Today’s guest speaker is Rev. Craig Kephart.
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
BIRTHDAYS Lois Miller, Ed Horne, Michael Neal, Kathy Gibson
ANNIVERSARIES Dave and Ina Henderson
JOYS AND CONCERNS:
Jim Kuhn was taken to the Washington Hospital from the South Hills Rehabilitation Center Monday night with pneumonia. Please keep Jim and Jean in your prayers.
Marlene McFeely fell and broke her neck taken to Allegheny General Hospital Monday night. She came home on Wednesday, has to wear a brace for 6 weeks then go to doctor. Has a visiting nurse and therapist coming to her home.
Continued prayers for Susan Schively, Melissa Pedigo, Aaron Blake, Lisa Phillips, Dixie Avoila, Chuck Dicks, Randy Moore, Karen Eisiminger, Ed Horne, June and Keith McGill, Glenn Miles, Roger Riggs, Doug Ward, Deron Wood, Marge McWreath, Tim Knabenshue, Bill Stewart, Adam Moore, Frank Huffman, Nellie and Frank Baker, Michael Durila, Jr., Michael Durila Sr., Justin Hagon, Marlene Huffman, Betty Matthews, Cory Patrick, Tom Westfall, Mary Ann Durila and Donald Potts.
We welcome all who have come to join us in the worship of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Please come again. If you are visiting with us today, please let us know that we might welcome you into our church family.
REMEMBER OUR FOOD COLLECTION: And Jesus said, “You give them something to eat.” Mark 6:37. June’s collection is cereal bars and pop tarts, snack crackers, microwave mac and cheese and juice boxes. Please remember our food pantry is available to anyone in need. Replenish with your hands and listen for the need with your ears. Contact Becky Phillips with any need in the community or to donate.
THANK YOU to all that helped out for the Trustee work day yesterday!
We're so glad that you're joining us today!
When we met together in person, we shared our joys and concerns together. Take some time to think about both your joys and concerns from the past week. If you have any you would like to share, you can put them in the comments. The prayer below is a prayer of lament, which will lead us into our lesson. Use this to get started, and include thankfulness for your joys as well.
Listening God, with each new day comes fresh news of terror. We lament each new way we find to be inhumane to each other. We lament the numbness many of us feel as we are increasingly desensitized to horror. We sorrow as those harmed by the sin of exclusion and hatred but also as those who are complicit in its execution. We lament the structural sin that can sometimes leave us feeling helpless. But Lord, we aren’t helpless. We tear our clothing; we cry aloud, our tears flow, and our hearts break. Hear the deep pain in our hearts. Help us to hear the deep pain in others. But we will ever trust in you, God, our helper and our defender. We will raise our voices, shout out, and not hold back. You call us to justice. Give us courage to pursue it until the day when all the tears will be wiped from our eyes and we look forward in hope. In the name of the One who has heard our cries and delivers us even from ourselves. Amen.
This week's lesson is on Lamentations 5:1-22.
You do not often hear of sermons on Lamentations. We did have our Lenten devotions on Lament. Most of the time we want to hear about joyful worship. We don’t to dwell on pain Remembering tragedy isn’t the only purpose of Lamentations. The book can teach us much about our relationship with God.
The book of Lamentations reflects the period of about 586-538 BC, the period of Babylonian captivity. Remember in our past Sunday School lesson we studied about the prophets warning Judah to turn from sin and turn back to God or suffer God’s judgement. One of those prophets was Jeremiah who is thought to have written Lamentations.
As instruments of God’s wrath, the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem in 586 BC Many who were left alive were carried into exile; the weak and the poor were left behind to contend with foreign settlers. What was once theirs would belong to some one else. They had to pay for food, water and wood. If they didn’t have money they would have to sell themselves to servitude. They would be servants of servants..Women were violated and Princes were hung up by their hands and elders shown no respect. Young men toil at the millstones; boys stagger under loads of wood.
Their ancestors sinned and are no more but we bear their punishment. Those who lifted their voices in this lament certainly felt the shockwaves of the sins of previous generations. But throughout those generations, God had promised to relent from punishment when the people repented.
The Babylonian exile, shocking in it’s scope, marked the end of God’s patience. The book of Lamentations is witness to how horrifying that judgement was.
Joy has gone from their hearts; our dancing has turned to mourning.
