The Presbyterian Church at Woodbury

October 17, 2021
21st Sunday after Pentecost
9:30 am

WELCOME

PRAYER OF PREPARATION

Triune God, knowing your greatness and your presence in our lives, we praise you and sing to your holy name.  Praise be to you, God our creator, for you give us life and sustain this world with your love.  Blessed are you, our Lord Jesus Christ, for you redeem us from our sins and give us salvation. Glory to you, Holy Spirit, for you console us and make your presence known in all we say and do.  Our sincere praise will always be for the One whose grace is unfailing and immeasurable.  To God be the glory now and forever.  Amen.

PRELUDE                   “Prelude on ‘Resignation’”               Robert Hughes         

CALL TO WORSHIP

May we remember
That God created.
May we remember
That God liberated.
May we remember
That God fed.
May we remember
That God is still creating, God is still liberating, and God is still feeding us.
Let this be our story.
Let this be where we begin.
Let us worship holy God.

 

HYMN No. 612                      “We Praise You, O God”

1 We praise you, O God,
our Redeemer, Creator;
in grateful devotion
our tribute we bring.
We lay it before you;
we kneel and adore you;
we bless your holy name;
glad praises we sing.

2 We worship you, God of
our fathers and mothers;
through trial and tempest
our guide you have been.
When perils o’ertake us,
you will not forsake us,
and with your help, O Lord,
our struggles we win.

3 With voices united
our praises we offer
and gladly our songs of
thanksgiving we raise.
With you, Lord, beside us,
your strong arm will guide us.
To you, our great Redeemer,
forever be praise!

CALL TO RECONCILIATION

We have been buried with Christ in baptism, in order that we might be raised to new life with him through faith in the power of God.  Trusting in God’s grace, let us confess our sin.

PRAYER FOR FORGIVENESS

Holy God, We admit to remembering the wrong things.  We remember worldly lessons like, “Everyone for themselves,” “An eye for an eye,” and  “All is fair in love and war.”  And yet, we forget to forgive 70 times seven, To love our neighbors as ourselves, And to live like the body of Christ.  Why is it so hard to remember the right things?  Release us from our muscle memory and Re-center us in a new place, A fresh place, A space grounded in your love.  Help us to receive your word anew, And to consider stewardship not with the world’s rules, But with your rules.  Help us remember.  With hope we pray, Amen.   

Silence is observed

ASSURANCE OF PARDON

Because we were buried with Christ in these waters, we are also raised to life with him.  Believe the gospel!  In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.  Thanks be to God!

RESPONSE No. 581               “Glory Be to the Father”

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen, amen.

PASSING OF THE PEACE OF CHRIST

Our peace comes from knowing how much God loves us in Jesus Christ. With God’s help, we try to love and forgive one another as Christ loves and forgives us.
“The peace of Christ be with you,”
“And also with you.”

ANTHEM                   “How Can I Keep From Singing”                 arr. Don Dicie                      

CHILDREN’S MESSAGE

(all children will remain in the sanctuary)

PRAYER OF ILLUMINATION

Holy God, there is something about scripture that stirs us awake.  For when we hear of a deep love that made room for everyone at the table, we remember that we are hungry.  And when we hear of manna raining down in the desert, We remember that we are lost.  There is something about scripture that stirs us awake, And it feels like hunger and it looks like hope.  So, stir us awake, oh God.  Remind us that this story starts with love and ends with love.  We are hungry, which is to say, we are listening.  Amen.  

SCRIPTURE   Exodus 16:1-18 & Luke 22:1-23

Luke 22:1-23

16 The whole congregation of the Israelites set out from Elim; and Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt. 2The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather on other days.” So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening you shall know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your complaining against the Lord. For what are we, that you complain against us?” And Moses said, “When the Lord gives you meat to eat in the evening and your fill of bread in the morning, because the Lord has heard the complaining that you utter against him—what are we? Your complaining is not against us but against the Lord.”

Then Moses said to Aaron, “Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, ‘Draw near to the Lord, for he has heard your complaining.’” 10 And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked toward the wilderness, and the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. 11 The Lord spoke to Moses and said, 12 “I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning,  you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’”

13 In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. 14 When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. 15 When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?”[a] For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat. 16 This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Gather as much of it as each of you needs, an omer to a person according to the number of persons, all providing for those in their own tents.’” 17 The Israelites did so, some gathering more, some less. 18 But when they measured it with an omer, those who gathered much had nothing over, and those who gathered little had no shortage; they gathered as much as each of them needed.

Exodus 16:1-18

22 Now the festival of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was near. The chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to put Jesus[a] to death, for they were afraid of the people.

Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was one of the twelve; he went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers of the temple police about how he might betray him to them. They were greatly pleased and agreed to give him money. So he consented and began to look for an opportunity to betray him to them when no crowd was present.

Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. So Jesus[b] sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover meal for us that we may eat it.” They asked him, “Where do you want us to make preparations for it?” 10 “Listen,” he said to them, “when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him into the house he enters 11 and say to the owner of the house, ‘The teacher asks you, “Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”’ 12 He will show you a large room upstairs, already furnished. Make preparations for us there.” 13 So they went and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal.

14 When the hour came, he took his place at the table, and the apostles with him. 15 He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16 for I tell you, I will not eat it[c] until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; 18 for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.[d] 21 But see, the one who betrays me is with me, and his hand is on the table. 22 For the Son of Man is going as it has been determined, but woe to that one by whom he is betrayed!” 23 Then they began to ask one another which one of them it could be who would do this.

SERMON

It’s that time of year again…Stewardship season, which is a misnomer because as Presbyterians we believe that stewardship is a lifelong discipline and our Book of Order states that “The Christian life is an offering of one’s self to God. In worship the people are presented with the costly self-offering of Jesus Christ, are claimed and set free by him, and are led to respond by offering to him their lives, their particular gifts and abilities, and their material goods.”

Over the next four weeks, we will reflect upon our Money Story.  The stories that explain our understanding of Money – as individuals and as a community of faith.  We begin our series by looking back at what our spoken and unspoken money stories have been and how those stories have impacted our practices of stewardship. Having heard God’s word from Exodus and Luke, and remembering God’s steadfast relationship with us throughout time and trials, we might turn to Kathleen Jessie Raine’s poetry entitled, “Worry About Money:”

“Wearing worry about money like a hair shirt
I lie down in my bed and wrestle with my angel
My bank-manager could not sanction my continuance for another day
But life itself wakes me each morning, and love
Urges me to give although I have no money
In the bank at this moment, and ought properly
To cease to exist in a world where poverty
Is a shameful and ridiculous offence . . . .”

The opening stanza of Raine’s poem invites us into an experience which is both relatable and powerful, linking together ancient scripture (“wrestle with my angel”), the rhythms of daily life (“wakes me each morning”), and the poet’s money narrative (“My bank-manager could not sanction”).

How do you connect faith, life, and finance in your own story?

Remembering this story can be scary?

What stories have been told about money in your family?

What stories have you passed down to your children?

Not only do we have family stories about money, but we have biblical stories.

The Exodus account of the Israelites in the desert being told and retold as it is in our life of faith, is not unfamiliar, and it provides a powerful way to understand our relationship to God. –and I would add a way to think about money.

As we reflect on God’s provision to God’s people in the wilderness- in the midst of uncertainty and fear – God will provide.   we hear echoes from elsewhere in scripture, of God’s enduring love and faithfulness, which extends from generation to generation. The theme of God supplying enough found here in this text is a recurring theme throughout the bible including Jesus’ feeding of the thousands and Jesus feeding the disciples, even Judas who will betray him for 30 pieces of silver. Here we see a people enslaved for generations moving from an economy of fear and deprivation to one of provision and enough in the wilderness. Strikingly, God provides a concept for what “enough” looks like and guides the faith community into claiming a day of Sabbath, a practice that simultaneously provides rest and guards against hoarding.

Within this text readers can hear a faith community’s changing narrative of money—moving from one which Walter Brueggemann describes as “the endless rat race for sufficiency,”2 to that of living with enough. We are called both to individual and collective remembrance of our relationship to God and to reflect on our relationship to money.

How do you connect faith, life, and finance in your own story?

Remembering this story can be scary?

Remembering that our money stories shape our relationship to God

Remembering moments in each of our personal narratives where there was manna/enough

Remembering moments of insecurity while journeying in the wilderness

Remembering our relationship with money directly impacts our giving

Remembering the contrast between Pharaoh’s hoarding and God’s “enough”

Remembering that we are called to move from an identity of burden to one of freedom

Commentary and liturgy provided by Sarah Are, Mieke Vandersalls, and Erin Weber-Johnson

*AFFIRMATION OF FAITH

The story of God calls us to remember—
that creation was made good, and Sabbath is necessary.
The story of God calls us to remember—
that we belong to one another, for we are bone of bone and flesh of flesh.
The story of God calls us to remember—
that reconciliation between siblings is holy, and slavery of any kind is evil.
The story of God calls us to remember—
that the wilderness is real, and that God will be with us—  raining down manna and speaking in a still, small voice.
The story of God calls us to remember—
that love looks like healing the sick, eating with the outcast, making room for the children, and seeing the unseen.
The story of God calls us to remember—
because if we forget, we risk making God, love, and reconciliation small.
So as we remember, may we declare—
we believe in a God who made all things good, who stands with the suffering, walks with us in the wilderness, sees the overlooked, loves with an untamed heart, and makes room for all at God’s table.  

Amen.

*HYMN No. 697                    “Take My Life”                      300th Anniversary Hymn

Take my life and let it be
consecrated, Lord, to thee;
take my moments and my days;
let them flow in ceaseless praise;
let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Take my hands and let them move
at the impulse of thy love;
take my feet and let them be
swift and beautiful for thee,
swift and beautiful for thee.

