaiah here that he has had it up to here (imagine holding your hand, palm down, somewhere near the top or above your head) with all the rules that His people have been practicing to prove to each other that they are faithful observers of “The Law”. Isaiah is being told that the people seem to have missed the entire point of the practice: to love and care for one another.
            After all, don't the ten commandments sort of start off with the word “Love”? Every time I think of it, I get to wondering why all these other 'rules' were even necessary. I can just imagine Moses listening to God telling him to just love; then Moses raising more questions: “Okay God, but what about the Sabbath, what about committing Adultery? Shouldn't that be a sin? Oh, and what about killing? What about stealing?” and on and on and on and on.
            Well, you get the picture. Keep questioning the first commandment and you can come up with an awful lot of rules. Isaiah is now getting it with both barrels. “Put all of that stuff out of your mind and concentrate on what is really, truly, important. If you're doing just fine, help out somebody who isn't; teach them, feed them, clothe them, help set them and yourselves on the righteous path which has nothing to do with blood offerings. Simply love them as you have them love you. Please. All of this extraordinary B.S. is making me tired.”
 
I have learned over the years that if family members won't help each other out, how can they possibly help out the needy stranger? Toss a few dollars into the collection box of the guy standing by the streetlight with a forlorn look on his face proclaiming homelessness?
            No, Isaiah is being told. Actually go walk among the homeless, the destitute, the leper, the actual downtrodden. Bring them to health and wholeness as the Samaritan did. Tell your people to do the same. Tell them to forget about the 'trappings' of righteousness.
            How many of our fellow Christians today surround themselves with similar trappings as the Hebrews of Isaiah's time? How many go to church every Sunday in fine, expensive clothing arriving in fine, expensive vehicles with all the bells and whistles, then pass judgment on those who have not achieved such things as being lazy?
 
            In the gospel message today, Jesus is reminding us as to what Isaiah was being told all those centuries earlier: pay attention to what is important! Last week's message warned us of the danger of storing up God's blessings in a barn somewhere. This week, he is telling us that the coming of the kingdom will arrive like a thief in the night, separating the righteous from the unrighteous on Jesus’ terms, not how we judge one another.
            Indeed, that very same person who was judged as being somehow unworthy or lazy by the well to do churchgoer who has reaped all the earthly rewards of their self-righteousness may well be the one picked to enter the kingdom over that person with all the bells and whistles and fancy offerings.
            Let us be in prayer:
            Lord, in your impatience with Isaiah's people, you gave us an inkling as to what is truly important in Your coming kingdom. We don't arrive there through violence, judgment or revolution. We arrive there by how we treat each other, how we love each other. We know that when that day comes, we will not have any warning; but You have told us that we can be prepared through the love that You taught us. Amen.
 
CONCERNS AND CELEBRATIONS (adapted from Isaiah 1:1,16-20)
L:  God of Redemption,
You call us to wash ourselves clean, so that our transgressions fall away.
May we cease doing evil, learn to do good, and seek justice.
You call us to rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, and plead for the widow.
May we not forget these responsibilities you’ve set before us.
We are grateful for the reminder from the prophet Isaiah that,
though our sins are like scarlet, you’ll make us like snow!
Even though they are red like crimson, you make them like wool!
May we be obedient and willing followers, pleasing unto you. 
All:  Amen.   (Katie Minnis)

SERVICE OF HOLY COMMUNION
 
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 God our 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. . .
 
The Sharing of Bread and Cup
 
The Lord’s Prayer
 
*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 to hand.
 
We are God’s loved ones, the Bride of Christ, our Lord,
for we have known 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 each ember loses fire;
yet joined in one the flame burns on to give warmth and light and to inspire.
 
THE SENDING FORTH:
L:  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.
All:  Amen.
 
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 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 Pastor Michael Thorpe. 
If you need the services of a pastor, please call/text Michael at 802-355-9574.
 
