Gathering Around the Word
Prelude: Choir Carol Smith at Piano
CALL TO WORSHIP:
Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon His name;
make known His deeds among the peoples!
Sing to Him, sing praises to Him;
Tell of all His wondrous works!
Glory in His holy name;
let the heart of those who seek the Lord rejoice!
He is the Lord our God; his judgements are in all the earth.
He remembers his covenant forever;
the word that He commanded, for a thousand
generations. Praise the Lord!
*HYMN “Crown Him With Many Crowns” # 268
*PRAYER OF CONFESSION:
Father you call us to be and provide for us all the tools to be courageous. You repeatedly remind us that in this life we have no reason to fear. And yet, fear so often cripples us. Whether it be fear of what others may think or say, fear of how things will turn out in our current situations, or fear for our futures. We have squandered opportunities to tell others about the good news and opportunities to serve You all out of fear. Forgive us Lord for focusing more on the things and circumstances of this world and not relying on the power provided to us by the Holy Spirit. Help us to live out the calling that You have placed in all our lives. Grant us courage to use the gifts that You have provided us for Your glory. Have mercy on us and set our eyes on You. Amen
Time of silent prayer:
Assurance of Pardon
Response – Gloria Patri # 581
* Passing of the peace
Prayer of illumination
Scripture: Ezekiel 34: 11–16, 20-24
Sermon text: Acts 5: 17-42
*HYMN “I Love to Tell the Story” # 462
*Apostles Creed (next to Prayer List)
Presentation of tithes and offering
*Prayer of dedication
Concerns and Celebrations
Prayers of the people
The Lord’s Prayer
*HYMN ”Come, Christians, Join to Sing” # 267
*Please stand if able**
BIRTHDAYS: Marilyn Hickman
ANNIVERSARIES: None this week
SYMPATHIES: None currently
Remember our food collection. And Jesus said, “You give them something to eat.” Please let Betty Fisher know of anyone within the community that may be in need at this time.
The service of Ordination and installation of Clayton LaPosta is this afternoon at 3:00 p.m. at Taylorstown Presbyterian Church.
“Tis the Season for Hanging of the Greens”
Come and help decorate and enjoy some Chili and Corn bread. YUMMMM!!!!!
It all starts at 6:00 pm on Wednesday the 29th. If possible, let Cheryl Bell know if you plan on helping so she knows how much Chili to prepare.
Continuing Prayer List
Chuck Dicks, Frank Huffman, Tom Westfall, Sandy Stone, Sarah Wilson, Carl Weber, Jimmy Svetz, Ricci Amos, Haley Diedier Bedillion, Fred Wilkinson, Diane Anderson, Helen Provenzano, Donna West, Judy Donaldson, Sue Gregg, Marlene McFeely, Wendy Willard, Marley Smith, Kirkland Cipoletti, Ellen Morris, Dave Henderson, Ed Horne, Doris Ann Rowe, Hunter Beck, Karen Eisiminger, Tim Knabensue, Helen Bury, Glenn “Mikey” Hardin, Suzy Smith, Richard Wagner, Steven Shuba, Frank Baker, Carol Pierce, Chuck Harton, Doug Ward, Cheryl Hardway, Ron Westfall, Jean Westfall at Donnell House
We're so glad you chose to join us today!
When we meet in person, we share our joys and concerns. If you have any prayer requests you would like to share, you can add it as a comment to this post. When you are ready, use the prayer below (source) to get started.
O Lord Unite all. Let the religions agree and make the nations one, so they may see each other as one family and the whole earth as one home. Amen.
This week's lesson is on Ezekiel 37:21-28.
Hearing, accepting, and trusting God's Word involves more than just intellectual ability. It requires us to reorient our desires. We must want to trust, to hope and to love. Today's text helps clarify this needed reorientation.
Ezekiel lived at the time Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians in 586 BC. The destruction and accompanying exile was preceded by two other deportations. The first of those came in 605 BC, when Daniel and his friends were taken captive to Babylon. Ezekiel's relocation to Babylon became part of the second deportation as he found himself among the 10,000 of the elite citizenry taken in 597 BC. Daniel and other Jews were taken to serve “in the king's palace” while Ezekiel found himself “among the exile by the Kebar River” where “the hand of the Lord was on him”.
The book of Ezekiel features many astonishing word pictures. One of the most famous is the valley of the bones, in Ezekiel 37:1-14. Ezekiel has a vision of the bones reconstructing themselves and becoming flesh. It is followed by a least famous illustration of two sticks which represent Judah and Israel coming together as one nation.
