November 1, 2020 - All Saints Home Worship Service

Welcome & Announcements: Good morning church!

We continue to offer in person worship at Lightstreet. No reservations needed.

 8am contemporary service in the Lighthouse and 10:30am is our traditional service in the church sanctuary. You will need a mask and will be asked to be spaced apart from others unless you are sitting with those in your household. Both will have live musicians!

No Sunday School just yet.

Another alternative for worship is Sunday 9:00 am Zoom Worship & Prayer

Pastor Jenn and your church leaders invite you to ZOOM, Sunday morning, 9:00 am. 

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85441468430?pwd=aEJmcnJ3SGdkbWphMnlRV3JwQ3dXQT09

  Meeting ID: 854 4146 8430        Password: 279040

One tap mobile:  +19294362866,,85441468430#,,,,0#,,279040# US (New York)

For audio only using a landline or non-smart phone:  1 929 436 2866 US (New York)

 

Worship:

I invite you to light a candle to welcome the Light of the World in your presence and prepare your heart for worship this day.

 

Call to Worship:
L: For all those who have paved the way for our freedom of worship, we give thanks, O Lord.
P: For those who have taught us about witness and the power of love, we give thanks, O Lord.
L: For those who work in our church that we may come to know what it means to serve, we give thanks, O Lord.
P: For all the saints, those who rest from their labors, and those who labor still, we give thanks, O Lord.
L: Praise be to God, who continually inspires and guides workers and witnesses.
P: Open our hearts and spirits, O Lord, and help us to become good workers for You. AMEN.

 

Opening Song: Shall We Gather At the River

https://soundcloud.com/jennifer-parks-snyder/shall-we-gather-4v

 

1. Shall we gather at the river, Where bright angel feet have trod;
With its crystal tide forever Flowing by the throne of God?

 

Refrain:
Yes, we'll gather at the river, The beautiful, the beautiful river;
Gather with the saints at the river That flows by the throne of God.

 

2 On the margin of the river, Washing up its silver spray,
We will walk and worship ever, All the happy golden day. [Refrain]

 

3 Ere we reach the shining river, Lay we ev'ry burden down;
Grace our spirits will deliver, And provide a robe and crown. [Refrain]

 

4 Soon we'll reach the shining river, Soon our pilgrimage will cease;
Soon our happy hearts will quiver With the melody of peace. [Refrain]

 

Opening Prayer: We come before You today, O God, remembering those who have gone before us as ancestors in the faith.  We know that, like them, we too are called to be Your witnesses in every part of our lives.  Teach us to walk humbly in the light of Your presence and help us to live faithfully and joyously in our own day.  Come, fill us with Your Spirit as together with all Your saints, we worship and celebrate.  Amen.

 

Children’s time: It's our children's time and I want to start with a question I ask you each and every week: Who are you? Children Respond: Special Gifts of God!

 

PJ: That's right, you are special gifts of God each and every day and I'm so lucky to spend time with you!

 

Today we are celebrating the lives of those who have passed away. And in our church while we are sad in that we miss those people, our church believes those loved ones are with Jesus. And with Jesus they have no pain or sickness. So we thank God for that. We also thank God for those loved ones who taught us great things that will remain with us always in our hearts. I will be sharing some of those stories in my message.

 

I want you to know that just as it is okay to miss a loved one who has passed, we should always give thanks to God that they were in our lives, too, and celebrate that, which is what we will do today.

 

Prayer: Thank You God for the loved ones who are in heaven, and for their lives that blessed us in many ways. In Jesus name, Amen.

 

A Prayer for our Nation's Election: This week we all have an opportunity to share our voice with our vote. So I thought it was appropriate to offer this prayer for guidance and encouragement to celebrate our democracy.

 

O God, we acknowledge You today as Lord, not only of individuals, but of nations and governments.

            We thank You for the privilege of being able to organize ourselves politically and of knowing that political loyalty does not have to mean disloyalty to You.

            We thank You for Your law, which our Founding Fathers acknowledged and recognized as higher than any human law. We thank You for the opportunity that this election year puts before us, to exercise our solemn duty not only to vote, but to influence countless others to vote, and to vote correctly.

            Lord, we pray that Your people may be awakened. Let them realize that while politics is not their

salvation, their response to You requires that they be politically active.

Awaken Your people to know that they are not called to be a sect fleeing the world but rather a community of faith renewing the world.

            Awaken them that the same hands lifted up to You in prayer are the hands that pull the lever in the voting booth; That the same eyes that read Your Word are the eyes that read the names on the ballot,

and that they do not cease to be Christians when they enter the voting booth.

            Awaken Your people to a commitment to justice and dignity of each individual human life.

            Lord, we rejoice today that we are citizens of Your kingdom. May that make us all the more committed to being faithful citizens on earth.

            We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who taught us to pray saying, 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 our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.  For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Amen.  [1]

 

Offertory

In gratitude for all the blessings You continue to pour into our lives, we receive this morning’s offering.

 

Offering Prayer:

To You we offer our praise. For You we offer gifts from our lives. With You we live in service to the world. Lord Jesus Christ, teach us to proclaim Your word in a hurting world, not only in word, but in action and service, that all we do might be an offering to You. Amen.

