This week's service invites us to really take in the events of the last few weeks and to listen for the pain in our culture, especially in the black community. Racism is still with us in so many ways and we do well to listen and learn as much as we can. The Apostle Paul, in our scripture, reminds us that sometimes we need to hear something we might not want to hear.
I recognize that this is a tough issue for most of us and I also know that folks might not always agree with where I'm coming from. That's OK! I'm not claiming by any means that I have it all figured out and as your pastor I'm inviting you to think/pray/study critically to grow and learn about the issues and go on your own journey. I'm always here as a dialogue partner. I still have much to learn. Our church, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), has committed us to being an Anti-Racist and Pro-Reconciling church. How can we better be part of the solution, rather than the problem? This is important work for us here in 2020 and beyond. I will be starting a reading group this summer to look at these issues. Stay tuned.
For the service, I am pleased to include a sermon segment from Rev. Dr. Robin Hedgeman from Bethany Christian Church in Cleveland. She is one of our stellar Disciples preachers/pastors in Ohio and she gave me permission to include a segment of her preaching last Sunday, May 31st, 2020.
Our music today is provided by Adam for the hymns. We will have the pleasure of hearing from Jan Green on the organ! This contemplative piece, "O Lord, hear our Prayer" provides such a wonderful meditation space for us in our time of prayer. Thank you Jan for offering your music. We also have a beautiful communion meditation and prayer from Tim Bennett that reminds us of our common experience in this time and that we still come to the table together. Thank you, Tim.
The direct link to the service is: https://youtu.be/fRWjZT0VXw0
If you want to join our Zoom Fellowship to watch the service and take communion together, I will open the Zoom Room at 9:15ish and we'll have our Fellowship Time at 10:30am shortly after the service ends.
Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/633945472?pwd=NVRYSnd4RG96dUFNL3lQSmNwQzYwUT09
God's peace be with you this weekend and looking forward to worship together!
Peace, Pastor Chad
Sunday, June 7th, 2020
Mantua Center Christian Church
MCCC Home Worship
You will need:
A candle and match
Bread and Juice (if desiring communion)
Order of Worship
WELCOME PANEL on the Video
- Welcome to Worship
- Today you can gather
- A candle and match
- Bread and Juice (if desiring communion)
GREETING & CALL to WORSHIP - CHAD
The Peace of the Risen Christ and the Power of the Holy Spirit be with you. Welcome to worship this week with the Mantua Center Christian Church. Together...we are seeking to have Open Minds, Open Hearts, and Open Arms to live and love like Jesus.
As people of faith, we come together for prayer, communion, and the comfort that is felt by being together. And yet, we also come together to recognize and hear the cry of the hurting. To face the realities present. The great 20th Century theologian urged Christians to have the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other.
Many events have transpired in our nation over the last few weeks. The tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Armaud Arbery. There is an ache in the country that we see acted out in so many different ways. How will the church respond? In the city? In the country? In the suburbs? Paul wrote the Corinthians long ago, “26If one member of the Body suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together with it.”
So today we explore together what it means for us as people here and now to confront the hard truths in the world. How open are we to hear what we might not want to hear?
Family in Christ, let's come together knowing that in the midst of whatever confusion, anger, and fear we have within. In the midst of our joy, gratitude, and eagerness for truth we have...that God is here. God is with us, walking beside us on the journey.
Light a Candle - Let us worship together...
OPENING SCRIPTURE - Amos 5:21-24
Our opening scripture reading is a tough one delivered by Amos to the kings of the Northern Kingdom of Israel back in the 8th Century BCE. Amos was a sheep herder and was called by God to speak truth in a difficult time. As the people of God do, we wandered from the teachings God pressed upon them. Amos tells them they had pushed aside the needy at the gate and trample the poor. So God says through him Amos 5:21-24...
21 I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.
22 Even though you offer me your burnt-offerings and grain-offerings, I will not accept them; and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals I will not look upon.
23 Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps.
24 But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
MOMENT with ALLY
HYMN - What a Friend we have in Jesus
PASTORAL PRAYER - Sarah Smith
Holy of Holies, in this season of chaos, we do not pray for peace because we misunderstand your peace as complacency. Instead, we ask for justice to rain down on your people, on all people. May we follow your call towards justice. Where you call us to start over, ease our fears of change. Where you call us to action, may we be emboldened to do your work for good. Where you call us to rest, may we do so knowing that we have put the work in and will pick it back up again when those around us need rest too.
Almighty, now more than ever we ask for your wisdom in seeing the light. We ask for the healing of the body and the soul of our peoples and communities. We are being destroyed from the inside from the spread of disease, both viral and philosophical. May we, in this time of vulnerability, take every precaution and every action to make sure that the world of tomorrow reflects your Kingdom here on earth.
Holy Mother, there are moments that blot out our ability to reason, to speak, moments where we are feeling too much, moments where we become numb to protect our souls. In this silence, may you meet us with wisdom. In our grief, may you meet us with compassion. In our anger, may you meet us with the path to justice. Hear us now in the silence.
As we gather separately as your community, hear us now as pray the prayer Jesus taught us...
SPECIAL MUSIC -- Lord, Hear my Prayer by Jan Green
SCRIPTURE & SERMON - Chad Delaney
Meditation and Prayer - Tim Bennett
Words of Institution - Sarah Smith
CLOSING HYMN - Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling
BENEDICTION - Sarah Smith
There were many places you could have been and things you could be doing in this hectic and, dare I say it, unprecedented time, and we are grateful that you are taking the time to be in community with us here at Mantua Center Christian Church. There are big things happening in the United States and across the globe. The affliction that has struck our country, Covid-19, has peeled back the layers of the system to reveal a disease that has long plagued our nation: racism. We are a community in mourning, in grieving, living into generational guilt, privilege, anger, and calls for justice. The path before us is shifting as we seek the light of justice. Rev. Barclay of Enfleshed: Liturgy that Matters offers the following benediction:
We are not made powerless before evil. We need not cower or turn away.
The Spirit of Christ sends us to live out the good news.
God equips us.
God enables us.
God empowers us.
May our shared longings for justice be a source of strength and hope in times of trouble.
Go with peace, and welcome the presence of God.