THE ORDER OF SACRED WORSHIP      February 2, 2020

Prelude                                              Voluntary II                             Susan Doherty
                                                           Samuel Wesley

Words of Welcome                                                                   Rev. Gaye

Introduction                                                                        Linda O’Riley

Welcome to our worship service today. This morning we will be having a guest preacher… Jesus of Nazareth!!!
We will be hearing his Sermon on the Mount, which is found in Matthew, chapters 5, 6, and 7. Unfortunately, we don’t’ have time for the ENTIRE sermon, that would take too long, but we will hit most of the high-points!!

This sermon is a wonderful collection of Jesus’ teachings that tells us about living in God’s way — in God’s kin-dom. It is such a perfect day for this service, because of our Annual Meeting!
 During our time of worship, Jesus will speak to us about how we act in community, and will describe how a “Family of God” should live.

Matthew tells us that Jesus went up a mountain to preach,
and so we are reminded of all the other places in the Bible where people encounter God, and the word of God, on mountaintops.

For example, Exodus tells us that Moses received the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai (Exodus 19-20). 1st Kings tells us that Elijah encountered God on a mountain (1 Kings 19). So when Matthew says, “Jesus went up a mountain and taught,” he is saying to us:
“Listen carefully! What you are about to hear is important;
God is speaking to you here!”

Each section of Jesus’ teaching that we read (as translated in The Message by Eugene Peterson) will be followed by a hymn based on that section (written by the great contemporary hymn-writer,
Carolyn Winfrey Gillette
), and then by some sort of response.

*Call to Worship: based on Psalm 1:1-3                  Maribeth Peiniger

The truly happy person doesn’t follow wicked advice,
        doesn’t stand on the road of sinners,
        and doesn’t sit with the disrespectful.

Instead of doing those things,
these persons love the Lord’s Instruction,
        and they recite God’s Instruction day and night!

They are like a tree replanted by streams of water,
which bears fruit at just the right time and whose leaves don’t fade.
        Whatever they do succeeds.

Let us worship God together!

Our opening hymn is based on the words of the Beatitudes — probably one of the most familiar and beloved parts of Jesus’ teaching. It is sung to the tune of “Come, O Font of Every Blessing

**Opening Hymn           Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit            Tune: #459
Come, O Fount of Every Blessing

  1. Blessed are the poor in spirit; all God’s realm is surely theirs.
    Those in mourning will find comfort as an answer to their prayers.
    Meek ones whom this world despises will inherit everything.
    God, your kingdom still surprises; may we seek the reign you bring.
  2. Blessed, too, are those who hunger and who thirst for what is right.
    They will not be prone to wander, for your will is their delight.
    Those who show God’s care and mercy will receive that mercy too.
    God, in Christ you show us clearly of the joy we have in you.
  3. Those who share the peace God gives them
    will find blessings as God’s own.
    Those oppressed for faithful living will call heaven’s kingdom Home.
    When the world’s ways seem distressing
    and we feel life’s painful sting,
    God, remind us of the blessings of the wondrous life you bring.

Reading from Sacred Scripture:                                       Andy Kovats
       
Matthew 5:1-17 (The Message)                                                               

1-2 When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds,
he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him,
the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place,
he sat down and taught his climbing companions.
This is what he said:

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope.
With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—
no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves
proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. God is food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.

“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being
‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.

“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you
really are, and your place in God’s family.

10 “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kin-dom.

11-12 “Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people
put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds.

And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.

Salt and Light

13 “Let me tell you why you are here.
You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors
of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.

14-16 “Here’s another way to put it:
You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world.
God is not a secret to be kept.

We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill.
If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand.

Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives.
 By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

Completing God’s Law

17-18 “Don’t suppose for a minute that I have come to demolish
the Scriptures—either God’s Law or the Prophets.
I’m not here to demolish but to complete. I am going to put it all together, pull it all together in a vast panorama.

Hymn                        Up On a Mountain Top                  v. 1-2 Tune: #451
                             
Be Now My Vision

  1. Up on a mountaintop, Jesus sat down,
    Teaching the people who gathered around:
    Look for the blessings that God kindly brings;
    God’s loving kingdom is changing all things.
  2. You are the salt and you’re also the light.
    Flavor God’s world, with your faith shining bright.
    Know that I’ve come here, God’s word to fulfill.
    Keep the commandments and follow them well.

