Sunday, June 21, 2020

3rd Sunday after Pentecost CCLI#1909678

On this Father’s Day, we ask you to join us in a quick prayer to honor dads, husbands, sons and all the men in our lives. Let’s praise God for placing these honorable, kind, gentle souls in our paths for His loving light to shine through, providing us with a beautiful example of what it means to live for God.

Dear God,
Thank you for all the fathers and father-figures in this world and for the many ways you use them to lovingly guide others to Your heart. I ask that you would bless them and give them great joy and peace. May they see You and know You in new ways. Show them how much you love them and care about them. Guide their steps, use their hands, and make them a blessing to others as you continue to fulfill your special purpose for their lives.

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

Opening Reflection

Prayer for One Voice:

O God, you possess all beginnings and all endings. In the morning you are the cradle of the world and in the evening you are the world's comforter. You are the morning dew kissing the buds of the flowers and the evening mist rising through the falling leaves. You are the early sun announcing the dawning of a new day and the twilight whispering the secrets of another.

You possess all beginnings and endings, all failings and risings, all living and dying. All of your people, all of your creation swells with the rhythms of life and death and rebirth. These rhythms compel us to sing, to laugh, to dance, to dream. We sing of sorrows borne despite anguish and of joys known despite fear. We laugh at mistakes made in our weakness and at changes begun in our strength. We dance to the harmonies of the universe and to the melodies within our own breasts. And we dream of unknown worlds on the strength of the world we know.

We stand as a people of faith, convinced not by the persuasion of our minds but by the experience of our lives. We are convinced that all is as you say it is—that you do number every hair on every head and see our every step.

We believe, O God. But when faith ebbs, we feel the pain of the world, and it spatters into the still waters of our lives. Infants die without drawing a breath. Wheat fields burn while standing ripe for the harvest. Old friends suffer diseases whose cures are years away. Tornadoes rip through the poorest sections of town. Innocent citizens are caught in the cross fire between governments. Workers lose the jobs they have held for years, while the unemployed have been turned away so many times they have traded hope for tears. And the children—abused because they wear the wrong color skin, speak the wrong language, live under the wrong flag, worship the wrong god—have no hope to lose.

The list is long, O God. But, somewhere in the midst of our sorrows, you are walking, holding hands, lifting up, mending wounds, breathing new life, and receiving the old. This we believe, and in this belief we find strength to remember and respond.

You have numbered us from the first to last. We pray that you might grant us the compassion to count one another daily. Let us reach to those who stumble, and break their fall; to the fallen, and pull them to their feet. Let us be caught when we are about to faint; and be lifted up, when we are struggling to rise.[1]


et us begin today’s worship

Call to Worship

Call to Worship:

L: The Lord of mysteries shall reveal what is hidden!

P: The God of wonders shall unveil the unknown!

L: In the night God will whisper great secrets to our hearts,

P: At dawn we shall shout them from the tops of our houses!

ALL: Hear, and understand! See, and perceive! To us God will give the secrets of the kin-dom!

Surely no one can be safer #487

(All candles lit.)

Matthew 10:24-39 The Inclusive Bible

24 “A student is not superior to the teacher; the follower is not above the leader. 25 The student should be glad simply to become like the teacher, the follower like the leader.
 If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of the household!

26 “Don’t let people intimidate you. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, and nothing is hidden that will not be made known. 27 What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light. What you hear in private, proclaim from the housetops.

 28 Do not be fear of those who deprive the body of life but cannot destroy the soul. Rather, fear the One who can destroy both body and soul in Gehenna.
29 Are not the sparrows sold for pennies? Yet not a single sparrow falls to the ground without your Abba God’s knowledge. 30 As for you, every hair of your head has been counted. 31 So don’t be afraid of anything—you are worth more than an entire flock of sparrows.
32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before Abba God in heaven. 33 Whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Abba God in heaven.

34 “Do not suppose that I came to bring peace on earth. I came not to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn

“‘A son against his father,
    a daughter against her mother,
in-law against in-law.
36One’s enemies will be of one’s own household.’

37 Those who love mother or father, daughter or son more than me are not worthy of me. 38 Those who will not carry the instrument of their own deaths—Following in my footsteps—are not worthy of me. 
39 You who have found your life will lose it, and you who lose your life for my sake will find it.

The word of God for the people of God!


Even the hairs of your head are counted…

Here we are in the middle of June already.  I do not have any cute stories to bring a chuckle to us. I think it is important that I continue to address the issues at hand.  When you think of it, from June 19th through July 4th this country celebrates a string of freedoms. Freedoms that unite us as a nation and equally divide us as a nation.

Time magazine reports

Although Americans have long celebrated Independence Day on July 4, technically that is not when the colonies voted to become a new nation.

That honor belongs to July 2, 1776, which was not only the day the Second Continental Congress approved a resolution declaring independence from Britain but also the day that then future President John Adams wrote would be “celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival” with “pomp and parade, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other.”