Verse 21 introduces a series of specific future realities that together paint a picture o a new life to come. The predicted reality of the Israelites being regathered into their own land had been stated before. It was a message that bore repeating and was repeated by other prophets as well in Isaiah, Hosea and Amos.
The dispersion and scattering of the Israelites continued into the time of Jesus. It seems unlikely, therefore, that the prophets expected each and every person of Israelite descent to return to Palestine. As the books of Ezra, Esther and Daniel make clear, some Jews chose not to return to the homeland, and they continue to live in Gentile settings. There they continued to reflect deeply on how to maintain faith as a minority that was often prosecuted. Even so, the return home and rebuilding of the temple signaled to everyone the presence of God.
The one nation of Israel had split into two nations in 931 BC, following the death of King Solomon. That situation may have seemed permanent, given the facts of two exiles (Assyrian and Babylonian) and the passage of three and a half centuries. But Ezekiel expected the 12 tribes to be reunified nonetheless. Promises such as Ezekiel's here came to be seen not as literal predictions of a singular human king ruling in a specific place, but as anticipating the Messiah, whose rule would encompass all things.
The forthcoming restoration was also to be characterized by the end of idolatry in all its forms. The worship of false gods was the prime reason for all of Israelites' other problems. It had led to the defilement of the land in general and of the temple in particular. Cleaning the land and the temple of such religious filth would be important. Cleaning idolatry from hearts would be all more so. Ezekiel prophesied the future would be different. Ezekiel did not think that the people could completely purge idolatry by their own willpower. Rather, God was to cleanse them. The people would experience the sort of physical and spiritual purification necessary for anyone going to the temple to worship. The forthcoming purification would affect all of life-life with God and life with one another. They will become God's people.
Anyone who rules over God's people should function as a shepherd. That designation describes someone who protects others from harm. The one shepherd to come would stand in stark contrast between the worthless shepherds who exploited the people. People tend to behave as their leaders do, and this fact was the driver of ending up in exile. The shepherd king will be a model of behavior that reflects the opposite, the result will be an era of justice, in which faithful people obey God's laws and decrees fully.
The focal point of the people's renewal was to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. That building was a symbol of God's abiding presence among the people. The promised peace would therefore be more than a mere absence of conflict. Rather, it was to be a condition in which the people would flourish as God intended. Ezekiel insisted that the new arrangement would be permanent given the terms everlasting and forever are translations of the same word forever.
Conclusion: Finding Life Again
Rebuilding a community after any kind of disaster is difficult work. For progress to be made, those affected must acknowledge their pain, find resources for renewed hope and take practical steps to build a new life. The Judean prophets took precisely those steps during and after the Babylonian exile. God made sure that they did.
Connecting practical steps with the values, commitments and dreams of a congregation presents an ongoing challenge, as all church leaders know. We easily drift into saying, “We must do something; here is something; therefore, we must do this.” Clear thinking about why we need to act in a certain way easily gets lost. Ezekiel made sure that his audience thought deeply about what to do and why. He held out the hope not just of reclaiming lost spaces and practices, but of reentering the deeper meaning of those very spaces and practices.
We need constant renewal in this regard. Before assuming that “God is on our side” we should ask, “Are we on his?” The latter question will invite a season of self-reflection and prayer. That in turn puts us in a position for being equipped “With everything good for doing his will... through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever.”
God of all generations, who restores and renews us after catastrophes of our own making , grant us a deeper sense of your presence in our lives. May your church then become an example to all the world of what those created in your image may be. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen
Questions for Discussion
This week's benediction is from the New Revised Standard Version.
Next week's lesson will be on Zephaniah 3:14-20.
Our guest speaker today is Rev. Renny Domske.
Gathering Around the Word
Prelude Music Director Robert Senay
CALL TO WORSHIP from Psalm 10
Why, O Lord, do You stand far off?
Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?
In his pride the wicked person does not seek the Lord.
In all his or her thoughts there is no room for God.
Arise, Lord! Lift up Your hand, O God.
Do not forget we who are helpless.
The victim commits himself fully to you, O Lord;
O God, You are the helper of the fatherless.
Break the arm of the wicked, that evil man or woman!
Call them to account for their wickedness.
The Lord is King for ever and ever.
You hear the desire of the afflicted and You encourage us.
INVOCATION Dr. Domske
Hymn “O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing” # 610
PRAYER OF CONFESSION (UNISON)
O Lord, we need You every hour. We confess however, that we tend to only remember You when we need You. We cry out to You when we need help. We plead to You when we are sick, when we need money, when we need Your influence. We treat You as a vending machine rather than the wonderful Creator God who made us and gives us every day we live. Forgive us. We have sinned. Make us whole again. Give us strength to give ourselves to You when things are good as well as are failing.
