Sunday, May 31, 2020

Pentecost 2020!

Let’s start with three deep breaths and relax….

Opening Reflection
(Psalm 63 by 2nd chapter of acts)

Spirit of wind and flame,
   blow open the doors we erect
       to keep ourselves sealed off from your world.
We long to be free from the fear that jail us
      and to be released from chains that bind us.
We yearn to draw near to your source of living water,
       and to drink deeply from its well.
We want to be cleansed in your holy fire,
       and to be driven into the streets
         by your winds of grace.
Come to us, and heal us once more, Mighty Spirit,
     that we may embrace your gifts
          in service to a world in need. Amen.

let us begin today’s worship

Call to Worship

L: Listen, can you hear the wind?
     P: Come, Holy Spirit; come!
L: Look, can you see the dancing flames?
     P: Come, Holy Spirit; come!
L: Can you hear the message
in a language you can understand?
     P: Come, Holy Spirit; come!
L: Do you see the visions?
Can you dream the dreams?
     P: Come, Holy Spirit; come!
L: Come let Pentecost become real in our lives this morning.
Come and worship our God who sends the Spirit
to touch us and transform us into Pentecost people.

 On Pentecost they Gathered #272

 (All candles lit.)

Today’s Gospel reading is

Jesus Appears to the Disciples
19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

The word of God for the people of God!


Breathe your spirit into us. What does that even mean.??
today is a significant day -
   this is the day on which the first believers came alive in their faith,
       the day when the Rock upon which Christ planted his church began to
       support and uphold an incredible new life -
a life that has existed since the world began,
   but which was poured out in a special fashion
       and took on flesh in you and me
much as it took life in Jesus, the son of Mary, the son of God
so long ago.

Pentecost is an event that the world has long been promised and which the people of God have long awaited. With that let me say…

Dzien dobry (Polish), Buenos dias (Spanish), Nyado delek (Tibetan), Endermen aderkh (armarhic), Bari Luys (Armenian), Kali Mera (Greek), Shubh Prabhat (Hindi).  I have just announce good morning or good day in several languages those languages were ( as listed above)….  But what has that to with today?? Todays readings have several Miracles they speak about.  But before we can get into the Gospel I would like to set the scene.

We are in the Jerusalem of Jesus’ time it is 50 days after Good Friday.  Actually the name of the Holiday is a Jewish reference. Pentecost is actually a Jewish Holiday a festival of early harvest that occurred fifty days after Passover also known as the festival of Weeks, Shavuot, or the day to commemorate the giving of the Ten Commandments.

It is interesting to note that Christ said in Mathew “Don't misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the Law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose.”

Then Later in John Jesus foretells of the coming of the spirit…"When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Creator, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Creator, she will testify about me.”

Today is Pentecost and for us that's the birthday of the church,
when the Holy Spirit, the very presence of God came into the
church and gave the church life.

Peter has just addressed the believers about 120 in all and they elected Mathias to replace Judas. This day it is said they were all gathered in one place.  We must assume this means the 120 which acts does say includes certain women I would venture to say this means All men, women and children, slaves and free for the writer would only pay attention to and need to mention the men the fact that certain women were mentioned we can safely assume that those are the women we hear about through the story of Jesus ministry, who were influential not only Jesus’ life but the community as it grew.

It is reported that suddenly there was a roar as of a rushing wind.  It was so loud that the people who had gathered in Jerusalem heard the noise and gathered around the house.  Imagine, hearing the sound of a rushing wind and yet there is none…no wind…no movement, just the sound, wouldn’t you want to see what was happening.

So gathered outside are Jewish people from Jerusalem and those who traveled back for the holiday. There are Greeks and Romans, there were people from what we know as Libya and Egypt, there were probably traders from the Far East as well as Macedonia, People from the entire known world.  Some had come for Passover and just stayed till Pentecost others were there just for that festival, some were there just to make a living and a few soldiers were probably ordered to be there.  There were many people and many languages.

So as the crowd is gathering outside those in the house are hearing the same thing it sounds like a mighty wind is coming and it is all around them.  They are wondering if they are under attack of some kind or if the world as they know it is ending.  Suddenly what appears as fire in the room divides and alights on each one’s head.  They are filled with the spirit and they began to speak in other languages, and they go out to greet the crowd.