So, what happened? In a word, paperwork. According to Philip Mead, chief historian at the Museum of the American Revolution, it took two days for the Continental Congress to approve the final version of what was essentially a press release explaining why the delegates had voted the way they did. That document–better known as the Declaration of Independence–arrived at the printer on July 4, 1776, which is why that date appears at the top. Moreover, most of the delegates signed it on Aug. 2, not on July 4, as implied by the John Trumbull painting that hangs in the Rotunda of the Capitol (“Congress at the Independence Hall, Philadelphia, July 4, 1776”).

But though Adams might have been surprised to see Americans fete the Fourth of July, he did play a part in the shift: when he and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826, that date became even more enshrined in American memory.”[2]

So what we celebrate as independence day isn’t.  What was independence day wasn’t…

For though it was declared there was still a battle to be fought…Though it was declared it wasn’t for all just for some. Son was set against Father; Daughter was set against Mother…
Yet even the hairs of their heads were counted….

This week we celebrated Juneteenth. I believe this is the first time I have ever seen it celebrated, though I have heard of it for most of my life, there was even a national tv special.

Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States.  Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation - which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.

Later attempts to explain this two-and-a-half-year delay in the receipt of this important news have yielded several versions that have been handed down through the years. Often told is the story of a messenger who was murdered on his way to Texas with the news of freedom. Another is that the news was deliberately withheld by the enslavers to maintain the labor force on the plantations. And still another is that federal troops actually waited for the slave owners to reap the benefits of one last cotton harvest before going to Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation. All of which, or none of these versions could be true. Certainly, for some, President Lincoln's authority over the rebellious states was in question.  Whatever the reasons, conditions in Texas remained status quo well beyond what was statutory.

General Order Number 3

One of General Granger’s first orders of business was to read to the people of Texas, General Order Number 3 which began most significantly with:
"The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer."

The reactions to this profound news ranged from pure shock to immediate jubilation. While many lingered to learn of this new employer to employee relationship, many left before these offers were completely off the lips of their former 'masters' - attesting to the varying conditions on the plantations and the realization of freedom. Even with nowhere to go, many felt that leaving the plantation would be their first grasp of freedom. North was a logical destination and for many it represented true freedom, while the desire to reach family members in neighboring states drove some into Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Settling into these new areas as free men and women brought on new realities and the challenges of establishing a heretofore non-existent status for black people in America.”[3]

Every hair of their head was numbered.

If only that was the end of it all…if only justice had succeeded and equality for all was achieved…yet by the protests and the conversations happening over the last few weeks we know we are far from it but we continue to struggle and grow towards it…

Sons stand against Fathers; daughters stand against Mothers…

Thus Black Lives Matter movement, seen so strong over these past few weeks, we proudly put it on our signage in front of the community hall. Now, I have heard the argument that God does not see color and we should affirm that all lives matter…I have answered this in my own way many times but today I want to share someone-else’s words…The Rev. Dan Schatz serves as minister of the BuxMont Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Warrington, Pennsylvania hear his words…

“To say that Black lives matter is not to say that other lives do not; indeed, it is quite the reverse—it is to recognize that all lives do matter, and to acknowledge that African Americans are often targeted unfairly (witness the number of African Americans accosted daily for no reason other than walking through a White neighborhood—including some, like young Trayvon Martin, who lost their lives) and that our society is not yet so advanced as to have become truly color blind. This means that many people of goodwill face the hard task of recognizing that these societal ills continue to exist, and that White privilege continues to exist, even though we wish it didn’t and would not have asked for it. I certainly agree that no loving God would judge anyone by skin color.”[4]

Even the hairs of their head are counted …you are worth more than an entire flock of sparrows…

I wish I could be so elegant in my words…

Ben Crump the award-winning lawyer adds his take on what it means to be a person of Color in America…

He states; “However, after many years of practicing law on the front lines of the justice system, I learned that it is dangerous to be a colored person in America. By ‘Colored person,’ I mean Black and brown people and people who are colored by their sexual preference, religious beliefs, or gender. In Short, I define a person of color as anyone who is a non-white male…the justice system has been designed to protect white, wealthy men and the rest are on their own.”[5]

Wait a minute LGBTQ people just won in court! They/We cannot be fired for their sexual orientation nor the gender they present…and that’s true.  As an open and affirming congregation we celebrate that and lift the ruling up because this is Pride month.

“Half a century ago, Los Angeles’ pride parade began to commemorate the Stonewall uprising the year before. There were pride marches in New York City and Chicago, but Montemayor says L.A. was different: it was a parade, not a march.”[6]