Kids’ Time                                                                                 Rev. Gaye

Reading from Sacred Scripture:                                   Arlene Penman
 
Matthew 5:21-26, 33-42 (The Message)                                                        

21-22 “You’re familiar with the command to the ancients,
‘Do not murder.’ I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother ‘idiot!’ and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell ‘stupid!’ at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill.

23-24 “This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters.
If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God.

25-26 “Or say you’re out on the street and an old enemy accosts you. Don’t lose a minute. Make the first move; make things right with him. After all, if you leave the first move to him, knowing his track record, you’re likely to end up in court, maybe even jail.
If that happens, you won’t get out without a stiff fine.

33-37 “And don’t say anything you don’t mean. This counsel is embedded deep in our traditions. You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying, ‘I’ll pray for you,’ and never doing it, or saying, ‘God be with you,’ and not meaning it.

You don’t make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace. In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true. Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong.

38-42 “Here’s another old saying that deserves a second look:
‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.’ Is that going to get us anywhere?

Here’s what I propose: ‘Don’t hit back at all.’ If someone strikes you, stand there and take it. If someone drags you into court and sues for the shirt off your back, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. And if someone takes unfair advantage of you,
use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.

Hymn                       Up On a Mountain Top                   v. 3, 5 Tune: #451
                                      
Be Now My Vision

  • Let go of anger, for it is a sin.
    It will destroy you, both outside and in.
    Even your thinking can lead you astray;
    Whatever tempts you, just throw it away.
  • If any hurt you, then you may resist,
    But not with hatred or weapon or fist.
    God’s way is stronger than any you face;
    Stand up and love them! And give them God’s grace.

Confession and Assurance                                                     Rev. Gaye

O God, we have heard Jesus’ teachings many times,
but we confess that sometimes we think they are impractical.
We let anger take hold of us.
We fail to keep our commitments to you and to others.
We lack courage to follow Jesus’ way of love.
Forgive us, we pray.
Help us to find joy in obedience to you. Amen.

Jesus teaches us in Matthew 7:11, “If you then, who are evil,
know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”
In Jesus Christ, God gives us the gift of forgiveness.

In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven!

Sharing of the Peace                                                               Rev. Gaye

Jesus forgives us and calls us to new relationships with God
and with each other. Let us share the peace of Christ
with those around us in the pews.

The peace of Christ be with you.
      And also with you.

Reading from Sacred Scripture:                                      George Whitt
      
Matthew 5:43-48 (The Message)                                                              

43-47 “You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’
and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that.

I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does.

God gives her best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—
to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty.
If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus?
Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.

48 “In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up.
You’re kin-dom subjects. Now live like it.
 Live out your God-created identity.
Live generously and graciously toward others,
the way God lives toward you.”

Special Music                          Neighbors                        
      Austin C. Lovelace   Choir
                               

Reading from Sacred Scripture:                          Lyn Ettinger-Harwell
       
Matthew 6:1-13 (The Message)                                                               

 “Be especially careful when you are trying to be good, so that
you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater,
but the God who made you won’t be applauding.

2-4 “When you do something for someone else, don’t call attention
to yourself. You’ve seen them in action, I’m sure—‘play-actors’ I call them—treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching,
playing to the crowds.

They get applause, true, but that’s all they get. When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks. Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out.

Pray with Simplicity

“And when you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat?

“Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply
and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God,
and you will begin to sense God’s grace.

7-13 “The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice,
peddling techniques for getting what you want from God.

Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Divine Parent you are dealing with, and God knows better than you what you need.

With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this:

(please join me in saying the Lord’s Prayer
just as it is displayed on the screen from The Message)

Lord’s Prayer                                                                                          

Our Father in heaven, Reveal who you are.
Set the world right.  Do what’s best— as above, so below.|
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and (all the world’s temptations).
You’re in charge! You can do anything you want!
You’re ablaze in beauty! Yes. Yes. Yes!

Hymn                   Don’t Show Off Your Giving                   v. 1 Tune: #76
                            
Sent Forth By God’s Blessing

  1. Don’t show off your giving — the good you are doing —
    But quietly give without public display.
    Let prayer be in secret, your spirit renewing.
    Don’t heap empty phrases, but pray then this way:
    “Our Father in heaven, may your name be holy.
    We pray for your kingdom and our daily bread.
    Forgive us our sins as we, too, pardon freely.
    Protect us from troubles and evils we dread.”