We need You every hour.
ASSURANCE OF PARDON
*Time of silent prayer
* Response – Gloria Patri
*Passing of the Peace
L: The peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
P: And also, with you.
Prayer for Illumination
Scripture reading: Old Testament: Ezekiel 34:7-12
New Testament: Luke 19:1-10
7 “‘Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 8 As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, because my flock lacks a shepherd and so has been plundered and has become food for all the wild animals, and because my shepherds did not search for my flock but cared for themselves rather than for my flock, 9 therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 10 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock. I will remove them from tending the flock so that the shepherds can no longer feed themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths, and it will no longer be food for them.
L: The Word of the Lord
P: Thanks be to God!
SERMON: “Looking Down at Jesus”
Hymn: “Take My Life and Let It Be” # 697
The Apostles Creed (Copy next to Prayer List)
Presentation of our tithes and offering
Doxology (Hymnal page (606)
Prayer of dedication
Concerns and Celebrations
Prayers of the people
Hymn: “ Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed!” # 212
BIRTHDAYS: London Rich, Janet Rhoades, Jean Kuhn
ANNIVERSARIES: Gary & Diana Donaldson, Levi & Alyssa Miller
JOYS AND CONCERNS
Keep praying for all our soldiers here and abroad.
Sympathy for: Family of Dorothy Thomas
Don Herschell tested positive for COVID this past week, as did Ed and Dorothy Caffrey.
Frank Baker still is positive for COVID and in isolation.
The Women’s Missionary will meet on Tuesday, September 13th at 9:30 AM. Please come and join in fellowship with us.
Remember our Food Collection. And Jesus said, “You give them something to eat.” Mark 6:37.
Please let Betty Fisher know of you are aware of anyone within the community that may be in need at this time.
Just to let you know that the “berrrrr” months have now arrived. They are SeptemBER, OctoBER,
NovemBER and finally DecemBER. Just a little humor for this Sunday.
CONTINUING PRAYER LIST
Melissa Pedigo, Aaron Blake, Chuck Dicks, Tim Knabenshue, June & Keith McGill, Frank Huffman, Tom Westfall, Elaine Belcascro, Sandy Stone, Matt Petrola, Nancy Hepinger, Betsy Martin, Ed Horne, Sarah Wilson, Bill Poland, Pat Haggerty, Carl Weber, Jimmy Svetz, Betty Fisher, Haley Diedier, Fred Wilkinson, Jean Westfall, Evelyn Wood, Brandon Bell, Frank Riggle, Betty Anderson, Mary Tarnic, Tom Novak, Chuck Warlow, Valerie Shumaker, Ricci Amos, Milton Rice, Gianna Perry (4 yrs. Old), Braxton (2 yrs. Old) with heart surgery, Greg Duntz, Nancy Diaz, Marlene McFeely, Larry Fox, Debbie Moriarty, Frank Baker, Don Herschell, Ed and Dorothy Caffrey.
Today’s guest speaker is Jack Snodgrass.
All of the information normally found in our bulletin is below the video. Simply click on "Read More" to load the rest of the bulletin. You can use this to follow the service, as well as to pray our unison prayers. All joys and concerns that we know, as well as our continuing prayer list is within the Joys and Concerns. Announcements can be found at the bottom of this service.
CALL TO WORSHIP: Responsive Reading
Psalm 104 Bless the LORD, O my soul!
O LORD my God, You are very great: You are clothed with honor and majesty,
10 He sends the springs into the valleys; They flow among the hills. 11 They give drink to every beast of the field; The wild donkeys quench their thirst.12 By them the birds of the heavens have their home; They sing among the branches.13 He waters the hills from His upper chambers; The earth is satisfied with the fruit of Your works.14 He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, And vegetation for the service of man, That he may bring forth food from the earth, 15 And wine that makes glad the heart of man, Oil to make his face shine, and bread which strengthens man’s heart. 16 The trees of the LORD are full of sap, The cedars of Lebanon which He planted, 17 Where the birds make their nests; The stork has her home in the fir trees. 18 The high hills are for the wild goats; The cliffs are a refuge for the rock[d] badgers.
Today is Pentecost!
When we were able to meet in person, we shared our joys and concerns together. Take some time to think about your past week, and the prayer requests you may have. If you would like, you can share them in the comments of this post. When you are ready, use the prayer below to get started:
We are a small, rural Presbyterian church in southwestern Pennsylvania.