“In Los Angeles, Morris Kight (Gay Liberation Front LA founder), Reverend Troy Perry (Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches founder) and Reverend Bob Humphries (United States Mission founder) gathered to plan a commemoration. They settled on a parade down Hollywood Boulevard. But securing a permit from the city was no easy task. They named their organization Christopher Street West, ‘as ambiguous as we could be.’ But Rev. Perry recalled the Los Angeles Police Chief Edward M. Davis telling him, ‘As far as I’m concerned, granting a permit to a group of homosexuals to parade down Hollywood Boulevard would be the same as giving a permit to a group of thieves and robbers.’ Grudgingly, the Police Commission granted the permit, though there were fees exceeding $1.5 million. After the American Civil Liberties Union stepped in, the commission dropped all its requirements but a $1,500 fee for police service. That, too, was dismissed when the California Superior Court ordered the police to provide protection as they would for any other group. The eleventh-hour California Supreme Court decision ordered the police commissioner to issue a parade permit citing the ‘constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression.’ From the beginning, L.A. parade organizers and participants knew there were risks of violence. Kight received death threats right up to the morning of the parade. Unlike later editions, the first gay parade was very quiet. The marchers convened on McCadden Place in Hollywood, marched north and turned east onto Hollywood Boulevard. The Advocate reported ‘Over 1,000 homosexuals and their friends staged, not just a protest march, but a full-blown parade down world-famous Hollywood Boulevard.’”[7]

Every one of the hairs on their head are counted…

The court ruling this week was amazing and yet only 21 states protect people from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in housing and public accommodations. That means in 27 states people can still be refused housing based upon their sexual orientation alone.

Yet every hair of their head is counted

The court also sent back a lawsuit to end Daca…

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a United States immigration policy that allows some individuals with unlawful presence in the United States after being brought to the country as children to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and become eligible for a work permit in the U.S. To be eligible for the program, recipients cannot have felonies or serious misdemeanors on their records. Unlike the proposed DREAM Act, DACA does not provide a path to citizenship for recipients.[1][2] The policy, an executive branch memorandum, was announced by President Barack Obama on June 15, 2012. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began accepting applications for the program on August 15, 2012.”[8]

Unfortunately the court basically said try again you did not follow the exact correct procedure.  Imagine living in fear that you could be deported from the only country you know because your parents brought you here when you were too young to choose. Imagine knowing you can be arrested and deported at any time leaving behind your children and spouse and being sent to a country you do not know and you do not speak the language.

This is the world we live in…This is the world I minister in…This is political just as Jesus was political…Just as the Gospel is Political …” What does God require of you but to do justice and to love kindness and to walk humbly with God” (Micah 6:8)

Today and every day we will walk with our brothers and sisters …seeking justice because They are of more value than a flock of sparrows…

Today I will conclude with today’s Psalm a psalm that cries out for those who seek justice in the world

Psalm 86
Supplication for Help against Enemies
A Prayer of David.
Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me,
    for I am poor and needy.
Preserve my life, for I am devoted to you;
    save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God; be gracious to me, O Lord,
    for to you do I cry all day long.
Gladden the soul of your servant,
    for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
    abounding in steadfast love to all who call on you.
Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer;
    listen to my cry of supplication.
In the day of my trouble I call on you,
    for you will answer me.
There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
    nor are there any works like yours.
All the nations you have made shall come
    and bow down before you, O Lord,
    and shall glorify your name.
10 For you are great and do wondrous things;
    you alone are God.
Psalm 86:16-17 (NRSV)
16 Turn to me and be gracious to me;
    give your strength to your servant;
    save the child of your serving girl.
17 Show me a sign of your favor,
    so that those who hate me may see it and be put to shame,
    because you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.


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

Deep in the shadows of the past #320

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

In thanksgiving for all we have for the fruitful abundance of God’s creation. For the unexpected miracles and joys God grants us, let us return a portion of what we receive.

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

Receive the gifts of our hands, o God.,

That they may be signs of your love and grace

For a divided world.

Through our offerings,

Help others follow the ways of life.

Fill the world with mercy, Holy One,

That your faithful everywhere will honor you,

By sharing your kin-dom

Each and every day. Amen.

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

Grace like rain

Grace Like Rain
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
And I once was lost but now I'm found
Was blind but now I see so clearly
And Hallelujah, grace like rain falls down on me
And Hallelujah, and all my stains are washed away
They're washed away
'Twas grace that taught
My heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed
And Hallelujah, grace like rain falls down on me
And Hallelujah, and all my stains are washed away
They're washed away
When we've been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun
We've no less days to sing Your praise
Than when we first begun
And Hallelujah, grace like rain falls down on me
And Hallelujah, and all my stains are washed away
And Hallelujah, grace like rain falls down on me
And Hallelujah, and all my stains are washed away
They're washed away
And Hallelujah, yeah
And Hallelujah, yeah
And Hallelujah, yeah
And Hallelujah, and all my stains are washed away
They're washed away
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Christopher Collins / Edwin Excell / John Newton / Todd Agnew
Grace Like Rain lyrics © Sovereign Music

Benediction (Genesis 21)

Though we have been cast aside,
You restore our future.
Though others seek to banish us from sight,
You bless us with opportunities for new life.
Go with the blessings of the one who loves us fiercely.
Go to share God’s love with the World. Amen.

Just a note Bible study is o

[1] From Litanies and Other Prayers Year A: Copyright © 1989, 1992 by Abingdon Press

[5] Crump, Benjamin. Open Season: Legalized Genocide of Colored People. Amistad, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2019.

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