Responsive Reading from Sacred Scripture:                    Jan Hinkley
   
Matthew 6:16-21 (Common English Bible)                                                      

And when you fast, don’t put on a sad face like the hypocrites.
They distort their faces so people will know they are fasting.
 I assure you that they have their reward.
         When you fast, brush your hair and wash your face.
      Then you won’t look like you are fasting to people,
      but only to your Father who is present in that secret place.
      Your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“Stop collecting treasures for your own benefit on earth, where moth and rust eat them and where thieves break in and steal them.
      Instead, collect treasures for yourselves in heaven,
      where moth and rust don’t eat them and where
      thieves don’t break in and steal them.

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Hymn                   Don’t Show Off Your Giving                   v. 2 Tune: #76
                         
Sent Forth By God’s Blessing

  • Whenever you’re fasting, don’t show off to others,
    In hopes that your neighbor will speak well of you.
    Don’t brag of your faith to your sisters and brothers,
    For it is enough that God sees what you do.
    Don’t hoard earthly treasure or trust your possessions;
    Instead seek God’s Kingdom—its worth never lessens–
    And find your heart’s treasure in things that endure.

Our Tithes & Offerings                                                           Rev. Gaye

May what we give today be blessed.
May all that we receive today enrich our lives and the lives of others. Amen

Offertory                            Mit Freudan Zara                        Susan Doherty
John Ferguson                                       
                                                                                                              

*Love Doxology                                                        “                                                                                  

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Praise God all creatures here below.
Praise God for all that Love has done. Creator, Christ, and Spirit, One.

Reading from Sacred Scripture:                                       Danny White
   
Matthew 6:22-26, 30-34 (The Message)                                                     

22-23 “Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. If you pull the blinds on your windows, what a dark life you will have!

24 “You can’t worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you’ll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other. You can’t worship God and Money both.

25-26 “If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion.

There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach,
more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to God than birds.

30-33 “If God gives such attention to the appearance of (birds and) wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do her best for you?

What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so
preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving.
People who don’t know God and the way God works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how God works.

Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions.
Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

34 “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now,
and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up
when the time comes.

Celebration of Faith                                                    CharlynAnn Iuppa

Let us rise, as we are able, and lift up this precious faith that God has given us, using the words of celebration penned by Dorothy McRae.

We celebrate that we are safe in the hands of God.
That God does not leave us alone,
        who breathes within us our life and walks within our way.

We affirm that Jesus as Companion truly lived as we do:
        cried out with our cry, laughed with our laughter.

We believe that we are not defined
by the deaths that others deal us,
        and we need not be defeated
        by the powers which stand against us.

We claim this peace in Christ.
        We receive this miracle from Creator God.
        We celebrate this hope from Empowering Spirit.

**Hymn                                                            Tune: UMH #99
To God Be the Glory
                
You’ve Called Us Together, O God, By Your Grace                  

  1. You’ve called us together, O God, by your grace;
    In grateful obedience, we’ve come to this place.
    Our new common mission has only begun;
    We’re learning the blessings of serving as one.

REFRAIN:         We are called! We are free! We are baptized as one.
                   In the church, all we need can be found in your son!
                         With Christ to unite us, and born from above,
                          we witness together to your wondrous love.

  • We are one in the faith, and in creeds that we share,
    in worship and sacraments, scripture and prayer.
    We’re one in our seeking to follow Christ’s way,
    in Spirit-led ministry, day after day.

REFRAIN:                        We are called! We are free! We are baptized as one.
                                            In the church, all we need can be found in your son!
                                                  With Christ to unite us, and born from above,
                                                    we witness together to your wondrous love.

Reading from Sacred Scripture:                                         Robyn Firth
   
Matthew 7 (The Message)                                                                           

1-5 “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment.
That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging.
It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt?

It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.

“Don’t be flip with the sacred. Banter and silliness give no honor to God. Don’t reduce holy mysteries to slogans. In trying to be relevant, you’re only being cute and inviting sacrilege.

7-11 “Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need.
This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in.
If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust?
If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate?

