Prelude - “Oh, the Best Friend to Have” [by P.P. Bilhorn] - Sarah Park
We are a community seeking to have open minds, open hearts, and open arms, building community in a fragmented world. Welcome to the Mantua Center Christian Church!
Opening Scripture - Psalm 34:11-14
11 Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12 Which of you desires life, and covets many days to enjoy good?
13 Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit.
14 Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.
*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
ONE: God is here! So don't let go of all the reasons to rejoice.
ALL: We will sing a song of peace to the One who fills our lives with joy.
ONE: God is here!! So don't stop lifting your prayers with thanksgiving.
ALL: We will sing a song of peace, to the One who hears our words and silence.
ONE: God is here! So don't stop giving your hearts to God.
ALL: We will sing a song of peace to the One who graces us with a peace that passes all understanding.
*Opening Hymn - Praise to the Lord, the Almighty #25, v. 1, 2, & 4
1 Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, who rules all creation.
O my soul, worship the wellspring of health and salvation.
All ye who hear, now to God's temple draw near.
Join me in glad adoration.
2 Praise to the Lord, who o'er all things so wondrously reigneth,
who, as on wings of an eagle uplifted, sustaineth.
Hast thou not seen? All that is needful hath been
granted in what God ordaineth?
4 Praise to the Lord, who doth nourish thy life and restore thee,
fitting thee well for the tasks that are ever before thee.
Then to thy need God as a mother doth speed,
spreading the wings of grace o'er thee.
Invitation to Generosity
Invitation - Becky Tipton
Music: “What a Friend We Have in Jesus ” [by C. C. Converse]
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 - Becky Tipton
Children’s Moment - Rev. Chad Delaney
Pastoral Prayer - Rev. Chad Delaney
Dear Lord our God, we are thankful that you are constantly at work in our lives.
You are…a help in times of difficulty, a strength in times of weakness, a guide when we feel lost and alone
We know that through Your Son, Jesus Christ, You have the power…to transform lives, to mend broken relationships, to bring strength to the weary, and hope to the broken hearted. So we bring our worries and our burdens, our hopes and dreams, before you knowing that you are the Lord of our lives and the hope of the world.
Today we pray for world leaders that they may always seek the peace and security of our world:
We pray for countries laid waste by war and conflict and dictatorship
We pray for the police and the emergency services, as they seek the peace and security of our nation;
and for ordinary people caught up in the events of world politics.
Lord we pray for your church here in our area of the world;
We too, have problems and needs and concerns—
worries about ourselves, our families and those we love.
We remember in our prayers today…
those who are worried about their health and what the future might hold
those who feel anxious or depressed or afraid
those who are in hospital
those with burdens they find impossible to share
those who still mourn the loss of someone dear to their heart.
And we pray for ourselves—
that we might know the challenging and gentle presence of Christ
in all parts of our lives—leading us, guiding us, encouraging and directing us,
now and always. Amen.
Meditation - Roger Cram
Communion Hymn - Here at Thy Table, Lord #384, v.1-2
1 Here at thy table, Lord, this sacred hour,
O let us feel thee near, in loving power;
calling our thoughts away from self and sin.
As to thy banquet hall we enter in.
2 Sit at the feast, dear Lord, break thou the bread;
fill thou the cup that brings life to the dead;
that we may find in thee pardon and peace;
and from all bondage win a full release.
Prayer & Lord’s Prayer - Roger Cram
Words of Institution - Rev. Chad Delaney
Music: “I’ve Wandered Far Away From God ” [by W. J. Kirkpatrick]
Scripture - Philippians 4:1-7
Therefore, my brothers and sisters,* whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved. 2 I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion,* help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life. 4 Rejoice* in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.* 5Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Sermon - “A Defensive Posture?” - Rev. Chad Delaney
Recently I was watching one of my favorite shows--Parks and Recreation--and a scene touched on the ways we can respond to our mistakes. There was an episode where the main character Leslie had accidentally caused injury to a local citizen on a city work site. She wanted to visit the injured fellow at the hospital and apologize, but the city’s lawyer went with her and he had other plans. This is how their conversation went:
Leslie: All I'm going to do is go in and just say, "We're so sorry. It's entirely our fault."
Scott: No, no, no. You can't say any of that. It admits liability. You can't say "I'm sorry" or "I apologize." It implies guilt.