Pentecost is the reversal of what occurred at the Tower of Babel when, because of Human arrogance, because we chose to prove we were just as Good if not better than God we became unable to understand one another and then a mighty wind came up and blew us to the four corners of the world.

Do you hear the similar elements here, there was a sound of rushing wind but it did not disperse the people but caused them to be gathered? At Pentecost each heard the disciples proclaim the news in their own tongue.  I have always found this one of the most significant passages.  It is not just that the Holy Spirit allowed the disciples to speak languages of all the known nations at the time but that the spirit made it also possible for all to hear and understand the message of God in their own tongue.  The message that there is new life and a new way to be in the world. A way free from guilt and persecution for as it was proclaimed at the days of creation it is being proclaimed again; God saw all things under the heavens and proclaimed them all GOOD!

Those 120 disciples were just a handful of rather ordinary men and women, a few fishermen, a couple of housewives, a former tax collector, a few farmers, some children and some servant girls. Yet through these ordinary people God built a Church which has lasted now for over 2,0000 years. In less than 300 years, that small, insignificant Jewish sect became the official religion of the entire Roman Empire and today the Church of Jesus Christ circles the globe and numbers some one billion members.

How did they do it? What happened to those 120 followers in the year 30 A.D. on the day we call Pentecost? Those 120 followers that came in contact with the unknown God. Yes, that is right, those 120 followers experienced  the unknown God.  They experienced what was beyond words of human expression, what was beyond human experience. They were baptized by God’s Spirit, or the Holy Spirit.

For many Christians the events of Pentecost, the events of God’s spirit coming is one of the 4 major festivals of the church year. Today we celebrate the coming of God’s spirit, the Holy Spirit into the lives of men and woman, today we celebrate the birthday of the church.

But, if you didn’t come to church online today, if you maybe hadn’t read your daily devotional booklet, or perhaps if you hadn’t looked at the church calendar, you would have not known this was a major festival of the church year. Today is just as important as Christmas, just as important as Easter, just as important as the festival of the Ascension, but for some unknown reason, this festival, this holiday in the church year goes by, for many, almost unnoticed. Why is that?

Maybe because we have a difficult time getting a handle on the Spirit of God or maybe, we don’t understand what exactly happened on this day. And maybe, talk about the Spirit is not so sweet as talk about a baby born in a manager, angels singing in the heavens, gifts being passed about and shepherds tending their sheep on quiet hillsides. It is definitely not as cute as a bunny delivering candy, and not as pretty as colored eggs.

Maybe Pentecost doesn’t get so much attention because we have not found a way to commercialize it, we don’t turn Pentecost into a cultural extravaganza, or into a national holiday, so it goes by, in most places, unnoticed.

But, this festival, this holiday, holy day, is very important for the life of the church, for your life and my life. The Spirit of God is not something we should fear, nor something we should ignore, but the Holy Spirit is God’s presence in this world. It is the same presence that was moving over the face of the earth when God created this world in which we live. It is that same presence that took the form of a baby born in a manager in Bethlehem, it is the same spirit of God that walked the earth for 33 years, teaching, healing, proclaiming the love of God for all people embodied in Jesus Christ. And now, today, it is that same spirit that is with us, it is God’s spirit alive and well on this earth, working through God’s people, the church, to bring love and forgiveness into the brokenness of this world.

Today more than ever we claim the spirit is alive and working in us and around us!

Today we celebrate God’s Power in the form of spirit at work here in this church and our world.


Power can be used in at least two ways: it can be unleashed, or it can be harnessed. The energy in ten gallons of gasoline, for instance, can be released explosively by dropping a lighted match into the can. Or it can be channeled through the engine of a Datsun in a controlled burn and used to transport a person 350 miles. Explosions are spectacular, but controlled burns have a lasting effect, staying power.

The Holy Spirit works both ways. At Pentecost, she exploded on the scene; Her presence was like "tongues of fire" (Acts 2:3). Thousands were affected by one burst of God’s power. But She also works through the church--the institution, here the Holy Spirit’s power is working for the long haul. Through worship, fellowship, and service, Christians are provided with staying power.

God’s Holy Spirit comes quietly, it comes in slowly, but it comes to us with enough power so that we might do the work that God has called and leads each of us to do. There is a power, a force and for many an untapped force in each of our lives, that is the Holy Spirit. Many times it is not dramatic, it does not cause us to do dramatic things, but it is there to give us the power to live the kind of lives, to be the kind of people that God intended us to live and be.

