Sunday, July 26, 2020

Eighth Sunday after Pentecost

Michael Fitzpatrick
              St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Palo Alto, CA


Faith is trust in not-knowing. Father Abraham discovered that faith has nothing to do with what we believe; it’s the realization that what we can’t know is wiser than all our knowing.
Stephen Mitchell

PRELUDE “Pixley’s Song” – 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. Please light your candles if you have one as we enter into our time of worship.

A moment of silence

OPENING HYMN “When morning guilds the sky” No. 35

  1. When morning gilds the sky,
    our hearts awaking cry:
    May Jesus Christ be praised!
    in all our work and prayer
    we ask his loving care:
    May Jesus Christ be praised!
  2. All those of humankind,
    In this your concord find,
    May Jesus Christ be praised!
    Let all the earth around
    Ring joyous with the sound,
    May Jesus Christ be praised

Let the Spirit pray in us, God. Hear the silences between our words. As our lungs and lips breathe in and out, may true needs, deep longing, un-glimpsed hopes, and paralyzing fears be exhaled into your heart through the Spirit’s sighing.  Amen.

God is with us, but we are often against ourselves. Let us pray in confession.
Gracious God, we confess that we separate ourselves from your unconditional love. We are not willing to accept its magnificence, its freedom, and its responsibility. Instead we fill ourselves with details of life and fears of death, worries about things present and confusion about things to come. Forgive us and find us in the midst of ourselves. Amen.

A moment of silence for personal reflection

God never condemns us. Christ always reaches for us.
Not even our own creation can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Amen.
Thanks be to God.

The Message


Romans 8:26-39

26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[b]

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[c] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

MORNING REFLECTION  Extravagant Promise

HYMN “My Faith Looks Up To Thee” No. 348

1. My faith looks up to thee,
Thou Lamb of Calvary, Savior divine:
Now hear me while I pray,
Take all my guilt away,
O let me from this day
Be wholly thine.

2. May thy rich grace impart
Strength to my fainting heart, my zeal inspire;
As thou hast died for me,
O may my love to thee
Pure, warm, and changeless be,
A living fire.

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 the 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.


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

There are times when we need to be gentle. There are times when only kindness can save us.
In these times we will remind each other that God has made this magnificent, complex, and terrifying world.
And when it’s all too much, too confusing, and sometimes too painful to navigate, God gave us Jesus, the human face of the Divine.
Jesus, who knew what suffering, persecution and loss felt like, showed us how to live with each other and ourselves with kindness, tender-care,  patience, humility, and love.  Amen. Rev. Cordelia Burpee

CLOSING HYMN “Be Thou My Vision” No.

1. Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

2. Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

3. High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heav’n’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

POSTLUDE “Pixley’s Song” – S. Conrady

Music Notes: This week’s hymns were selected by me (Erin, our Music Director) from our vault of previously-recorded music. The prelude/postlude is new, so be sure to have a listen!

The anthem is something special I shared with choir members this week (I host a weekly online social meeting in lieu of our rehearsals, and those who are available drop in). It was written by American composer Eric Whitacre. In addition to the popularity of his writing among the young adult singers in the country, he also pioneered a concert of “virtual choir”, where singers from around the world record their choir part, and it is edited into a mass ensemble. He wrote this lyrics for this, his sixth virtual choir, which he launched about a month after most of North America shut down due to Covid-19. What you cannot see with this video is that there are over 17,000 voices contributing to the final product! The lyrics are:

May we sing together, always.
May our voice be soft.
May our singing be music for others
and may it keep others aloft.

Sing gently, always.
Sing gently as one.

May we stand together, always.
May our voice be strong.
May we hear the singing and
May we always sing along.