Wolcott United Methodist Church

All are welcome to join us on Sunday mornings at 9:00 am and to "come as you are."

4023 VT Route 15 , Wolcott , VT 05680
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The United Methodist Church

Worship Outline and Pastor Mike's Sermon for Sunday, August 18, 2019

posted on August 18

10th Sunday of Pentecost  - August 18, 2019
Worship Leader:  Pastor Michael Thorpe 

*Please stand as you are able

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!
L:  The Spirit of God calls to us,
P:   With sighs too deep for words.
L:  The Spirit of God calls to us,
P:  Claiming us,
L:  Summoning us to become more than we now are.
P:  Calling us by name: God's Children. Amen. (Ruth Duck)
*OPENING HYMN:                           “My Lord, What a Morning”                             UMH#719
OPENING PRAYER  (in unison):                                                                     
Ever-present God, we confess that we have not been the people of righteousness and justice. Individually and as the church, we have failed to glorify you or make your name and character known to the nations. Forgive us for our disobedience. By your Holy Spirit, place within us new desires for obedience, righteousness, and justice. Help us prepare for this day as children of God. Guide us through our lives with Your wisdom. Amen.
OFFERTORY:                                  “Spirit of the Living God”                                 UMH#393
Offering Prayer (in unison)
Generous and giving God, you have poured your blessings down on us like a summer downpour or a waterfall, sustaining and renewing us. The gifts we dedicate to you are a small token in comparison to your goodness, but we pray that they offer you refreshment, in the knowledge that we long to grow in generosity. May our giving inspire justice and righteousness to grow and swell like a mighty river in our midst. We pray in the name of Christ, the Living Water. Amen. (Isaiah 5:1-7)
WORD AND RESPONSE:                               Isaiah 5:1-7
                                                   Psalm 80: 1-2, 8-19 (read responsively)              UMH#801
                                                                   Hebrews 11:29-12:2
Hymn:                                             “God of Grace and God of Glory”                 UMH#577
Scripture:                                                      Luke 12:49-56
L:  May God’s Word give light to our path and strength for our living.
P: Thanks be to God.
HYMN OF PREPARATION:                      “My Life Flows On”                         TFWS#2212

“Dad, can you spend an hour or two with your granddaughter tomorrow?' The text seemed somewhat urgent.

So we set up a time and I headed over. My daughter is a bit of a fitness nut. Dad couldn't be happier with that. Usually means we're going to spend some time together. Time with my grandchildren often means the same thing: this grandma and grandpa duo don't spend time with our grandkids sitting on our hands. There's usually exercise of some sort or other involved.

"I need to go for a run and there's no one here to watch her.” she explained to me.

I get it. I also ran before my ACL was ripped out of my Femur 12 years ago. I bicycled long distances before that, until cancer surgery put an end to my cycling days. Laurie and I still walk, though and any child fortunate enough to spend time with us will always spend a decent amount of time exercising along with us.

Besides, anytime I get to spend with my little skiing buddy always brings a huge smile to my face.

This time would be no different. We walked across the bridge on the Stowe bike path and mad our way to the petting zoo next to the corn maze: two calves(a Jersey and a brown swiss) and a pair of goats, were lying in the shade across from the fence where the children couldn't touch them and they were able to get out of the hot sun.

Bored with the calves and goats, we made our way downstream where we found a small flock of ducks. Big fans of “Make Way for Ducklings” we promptly named the youngest members of the group Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Pack and Quack in honor of said ducklings.

My daughter joined us and during some cooling down stretches told me of her training regimen for the upcoming half marathon in Waterbury. She had run it a couple of times before, improving her time at each one. “May you run and not grow weary” immediately came to mind.

Isaiah uses a parable comparing the people of Israel to the Lord's vineyard. The people grow and multiply, they learn the law and many even obey, literally, the law but have somehow missed the spirit of the law. This parable specifically speaks to the killing part being disobeyed. You know, that sixth commandment from way back in Exodus 20. Moreover, the commandments seem to have been used more for self righteousness rather than sharing that righteousness with others less fortunate.

Then, all over again, David reminds us in Psalm 80 of that very same vineyard, as though it were just lying in wait for Isaiah to use all over again to warn Israel to repent, to become the good grapes that produce the good wine. Yet even David realizes and recognizes his own sinful nature and in requesting mercy recognizes and foretells the coming of Christ, the one who will sit at God's side.

Both David and Isaiah recognize that growing the good crop takes time, planning and the grace of God.

“My sweet Lord, oh my Lord, I really want to see you, I really want to be with you, I really want to see you, Lord but it takes so long my Lord."

It is our true hope that our children come to know the faith that we know but it isn't always meant to be. In the song: “My Sweet Lord”, written by Billy Preston, the Billy Preston version is soul filled and contemplative, truly speaking to his desire to follow and be a part of Christ's love. The George Harrison version, more popular and released the same year, steps somewhat away from Christ and adds the “Hare Krishna” in the backup voices, clearly moving Christ to the back burner and having listeners believe all we have to do is meditate to attain purity.