On verse 16 they take responsibility for their own sins and that God reigns forever. They want God to turn them to him and to renew their days as of old. For them to be transformed by the repentance of the people. They were afraid that God would be so angry with them that he would utterly reject them forever.
In the midst of our suffering, we know that God is still trustworthy and faithful. However, there are times when we do not feel that he is still trustworthy or faithful. We do not know where God is when we confess and repent of our sins but do not experience mercy in the consequences. We find that worship and praise lag behind the mourning and lament. Like those left in a destroyed Jerusalem, all we can see is devastation; the only thing we want is to make sure God sees and knows what we are experiencing.
Lamentations help us find language to tell God the very deep, very real pain that we remember or still experience. The book serves as an invitation to take those things to God. As Paul wrote, “Neither death, nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height or 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.” Through the inclusion of Lamentations in the Bible may seem odd, it gives evidence of the truth of Paul’s assertion. No siege, no famine, no forced labor, no exile could separate God’s people from his love.
God demonstrated this love in Jesus Christ, making a way for all people to turn to the Lord and experience his blessings. Through Jesus’ great suffering, we have been added to those people who will be freed from all suffering.
Father, strengthen us to be willing to turn our hearts to you. Help us to be honest with you as Jeremiah and Jesus were honest in their suffering. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
Thought to Remember
Let sorrow draw you closer to God.
This week's benediction is from The Message.
Next week's lesson will be on 1 Kings 22:15-23, 26-28.
Opening Prayer: God of the tabernacle and temple, buildings can stand only if they are built on a strong foundation. As we study, may our faith be strengthened into an unshakable foundation on which we can build our lives. Amen
These two readings discuss Jerusalem at different times in history.
In Lamentations, Jerusalem has been destroyed. The people wonder if their faith is lost. they believe the city is lost.
Scripture: Lamentations 5:1-22
Remember, Lord, what has happened to us; look, and see our disgrace. 2 Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers, our homes to foreigners. 3 We have become fatherless, our mothers are widows. 4 We must buy the water we drink; our wood can be had only at a price. 5 we are weary and find no rest.Those who pursue us are at our heels; 6 We submitted to Egypt and Assyria to get enough bread.7 Our ancestors sinned and are no more, and we bear their punishment.8 Slaves rule over us, and there is no one to free us from their hands.9 We get our bread at the risk of our lives because of the sword in the desert.10 Our skin is hot as an oven, feverish from hunger.11 Women have been violated in Zion, and virgins in the towns of Judah.12 Princes have been hung up by their hands; elders are shown no respect.13 Young men toil at the millstones; boys stagger under loads of wood.14 The elders are gone from the city gate; the young men have stopped their music.15 Joy is gone from our hearts; our dancing has turned to mourning.16 The crown has fallen from our head.Woe to us, for we have sinned! 17 Because of this our hearts are faint, because of these things our eyes grow dim18 for Mount Zion, which lies desolate, with jackals prowling over it.19 You, Lord, reign forever; your throne endures from generation to generation.20 Why do you always forget us? Why do you forsake us so long? 21 Restore us to yourself, Lord, that we may return; renew our days as of old 22 unless you have utterly rejected us and are angry with us beyond measure.
In verse 1 we notice the use of us and our.
Verse 16 & 20 People acknowledge their sin as the source of the situation, and challenge God, demanding to know why God seems absent.
Verse 21 communicates despair - that God will have rejected the people once and for all with no opportunity for redemption or renewal
Jerusalem is not lost forever, final destruction is decades away.
Scripture: Luke 23:26-31
26 As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. 27 A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. 28 Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ 30 Then ‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!”’31 For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”
We don’t know who these women are. They might be friends or professional mourners. Jesus tells “them to Weep for yourselves and your city.”
Bruce Springsteen’s song “my City of Ruins” was written to revitalize Asbury Park, New Jersey It has become a song of revitalization for many cities.
We have many laments in life. “Some day the Earth will Weep”
Trust in the God of hope when we lament over our polluted waters our polluted air, our polluted oceans. We lament over broken families, We lament over events in our lives.
No matter if we lament individually or as a group,
ALWAYS lament in hope.
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.
Hymn: O Come, O Come Emmanuel
Call to Worship
This morning we are on a path to our God. Winding through the ordinary, weaving through the busyness, overcoming roadblocks and detours. A way to go home, leaving the past in the past and moving from darkness to light. Advent is a path to our God that provides an opportunity to hear God's voice.
We are a small, rural Presbyterian church in southwestern Pennsylvania.