Sunday, July 19, 2020

Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

Sunset Meadow Hike by woodleywonderworks, Creative Commons

“Tell me a fact and I’ll learn. Tell me the truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.”      – Indian Proverb

PRELUDE “A Fairy Tale” – S. Conrady

The Preparation

If you have a candle, let us light our candles together to remind ourselves that there is light in the darkness and that we can share that light with one another in our own times of darkness and we can share that light of love with the world.

A moment of silence

Gathering God, you have brought us together this morning to share this time with each other.
Help us to be open to you and with each other.
Open our ears, to hear what you are saying to us in the things that happen and in the people we meet.
Open our hands, to reach out to one another in friendship and to help when help is needed.
Open our lips, to share our stories with one another to bring comfort, inspiration, and joy to each other.
Open our minds, to discover new truth about you, about ourselves, about each other, and about our world.
Open our hearts, so that we may welcome one another freely, just as you welcome us. Amen.

OPENING HYMN “Surely the Presence”

Gracious God, in the Before Time, I would find so much joy in meeting friends for dinner, singing my heart out at worship and hugging people. Now I fear that I have felt less joy. Less joy and more judgement. Forgive me in my judgement of others and poor judgement of myself.

A moment of silence for personal reflection

We are often against ourselves. Yet God never condemns us.
Christ always reaches for us. Forgiven, nothing can separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ. Thanks be to God.

The Message


ANTHEM “Psalm 78: Hear my law, O my people” – Arthur Henry Mann

SCRIPTURE READINGS Psalm 78:1-8 & Exodus 3:1-15, 4:1-12

Psalm 78
My people, hear my teaching;
    listen to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth with a parable;
    I will utter hidden things, things from of old—
things we have heard and known,
    things our ancestors have told us.
We will not hide them from their descendants;
    we will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,
    his power, and the wonders he has done.
He decreed statutes for Jacob
    and established the law in Israel,
which he commanded our ancestors
    to teach their children,
so the next generation would know them,
    even the children yet to be born,
    and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God
    and would not forget his deeds
    but would keep his commands.
They would not be like their ancestors—
    a stubborn and rebellious generation,
whose hearts were not loyal to God,
    whose spirits were not faithful to him.

Exodus 3:1-15: Moses and the Burning Bush
Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.” “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” 12 And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.” 13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” 15 God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’
“This is my name forever,
    the name you shall call me
    from generation to generation.

Exodus 4:1-12: Signs for Moses
Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?” Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” “A staff,” he replied.
The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.” Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. Then the Lord said to him, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.” So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand. “This,” said the Lord, “is so that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has appeared to you.”
Then the Lord said, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” So Moses put his hand into his cloak, and when he took it out, the skin was leprous—it had become as white as snow.
“Now put it back into your cloak,” he said. So Moses put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was restored, like the rest of his flesh.
Then the Lord said, “If they do not believe you or pay attention to the first sign, they may believe the second. But if they do not believe these two signs or listen to you, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground. The water you take from the river will become blood on the ground.”
10 Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”
11 The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”

MORNING REFLECTION   “Sharing Our Stories”

HYMN “I Love to Tell the Story”   No. 317

  1. I love to tell the story of unseen things above,
    of Jesus and his glory,  of Jesus and his love.
    I love to tell the story  because I know ’tis true;
    it satisfies my longings  as nothing else could do.

    I love to tell the story; ’twill be my theme in glory
    to tell the old, old story of Jesus and his love.
  2. I love to tell the story,  for those who know it best
    seem hungering and thirsting  to hear it like the rest.
    And when in scenes of glory  I sing the new, new song,
    ’twill be the old, old story that I have loved so long. [Refrain]

The Thanksgiving

CHORAL CALL TO PRAYER “Hear our prayer” – D. Whelpton

Hear our prayer, O Lord, incline thine ear to us and grant us Thy peace


Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day Thy daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

CHORAL RESPONSE TO PRAYER “Thou will keep Him” – Scottish Psalter, 1615

Thou will keep Him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on Thee.”

Sharing of Our Gifts

Your gifts to St. Albans Congregational Church matter now more than ever! We encourage people to continue to make an offering gift by mailing it the church. Thank you for continuing to give to our church.


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

We bring before you, O God, this accounting of our faithfulness. You have entrusted us with much. We return what we can. Bless these gifts and grant us with an imagination and generosity to use all you entrust to us in ways that will further your kingdom come. Amen.

The Departure

Christ our teacher, you reach into our lives not through instructions, but story.
Open our hearts to be attentive: that seeing, we may perceive, and hearing we may understand, and understanding, may act upon your word,  in your name. Amen.
-Janet Morley, All Desires Known

CLOSING HYMN “God Be With You Till We Meet Again”  No.62

  1. God be with you till we meet again;
    By his counsels guide, uphold you;
    With his sheep securely fold you.
    God be with you till we meet again.
  2. God be with you till we meet again;
    When life’s perils thick confound you,
    Put his arms unfailing round you.
    God be with you till we meet again.

POSTLUDE “A Fairy Tale” – S. Conrady