As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?

12 “Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God’s Law and Prophets and this is what you get.

Being and Doing

13-14 “Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do.
The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention.

15-20 “Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don’t be impressed with charisma; look for character. Who preachers are is the main thing, not what they say. A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook. These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned.

21-23 “Knowing the correct password—saying ‘Master, Master,’ for instance—isn’t going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience—doing what my Father wills. I can see it now—
at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying,
‘Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons,
our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.’

And do you know what I am going to say? ‘You missed the boat.
All you did was use me to make yourselves important.
You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of here.’

24-25 “These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock.

26-27 “But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house
on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up,
it collapsed like a house of cards.”

28-29 When Jesus concluded his address, the crowd burst into applause. They had never heard teaching like this. It was apparent that he was living everything he was saying—quite a contrast to their religion teachers! This was the best teaching they had ever heard.

Sacrament of Holy Communion                                              Rev. Gaye

The Invitation

Jesus invited all to the feast of peace and new life.
Jesus risked everything in compassion.
Jesus promised to make himself known 
in the breaking of the bread.

Thanksgiving

We give thanks for the wonderful gift of reflective awareness
that allows us to recognize and name the presence of a Creative Spirit
beyond all imagining, in our universe.
        And we give thanks.

Everything we have,  Everything we see,   Everything we do
Everyone we love and everyone who loves us
reveals this sustaining Presence and our total dependence on it.

We marvel and wonder at the size and complexity of our universe…
We marvel and wonder at the development of life on this planet…
        We give thanks for the creative Presence
        that ‘energizes’ this life and all that exists…

We recognize that human life gives this Presence
a particular way of coming to expression,
and that in us the Presence can sing and dance,
speak and write, love and create.

Conscious that we live, move, and have our being in this Presence,
we give thanks for people throughout history
who have affirmed this loving presence in all people.

For those who have invited people to give witness to this
by lives characterized by gratitude, compassion,
generosity and forgiveness.

Especially we give thanks for the sage Jesus of Nazareth.
He loved so greatly and taught so clearly and courageously,
he was able to set people free from images, and ideas,
and religious practices that bound them into fear
and a false sense of separation from the Spirit of all Life.

Through him we have learned how our loving
is a sharing in the life of this Spirit.

In him we see this Presence urging all of us
to make its creativity on earth more visible.

We also remember how Jesus shared meals with his friends.
Through grain and grape, bread and wine, and in fellowship together,
he spoke of his enduring love for each of them.

So we take this bread and this juice
mindful of the Presence at work in our lives,
in the ordinary, in the everyday.

Bread and Wine

Baking this bread,
        we confess our dependence upon,
        our participation in, the world of nature
.

Breaking this loaf,
        we confess our dependence upon,
        our responsibility for the community of life

Pouring out this fruit of the vine,
        we commemorate men and women of all ages
        who have poured themselves into the search for beauty,
        for truth, for goodness and love…

Those who have brought us closer to each other,
those who have brought us closer to that Great Love
the generations have sometimes named God.

Communion will be served by intinction.
 Please, come forward, as you feel led, using the center aisle.
Take a piece of bread, dip it into the cup,
then enjoy this gift of love, life, and belonging.
Then you may return to your seat by the side aisles.

Announcements                                                                       Rev. Gaye

**Closing Hymn           God, We Join in Celebration                 Tune: #4   
Joyful, Joyful, We Adore You

  1. God, we join in celebration of your love and faithfulness:
    Long ago, our congregation gathered in the wilderness.
    Long ago, your people worshipped, shared the gospel, served you well,
    Celebrated grace and friendship, then went out, your love to tell.
  2. What a faith-filled, rich tradition we are blest, O Christ, to know.
    Guided by your Great Commission, many helped our church to grow.
    Called by you to love their neighbors,
    thousands served you here with grace.
    Thank you for their loving labors that have brought us to this place.
  3. Grateful for the past you’ve given, now we look in hope to you.
    Make us salt, and light, and leaven, working for a world that’s new.
    By your Spirit, lead and guide us as your loving family,
    Teach us, shape us, walk beside us! Send us out in ministry!

**Benediction                                                                             Rev Gaye

Postlude                    Praise the Lord Who Reigns           Susan Doherty
                                       Franklin Ritter