First United Methodist Church of Schenectady
Worship for the First Sunday in Lent
February 21, 2021
Photo by Zach Long
It may help to center yourself into worship by lighting a candle, as a symbol of God’s presence with you during the time of worship. You may also want to pay attention to lighting, the position of your body, and the availability of distractions.
“Awe-inspirer, we reach for you”
Breath prayers involve breathing in the first phrase, and breathing out the second.
You may wish to simply pray for a moment before starting, or you may wish to pray while listening to the prelude.
Prelude on a Welsh Hymn Tune “Rhosymedre” by Ralph Vaughan Williams
My song is love unknown, My Savior’s love to me;
Love to the loveless shown, that they might lovely be.
O who am I, that for my sake my Lord should take frail flesh, and die?
Call to Worship
One: Breathe deeply, dear one,
let your body take in air.
Many: We breathe in, and we breathe out,
and we let go.
One: Breathe deeply, dear one,
let God’s presence nurture you.
Many: We breathe in, and we breathe out,
and God is with us.
One: Soften your grip, dear ones,
trust God to hold for you.
Many: We lower our shoulder and
remember God is trustworthy.
One: Prepare, get ready, dear ones,
make space for hope.
Many: We acknowledge and loosen our grip on fear,
to let God’s hope in.
Hymn #2237: As a Fire is Meant for Burning
Connecting in Prayer
God of Rain and Rainbows,
You are with us in the ordinary,
and the wondrous.
You shower us with the things of life,
and delight us with moments of awe.
In these long-lasting liminal days,
where life is not what was,
nor what it will be,
show us again the wonder
in the ordinary.
Let us be for others wonder in the ordinary.
Lover of Humanity,
God of Rainbows,
No one color, no matter how great, makes a rainbow.
The arc of color is defined by many colors.
We are like that. Humans, no matter how great, aren’t meant to be alone.
We exist in relationship to each other,
and we ache for each other when we can’t connect.
As days upon days of distancing pile up on each other,
the pain of distance can become overwhelming.
God who connects us,
be with those who are struggling most
in each moment
with the pains of trying to be human
without the others they need.
As we return to the season of Lent,
the season when life as we knew it stopped last year,
we remember and we grieve.
We grieve those we’ve lost this year,
we grieve those we’ve missed this year,
we grieve the brokenness where once we thought there was strength,
we grieve the normal we once knew,
we grieve who we were.
Help us, Dear One, to allow ourselves space for grief,
and of course space too for wonder.
Help us hold in tension all the emotions of today
Help us, Dear One.
The Lord’s Prayer
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 trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power,
and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Word and Reflection
Be Still and Know by Michael John Trotta
Scripture: Genesis 9:8-17
Mission Moment – Jan Huston
Virtual Card Party
FUMC has 2 Lenten mission projects, plus a photo show, and a suggestion from Pastor Sara to recognize daily gratitudes and challenges. Preparing for Easter will be a meaningful time.
Last Sunday’s mission moment focused on the project related to hunger. Although all church members and friends are encouraged to participate, we hope that this project will be particularly meaningful to children as they think about what hunger is and try to alleviate it
Today I want to share more about the Virtual Card Party in which we can share our concern for refugees and migrants in the Eloy Detention Center near Tucson, AZ. The Casa Mariposa Detention Visitation Program supports detainees who are living, sometimes for years, in very difficult conditions. Asylum seekers waiting for a hearing, people who have overstayed their visas, and others are kept in detention centers across the US. Before the pandemic, volunteers in the Casa Mariposa program visited detainees to provide friendship, books, and small items. They are not able to visit now and ask for cards to help the detainees know that there are people in the U.S. who care about them.
Before the pandemic, groups had card parties during which they were able to enjoy preparing cards together. Now we are asked to have “virtual card parties.” Create your own party atmosphere and prepare a few cards to brighten the day of someone who feels forgotten. Put each card in an unsealed envelope with a stamp on the envelope and a small letter on the back indicating what language is used – E (English), S (Spanish), F (French), E/S (English and Spanish). No address or return address should be on the envelope. Then put your cards in a larger envelope and mail or deliver them to the church. They will be sent together from the church to the volunteers in Tucson who will complete the process.
Messages should be something like “I’m thinking of you” or “I am praying for you. You are not forgotten.” Not all detainees are Christian so messages should not refer to Easter. ICE does not allow glitter, sequins, bows, stickers, or other pretty decorations on cards. More details as well as suggested messages in Spanish are in the February Spire or can be obtained from Jan Huston. More information about the Casa Mariposa Detention Visitation Program and the Casa Mariposa Community can be found online.
Although we are not able to have a fun card party together, it is hoped that we will be able to gather a large number of cards to express caring for people who are waiting to learn what will be the next part of their lives.
Both mission projects will end on Palm Sunday, March 28. If you participate in the flower sale on March 27, you might take your food for SiCM and/or your cards to church that day. If you need your donations to be picked up at your house, contact Barb Armstrong or Jan Huston.
Passing of the Peace
If you are worshiping with others, please pass the Peace of Christ.
Whether you are alone or with others, please take a moment to find God’s peace within, and then to share it with the world. You may want to reach out to speak peace to another during this week.
Hymn #508: Faith, While Trees are Still in Blossom
Scripture Reading – Mark 1:9-15
Sermon: “Rainbow and Rain” by Rev. Sara Baron
Photo by Alice Nash
If you wish, you are welcome to use this time to make a donation to the church online, or to put a check in the mail.
The time of offering is not only about our financial gifts to the church, it is about offering our lives to God and the building of the kindom. This is a time for reflection: What is being asked of us? What is being given to us? What are we able to offer? What do we need?
Offertory Anthem: “Lord, Sanctify Me Wholly” by Jean Pasquet arr. Lyndell Leatherman
Prayer of Presentation
God of the Rain and the Rainbow,
We thank you for all the gifts you have given in our lives, past and present.
We thank you for all the ways we’re able to contribute to your kindom.
We ask for your blessing on our gifts, that they may be used with wisdom.
We ask for your guidance in our community, that we may be faithful stewards
of the gifts given to the kindom.
Hymn #500: Spirit Song
As we continue to navigate this storm,
may we prepare ourselves to find the rainbows.
May we get ready for God’s hope. Amen
“Prélude a 5 parties” by Jacques-Nicolas Lemmens