October 18, 2020
Mora and Ogilvie United Methodist Churches
From the comfort of our homes we gather to worship.
Whether through printed word, or through the gift of technology; we gather together.
Here we seek connection to the God who created us and His Son, Jesus Christ.
Come, let us worship together.
Join me in prayer.
In this moment, gracious God,
you have called us away from the world to a place and a time where we can commune with you and with one another, even if we cannot share the same space.
Calm our anxious minds, that we may be set apart to hear your word and so feel your grace.
Open us to the reality of your all-embracing love, both in this place and in the wider world.
May we, by our words and actions, be bearers of your kingdom, in the name and Spirit of the Christ. Amen.
Hymn UMH #383 This is a Day of New Beginnings (verses 1,3,4)
Scripture Romans 14:1-12 The Message
While preparing a service, one of the first things I do is read the Scripture in a variety of translations. Usually, I end up using the standard versions like the New International Version. But often, The Message speaks to me and I at least refer to it. Today, I have chosen to use Romans 14:1-12 from The Message. The Message was authored by Eugene Peterson. He said, “The goal of The Message is to engage people in the reading process and help them understand what they read.” In this divisive time in our Country, I found this translation especially meaningful.
Cultivating Good Relationships
14 Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don’t see things the way you do. And don’t jump all over them every time they do or say something you don’t agree with—even when it seems that they are strong on opinions but weak in the faith department. Remember, they have their own history to deal with. Treat them gently.
2-4 For instance, a person who has been around for a while might well be convinced that he can eat anything on the table, while another, with a different background, might assume he should only be a vegetarian and eat accordingly. But since both are guests at Christ’s table, wouldn’t it be terribly rude if they fell to criticizing what the other ate or didn’t eat? God, after all, invited them both to the table. Do you have any business crossing people off the guest list or interfering with God’s welcome? If there are corrections to be made or manners to be learned, God can handle that without your help.
5 Or, say, one person thinks that some days should be set aside as holy and another thinks that each day is pretty much like any other. There are good reasons either way. So, each person is free to follow the convictions of conscience.
6-9 What’s important in all this is that if you keep a holy day, keep it for God’s sake; if you eat meat, eat it to the glory of God and thank God for prime rib; if you’re a vegetarian, eat vegetables to the glory of God and thank God for broccoli. None of us are permitted to insist on our own way in these matters. It’s God we are answerable to—all the way from life to death and everything in between—not each other. That’s why Jesus lived and died and then lived again: so that he could be our Master across the entire range of life and death, and free us from the petty tyrannies of each other.
10-12 So where does that leave you when you criticize a brother? And where does that leave you when you condescend to a sister? I’d say it leaves you looking pretty silly—or worse. Eventually, we’re all going to end up kneeling side by side in the place of judgment, facing God. Your critical and condescending ways aren’t going to improve your position there one bit. Read it for yourself in Scripture:
“As I live and breathe,” God says,
“every knee will bow before me;
Every tongue will tell the honest truth
that I and only I am God.”
So tend to your knitting. You’ve got your hands full just taking care of your own life before God.
For those using the print version of today’s service, here is a more traditional translation of the Scripture.
Romans 14:1-12 NIV (New International Version)
The Weak and the Strong
14 Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. 2 One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.
5 One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. 6 Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. 8 If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.
10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister[a]? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written:
“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will acknowledge God.’”[b]
12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.
Hymn UMH #408 Gift of Love (all verses)
Pastoral Prayer Let us continue in prayer. Dear Lord,
Amen Lord’s Prayer And now in the words Jesus taught His disciples, we too pray…
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as 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
Offering and Prayer of Dedication Giving is quite different these days, but we cannot neglect it. Our church bank account is indeed in trouble these days. Our beautiful buildings still need lights and more. We are starting to have small meetings within our buildings now, so we must keep them functioning well. Please consider your gifts to this church of time, talents and finances.You have several options to give. You can send a private message on the Facebook page, we’ll share ideas with you. And now as we receive your gifts, join in this Prayer of Dedication – Merciful Lord, you have provided each of us with many similar, yet unique gifts. Thank you, Lord, for the talents and abilities of people within this congregation. We are a blessed people! Now, we unite as one body to share in this worshipful act of the offering. Giving is such a joy-filled experience! Thank you, Lord, for this opportunity to support the transformation of people’s spiritual lives through the ministry and mission of our church.Amen. Hymn UMH #402 Lord, I Want to Be a Christian (all verses)
Please join me now in our Benediction, which will be followed by a few announcements.
Jesus is the sower of the seeds of faith, and he wants his Word to grow within us.
May we go forth from this place with ears to hear God’s word, and a commitment to live it. Amen.
- A huge thanks to Rod for taping this week’s service – appreciated as you and Pastor Deb prepare to leave on vacation.
- Thank you to music
- If you are interested in receiving an Upper Room Meditation booklet, contact the church office.
- Mora United Methodist Church will not offer in-person worship until we can do so safely, adhering to federal and state recommendations, and the guidance of the Minnesota Annual Conference.
- Ogilvie is holding socially distanced services each Sunday morning.
As we continue to navigate this challenging season, let us remember that God is with us.
So until we meet gather again, I wish you peace.
It is with sadness and frustration that we must make this announcement.
The Mora United Methodist Church will not be opening for the immediate future due to the continuing increasing number of cases in Kanabec County. We value the safety and health of our members ahead of all else at this time.
The Worship Team will meet on December 1 to evaluate the Kanabec County Covid data. If favorable data showing declining trends is presented, the team will formulate a plan to possibly re-open for indoor worship services after January 1, 2021. If numbers in our county are still increasing, the hold on indoor services will continue.
In the meantime, continue to watch our online services.
Please watch for announcements for Advent activities you can do at home and how we can still celebrate Christmas and Thanksgiving together.
When we can open our doors, you will be greeted by a renovated entrance, new tech equipment for better broadcasts and many other updates.
Please contact the church if you have questions. We appreciate everyone’s patience and prayers during this time. Let’s be sure to pray for each other and our Church Family.