Message for Aug. 29, 2021

Mora/Ogilvie UMC

August 29, 2021


Welcome  Ruth Smith – Worship Leader: I welcome you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit

*Call to Worship Ruth Smith, Worship Leader

Leader: Why are you here? Maybe you are here because you recognize in your own story a greater story,

People: One spoken since the beginning of time by prophets, preachers and peacemakers, a story where God calls the world into liberation and wholeness.

Leader: Maybe you are here because you have glimpsed a moment of love that is beyond human reach,

People: All the grace that lies just beyond our fingertips, that transforms the ugly into the breathtaking, the impossible into the real.

Leader: Maybe you are here, not defined by faith but with a deep conviction

People: That the ending to everyone’s story is yet to be written and can be shaped into life by justice and compassion.

Leader: Maybe you are here because there is someone who needs to hear your story and feel welcome into the story of God

People: Let us join together in listening and sharing in the greatest story, the story of God’s grace.

*Opening Prayer                                            Ruth Smith, Worship Leader

God, we bring our stories to this place, and we wait to be held by yours. We bring our faithfulness: shape it with grace.

We bring our success: shape it with generosity.

We bring our weaknesses: shape them with compassion. We bring our possibilities: shape them with hope.

We confess, God, that the way is hard, and we are tired. Speak into our tiredness with your story of grace.

We confess that the way is unclear, and we do not know the path. Speak into our wandering with your story of vision.

We confess that we are tired of waiting and we just want to make it happen. Speak into our impatience with your story of wisdom.

Let your story be our story and we pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Ruth Smith, Worship, Leader

Join together in ‘humming’ or quietly singing if wearing a mask.

*Hymn UMH #174      His Name is Wonderful

Scripture                    John 9:1-12                 Ruth Smith, Worship Leader

A Man Born Blind Receives Sight

As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him.  We must work the works of him who sent me[b] while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, saying to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see. The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” Some were saying, “It is he.” Others were saying, “No, but it is someone like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” 10 But they kept asking him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” 11 He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ Then I went and washed and received my sight.” 12 They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”

Meditation                                         Connie Skillingstad, Guest Speaker

News worth sharing: A life worth living

Each of us is significant and our stories matter. There is someone who needs to hear your story and feels welcome into the story of God.

There are stories you never forget, like the stories in the Bible that we learned as children or memories from our parents or grandparents. There are others that you want to forget. There are stories that are undeniably life changing. All of them play a significant role in our lives. So, let’s look deeper into them.

There are hundreds of stories and parables in the Bible.

There is a lonely moment in Jacob’s story, for example. He was running away to Paddan-Aram after stealing Esau’s birthright. This is a sad journey when remembering how hard Abraham worked to ensure Isaac’s family stayed in the Promised Land. Jacob has acted with deceit, tricked his brother and is on the run. He has propped his head on a rock it the middle of nowhere thinking “what have I done?” But something happens. He falls asleep and through his dream he realizes that God was already there! In fact, angels were busily moving about from heaven to earth. In this moment, Jacob realizes something that we would all like to know. We have not run beyond God’s reach. It turns out God was already there and God is still busy shaping our story. Jacob received a promise. It’s the same promise his grandfather received, because God has not forgotten about us. Jacob wakes up and proclaims this famous line: “God was here, and I didn’t know it!”

In light of his realization that God was already in that place, Jacob creates a reminder – setting up his stone as a pillar. In this way he and others can be reminded that God is already here, helping us tell our story. God IS here today, and God is not silent. God is still shaping our stories and wants us to share them.

One way or another, most of us have been in Jacob’s situation. We might not be running for our lives from family members like Jacob was from Esau, but many of us have felt a little bit forgotten by God. As if God had many plans for us and our futures and then forgot about us. For example, some of us felt like God was in the building on our wedding day, but MIA once our marriage got in trouble. Some of us felt like God was in our corner when we were young and healthy but has forgotten about us as we have aged. Some of us just need help making important decisions in our lives, and we used to hear God’s voice so clearly and now all we seem to hear is silence. These experiences make some of our stories.

Each of us is significant and our stories do matter. There is someone who needs to hear your story and learn about how God has been there for you. They need to learn stories that will help them know that God is with them, too.

I’m a collector. One of my favorite small collections is Pueblo storyteller figurines. I brought them to show you. The first storyteller was made in 1964 in New Mexico. In many cultures, with short days and long nights winter is the time of stories. Traditional tales provide entertainment but were very important for the lessons they teach and indigenous knowledge they impart.

Centuries old oral stories teach cultural customs, values, history, relationships, rituals, ways of life, including creation stories. Storytelling can be dance and reenactments. Certain stories are only told during certain parts of the year (like Christmas or Easter). Some stories are so powerful that everyone wants to listen over and over.

These storytellers remind me to tell my stories.

The Bible and our lives contain many stories our children could learn that have been passed down from generation to generation. Our children and grandchildren today are learning too much from the TV media and they need to learn from us. How else will they learn about God, values, family history and so much more. It is also true that other people may be hearing for the first time.

Our challenge today is to set up a reminder so that we will periodically stop, look and notice God here and at work. This week every time your notice that you’ve had your head down staring at your phone, STOP, and look up. Look around for just a moment and see if you notice God at work in the life of someone around you. When you do, say “surely, God is in the place, and I didn’t know it.” Then tell or write your story so you can share it. Amen.

Join together in humming or gently singing with a mask on “Spirit of the Living God” as we prepare our hearts for prayer.

Hymn  UMH # 393                  Spirit of the Living God

Pastoral Prayer                                  Connie Skillingstad, Guest Speaker

The Lord’s Prayer                               Connie Skillingstad, Guest Speaker

We ask all this in your son’s name, who taught us to pray together

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.

And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen

Join together in ‘humming’ or quietly singing if wearing a mask

*Hymn TFWS # 2173              Shine, Jesus, Shine

Offering                                                                      Ruth Smith, Worship Leader

As people of the Light of the World, let us offer ourselves and our gifts to God.

Join together in ‘humming’ or quietly singing if wearing a mask

*Doxology UMH # 95             Praise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow

*Prayer of Dedication

Holy God, we give ourselves, captive and free, shaped by forces beyond our control, yet open to the power of your Spirit. Through us, and our gifts, may others know that when anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation, and that the old way ends, and new life begins for everyone. Amen.

Join together in ‘humming’ or quietly singing if wearing a mask

*Hymn   UMH #364                 Because He Lives

*Benediction                                      Connie Skillingstad, Guest Speaker

May the love of God surround you.

May the love of God uplift you.

May the love of God stand with you through the changes ahead.

May the love of God convince you, in every situation, to love.

Go now to love others, even as Christ loves you.

Announcements                                            Ruth Smith, Worship Leader

  • Thank you to Connie for sharing with us in worship today
  • Pastor Deb will be back in the office September 2












Posted in ,