June 28, 2020

First Presbyterian Church of Wappingers Falls
Pentecost 4A – June 28, 2020

MORNING PRAYER

You may choose one leader or take turns among those gathered.
Click on the links for the hymns to listen or sing along.

Prelude O Lord, You Are My God and King https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKaP7IXRFpo

Opening Sentences
O Lord, open my lips.                                                             Psalm 51:15
  And my mouth shall proclaim your praise.

Welcome one another in Jesus’ name,                                    Matthew 10:40
For Christ is truly present among us.

Opening Hymn Fairest Lord Jesus https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dynla-DZ08

CALL TO WORSHIP            Psalm 13: How Long?
How long, O God, how long?
How long must I wait to see your face,
  to feel your presence?
How long until I figure things out,
  heal from my wounds, feel whole again?
How long must I live with these longings,
  with no more than hints and guesses to go on?
Look on me and give me answers! Light up my eyes!

I put my trust in your love. I know
  that you hold me in the arms of life
  whether I feel it or not.

If trust and longing are all that I have,  
 then that is enough, and I will sing.  –Christine Robinson
  http://doubterpsalms.blogspot.com/

Silent Prayer

Prayer of the Day
O God, light of the minds that know you, life of the souls that love you, strength of the thoughts that seek you:
Help us so to know you that we may truly love you, so to love you that we may fully serve you,
 whose service is perfect freedom; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you
 in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Scripture Reading:  Genesis 22:1-14
Silent Reflection

Hymn Where Cross the Crowded Ways of Life https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCSGuz7gR2U

Scripture Reading:  Matthew 10:40-42
The Word of the Lord.  Thanks be to God.
Silent Reflection

Shared Reflection on the Scripture
Last week, we found Abraham willing to sacrifice his firstborn son, Ishmael, by sending him with his mother, Hagar, into the wilderness.  In today’s reading, he is willing to sacrifice Isaac, the only son he has left; his heir with Sarah, in response to God’s request that he do so.  What do we do with this story?  It is shocking that God would ask this of Abraham.  How could any parent do this?!
And that’s the big question.  Abraham’s whole conversation with God is about relationships and rewards.  God tells him time and time again that if he is to be faithful, relationships and rewards will not be what he expects.  Abraham has to “die” to his notions of what it means for him to be a parent in order to sacrifice his own sons.  If he does not, he cannot be the father of nations, acting in God’s name.
This is a difficult idea, but it lines up with what we heard from Jesus last week and this week.  Today’s gospel reading picks up with the verse immediately after where we left off last week; where Jesus told his disciples that he did not come to maintain the status quo – even of family relationships.
Today, he tells the disciples, as he sends them out to preach the gospel, to welcome others – to honor and receive the gifts of prophecy, justice seeking and gracious hospitality – as if these gifts are being given to Jesus himself.  He is asking them to act in his name, and welcome relationships that they would not normally welcome, just as God asked Abraham.  They need to learn to “die to themselves” and their notions of who merits their time, attention and blessing – and God’s – just like Abraham.  And then, Jesus takes it even further – he tells them to act “in the name of a disciple.”
What does it mean to act in the name of a disciple?
We do this all the time.  We just don’t think of it this way.  Have you ever sent a donation to an organization to honor someone for their birthday or in their memory after they passed away?  If this is an organization or cause dear to the honoree’s heart, you are acting in their name.
Just last week, members of the session acted on your behalf, sending a basket of fruit to Tom & Rhys White upon hearing of Jessica’s death, hoping that this small gesture, like a “cup of cold water,” will bring a measure of comfort in their hour of need.  This week, you have the opportunity to act in the name of Jessica White, Russ Stocker and Pearl Goodwin, disciples who have all passed away this week, who worshipped and served among us for years.  How will you act in the name of these disciples, giving honor for their faithfulness?
The one who welcomes, will be welcomed and will get the welcomer’s reward. 
The one who acts for righteousness will see justice.  This kind of logic is reminiscent of the Beatitudes.  Relationships and rewards are being redefined in discipleship, which, like Abraham, is defined by faithfulness, loyalty and obedience to God.
Discipleship is faithfulness; the way to claim our new identity in Christ.  And yet, discipleship brings suffering.  It is the way of discipleship.  Jesus makes clear in this sermon to his disciples that following in God’s way will be hard.  There will be sacrifice.  There will be suffering.  There will be death. 
But the reward is also clear: there will be blessing; and resurrection.
Should you want to talk about your call to discipleship, please call me.
Peace,
– Pastor Margery

(When reflection time is concluded, the Leader invites those gathered to join the responsive prayer below.) 