Prayer is not a substitute for action;
it is an action for which there is no substitute."
          Arthur Hooper Gary Hazard Irene Nicolson 
Sabrena and Josh Ducharme, who are each experiencing relationship issues 
Kim (a friend of Linda Martin’s) who needs a kidney transplant 
Linda (Pastor Mike’s Mom’s/Aunt Cathy’s sister) who is struggling with stomach issues
Friend of Mike's Aunt Cathy, who is suffering from cancer
Peggy Kuiee, a friend of Mike’s Aunt Cathy, who is struggling with heart issues
Mike’s mother, Lou, who is experiencing ongoing health issues
Amanda (friend of Aimee’s sister) who has been diagnosed with cancer
Nathaniel McElroy and his family as his tumors have shrunk and stopped growing
 Gary Grant, whose lymphoma has now spread throughout his body
Lee Davis, who has bladder cancer
Laurie's friend, Ruth, for strength to get through a difficult time 
Member of Lou’s church who had a stroke but is now making progress 
Dot Larrabee as she goes for a follow-up after her recent eye surgery
Kathy’s s-i-l, Bill, who had eye surgery recently
A good friend of Kathy’s who was just diagnosed with pancreatic cancer
For the husband of Kathy’s friend Pauline 
Continued prayers for peace in the Ukraine
For those in Russia who are disturbed by this aggression
Chris Kocik, a friend of Mike and Laurie’s, who continues to struggle with her cancer while continuing with chemo treatments
Marty, a friend of Laurie’s, who broke her shoulder after a fall while skiing
Friends of Aunt K, whose baby was recently injured by a horse.
Aunt K’s great-granddaughter, who has a bunch on her neck and for wisdom for the medical team to be able to determine the cause.
 Hess Family in the conviction of Cole Hess for possessing child pornography.
Howard, 15-year-old who has a condition that causes bone growths which
had to be removed and for success in recent surgery
All of those in Lamoille County who are struggling to find housing
The Binghamville congregation as they struggle with their future
Friend of Mike’s Aunt Kathy, Robert F., who is struggling with cancer
Laurie, who continues to have pain and discomfort as she recovers from her recent fall
Mark, a friend of Laurie's, who accidentally cut off four of his fingers
which have been re-attached
Neighbor of Sherry's who continues to struggle with husband's dementia
All of those who continue to suffer from covid, including
many in Lou's living complex and the local UMC
Those in Aunt Kathy's living complex who are being forced to find new housing
because their building is being torn down
Families of all of those who continue to lose their lives in mass shootings,
and thanksgiving that our Congress has passed new firearms laws
Prayers of thanksgiving for Barb's friend who gave birth with an emergency
C-section this week - mother and baby are doing find
Loretta, who continues to struggle with effects of Parkinson’s’ and other health issues
Pat’s sister, Nancy, and her husband Bill, as they try to continue to support their son
Jonathan, as he deals with a the end of his engagement and begins a new job
Barb Backus’ niece and her husband, Scott, who are caring for his parents
who are in their 90’s and may be facing placement in assisted living or a NH
Greg’s brother-in-law, whose shoulder is not recovering well from surgery
Suzanne, Esther Greaves’ granddaughter (Gail Deuso’s daughter), who
had surgery last week but is recovering well
Gail Deuso’s sister, Jane, who is suffering from multiple fractures in her spine
Twins born prematurely to Barb’s friend, Megan, who are struggling with health issues,
along with another baby born recently who continues to struggle with health issues
Judy, who continues to struggle with health issues
Pat, a friend of Lou’s who has been providing respite care, and is now tired herself
John, a childhood friend of Mike’s, whose mother passed recently
Greg’s daughter-in-law, Steph, who has just tested positive for covid and his sister, Coleen,
who is apprehensive about eye surgery which is scheduled for August 1
Donna, daughter-in-law of Marilyn, a good friend of Pat and Vernon’s, who had
surgery this past week for pancreatic cancer but is recovering well
Pat’s niece, Lisa, who continues to struggle with side effects from covid
and her daughter, India, who continues to struggle with covid
Steve, Tausha and Lisa’s father, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, then had
a severe stroke, and continues to struggle with the effects of both
Barb, who had a surgical procedure this week, that she will not have lasting discomfort
Elizabeth, who continues to struggle with pain due to cancer which has
spread throughout her body, that she may have courage for the long-run
Art, Pat and Vernon’s friend in northern Maine, struggling with continuing effects of covid
Greg, who was back in the hospital last weekend but is now home
 

Wolcott United Methodist Church

(802) 851-2031