 

Scripture: Matthew 23:1-12

23Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 2“The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; 3therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. 4They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. 5They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. 6They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, 7and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi. 8But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. 9And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father—the one in heaven. 10Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. 11The greatest among you will be your servant. 12All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.

 

Sermon: The Greatest Among Us

 

Here’s the context of this Scripture.

 

Jesus is upset with some religious leaders. Chapters 21-22 of Matthew, show us who He is fighting. Matthew 21 begins with Jesus coming into Jerusalem riding on a donkey and He is praised as a Savior.

 

Following that parade, He goes to the Temple and throws out the money changers and corrects the teachers by offering the greatest commandment: Matthew 22: 37 ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

 

Now, in Matthew 23, Jesus warns against hypocrisy: that is saying one thing and doing another. And He points out there were some current Temple leaders that were doing that. He says,  2“The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; 3therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. 4They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them.

 

Jesus even adds: 5They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long.

 

A phylactery (fəˈlaktərē) was a small leather box containing Hebrew texts on parchment paper, worn by Jewish men at morning prayer as a reminder to keep the law.

 

 

Jesus says these particular leaders are all about show – showing off their importance.

 

He then adds, 6They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, 7and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi.

 

Jesus is obviously upset with the current Temple leaders. And so Jesus will give a warning for His disciples then and now, He ends this part of the passage with verse 11, 11The greatest among you will be your servant. 12All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.

 

What Matthew gets at with this text is, Jesus doesn’t have much time left, and He wants His disciples to know religion needs to be different for His disciples. It needs to be about service and support. It needs to be about love and honor. It needs to be about humility and faithfulness. By doing so, provides an example of Christianity for the world to see and witness.  What God has done in Jesus through humility and service is to be proclaimed by the followers of Jesus, through our own service and humility.

 

Today is All Saint’s Day. This is the day we recall those who have passed from this life into the next. And in particular, we want to lift up the names of those connected to our church family that have departed us this past year.

 

And as I was reviewing that list today, I recognized that each and everyone of them were humble servants. Some servants to their families or work force. Others servants to the church.

 

There was Chic and Barb Dent. Barb passed away of cancer in January and Chic in October. They both had a servant heart. Barb helped her parents and her sister with their battles of cancer. And both Chic and Barb were active in helping to raise their grandchildren, grooming them, teaching them cleaning and cooking, and what it means to help others.

 

Denny Deska was a humble servant of God, too. Many of you know Denny was the head cook for the Agape family meal held each Thursday. Every week he would feed people who were hungry and needed a nice home cooked meal. When Denny started cooking they first averaged around 50 people, but as time went by, he was feeding over 100. People loved Denny’s cooking. And he loved interacting with the people he fed at Agape.

 

Kerry Valencik, husband to Michele, passed away this year. And while many of us did not know him personally, Kerry was a humble man whose service to nature and his family was inspiring. He loved to take the family camping on the weekends, and he would teach them not only how to white water raft, but to appreciate the trees and flowers that give an amazing backdrop to their recreation. Kerry was a servant to God’s creation.

 

Next, I was able to help celebrate the life of Priscilla Jane McHenry, who was the step-mother to Jill Kriner. Her service was to our community, working at Milco Industries from 1959 to 1972. She was also an assisted living aide for 20 years in Montgomery, Alabama. She loved to help others, in particular her grandchildren.

 

Hilda Hoffman is another saint we lift up today. Many of you recall what a special lady she was. She was beautiful inside and out and had a great musical gift with her singing. Her service to God was shown in her singing to honor and worship God often.

 

Ross Hess was a great man whose faithfulness to God and his family was revealed in all that he did. From singing in the choir, to using his carpentry skills in our buildings and creating annual Christmas ornaments, to traveling with members of our congregation. Of course my favorite story about that is probably the same one as yours. When Ross and Ethel decided to take 6 elderly women from our congregation to a trip out west so they could see the grandeur of this country. It was a 19 day journey. They traveled by van and Ross made each lady a little box that they could keep under their seats to put in whatever they bought along the way. They stayed in hotels, ate at diners. And at one of them, when he walked in with 7 women, a man at the counter said, “one man, 7 women!” to which Ross said, “Eat your heart out”. What a humble man, what a servant.

 

Next, I’d like to lift up my grandmother, Mary Katherine Parks. Grandma loved to serve that Lord by serving others. She went on mission trips with her local churches to the south to help people recover from storms, or living in Appalachia. She went out west to minister to Native American Tribes. And she loved traveling locally to help paint or improve small churches. And as she got older and her traveling days were over, she served the community by cooking and feeding the hungry of Lock Haven each week at the Salvation Army. Sometimes she was the only one cooking the meals and serving them. And when we family said “Grandma that’s too much for you” she would simply say, “oh it’s nothing.” She did that 3 weeks prior before her passing.