The nature of this spirit empowers us to live first of all pointing to Christ. The kind of life God intends for us to live points not to us, not to our accomplishments, but to the Lord of Life, Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit works with our spirit so that we might experience the righteousness of Christ in our lives.

It is this Spirit that comes into our lives, into the church to allow us to spread God’s message of love to all people. It is this Spirit which points not to itself, but to Christ. It is this Spirit which allows us to point not to ourselves, but to Christ. It is this Spirit which makes the church, the Body of Christ, the most unique organization on the face of the earth.

The spirit calls us to work to eliminate in equality, to work for social justice, the spirit calls us to tend to the planet, it’s plants and animals, and to treat each other better than we have. It is the spirit that moves our ONA Coalition, It is the spirit that moves us to work with the poor people campaign and to stand in unity with Black Lives Matter!

The church is the most amazing organization in the world! And my friends you and I are part of it, not because we did anything, but because the Holy Spirit has led us, because the Gospel and the Life of Jesus has taught us. The Holy Spirit gathers together, enlightens and makes holy all people on earth and keeps Holy the earth herself.

The power of the Holy Spirit was brought into the world this day over 2000 years ago, and that power is still present today through us and within the church.

Yes, we are welcomed again to the Pentecost event in the Year 2020!!

Today is Pentecost, the birthday of the church,
when the Holy Spirit, the very presence of God came into the
church and gave the church life.

God loves us so much that God gives us the Holy Spirit, God's
own presence to live inside us. We can't really see the Spirit any more than we can see the air around us. But we can feel the air, the wind blowing, can't we?  We can see it when the tree
limbs are moving.  So, too, we can feel the Spirit in our lives when we are moved to love God and love others, to worship God and to serve God.

Yet to do nothing and wait and hope for a nudging from the spirit is not what we are called too.  The spirit calls us to engage actively in a spiritual life, to seek out times of quite with God, to seek out times of prayer, to seek out times of ministry where we engage God and the spirit in the world.  Just as a child learns the difference between stillness and a gentle breeze, we must engage in practices so we can detect and learn to recognize the moving of God’s spirit in our lives.

God gives us so many wonderful gifts and the church is just one of them. Tell me, what do you like about the church, this church, On this the birthday of the church, what's special to you about it? If you like type your answers in the comments and we can lift your answers as Joys during the joys and concerns.

The church is first and above all - the people of God united and empowered by God to show God's love to world.

On a birthday, you usually give a gift, don't you?  Well, on this birthday of the church we do not so much give gifts to the church as we offer back to God the fruit of the gift that was given the
Church when it was born.  We celebrate what God has given! Rick Kirchoff, Germantown United Methodist Church said this in 2001 at the Opening remarks to the Memphis Annual Conference of the Methodist churches.

When God sends forth the Spirit amazing things happen:

barriers are broken,
communities are formed,
opposites are reconciled,
unity is established,
disease is cured,
addiction is broken,
cities are renewed,
races are reconciled,
hope is established,
people are blessed,
and church happens.

Today the Spirit of God is present
and we’re gonna have church.

So be ready, get ready...God is up to something...

discouraged folks cheer up,

dishonest folks ’fess up,

sour folks sweeten up,

closed folk, open up,
gossipers shut up,

conflicted folks make up,

sleeping folks wake up,

lukewarm folk, fire up,

dry bones shake up,

and pew potatoes (maybe that should be couch potatoes) stand up!

But most of all, Christ the Savior of all the world is lifted Glory

Yes, welcome to the Pentecost event, 2020, and Happy Birthday to the church!

A call to prayer
The early disciples devoted themselves to prayer,
The teachings of the apostles, and sharing the bread of life.
They were a people of prayer,
Who shared their joys and concerns?
Their passions and sorrows,
With one another and with the Lord.
For burdens shared and burdens lessened,
And joys shared and joys enriched,
Come, let us follow their example and lift our prayers to God

Please write your joys and concerns in the comment section and I will lift them up after this hymn

Spirit of Gentleness #286

Let us pray the prayer Jesus taught us

Our Creator, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kin-dom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For Thine is the kin-dom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen

Invitation to the Offering

Pentecost people!
We have received gifts too numerous to count.
Now we have a chance to give in thanks and joy.
Your offering will enable this church
to be a Pentecost presence in this community
and the world—
to reach out in passionate commitment
and bring the wind and fire of the Spirit
to a people and a world that so desperately need it.

if you would care to, you can mail in your offerings or go to the top of the webpage and click the donate now button

Offering Prayer

For all you have given, for all we have received,
we give you thanks.
We bring before you our gifts of substance
and the gift of our lives.
We bring our passion and joy and surprise,
our visions and dreams.
May they refresh and enliven our church and community,
as the wind of your Spirit did long ago.

