All are welcome to join us on Sunday mornings at 9:00 am and to "come as you are."
4023 VT Route 15
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posted on November 17
23rd Sunday of Pentecost - November 17, 2019
Worship Leader: Pastor Michael Thorpe
*Please stand as you are able
ANNOUNCEMENTS AND CELEBRATIONS
PRELUDE Bringing in the Light
GREETING Psalm 118:14-29 UMH#839
OPENING PRAYER (in unison):
Lord God, creator of the universe, the stars in the sky and the coral in the sea belong to you. You are wonderful beyond our comprehension and yet we confess that we have tried to contain you in our books, in our theories, in our feelings, and our very best thoughts. Teach us the humility of Job that we might also pray, “I have indeed spoken about things I didn't understand, wonders beyond my comprehension”. Keep surprising us, creator of the universe, and teach us humility and wonder at your presence, in your creation and among your people. Amen.
*OPENING HYMN: “Wonderful Words of Life” UMH#600
OFFERTORY “Spirit of the Living God” UMH#393
Offering Prayer (in unison):
Holy God, giver of mercy and comfort, but also disruption: we are living in uneasy times, and our tendency is to hoard, hold back, and hide from the uncertainty of the world. Help us to see your light that shines through, even in unsettling times, to help us find our way to you. We offer our tithes and offering this morning, not to adorn a monument to you, but to be part of a living testimony: light will overcome darkness; hope will overcome despair; compassion will overcome injustice; and love wins over hate. In thankfulness, we give; and in thankfulness, we pray. Amen. (Luke 21:5-19)
WORD AND RESPONSE: Isaiah 65:17-25
Hymn: “I’ll Fly Away” TFWS#2282
Scripture: 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13
Hymn: “It is Well with My Soul” UMH#377
Scripture: Luke 21:5-19
L: The Word of God for the people of God.
P: Thanks be to God.
Hymn of Preparation: “My Lord, What a Morning” UMH#719
There are three guys I have worked with. Every morning they would arrive, somewhat unsteady on their feet, reeking of alcohol. I would sit with them on a regular basis, listen to their concerns, even pray with them from time to time.
One would even tell me he was “waiting for Jesus to tell him what His purpose for him” was. Like I said: we would pray together. Perhaps those few moments with another human being and the Lord would help him to discern his purpose.
There was one consistent problem, though: one of those men was ever present to pull the other two back into that constant state of insobriety.
You see, that process of waiting, that period of discernment, that time without actively working toward determining God's purpose left those two men with time and opportunity to delay the arrival of the grace necessary to provide the answers.
Paul is bringing us to that point. The church at Thessalonica has become very faithful, very trusting in the Lord. They have been told He will return and they don't doubt it! They have quit their jobs, they have stopped farming, they have stopped helping to provide for the poor. They have indeed become, basically listless.
Sure, they were in prayer 24/7/365 but stuff wasn't happening. So they waited, and waited, and waited. Paul called them on the carpet: “get off your butts and get to work!” is what he seems to be or actually, was, saying. Paul reminds them that we cannot know the time or place of Jesus' return.
That church, that congregation had become complacent in their faith that Jesus would arrive tomorrow! So they waited. I remember being horrified when the Jim Jones cult served Kool Aid to the children of his followers before drinking that very same potion to themselves, thinking that by killing themselves they would be immediately drawn up to heaven. After all, they had given up all of their earthly belongings, prayed constantly and still no Jesus. They had done everything right, hadn't they?
That was 1978. Since Jesus hadn't come, Jim Jones convinced his congregation he was Jesus. Hence the Kool Aid.
I find it sickly humorous that modern society has adopted the phrase “drink the Kool Aid” when describing a person who has fully bought in to company policy. I wonder if people think about this when blindly following a political party?
There have been many instances of this mass suicide occurring since the Jim Jones incident, all with various excuses for this happening, all with claims that their leader is the resurrected Messiah. There was even an article in National Geographic with pictures of men on every continent (except Antarctica) who claimed to be the resurrected Jesus. It came as no surprise to me that they all had many 'brides' surrounding them.
Luke reminds us that Jesus warned of this very thing. He told us that their would be many events preceding the end times, including these false prophets claiming to be the Messiah, before we all come to Jesus.
So Paul asks the Thessalonians to please, please, go back to work. “Feed yourselves” he states. Do the work that makes it possible to show mercy, act kindly and walk humbly with your God.
Isaiah directs us to the possibilities that await us. Instead of working as a maid in someone else's home, you need only serve your own home. Rather than build a home for someone else, the home you built will be for you and your family. There will be no more premature death, you will not lose your loved ones, you will not fall sick, you will not suffer.
The peaceable kingdom awaits. It is there for the asking but we cannot fail ourselves on this earth. Here, we struggle, we sweat, we suffer, we mourn. Yet Paul reminds us that all we have to do is continue to work, continue to provide for ourselves; continue to work to make it easier for us to help others.
Lord, you show us the way. You lead us to the promised land. Help us to remain faithful in you, to continue to work as long as we are able to make it possible to help those who struggle to help themselves. In Your blessed and Holy name we pray, Amen.
CELEBRATIONS AND CONCERNS
THE LORD’S PRAYER “Kyrie” TFWS#2275
* THE CLOSING HYMN: “The Trees of the Field” TFWS#2279
THE SENDING FORTH
L: The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you now and always. Amen.
Congregational Response: “Bind Us Together” TFWS#2226
We are led this morning by
Pastor Michael Thorpe
If you have a pastoral care need,
you may call/text Pastor Mike at 802-355-9574
Worship Leaders Today:
Worship Leaders: Michael Thorpe
Musicians: Pat Thompson and Michael Thorpe
Usher: Vernon Thompson
Reader: Linda Martin
Reader Next Week: Arlo Sterner
"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
Nikki Ducharme Louise Thorpe Arlo Sterner Alice Martin
Arthur Hooper Marilyn Blow Nathanial McElroy Judy Ward
Angel and Royce Dunn Mary Daniels & Family James and DeeDee Clark
Marlene Bodeen Janet Lanphear Carol Paine
Lori Jones’ cousin’s husband in Texas who is dealing with cancer
Please remember to bring your nickels and dimes for our fundraising jars for the United Methodist Economic Ministry in Salem, ME, as well as our Historic Restoration Project. We will collect coins until the end of the year.
Our next small group meeting at Arlo’s will be held on Tuesday, November 19 at 6:00PM. We are studying Chapter 3 of Adam Hamilton’s Journey to Bethlehem. Anyone is welcome to join us at any time.
We will have a brief meeting following worship to discuss the possibility of hiring an individual to keep the ramp and the steps into the church shoveled and to set a couple dates to provide a meal for the homeless shelter.
Please remember to bring your food for the Thanksgiving baskets next Sunday, November 24. There will be an Interfaith Thanksgiving Service at the Stowe Community Church on Monday, November 25 at 7pm.
Next Sunday, the 24th, is United Methodist Student Sunday, the last special offering of the year. The funds from this offering go to help students around the world with scholarships.