 

Last week we celebrated the life of Bess Marie Kline, who served in various ways. She served her family by working hard, at her day job as a microbiologist at Geisinger, plus helping out around the store the family owned in Millville. She also served the church. I recently found out that Bess used to play the piano at Pine Summit church, and of course at our church, Bess was always there at our meals, be it for a church gathering like Aloha or a Together Time, or a funeral meal, helping to serve and clean up.

 

And I’ll never forget the one Aloha, when Bess served her community. One time that she came in looking a little flustered. I asked her if she was alright and she said, “There was a man who approached me at my car outside the church and asked for 14 cents”. Immediately I was concerned for her welfare so I ran outside to see if the man was still there. But he was nowhere in sight. So I came back in and said, “Oh Bess, I am so sorry, are you okay? He’s nowhere to be seen.” She said “Yeah. I gave him a quarter and came in here.” At that point she paused and started to laugh. She said “He probably wanted a dollar, which is why he left, but he did ask for 14 cents.” God bless her, we all enjoyed a good laugh at that one.

 

The last of our saints this year is Marilyn Dressler. Marilyn was a nurse by trade, but she was also a nurse in spirit. She was so caring for others. When we would share concerns in the church during our time of prayer, Marilyn would usually reach out to the people we were praying for and offer them her support. And when she could see people were overwhelmed with life issues, Marilyn would visit them or offer to go to lunch with them, or if you were really lucky, you got her homemade cheese sticks to chew on and enjoy.

 

These saints: Chic & Barb Dent, Denny Deska, Kerry Valencik, Priscilla McHenry, Hilda Hoffman, Ross Hess,

Mary Parks, Bess Kline, and Marilyn Dressler served us, they served the world, with humility. They weren’t outspoken, they didn’t parade themselves around, they quietly did their work as a portrayal of their faith, and so many were blessed for their actions.

 

And I can just imagine that as Jesus welcomed them to their next life, He did so with open arms that healed them and exalted them, claiming them as the greatest among us, praising them for their faithfulness.

 

Today, may we do the same, as we remember them and celebrate their lives and the God who blessed us with them. Amen.

 

Video of saints   https://youtu.be/jA5tz5saS9o

 

Prayer for the Saints:

Today as we offer the prayer, I am going to name those who have passed this year who were members of or connected to members of our congregation.

 

Following that I will invite you to share the names of those you wish to be honored today, and you can say those names out loud or in the silence of your hearts. Be assured God will hear their name and their memory will be lifted.

 

Let us pray:

Everliving God, this day revives in us memories of loved ones who are no longer with us. What happiness we shared when they walked among us. What joy, when, loving and being loved, we lived our lives together. Their memory is a blessing for ever.

            Months or years may have passed, and still we feel near to them. Our hearts yearn for them. Though the bitter grief has softened, a duller pain abides; for the place where once they stood is empty now. The links of life are broken, but the links of love and longing cannot break as their souls are bound up in ours forever.

            We see them now with the eye of memory, their faults forgiven, their virtues grown larger. So does goodness live, and weakness fade from sight. We remember them with gratitude and bless their names.

 

We bless those who were part of or connected to our church family that have passed this year:

Chic & Barb Dent

Denny Deska

Kerry Valencik

Julia Barnett

Priscilla Jane (Robbins) McHenry

Hilda J. Stamm Hoffman

Ross H. Hess

Mary Katherine Parks

Bess Marie Kline

Marilyn Dressler

 

And we bless those who have gone on before us, that we as a congregation name out-loud or only in the silence of our hearts: Congregational naming of the saints….

We give You thanks, Lord, that they now live and reign with You. As a great crowd of witnesses, they surround us with their blessings, and offer You hymns of praise and thanksgiving, for they are alive for ever more. Amen and Amen.

 

Song of Response: Forever Home

https://soundcloud.com/jennifer-parks-snyder/forever-home

 

Yeah, I love this little house we got out on the edge of town
It's hard to think that we could beat the view we got right now
We think we got it good watching the sunset from the steps
It looks like heaven, but we ain't seen nothing yet

 

When we get to our forever home We'll see beauty like we've never known
Angels singing hallelujah songs Hard to imagine one day

 

All this gravel turned to streets of gold. Time goes by, but we won't ever get old
It's a picture-perfect place, I can't wait to see your face
When we get to our forever home. Me and you will be forever home

 

Yeah, we'll leave all of our worries just like work boots on the porch
And all our loved ones, they'll be hangin' out When we walk through the door
Yeah, we'll catch up on the good times, and we'll have a million more
No, there ain't no telling what He's got in store

 

When we get to our forever home We'll see beauty like we've never known
Angels singing hallelujah songs Hard to imagine one day

 

All this gravel turned to streets of gold. Time goes by, but we won't ever get old
It's a picture-perfect place, I can't wait to see your face
When we get to our forever home. Me and you will be forever home

 

When we get to our forever home And everything we've built down here's long gone
We'll have everything we'd ever want. Hard to imagine one day

 

All this gravel turned to streets of gold. Time goes by, but we won't ever get old, no
It's a picture-perfect place, I can't wait to see your face
When we get to our forever home (forever home). Me and you will be forever home (forever home)

When we get to our forever home (forever home). Me and you will be forever home

 

DISMISSAL:  May the peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord. And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen.

 
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