Prelude “Are you Weary, Are you Heavy-Hearted?” [by E. S. Lorenz] Sarah Park
We are a community seeking to have open minds, open hearts, and open arms, building community in a fragmented world.
Opening Scripture Romans 15:13
13May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
*Response - Weave
Weave, weave, weave us together, Weave us together, in unity and love.
Weave, weave, weave us together, weave us together, together in love.
*Call to Worship (inspired by Psalm 146) Jon Bozeka
ONE: Happy are those whose hope is in God, maker of heaven and earth--
ALL: for God keeps faith forever!
ONE: God gives justice for the oppressed and gives food for the hungry.
ALL: God sets the prisoners free and opens the eyes of the blind.
ONE: God lifts up those who are bowed down.
ALL: God watches over the strangers and upholds the orphan
and the widow.
ONE: People of God, sing praise to the One who is your help—
ALL: for God keeps faith forever!
*Opening Hymn My Hope is Built #537, v.1-2
1 My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' name.
On Christ the solid Rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand
2 When darkness veils his lovely face,I rest on his unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale my anchor holds within the veil. [Refrain]
Invitation to Generosity
Invitation Jon Bozeka
Music: “All the Way my Saviour Leads Me” [by R. Lowry]
The Doxology #46
Praise God from whom all blessings flow; praise God, all creatures here below;
praise God above, ye heavenly host: Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.
Offering Prayer Jon Bozeka
God of Life and Love… we lift up our heads, hearts and hands to you in prayer.
We long to put our trust in you, to trust that your word is true that you are beside us and that you hear us. We lift up to you our longing for hope in a despairing world. We lift up to you our need for hope in a time when people are looking for something to believe in.
By your Holy Spirit prepare us to live and love in Jesus Name. We pray for strength when our faith falters. When our trust falters in our society, culture, and institutions…give us courage and resolve and imagination. Where there is anger, frustration, and hatred, help us to bring love and forgiveness, and hope. Fill us with confidence in your presence in our lives. Fill us with your joy and peace as we seek to be the people you have called us to be.
Today we lift up those facing despair in the face of medical news, natural disaster, war, and violence. We pray for our nation in these uncertain political and economic times. Who pray for our youth and children who both need good examples and are good examples to us. We pray today, for all those returning from Mission Trip and Ribbit Camp and for those heading on to Chi-Rho Camp. For the gift of these opportunities and for their transformative power we give you thanks.
Hear now our prayers of gratitude and concern in silent prayer…
In Jesus Name we pray, Amen.
Meditation Drema Herron
Communion Hymn Seed, Scattered, and Sown #395, v.1&3
Refrain: Seed, scattered and sown, wheat, gathered and grown,
bread, broken and shared as one, the Living Bread of God.
Vine, fruit of the land, wine, work of our hands,
one cup that is shared by all; the Living Cup, the Living Bread of God.
Is not the bread we break a sharing in our Lord?
Is not the cup we bless the blood of Christ outpoured? [Refrain]
3. As wheat upon the hills was gathered and was grown,
so may the church of God be gathered into one. [Refrain]
Prayer & Lord’s Prayer - Drema Herron
Words of Institution
Music: “What Can Wash Away My Sin” [by R. Lowry]
Scripture Hebrews 11:1-3
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. 3By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.
Sermon Hope in Dayton Rev. Chad Delaney
I had the great pleasure this week of spending a week due to tornado relief. A Sunday coming to you soon we will tell you all about it.
Our theme of the week was HOPE and every night we were led by the youth for devotions and each night we discussed Hope and Hopelessness: What is hope? Where does it come from? How does it formulate in our heart and spirit? What is hopelessness and what can we do about it?
I want to invite anyone from our trip to come up to share your responses to any of these questions:
- What is hope to you?
- Where does hope come from?
- What is the difference between a wish and a hope?
Our time together created this awesome opportunity to share wisdom, ideas, and wonderings about HOPE and I wanted to give you a little taste of that. So many questions and ideas were shared. It was powerful.
What was brought to our awareness in these conversations is that you can’t really talk about HOPE without talking about hopelessness. It was something we needed to talk about. The group talked about how hard the pandemic has been on family life, school, and mental health. We talked about the tragedies in the world such as the Ukraine War. Natural disasters like the one we were there to respond to. This talk of hope and hopelessness was clearly hitting a note…something we are all wrestling with as we look at what is happening in the world around us.
During the week I thought of so many great biblical characters who expressed profound despair at the situations in their life or in the world. While hope is scattered in abundance throughout the bible, it is accompanied by the acknowledgment of the reality of hopelessness.
The Prophet Jeremiah (15:18)
Why is my pain unceasing, my wound incurable, refusing to be healed?