Leslie: That's insane. I have to apologize. Andy was a victim...
Scott: You can't say "victim".
Leslie wanted to fess up, come clean, and take full responsibility--yet her counsel was preparing a defense, planning the denial and blame story.
I wonder what was going on in the minds of Euodia and Syntyche in our story today. They were Paul’s partners in that location. Loyal co-laborers of the Gospel. Yet they were clearly having some issues. Not on the same page and it's obviously affecting the lives of those around them--otherwise Paul wouldn’t have mentioned it.
“2 I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord.3Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion,* help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel.”
I wonder what happened in the moment inside of each of them when they heard their names called? It's been a struggle and now the Apostle Paul is putting it in his letters. Sheesh.
We’d like to think they would be like Leslie--each of them eager and happy to take responsibility for what was happening. They would each take turns listening to one another, express understanding, and find a way forward.
However…I wonder if they had that little Defense Lawyer in their minds getting some defense arguments ready.
- Denial. Go with the whole Napoleon Bonaparte strategy…he once said: “never retreat, never retract... never admit a mistake.”
- Blame: Well, that would have never happened if Euodia wouldn’t have said thus-and-such. I only did that because she did this.
- Excuses: I was tired, I was hangry, it's been a rough week.
We’ve all had these moments with our co-workers, friends, spouses, significant others, children… conflict is human and inevitable. Being defensive is natural and understandable. No one likes to find out they were wrong or caused harm to others…its uncomfortable. AND yet, to be defensive often just leads to more conflict. Depending on the situation, the person, the time of day, the time of LIFE…we usually keep that Defense Lawyer on retainer…ready with input.
When I meet with couples leading up to their wedding, one of the topics we always talk about is how they handle conflict. The questions…How would you handle/settle an argument? What do you do if you cannot agree?...create quite a bit of conversation. Some peoples’ conflict management style is avoidance. Some is to stuff it inside and let it burn. Sometimes it's to go on the attack. What is your tendency? Everybody encounters conflict at some point…that is inevitable.
The apostle Paul urges these leaders in the midst of their conflict to “be of the same mind.” The Greek word here is phroneo and comes from the root word phren…meaning “the midriff or diaphragm; the parts around the heart," J. Thayer. Paul’s not saying that they have to think exactly the same way about everything…just that they are on the same page about the heart of the matter. What really matters.
Whether in our family, relationships, spouse, work, or church…what is most important to us? Being right? Justifying our actions? Conflict can sometimes bring out the worst in us. We get that fight or flight instinct and can say or do things that are hurtful to others, to ourselves, to our relationships, to those we care about. Or can we be open to learning and feedback…keeping Relationship and Love at the heart of the matter?
We don’t know what became of Euodia and Syntyche…there is no further record of them in the New Testament. Who knows how or if they resolved the issue or how the church handled it. Did they have a defensive posture or an open one? Maybe we can take that as a challenge in this time and place.
So…how are we in the middle of conflict? How do we show up? What does faithfulness look like? What does LOVE look like? In the midst of conflict may we be less filled with pride and self-defense. To be more open to admitting mistakes and trying to make things right. To seek reconciliation and peace-making rather than spouting bitter rebuttals, blame, and making excuses. And to be way less judgmental of others and more willing to offer grace and understanding.
Paul commissions them to be of the same mind in the Lord--to listen, to love, to be quick to amidst mistakes and to apologize. AND Paul calls on the church to support and encourage those in time of struggle. How we handle conflict matters because it will make a huge difference in the situation and our relationships. It says something about who we are as children of God. We can do our part to create a sense of peace in our relationships, our home, our work, our church so that love is always at the center. May it be so!
*Closing Hymn - Let There be Peace on Earth #677
Let there be peace on earth And let it begin with me
Let There Be Peace on Earth The peace that was meant to be
With God our Creator Children all are we
Let us walk with each other In perfect harmony.
Let peace begin with me Let this be the moment now.
With ev'ry step I take Let this be my solemn vow
To take each moment and live
Each moment in peace eternally
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me
Benediction - Rev. Chad Delaney
- After Church
- Life Study, Wednesday Afternoon
- Love to have your input next Sunday for Re-Centering
4 Rejoice* in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.* 5Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Postlude - “Encamped Along the Hills of Light” [by I. D. Sankey] - Sarah Park