Canticle of Zechariah                                      Luke 1:68-79
Refrain:  You have come to your people and set them free.

Blessed are you, Lord, the God of Israel;
 you have come to your people and set them free.
You have raised up for us a mighty Savior,
 born of the house of your servant, David. R

Through your holy prophets, you promised of old
 to save us from our enemies, from the hands of all who hate us,
 to show mercy to our forebears, and to remember your holy covenant. R

This was the oath you swore to our father Abraham:
 to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
 free to worship you without fear,
 holy and righteous before you, all the days of our life. R

And you, child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High,
 for you will go before the Lord to prepare the way,
 to give God’s people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins. R

In the tender compassion of our God
 the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
 to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
 and to guide our feet into the way of peace. R

Prayers of Thanksgiving & Intercession
If you would like to share them with the congregation, please call or email the church office.
Holy God, One-in-Three and Three-in-One, hear us as we pray for your blessing, saying:
 Holy, triune God, have mercy on us.
Especially we thank you for
 the mission and ministry of the church,
 especially for General Assembly commissioners and advisory delegates…
 every service that proclaims your love…
 the people and relationships that sustain us…
 our calling to daily discipleship…
 signs of new life and hope…
 all who care for creation; and work for justice and peace for all people…
 (specific prayers of thanks may be spoken here.)

Merciful God of might, renew this weary world,
 heal the hurts of all your children,
 and bring about your peace for all in Christ Jesus, the living Lord.
Especially we pray for
 The church of Jesus Christ in every land…
 The stewardship and healing of creation…
 Friends and family members…
 Neighbors in special need…
 All who serve your mission in the world… 
Leaders, to lead with righteousness and compassion…
 All who grieve and lament loss of justice, freedom and life…
(specific prayers of intercession may be spoken here.)

After a brief silence, the leader concludes the time of prayer:
All this we ask of you, Lord God, through Jesus Christ our Savior,
 and in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Concluding Hymn O God of Every Nation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hoda9xGadJk

Dismissal                                                                  Matthew 9:37, 10:7
The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few.
Go, and proclaim the good news, “the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
Proclaim it in word and deed.
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
Share with one another a Sign of Peace.  May peace be with you this day.

Postlude Blessed be the Lord https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMPC1K0GxBg

Announcements

State of Emergency:
During the Coronavirus State of Emergency declared by Governor Cuomo, all gatherings are cancelled. 

The Food Pantry will remain open on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month.
The Free Community Dinner will make take-out meals available on the 1st & 3rd Saturday of each month during the state of emergency; please call to reserve yours at our next dinner on July 18th
NOTE: There will NOT be a Free Community Dinner on July 4th.

Re-Opening The Church:
The session has voted to return to the church building for worship as of July 12th, as long as we have met state requirements before that date.  Keep watch for further information about what this experience will entail, as we will be required to drastically alter our typical worship service to ensure safety for the gathered.
Questions? Email us at fpcwf2800@gmail.com or leave a voicemail message at (845)297-2800.

Prayer requests:
You may email us at fpcwf2800@gmail.com or leave a voicemail message at (845)297-2800.
We will send out an email list during the week. 
If you would like to pray with someone, you may call Pastor Margery at (914)539-5323. 
Pastor Laurie will be available 3-5 PM on weekdays, as well.  You can reach her at (845)632-1124.
Please let us know how else we can support your spiritual needs during this time.

Offering of Our Gifts and Ourselves:
Please make plans for how you will continue to honor your pledges during this time. 
You may wish to send a check to the church office by mail or make your contribution using online banking.
While we navigate this disruptive time as a church community, it is important that we maintain our ability to pay our bills.  Thank you for your generosity!

Email Addresses:  If you do not have your own email address, please call us with a family member or friend’s email address who will receive emails from us for you in the event that we are unable to mail you important information.

The 224th General Assembly of the PC(USA) has elected new moderators.  Please hold Ruling Elder Elona Street-Stewart and Teaching Elder Gregory Bentley in your prayers as they provide leadership to the church over the next two years.

 “At morning prayer, we give thanks for the gift of new life in Christ and seek God’s grace for the day ahead.”

This service was adapted from resources in: Book of Common Worship, Presbyterian Church (USA), 2018.