Jesus brings us to the patience that clarifies the race, the patience that brings us to His call to service. We are warned that this path,

The Way, is not an easy one. It requires the patience of the Master's hand to bring us steadily along this path. Our church is currently in crisis. No, not our local congregation, but the greater, Methodist church. This isn't our first time dealing with division. As we come to know God's love, we are reminded that His leadership will lead to division. Christ talks specifically, to parents, children and in laws but we are experiencing a longer history of division.

This is a long journey we find ourselves on. We can find ourselves hung up on the judgmental writings of Leviticus, which seems to justify the reason for being for a good many Christians, who I am sure are good people. We in New England conference, along with many other conferences here in the US, have chosen to err on the side of love and not on the side of judgment.

We have come to understand that we are all made in God's image and as such are likewise eligible to accept Christ's love. God has put us all on this earth. For many thousands of years, women have been excluded from our leadership. It is not that they are any less qualified than men to lead but rather that men have decided that they should not.

We have to understand that the church is on a long distance run. Collectively we must come to realize that Christ's love and following is no more determined by gender than it is by skin color or language.

n many ways, the Methodist Church of my parents is not the same for me any more than it was for my grandparents or great-grandparents. Indeed, in the eighteen hundreds, our Methodist church actively sought to legislate Christianity to the indigenous peoples of this country, judging them to be incapable of self governance since they were not “Christian”. Massacres at Sand Creek and Wounded Knee drove this message home all too violently.

It makes one wonder if God is going to reach down someday and wipe away the vineyard. It is up to us to continue a path to righteousness that keeps the vineyard aging with Grace. It is a long, hard patient path that we travel on.

The first four thousand feet of our descent into the Grand Canyon gave new meaning to the word arduous. We started down with full backpacks: all of our food, clean clothing, all of our water as well as sleeping materials weighed heavily upon us, all of that weight added to our own body weight crushing our joints, each step seemingly more strenuous than the last.

It took us almost all day to walk that first six miles and four thousand feet of descent. It was so strenuous that the next two thousand feet and about eight miles seemed more strenuous though we were able to cover the distance in less time than the previous day.

It was on that second day that we met an attractive young woman and her partner, an equally attractive young man. They were not equipped with backpacks at all and we found them running, uphill. We rested all the remainder of that day, Laurie in bed before sunset. I went out to take pictures in the fading light when I encountered that same couple, still running, on the South Kaibab bridge.

They had another six miles to go, all of it uphill. By the time they reached their goal, they would have run a total of forty two miles, over 11,00 feet of it uphill, all in one day.

My daughter is using Morse Mountain as part of her training regimen for her half marathon. That little gain in elevation will prove to be invaluable to her to build endurance and lung capacity for her upcoming race in the same way that walking that same mountain helped Laurie and I prepare for the elevation changes in the Grand Canyon.

We need to know that it will take similar sacrifices to walk the walk that Jesus has laid out for us. It hasn't been easy for us for most of our lives yet we continue in the faith that it will become easier for us to walk the straight and narrow path that is Christianity as we age with grace in our quest to become more holy in our love and practice.

Lord, help us to follow you in the examples that you teach us. Help us to know that, with faith, we come closer to Your grace in our daily lives. Help us to remember that, though we have become comfortable in our own congregation that all are welcome to enter into your love as all are welcome to come through our doors. Be with Seok Cheol as he struggles to teach his new congregation in Connecticut that it is truly a welcoming Christ that holds us together and that a rush to judgment of others that will drive a wedge between us as we continue to run the race of Glory. In Your Holy Name we pray, Amen.                                            
The Lord’s Prayer                                                   “Kyrie”                               TFWS#2275               
HYMN:                                                               “Abide With Me”                          UMH#700
L:  Christ has triumphed over the rulers and authorities of the universe.
P:  Amen.
L:  Go out abounding in thanksgiving and living your lives in union with him.
P:  Thanks be to God.
L:  Go forth in peace. May the grace of the Lord, Jesus Christ, the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit go with you all.
P:  Amen.
Response:                                                       “Bind Us Together”                     TFWS#2226
We are led this morning by
  Pastor Michael Thorpe and Pat Thompson
     If you have a pastoral care need,
  you may call/text Pastor Mike at 802-355-9574   
Worship Leaders Today:
Worship Leaders:   Michael Thorpe and Pat Thompson
Musician:  Pat Thompson and Michael Thorpe
Usher:  Vernon Thompson
Reader:  Arlo Sterner
Reader Next Week:   Linda Martin
"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                   Family of Joe Clark  
Don’t forget to sign-up for cleaning the church and bringing communion bread.
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 have our next major planning meeting after worship on Sunday, September 1.  Please send any items that you wish to have on the agenda to Sherry Anderson at sherbear.anderson@gmail.com or call:  888-7136.
ELUDE                                                     Bringing in the Light

Wolcott United Methodist Church