The office is open for regular hours
We are accepting donations for the kidz cupboard and the food pantry

I am available for one on one virtual visits or phone calls if you need any prayer we will be together again one day, but until then remember you are the hands and the feet of our lord in this world and in this world of no physical contact we can still smile, wave, chat , check in

Everytime I feel the spirit #282

L:        Go forth now as Pentecost people,
            filled with the Spirit, dreaming dreams,
            and seeing visions of God's possibilities.
P:        We go forth, knowing we are beloved and blessed
            by a God who never leaves us alone.

L:        Go, to be surprised by the Spirit in all that you do
            and everywhere that you go.
P:        We go, claiming our identity as Pentecost people—
            people of wind and fire, dreams and visions,
            people filled with that most amazing
            and transforming Spirit. Amen.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

The Sixth Sunday of Easter

Let’s start with three deep breaths and relax….

Opening Reflection
The spirit of truth dwells among us.
Rest in this presence.
God made the world and each one of us in it.
God gave us our life and breath.
God made all nations under heaven.
We are all God’s offspring.
Search for God in this time of worship and find God near.

let us begin today’s worship

Call to Worship

L: Live in God’s love!
P: Let that love be poured out for all God’s people!
L: Bring hope and peace to all whom you meet.
P: We are called to be God’s witnesses.
L: Celebrate and rejoice.
P: Praise be to God who has called, healed, and given us a ministry of peace. AMEN.

Blessed Quietness #284

(All candles lit.)

Today’s Gospel reading is

John 14:15-21 from The Inclusive Bible

If you love me
and obey the command I give you,
I will ask the One who sent me
to give you another Paraclete, another Helper
to be with you always –
The Spirit of truth,
whom the world cannot accept
since the world neither sees her nor recognizes her;
but you can recognize the Spirit
because she remains with you
and she will be within you.
I won’ leave you orphaned;
I will come to you.
A little while now and the world will see me no
but you’ll see me;
because I live,
and you will live as well.
On that day you’ll know
that I am in God,
and you are in me,
and I am in you.
Those who obey the commandments
are those who love me
will be loved by Abba God.
I, too, will love them
And will reveal myself to them.

The word of God for the people of God!

Sermon                       We are Called to Love!!

Fred Craddock, who I quote every now and then, was a Bandy Distinguished Professor of Preaching and New Testament Emeritus in the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. He was an ordained minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) from rural Tennessee.  He was what one may call a preacher’s preacher, as a matter of fact, his book Preaching was required when I was in seminary.  I am not sure which he was more famous for his preaching or his stories.

A Fred Craddock story;

MY mother took us to church and Sunday school; my father didn't go. He complained about Sunday dinner being late when she came home. Sometimes the preacher would call, and my father would say, "I know what the church wants. Church doesn't care about me. Church wants another name, another pledge, another name, another pledge. Right? Isn't that the name of it? Another name, another pledge. "That's what he always said. Sometimes we'd have a revival. Pastor would bring the evangelist and say to the evangelist, "There's one now sic him, get him, get him," and my father would say the same thing. Every time, my mother in the kitchen, always nervous, in fear of flaring tempers, of somebody being hurt. And always my father said, "The church doesn't care about me. The church wants another name and another pledge!' I guess I heard it a thousand times. One time he didn't say it. He was in the veteran's hospital, and he was down to seventy-three pounds. They'd taken out his throat, and said, "It's too late." They put in a metal tube, and X rays burned him to pieces. I flew in to see him. He couldn't speak, couldn't eat. I looked around the room, potted plants and cut flowers on all the windowsills, a stack of cards twenty inches deep beside his bed. And even that tray where they put food, if you can eat, on that was a flower. And all the flowers beside the bed, every card, every blossom, were from persons or groups from the church. He saw me read a card. He could not speak, so he took a Kleenex box and wrote on the side of it a line from Shakespeare. If he had not written this line, I would not tell you this story. He wrote: "In this harsh world, draw your breath in pain to tell my story!' I said, "What is your story, Daddy?" And he wrote, "I was wrong.[1]

“Jesus answered him, ‘Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.’ (John 14:23) If God and Christ have made their home with us (recall 1:14), how can we imagine there to be any distance between us and God?[2] The spirit, the Paraclete, the comforter, the advocate, the one promised to come moves, moves, moves in us and around us.

