New Community E Note 11 21 2020
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Sunday. And, because it is the last Sunday of the liturgical year, it is also Christ the King Sunday. Our scripture for the day will be the parable of the sheep and goats in Matthew, chapter 25. And because we will be finishing our year in “mostly” Matthew’s gospel, we will be taking a look at this parable through the lens of our year’s journey through Matthew. I hope you will join us on our live stream on Face Book at 10 or anytime during the week on the website’s recording.
This week’s community meal featured lasagna, with salad and desert and we again served about 40 guests. Our new format of preparing the containers in the kitchen (socially distanced and masked) and delivering the meal to the car window or outside table seems to be working. Thanks to Rob for spearheading our community meal efforts and to all who help each week.
The thrift store is getting closer to reopening. Last week, Susan, JoAnn and Toby helped get things ready on Tuesday and Barb, Kent and Toby worked on Thursday. This week, JoAnn, Barb and Kent helped out Thursday. We will be working again Monday from 10 to 12 and if you would like to help, please give me a call or email. It is still a little uncertain if we will be ready to reopen the store next Saturday, but we are continuing to think it might be possible. That being said, some have suggested that since it is a “big” shopping day and a “big” tourist day, it would be safer and easier to postpone the opening a week and maybe avoid a crowd. (That doesn’t sound very business like, but our primary concern remains safety.)
We have been a little slower cleaning the Sanctuary and Classrooms as Madera County seems to be “stuck” in purple and the possibility of in person worship doesn’t seem very realistic at the present time. As soon as the store is open we will focus our efforts on cleaning the Sanctuary and classrooms.
Thanks again for your generous gifts. Because of your help we are staying current on the bills and catching up on our old obligations as we continue to serve the community.
This week's Service
November 29 2020
The First Sunday of Advent
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel UMH #211 1 or 2 verses piano only—then singers join for verse 1 only
O, God if you would only tear open the heavens and come down!
Come and shake us out of our apathy.
Come and unite us with your compassion.
Come and heal us with your presence.
You see, we are tired of waiting for you, tired of Covid, tired of all the junk and there is just too much going on right now.
Our rubble is not made of fragmented stones of long ago. Stories of fallen city walls and a devastated Temple. Our rubble is more subtle, but just as real. It is the rubble of a world turned in upon itself. Come God, Come.
O Come, O Come Emmanuel Verse 2
We are tired, God.
We are tired of being at war with our neighbor.
We are tired of tyrants who turn citizens into desperate refugees.
We are tired of fearing the stranger.
We are tired of the continual threat of destruction.
We are tired of people misusing their positions of power against others.
We are tired of acts of terror – and tired of our failure to imagine any other way to respond than the creation of terror in return.
We are tired of how our lusts and the distortion of our desires erode every relationship and destroy the lives of our children.
We are tired of greed and the way it forms systems that benefit the few on the backs of the many.
We are tired of our bluster, pride, and arrogance. Our divisive political rhetoric is pushing us to the point of exhaustion.
We are tired of keeping up appearances and expending all our energy for things that will not last.
We are tired of the idols of amusement that sedate us into apathy.
We are tired of drowning in information while starving for wisdom.
We are tired of floods, quakes, and winds. We cannot take any more death, and destruction. And we are tired of that deep inner sense of fear that we are unwittingly awakening those primeval forces of chaos that we cannot control.
With Judah, we begin a new year sitting in the rubble our sinfulness has made… morally, emotionally, spiritually and physically exhausted to the point of despair…
We have fallen into a gap of iniquity that seems to be swallowing all of creation in with it…
O Come, O Come Emmanuel Verse 7
YET… YET… You are our Father.
You are the potter… we are your clay.
So we gather to worship reminded that you are present in both our suffering and our hope.
But more than that, we gather to worship - not in fear of scarcity - but in the abundance of Advent hope that...
Your light can penetrate the darkness of our despair…
Your goodness can overcome the chaos of our evil…
Your grace can transform the rubble of our sin…
Your life can make all things new.
We come to worship today as prisoners of hope. Yes, prisoners of our real hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who had been given to us. And so, we place our trust you, as we proclaim “Christ has come, Christ will come again!”
“Toda la Tierra” (All Earth is Waiting) UMH #210
Welcome and Opening Prayer
“Following those hard times,
Sun will fade out,
moon cloud over,
Stars fall out of the sky,
cosmic powers tremble.
“And then they’ll see the Son of Man enter in grand style, his Arrival filling the sky—no one will miss it! He’ll dispatch the angels; they will pull in the chosen from the four winds, from pole to pole.
“Take a lesson from the fig tree. From the moment you notice its buds form, the merest hint of green, you know summer’s just around the corner. And so it is with you. When you see all these things, you know he is at the door. Don’t take this lightly. I’m not just saying this for some future generation, but for this one, too—these things will happen. Sky and earth will wear out; my words won’t wear out. 32-37 “But the exact day and hour? No one knows that, not even heaven’s angels, not even the Son. Only the Father. So keep a sharp lookout, for you don’t know the timetable. It’s like a man who takes a trip, leaving home and putting his servants in charge, each assigned a task, and commanding the gatekeeper to stand watch. So, stay at your post, watching. You have no idea when the homeowner is returning, whether evening, midnight, cockcrow, or morning. You don’t want him showing up unannounced, with you asleep on the job. I say it to you, and I’m saying it to all: Stay at your post. Keep watch.”
“Like a Child” FWS #2092
“Spirit, Spirit of Gentleness” FWS #2120
A Thanksgiving for our Offerings
Great God of wonderful surprises: we enter this
season of preparation for your Son’s coming,
looking not for just a memory of past events,
but anticipating a return. We strive to get our lives in order and pray that our giving of ourselves to these preparations might reflect the earth-shaking importance of his coming.
Help us to give ourselves generously, for we do not know the day or the hour. We pray in the name of the one who will come. Amen.
Give Thanks FWS #2036
Sharing the Prayers of our Community (Including Birthdays)
The Lords Prayer UMC #270
A Sending Forth for the First Sunday of Advent:
Inspired by Mark 13:24-37
If someone is hungry, then feed them.
If someone is naked, then clothe them.
If someone is lost, then show them the way.
If someone is afraid, then show them that he is strong!
If some are excluded, include them.
If someone is empty, then introduce them to the one who can fill them up.
If there is no shelter to house the people, build it.
Be the hands that lift your brothers/sisters up.
We have work to do before the Savior comes.
Don’t let him catch you asleep on the job.
Stay alert, stay diligent, and stay woke.
Be the church that Jesus brags about to his Father.
May his peace be with you until we meet again. Amen.
Star Child FWS #2095
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