Sunday, May 24, 2020

Seventh Sunday of Easter

CENTERING WORDS
That all may be one, recognizes the image of God in the faces of those who are not in our own image.  -Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

Prelude “Star Spangled Banner” – S. Conrady

PREPARATION
Light a candle. Pause and breathe deeply in the Spirit of God. Keep a moment of silence.

WELCOME
MORNING PRAYER
Holy God, we gather in the sanctuary of our homes, our back yards, wherever we need to be, to honor and glorify you.
Receive our invitation to dwell with us.
Enfold us in your presence and fill us again with holy awe and mystery.
We are yours and we claim you as our God.Amen.

Hymn “Crown Him With Many Crowns” No.199

1. Crown him with many crowns, the Lamb upon his throne.
Hark! how the heavenly anthem drowns all music but its own.
Awake, my soul, and sing of him who died for thee,
and hail him as thy matchless king through all eternity.

2.
Crown him the Lord of love; behold his hands and side,
rich wounds, yet visible above, in beauty glorified;
no angels in the sky can fully bear that sight,
but downward bends their burning eye at mysteries so bright.

PRAYER OF CONFESSION (unison)
Lord God, we brought nothing into this world and can take nothing out of it. Yet, while we are here, the things of this world become terribly important to us.
We find it hard to believe your promises that we will eat in plenty and be satisfied, for we know of many for whom this is not true. We love money and the things money can buy.
We want to feast on the abundance of this earth.
We think that when we are truly rich we can be more generous, but we never have enough to risk truly liberal sharing.
O God if this is keeping us from you, forgive us, show us a better way. Give us a new perspective from which to view what really matters in life. Have mercy on us we pray. Amen.

A moment of silent reflection

WORDS OF ASSURANCE
God’s love is steadfast, and God’s faithfulness endures from age to age. Our love falters, and our faithfulness waxes and wanes from day to day. God’s grace for us never ends. In Christ Jesus we are forgiven.
Thanks be to God.

MESSAGE
A Time for Children of all Ages

ANTHEM  “In Christ Alone” – S.Townend & K. Getty,  arr. D. Wesley

Scripture Reading Gospel of John 17:1-11 (NRSV)

Jesus Prays for His Disciples
After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.

“I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. 11 And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.

Morning Reflection “Thank you for praying for me, Jesus”

Hymn Rejoice, the Lord Is King         No. 204

1. Rejoice, the Lord is King: Your Lord and King adore!
Rejoice, give thanks and sing, And triumph evermore.
Lift up your heart,
Lift up your voice! Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

2. Rejoice in glorious hope! Our Lord and judge shall come
And take His servants up To their eternal home:
Lift up your heart,
Lift up your voice! Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

THANKSGIVING
Sharing Our Joys and Concerns
Prayers of the People
Lord’s Prayer (trespasses)
Offering
Your gifts to St. Albans Congregational Church matter now more than ever! We encourage people to continue to make an offering by mailing to the church. Your generosity in this time makes a big difference!
OFFERTORY PRAYER
The commandment to love one another is inclusive and ongoing – our charge to love does not stop after the service is over, but keeps moving ever outward, to the community and nation and world.
Bless the gifts we bring to you today Dear God, that through this offering we may share your love with the whole world.
Bless us, to do your will and to do your work. Amen.

DEPARTURE
CLOSING PRAYER (unison)
Spirit of Life, in whom we live and move and have our being, thank you for this day. We thank you, O God, for your presence in our lives and in your whole creation.
Fill us with your power that by truthful words, just actions, and shared life we may witness to what really matters of the life of Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.

Closing Hymn “O Beautiful for Spacious Skies”  No. 440

1. O beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain;
for purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain!
America! America! God shed his grace on thee,
and crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea.

2. O beautiful for heroes proved in liberating strife,
who more than self their country loved, and mercy more than life!
America! America! May God thy gold refine,
till all success be nobleness, and every gain divine.

Postlude “Star Spangled Banner” – S. Conrady

*****

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Let us know if you or others you know are currently in self-quarantine, sick, or feeling isolated, and would appreciate being contacted.  Please contact Pastor Gary (awlofvt@hotmail.com / 802-345-7954 cell).

In an effort to keep in touch with our membership the church sends out bulletins and announcements. If you know someone who would like to be added to this email list, please reply to the church (First_Congregational_Church@yahoo.com) with the person or family’s email address or contact information.

Vespers Service: Join us on the church’s Facebook page Wednesday nights at 7:30pm for our Vespers Service.

Mission and Donations: As many of us are not shopping weekly and stores are not fully stocked, we hope that when you send in your donations, you could include a portion for our mission work. Each month the church will take a percentage of its monetary donations to share with a local non-profit instead of our normal in-person collections on Communion Sundays. Thank you for your generosity and my God bless you and your family.

Office Hours: The office will be open Monday to Thursdays,  in order to reflect the demands on the church at this time. Hours are 8-11am, by appointment. The office will be closed in observance of Memorial Day on Monday, May 25th

Drive-through Prayers with the Pastor: Wednesday, May 27 -11:00 am to 1:00 pm. Stop by for a socially distanced visit with Pastor Gary. Come by the church, I will be wearing a mask and sitting in the church parking lot.  Bring your mask, stay connected, have a time of prayer and we can visit from an appropriate distance. – Pastor Gary

Church yard clean up:  Saturday, May 30th has been set aside for raking and general cleanup of the church yard between 9 AM and 10:30 AM.  Please bring a rake, gloves and face mask if you have one.  There will be face masks available for anyone who needs one.  Many hands make short work.

This month’s Communion Sunday mission collection is for Martha’s Kitchen.  Over the past two months, Martha’s Kitchen has served over 9,000 “Grab and Go” meals to residents of the Franklin County area.  As we are still worshipping virtually, we ask that you make a donation directly to Martha’s Kitchen, 139 Lake Street, Saint Albans, VT 05478.  Please be sure to let Martha’s Kitchen know that you are affiliated with our church so they may annotate their records.  As an alternative, you may send your donation for Martha’s Kitchen to the church at 27 Church Street, Saint Albans, VT 05478 along with your pledge and/or weekly church donation.  If you send your donations together to the church, please indicate the amount to be shared with Martha’s Kitchen.  Thank you.