I used Fred Craddock’s story here because this is a story of redemption.  It’s not a bedside conversion, nor is it a miraculous healing.  But it is a miracle. The miracle here is that the spirit of the Church, the church that is the community of God, the church that is the body of Christ, reached out to offer comfort.  Reached out because they were moved, they were moved, they were moved by the spirit in them and around them.

Professor Stoles of Perkins school of theology says;
The passage begins and ends with love. In v. 15 Jesus declares that if his disciples love him, they will keep his commandments. The reader may ask, "What commandments?" Unlike, say, Matthew, nowhere in John does Jesus command us to go the second mile, turn the other cheek, render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's. Famously, Jesus gives only a single commandment in John and it occurs in the chapter just before ours: "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (13.34-35). He reiterates this in the chapter just after ours: "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. (John 15:12-13). We see, then, the overwhelming, repetitive, circular emphasis on love.[3]

Love is the commandment given to us , love is the comforter, love is the nature of God , Love is Christ. Love is what Moves us, moves us, moves us, Love in us and around us. Love is what compels us in ministry, in life, in relation to one another and in relation to the creator.  It was through Jesus that this nature of love, that goes beyond human comprehension, was revealed and that is what we are being called into.

The professor goes onto remind us that;
It's worth noting that love is tied to John's realized eschatology. (John’s Mystic vision of when we are all one in Christ) Jesus gives one commandment: to love. Therefore, judgment and eternal life begin now. At the end of each day, and during each moment of each day, for John, there's only one question to ask yourself: "In what ways did I or did I not love today?" As you reflect upon that, judgment happens. Where you did not love, there lies judgment. But understand that for John judgment is merely diagnostic, not retributive. Jesus constantly asks the characters questions that help them understand their lives and motives more clearly. To the sick man in ch. 5:6: "Do you wish to be made well?"; to Martha in 11:26: "Do you believe this?". He asks questions not because he doesn't know the answers (since John 2:24-25 assures us that Jesus already knew everything); rather, he asks so that we might know, and therefore move forward with clear vision into the truth, light, glory, love, abundant for which God has created us. It's all of a piece.[4]

WE are called to love and we are called to examine when we might have missed the mark.  What would our lives look like if we honestly looked at our day, every day and ask how have I loved to day? Did I start this day in love?  Did I wake up grateful for a peace filled night?  Did I wake with joy in my heart?  The Joy of a new day ?  The joy of a chance that maybe I will get it right and I know I am going to try?

How did I love today?  When I saw the homeless kid asking for money did I ignore him and walk on by?  Did I look away and choose to be blind?  Or did I open my eyes, maybe apologize cause I have no change today?  Maybe today is the day I have abundance and offer a sandwich or even offered a simple blessing?

As we live in love, everyday calls us a bit further and deeper in our path.  You see in today’s Gospel Jesus is again trying to comfort the disciples though it is bad news that he will be departing, it becomes Good news to them and us for he is sending “another advocate” you see Jesus was the first advocate but he is trapped in one local and time.  But when he leaves his disciples are given the spirit.  This spirit is such a strong Loving movement that the disciples move from mere followers to proclaimers, revelers, pouring out Gods message and love to all.” And this happens not just to the first disciples, but all those who would come later, those who never saw the historical Jesus. You see, the evangelist insists that present believers have no disadvantage in comparison to the first believers. Everything they were taught and they experienced is available to the same degree and with equally rich texture to us.”[5]

It is through this dance of God, Son and Spirit that swirls around us and we get swept up in, that we have the power to move beyond our limitations, our fears, our humanity and love, and act in ways that, as mere people, we would not be able too. This revelatory comforter, empowers us not only to reach out but to reach within and search for ways that we can be better.  That we can manifest God’s love here today and every day.

