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  • Marissa Galvan

Proper 6: Worship and Reflection for June 14, 2020.



PRELUDE: Listen and sing along to "God loves you and I love you" and give thanks for God's love.


OPENING SENTENCES (Based on Psalm 166)

I love God because I feel listened to;

God listens to my requests for mercy.

I’ll call out to God for as long as I live,

because the Creator listens closely to me.

I’ll lift up my voice to celebrate God’s name.

and I will praise the One who loves forever.


HYMN: Listen and sing along to "We Praise You, O God" GtG 612.


CONFESSION

There are times, Lord when we find it difficult to believe. Something happens, and it seems so wonderful and timely, that we have a hard time recognizing your hand in our lives. You clearly call us to do something different with our lives, and it seems so out of reach that we prefer to hide in silences, rather than to hear your voice. We laugh, and we hide, denying that you are calling our name.


Forgive our lack of vision. Forgive our uncertainties, the ones that we keep inside, and the ones that come when we question what you can do to give us words, strength, and life. Have mercy and give us grace and peace. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.


PARDON AND PEACE

“But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.” These are the good news of the gospel. In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven. We can live in peace.


PASSING THE PEACE

Take time to think about one thing during the week that has given you peace. It can be the sound of birds chirping, flowers coming out, or hearing from someone dear. Share it in some way... tell someone, post it on social media, etc.


PRAYER OF ILLUMINATION

God, throughout the years you have made a covenant with your people and have called us to be a part of your divine plan to build up the kin-dom on this earth. Thanks for your Word, and thanks for transforming us through it. Speak because your people are listening. In the name of your Son, we pray. Amen.


GROWING IN GOD'S LOVE: You can read the story "God Made Sara Laugh." If you want to buy this Bible you can go to www.pcusastore.com.


SCRIPTURE: Genesis 18:1-15; 21:1-3 Luke 4:16-19 (NRSV)

The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. 2 He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them, and bowed down to the ground. 3 He said, “My lord, if I find favor with you, do not pass by your servant. 4 Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. 5 Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.” So they said, “Do as you have said.” 6 And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, “Make ready quickly three measures of choice flour, knead it, and make cakes.” 7 Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it. 8 Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree while they ate. 9 They said to him, “Where is your wife Sarah?” And he said, “There, in the tent.” 10 Then one said, “I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent entrance behind him. 11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. 12 So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?” 13 The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ 14 Is anything too wonderful for the Lord? At the set time I will return to you, in due season, and Sarah shall have a son.” 15 But Sarah denied, saying, “I did no laugh”; for she was afraid. He said, “Oh yes, you did laugh.”


The Lord dealt with Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as he had promised. 2 Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the time of which God had spoken to him. 3 Abraham gave the name Isaac to his son whom Sarah bore him.


Luke 4: 16 When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,

because he has anointed me

to bring good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives

and recovery of sight to the blind,

to let the oppressed go free,

19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”


REFLECTION: Rev. Debbie Braaksma

For someone not familiar with the “big story” of the Bible today’s Old Testament passage might seem to be a sweet tale about an elderly couple who were knocked off their feet by the life-changing and joy-filled event of having a child when they were well past childbearing years. Kind of like when Jonathon and Martha of Smallville Kansas welcome baby superman into their lives…. right?

Well the gift of a child to a couple who had been yearning for one, for countless years, is certainly a part of the story. We believe that God knows and cares about the longings of our hearts. God knew about Abraham and Sarah’s heartfelt desire for a child.

But that’s far from the whole story! God has chosen this particular family – and a rather odd family at that: old, wizened idol-worshiping nomads - to bless all of the families of the earth. Abraham was the first “chosen one” of God’s “chosen people”; but, God informed him the blessing of chosen-ness was not for him alone but for everyone.

But does this story of God choosing Abraham and Sarah to bless all the peoples of the earth actually relate to us, Christians living in Louisville at a time in which a pandemic is intersecting with the outpouring of violence against African Americans?

The answer is yes – big time! As followers of Jesus Christ, we are also chosen to bring God’s message to a world that needs Christ’s love. In his letter to Christians in the northern region of Asia Minor, the Apostle Peter writes in 1st Peter:

“But you are the ones chosen by God,

chosen for the high calling of priestly work,

chosen to be a holy people,

God's instruments to do his work and speak out for him,

to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you.” (I Peter 2:9 The Message)

Like Abraham and Sarah, we who follow Jesus Christ are a part of the family that has been called to be a blessing to all the families of the earth. We do this by proclaiming and acting on the truth of the Gospel - that God loves all people, wants all to experience the joy of salvation and embraces justice for all! This is beautifully stated in Jesus’ mission statement found in chapter 4 of the Gospel of Luke:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,

because he has anointed me

to bring good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives

and recovery of sight to the blind,

to let the oppressed go free,

To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18 NRSV)

And what does it mean for us to be involved in this work? In the midst of the current nationwide protest, that started with the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police on the 25th of May, the Stated Clerk of the P(CUSA), the Reverend Dr. J Herbert Nelson, has given us the following challenge, “No longer can we hide behind not being controversial. How deep is our faith?


HYMN: Listen and sing along to "Dream On, Dream On" GtG 383, written by Hae Jon Kim.


PRAYER OF INTERCESSION: Take time to think about prayer requests, and pray for them. Pray for the situations in your home, your community, your city, your country of origin, other countries in the world that face difficult situations, and the country where you live.


HYMN: Listen to and sing along to Song of Hope


BLESSING

May the road God has laid

Rise up to meet you.

May God keep you and bless you,

Shine God’s light upon you,

and give you peace.

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