Take my voice and let me sing
always, only, for my King;
take my lips and let them be
filled with messages from thee,
filled with messages from thee.

Take my sliver and my gold;
not a mite would I withhold;
take my intellect and use
every power as thou shalt choose,
every power as thou shalt choose.

Take my will and make it thine;
it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is thine own;
it shall be thy royal throne,
it shall be thy royal throne.

Take my love; my Lord, I pour
at thy feet its treasure store;
take myself and I will be
ever, only, all for thee,
ever, only, all for thee.

 

PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE & THE LORD’S PRAYER

Creator God,
Prayer has never been easy for us.
Our mind flutters with news updates and questions of faith—
our thoughts like a river that won’t stop.
So today we take a deep breath—
Inhaling your name into the cobwebs of our lungs,
Willing your presence to wipe away the dust of self-doubt and fear.
And with that breath,
We ask you that you would tell us again:
Tell us again how you moved over the waters.
Tell us again how you led them with a pillar of fire.
Tell us again of that still, small voice,
And then tell us of the prophets.
Tell us of Mary and Joseph and that angel chorus.
Tell us of the blind man, and the leper, and the crowds that you healed.
Tell us what it was like to walk on water.
Tell us of the little children that ran to you.
Tell us of the justice you preached.
Tell us of the hosannas and the palm branches.
Tell us again of the love that changed the world.
Tell us again, because we are forgetful people.
It is part of our human nature;
That is why we long for this space week after week,
So that we might be reminded of who we are and whose we are.
So tell us again.
For our anxiety is loud.
Our scarcity is loud.
Our fear is loud.
Our anger is loud.
Our shame is loud.
Our loneliness and self-doubt are loud.
Mental illness is loud.
Doubt is loud,
So tell us again.
Tell us again how it all began.
Tell us of manna in the wilderness and the disciples around the table.
Tell us again of your love for this world.
Tell us again how it changed everything.
Tell us again, so that we have the strength to tell others.
And as you do, pour out your Spirit on this table.
Tether your Spirit to our fragile bones.
Be with us in these ordinary symbols of extraordinary love,
And give us the strength to remember your story anew.
And so in practice and in faith, we join our voices together to do just that—
To remember, and to tell, praying together,

Our Father…

Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name.  Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

The flowers today are given in the glory and honor of God by Charlotte Nelson and Family in loving memory of Hank Nelson; and by Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Diehlman and Family in loving memory of her parents Dr. Chris and Betty DiPietro.

OFFERING OF TITHES & OFFERINGS

Like the people of Israel long ago, the children of God long for freedom in every age. We long for freedom from injustice and brokenness; we long for freedom from everything that holds us back from God and the new life God promises. That is what the ministry of this church is about: walking with God on our long journey, remembering God’s goodness each step of the way, feeling God’s presence with us. Let us gather our gifts together and offer them to God in gratitude and praise.

*OFFERTORY

*RESPONSE

Praise God, from whom all blessing flow, Praise God, all creatures here below.  Alleluia, Alleluia Praise God in Jesus fully know; Creator, Word and Spirit one. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

* PRAYER OF DEDICATION

Gracious God, as we come to you today in prayer, we admit that giving is complicated.  At times it is easier to remember our shame or guilt around giving, as opposed to your joy or generosity.  We all have our money narratives, and they affect us in different ways.  So today as we offer our gifts to you, we pray that you would re-center our narrative.  Remind us that we do not give out of shame or guilt.  We do not give out of obligation.  We do not give to feel worthy.  And we do not give to buy your grace.  We give out of a desire to participate.  We give as a sign of gratitude.  We give because we belong to one another.  We give to build a more just and equitable world.  We give because we love, and that’s what love does.  So, take these gifts and remind us that we belong to one another. Remind us that all money narratives are welcome at this table.  Remind us that whatever shame or guilt we bring with us will be washed away with your empathy and love.  Remind us, and then help us to build that more beautiful world.  In hope we pray, Amen.  

*HYMN No. 716                     “God Whose Giving Knows No End”

1 God, whose giving knows no ending,
from your rich and endless store,
nature’s wonder, Jesus’ wisdom,
costly cross, grave’s shattered door:
gifted by you, we turn to you,
offering up ourselves in praise;
thankful song shall rise forever,
gracious donor of our days.

2 Skills and time are ours for pressing
toward the goals of Christ, your Son:
all at peace in health and freedom,
races joined, the church made one.
Now direct our daily labor,
lest we strive for self alone.
Born with talents, make us servants
fit to answer at your throne.

3 Treasure, too, you have entrusted,
gain through powers your grace conferred:
ours to use for home and kindred,
and to spread the gospel word.
Open wide our hands in sharing,
as we heed Christ’s ageless call,
healing, teaching, and reclaiming,
serving you by loving all.

 

*BENEDICTION

Proclaim the good news, be persistent in prayer, do the work of the gospel, and carry out the ministry of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.