You see,
In John, Jesus insists that the intimate relationship that exists between him, God, and the Spirit also includes believers. The believer does not stand close by admiring the majesty of the Trinity; rather, she is an equal part of it. John tries to push at this by grabbing hold of a number of terms and repeating them: abide, love, the language of being "in" (14:17 and 20), and later in the Discourse, an emphasis on "one-ness" (cf. 17:21-23). Johannine believers don't "imitate" Jesus; they participate in him wholly.[6]

This whole participation is not just for the disciples.  This is what we are called into as Christians. “Those who love me will keep my word, and my father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.”(John 14:23) We are the home of Christ and God the creator which is made possible through the spirit.  We are part of a divine dance. We are called into a sacred way of living.

This is our faith.  Right?  We proclaim we believe in and have a relationship with a living God, the living Christ. “The Easter message is that life rather than death has the final word, and this is crucial for faith. In John's gospel, faith is a relationship with a living being. For there to be authentic faith in Jesus, people must be able to relate to the living Jesus--a Jesus who is not absent but present. Otherwise faith is reduced to the memory of a Jesus who died long ago.”[7]

Of course, we are human why would anyone believe in a man who was punished as a criminal, tortured and died?  Why, or how could any rational person believe that a man, a carpenter with little or, more likely, no education, was killed and rose from the dead? We can’t, we didn’t see it, we have no proof, it is impossible to believe. It is only through the miracle of the holy spirit that we come to know Jesus and the Creator.  It is through this comforter this poured out living love that we can have faith.

Craig Koester from Luther seminary puts it this way; “Coming to faith is analogous (akin) to falling in love. One cannot fall in love in the abstract. Love comes through an encounter with another person. The same is true of faith. If faith is a relationship with the living Christ and the living God who sent him, then faith can only come through an encounter with them. And the Spirit is the one who makes this presence known.”[8] The Spirit is truly Love in action that empowers us to be people of faith. He goes on to explain;

John's gospel calls the Spirit the paraklētos or Advocate, a term for someone who is called to one's side as a source of help. In modern contexts someone may serve as an advocate in the court system, in the health care network, or in an educational institution, while other advocates may press the legislature to act on behalf of a certain cause. A quick reading of John may give the impression that the Spirit is the Advocate who brings our case up before God in the hope that God will do something merciful for us. But here the direction is the opposite. God has already given the gift of love unstintingly through the death and resurrection of Jesus, and such love is what creates genuine life. The Spirit is the Advocate who brings the truth of that love and life to people in this time after Easter, which makes faith possible.[9]

But now that we have this faith, now that we have this relationship that moves us, that moves us , that moves us, that calls us to be revelators of the Gospel ourselves.  That calls us into to love where we do not judge others, but judge ourselves in such a way that we better ourselves and try again the next day. 

This faith, what do we do with it now?  What are called to do and how are we to do it?

This faith should be so powerful that we do not want to keep it a secret.  This faith should be so empowering that we can easily talk about it with our friends and neighbors.  This faith is so moving us that we should be posting it on Facebook, twitter and shouting it out on snapchat. We should be reaching out to our community around us as a community of faith and reminding them that there are true alternative ways of being in this world.  The way of being an all loving welcoming presence of faith that operates and reveals Christ to the world around us.

There is a video on you tube called “Eating Twinkies with God”.  I will post it on our facebook page or you can look it up.  But I am going to try to share it with you now! A young boy is preparing a lunch and putting it in his backpack.  As soon as he is bundle his mom walks in and asks where are you off too?  He proudly proclaims I am off to find God. His mother says okay dinner is at six and off he goes.  He walks the street looking about but he doesn’t find God.  He is down in the subway waiting for the train but doesn’t find God.  He arises from the subway and walks around again no God.  He walks into a park and sees a bench and has a seat.  As he looks over on the other side of the bench is a woman with two bags full of clothes looking tired and depressed. He looks at her opens his bag pulls out a Twinkie package and opens it he starts to eat as she just watches.  But he hesitates and offers her the Twinkie.  Her eyes grow wide and a smile comes across her face. They proceed to laugh and giggle and share a apple juice and then he announces he has got to go gives her a hug and leaves. He arrives home and mom asks did you find him?  He announces “God is a woman mom, and she has the most beautiful smile I have ever seen!” we see the homeless woman walking along with a smile and still giggling she sits next to another woman who has a sign asking for money who asks “why are you in such a good mood?”  She answers “ I was just eating Twinkies with God” she giggles and adds “he  is much younger than I expected!”