O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen? Or cry to you ‘Violence!’ and you will not save?
There is a whole book called Lamentations
And let us not forget Jesus’ words from the Cross: My God, My God why have you forsaken me?
Hopelessness is a reality that can press in on us and was obviously not unfamiliar to those in biblical times. Listen church, if you have questions, despair, hopelessness…be assured that you are not NOT alone in the history of God’s people long ago or now. It is not a sign of unfaithfulness…but It marks us as human as we look for hope, as we look for God, in this weary world we live in. So what does Hope look like in the face of this darkness?
On the last night we had an amazing outdoor worship service led by CJ that began with everyone coming out of the church building and everyone getting a candle. Aspen informed me it was my job to light the first candle and make sure we all got lit for our walk over to our closing campfire. So all the youth came out and we got everyone their candles and started lighting. It was cool watching the youth and leaders lighting candles in a circle together. After all the candles were lit, we started walking toward the fire. A beautiful start to a powerful evening.
Well, it turned out our closing campfire was a long way away. A good 100 yards or so. How would we keep the candles lit? At first, I thought this was a kind of an “epic worship fail” of which I am abundantly familiar with…you plan something and can just see how beautiful and smooth it's going to go…but then it doesn’t. Been there, done that.
However, it became quickly evident that in this week when we talked about the dynamic of hope and hopelessness…this walk to the campfire could not have been a better illustration and image to end with. I don’t know if C.J. planned it that way, but it was brilliant, profound, and moving!
Some observations as we tried to keep our flames going…
- All of us were struggling to keep the candles lit.
- Some of us were more successful keeping our candle lit and people huddled around them.
- Some of us went really slow by ourselves sheltering our own candle.
- Some of us paired up, lighting each other's candles along the way.
- Some stopped with their candle lit and waited until it was stronger
- Some watched as their candle seemed to flicker out but then suddenly burst to life
- Some--whose lights had gone out--decided to just walk on to the campfire together.
- I remember someone observing…even if our light goes out, a big fire is waiting for us there…we can light our candles then.
It was absolutely amazing. Something I’ll always remember.
The walk to our closing fire was filled with so many chances for our flames to be blown out by the wind. Hopelessness metaphorically lurked in so many places. It would be nearly impossible to keep our flames lit the entire time. However, even with that reality what made the walk possible, enjoyable, beautiful…was that we had each other. We were together. Whether to light each other’s candles or to walk together in the darkness trusting we were going to make it.
As our scripture today in Hebrews says-- so often what we hope for and long for is unseen. Hard to imagine. Seems impossible. But with faith we keep putting one step in front of another trusting God will be there with us, will always be waiting for us, and that we have one another along the way.
Family of God, undoubtedly many challenges await us in our lives. Some of us may be facing a time of darkness and despair in these moments. We may be looking for hope when there just doesn’t seem to be room for it. Yet, we press on. So for Heaven and Earth’s sake…May we be Hope to one another. Hope embodied in service to each other…whether it be in the form of drywall, paint, smiles, or meals--as we love our neighbors. May we be Hope embodied in listening to each others’ stories of hopelessness and pain…to be seen and known and heard can give so much hope. To really be there for one another and to light each other’s candles. PAUSE
May we trust in God and truly embody hope to one another as we keep stepping-forward in faith. May it be so…Amen.
*Closing Hymn In the Bulb there is a Flower #638, v. 1-3
1 In the bulb there is a flower; in the seed, an apple tree;
in cocoons, a hidden promise: butterflies will soon be free!
In the cold and snow of winter there's a spring that waits to be,
unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.
2 There's a song in every silence,seeking word and melody;
there's a dawn in every darkness bringing hope to you and me.
From the past will come the future; what it holds, a mystery,
unrevealed until its season,something God alone can see.
3 In our end is our beginning; in our time, infinity;
in our doubt there is believing; in our life, eternity.
in our death, a resurrection; at the last, a victory,
unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.
Benediction Rev. Chad Delaney
- Join us for Sunday School Conversation
- Look forward to Day of Kindness next week
~ Written by Jan L. Richardson
Hope nonetheless. Hope despite.
Hope regardless. Hope still.
Hope where we had ceased to hope. Hope amid what threatens hope.
Hope with those who feed our hope. Hope beyond what we had hoped.
Hope that draws us past our limits. Hope that defies expectations.
Hope that questions what we have known. Hope that makes a way where there is none.
Hope that takes us past our fear. Hope that calls us into life.
Hope that holds us beyond death. Hope that blesses those to come.
May God bless you with grace, life, and hope now and always! Amen.
Postlude “Living for Jesus, Oh, What Peace!” [by C. F. Weigele] Sarah Park