First United Methodist Church of Schenectady
Worship for Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
July 5, 2020
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.
“I am because we are, thanks be to God.”
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.
“Cantilene” by Malcolm Archer
Dominick Giaquinto – Organ
Call to Worship
From Shaping Sanctuary, edited by Kelly Turney
One: We come here by the grace of God, who knows each of us by name and calls us each God’s beloved child.
Many: From our separate homes, our socially distant lives we come together as one body, gathered in by the Spirit as a mother hen gathers her chicks beneath her wings.
One: Young, older, gay, straight, transgender, brown, black, white and all the glorious shades given us by God,
Many: We hear our names called to join in worship!
One: This is where we come together to follow God’s vision of a beloved community for all people.
Many: Liberation and unity, independence and interdependence, justice and faith, expressed through all our many, varied gifts. Let us worship together!
Hymn #2008: Let All Things Now Living
Connecting in Prayer
Mary Scifres, The Abingdon Worship Annual 2020
Prophetic One, you call us to new places and new ways. You challenge us to dance new steps and to sing new songs. We yearn to follow you with confidence and joy, but our resistance is often stronger than our willingness. At times, our steps falter. At moments, we can’t even hear your voice. Strengthen us with your mercy. Renew us with your grace. Sing to us with your compassion. Connect us with the yoke of unconditional love, that we may follow joyously, dance confidently, and sing praise and love with every act and with every word of our lives. In your holy name, we pray. Amen.
You are welcome to read this out-loud or silently.
Gracious God, we are overwhelmed. There is so much going on, some good and much not so good, and in our need to stay apart we don’t have our usual supports to help us through troubled times. We see some good happening now as the world is coming together to push for the end of racism and for justice for so many black and brown people who suffer from the end result of centuries of oppression. Yet, we still have far to go. Every day we see reminders of why the protests are needed, and how many hearts are filled with anger and hatred. Help us, O Lord, to effect the changes that are needed to make our world a safe and just place for all your beloveds.
We are also struggling with the reason for all this social distancing, a virus that has claimed so many lives and sickened so many more. Just when we thought/hoped the worst was over for now, it has come roaring back in so many places across our country. We ask for wisdom to live our lives in ways that protect each other from unnecessary risk, and for your help in reminding all your children to wear a mask and keep their distance, since through these measures thousands of lives will be saved.
We also acknowledge that there is the rest of life going on besides the virus, and ask for your help and healing for:
- Those facing chronic or acute illnesses such as cancer, autoimmune
disorders, and other illnesses or injuries that sap our strength and weaken
the body and soul;
- Those with anxiety and depression, made worse because we are missing
our loved ones – family members, friends – and when we see them we
- Those who are alone, lonely, hungry for food or attention; and
- Those who grieve, many alone, in this unsettled time.
We have room in our hearts for celebrating too:
- Those who shelter in place and wear masks to protect each other;
- The birth of children, especially the newest baby Kempf and baby Isaiah;
- All the graduates, especially those in the youth group who are going out in the world to new adventures;
- All those things, large and small, that make us smile and remind us that we are not alone, the world is still as it was, day follows night, and we will overcome these trials as we have others in our lives.
God of love and mercy, shower us with your grace, and help us to shower others with the love that we learn from You. Teach us your wisdom so that we make the right choices for today, and the best plans for tomorrow. For it is because we are loved that we can then love others. We ask in the name of Jesus. Amen
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
Come to Me – Dan Forrest
Scripture – Romans 7:15-25a
Mission Moment – Jan Huston
Volunteers are needed to help serve summer lunches to children in Schenectady. FUMC is responsible for providing volunteers July 13—17 (Mon.—Fri.) at Schenectady Central Library. Our time is 1:30-2:30. We need 2 or 3 people each day. The program is entirely mobile this year. Children will be given 2 bags – one with lunch for that day and one with breakfast for the following day. They will take the bags from the site to eat them. There will be no games or reading with the children this year. Volunteers are
needed to interact with the children and keep them safe, to meet the delivery vans and distribute lunches, to help keep the sites clean, to follow NY State guidelines, to maintain social distancing, and to show that the community cares!!
Some facts: SiCM is the only USDA Summer Meals Program in Schenectady
County. Over half of Schenectady’s youth live below the poverty level. Over 80% qualify for free lunch. Last year SiCM served 43,397 lunches and approximately 11,887 breakfast in Schenectady and Scotia – total meals=55,284! This could not be done without volunteers.
Please let Jan Huston know ASAP if you can help and which day/s you are
available. Since most of our summer activities are not available, here is an opportunity to get outside with people while providing a needed service during this stressful, divisive time.
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 #375: There is a Balm in Gilead
Scripture Reading: Matthew 11:16-19;25-30
Sermon – “Decluttering as an Act of Faith” – Rev. Michele Cole
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?
“Ev’ry Time I Feel the Spirit”
Jessye Norman, Soprano
Prayer of Presentation
God of Justice, we bring these gifts before you, given from the depth of our hearts to build your kingdom on Earth. Help us to use them wisely to support justice for those on the margins and to do as Jesus did, to welcome all people to join with us in a life of abundant love and grace. We ask through Christ the Lord, Amen
Hymn #593: Here I Am, Lord
May you leave this worship service, and the sacred gathering on Sunday morning, with hearts refreshed and a renewed commitment to finding God in the small things, the ordinary things, and even the difficult things. So that as we are called upon to collaborate in the making of God’s kingdom on Earth, we can find the courage and the strength to answer the call. Amen
“Prelude to a Te Deum” by Marc Antoine Charpentier