Our faith and the spirit of love calls us as a community to seek out God and well, share a Twinkie, share a smile, and share some laughter. In these days we must remember to laugh.  We have to examine ourselves, seek out and recognize where we remembered to Love, be honest about where we need to better ourselves, and try to be a loving presence of God.

In conclusion I would like to offer this prayer form the book A Child Laughs …

Holy God, parent and child,
We seek a new view
Immersed in your presence,
Open us to our neighbors.
We admit that we don’t know where to start
And that our neighbor sometimes
Seems mysterious and unknowable.

Help us to see and appreciate diversity
In our community.
Break our stubborn hearts.
Open our minds to recognize the daily challenge of others.
Rather than provide answers
Or try to fix situations we may not understand,
Fill us with child-like curiosity so we can explore life together.

Bring an awareness of young voices into our lives.
Renew in us the promise of possibilities.
And keep us honest, God.
Let our efforts be unsullied like ulterior motives like
Increased membership or maintenance of the status quo.

We seek a new vision and renewed spirit
For the pure joy of learning and being in relationship. Amen.[10]

[1] Fred B. Craddock, Craddock Stories (St. Louis, Mo: Chalice Press, 2001).
[2] Jamie Clark-Soles, Commentary on John 14:15-21, April 27, 2017, accessed May 12, 2017,
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Ibid.
[7] Ibid.
[8] Ibid.
[9] Ibid.
[10] Maria Mankin and Maren C. Trabassi, A Child Laughs: Prayers of Justice and Hope (Cleavland: Pilgrim Press, 2017).


A call to prayer
The early disciples devoted themselves to prayer,
The teachings of the apostles, and sharing the bread of life.
They were a people of prayer,
Who shared their joys and concerns,
Their passions and sorrows,
With one another and with the Lord.
For burdens shared and burdens lessened,
And joys shared and joys enriched,
Come, let us follow their example and lift our prayers to God

Please write your joys and concerns in the comment section and I will lift them up after this hymn

I need you every hour #517

Let us pray the prayer Jesus taught us

Our Creator, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kin-dom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For Thine is the kin-dom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen

Invitation to the Offering (1 Peter 2)

We are better together.
When we join in music or mission,
or ministry or fellowship,
we discover that God makes us better,
being built upon one another
like living stones in the house of the Lord.
Let us join together now
as we receive the tithes and offerings
you have brought.
We have this common faith and common calling
to be in ministry—together.

if you would care to, you can mail in your offerings or go to the top of the webpage and click the donate now button

Offering Prayer

God of Love, you are present in all things

Be present to a hurting world in our gifts.

Help this church to use our offerings to help perpetuate the community of Love and place for all people that we aspire to be.

Help us to reach those who seek, and those who doubt. Use these gifts to help people know the blessings of being your beloved children.

The office is open for regular hours
We are accepting donations for the kidz cupboard and the food pantry

I am available for one on one virtual visits or phone calls if you need any prayer we will be together again one day, but until then remember you are the hands and the feet of our lord in this world and in this world of no physical contact we can still smile, wave, chat , check in

Rejoice you pure in heart #55

remember yours are the hands of Christ  – how many people did we touch in one way or another this week?

Ours are the feet of Christ  - how many people came across our properties this week?
 How many Mouths – how many people did we help feed?

Ours our the eyes of Christ – how many people saw us?  On the street smiling waving, facebook, youtube.

Ears – how many people listened to the online service? Maybe they turned us on and went on about their business as we linger in the backround.

We are the knees of Christ…how many people do we pray for…how many people are praying for us..

Be blessed, stay safe, stay well! Amen.

Monday Bible Study on Zoom

Rev. Dr. Joseph Shore-Goss is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Bible Study
Time: May 4, 2020 12:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
        Every week on Mon, until May 25, 2020, 4 occurrence(s)
        May 4, 2020 12:00 PM
        May 11, 2020 12:00 PM
        May 18, 2020 12:00 PM
        May 25, 2020 12:00 PM
Please download and import the following iCalendar (.ics) files to your calendar system.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 303 926 187
Password: Grace
Meeting ID: 303 926 187
Password: 331553
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