Worship May 17, 2020
I welcome you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit
Blessed is the maker of the world,
giver of life and breath!
In God, we live and move
and have our being!
Lord of wondrous light and power, we come to you this day to learn of your will for our lives. Heal our wounds; lift our spirits; give us courage and confidence to boldly serve you in all that we do. AMEN.
Children’s Message Ben Ziegler
Scripture John 14: 15-21 Natalie Sigstad
Special MusicJoyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee (verses 1-3)
MeditationPeacePastor Debra Schaffran
The Gospel of John was probably the last of the four gospels written. The John who is named as author in the title is not the same one who is introduced in John 1:6, that is, John the Baptist.
The author of this gospel is said to be “the disciple whom, Jesus loved. This John appears to be an anonymous follower of Jesus who makes an appearance at the Last Supper, and the crucifixion, and is at the empty tomb and at the Sea of Galilee after Jesus’ resurrection.
John 14 is a continuation of what is called the Farewell Discourse that began in John 13 and continues through chapter 17. The Farewell Discourse could be described as a sermon or talk that was given by Jesus to eleven of his disciples immediately after the Last Supper in Jerusalem. This was the night before his crucifixion. …
Chapter 14 is the first of four groupings. Chapter 14 verse 27 of this first discourse has Jesus saying to his disciple
“peace I leave with you, my peace I give you”.
What does peace feel like for you?
Ask a veteran and they might define peace as the absence of war.
Harry and I worshiped at the same church for many years, in fact for a few years we sang in the choir at the same time. I never took the time to ask Harry to tell me his military stories, but he must have had stories because every Sunday, almost without fail, Harry asked the congregation to pray for our military and for peace.
Today I wonder if I had asked Harry to define peace if he would have said peace is the absence of war. I now see that Harry had been through something, something he could share through his prayer requests, was it World War 2, or Korea or, I don’t know.
The parent of little kids all home during this time of distant learning might describe peace as being the lack of sound once all the kids are in bed and asleep.
I only have two kids and I never had to do distance learning, but I remember those precious 2-3 hours between the kid’s bedtime and my bedtime.
Perhaps the parent of teenagers might identify peace as the absence of conflict.
Oh, the conflict that happens in a house with teenagers. Some of the best parenting advice I received was in a middle school parents orientation meeting. The auditorium was full of parents of 7th graders of which my son was one. My son was pretty easy to be around at the time, but I had heard the horror stories from friends, and I wanted to be prepared for the teenage years.
The school counselor was speaking and to this day I remember what she said. She said “your child is getting on a roller coaster and your job, parents, is to stay firmly planted on the ground. Your child will have high highs and low lows and you are not to join them”.
These words were spoken to me 20 years ago and to this day I remember them, and I share them with others whenever I can. It was great advice and although we had times of conflict, if stayed on the grounded it always resolved easier.
John 14 illustrates the love and patience that Jesus had toward His disciples. As He attempts to prepare them for the upcoming events, (his death, resurrection, and ascension) He instructs them to continue his work and comforts them with the assurance that they would eventually be reunited with him.
Jesus told his disciples that if they asked anything in his name, he would do it for them. He told them that if they love him, they should keep his commandments and he would ask his Father to send a comforter to them.
He left the disciples with a promise for the future. telling them that he would not leave them comfortless. He promised that if they kept the word of God, then he, the Father, and the Holy Spirit would abide with them and teach them all things
Finally, the Lord left peace to His disciples, giving them His own peace.
He gave them the peace which He Himself had with the Father.
Jesus had no fortune to give to His followers, but He gives them gifts that can’t be bought – the presence of the Holy Spirit and the presence of peace.
John 14: 25-27 reads
25 “I have spoken these things to you while I am with you. 26 The Companion,[a] the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I told you.
27 “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you. I give to you not as the world gives. Don’t be troubled or afraid.
God’s peace is a gift.
God’s peace is an issue of heart –
Do not let your heart be troubled…
Do not let your heart be afraid.
God’s peace is a gift we can feel, an issue of the heart.
Peace is not an academic, social, economic, physical achievement, simple enough- a gift, nothing you can do to earn, deserve or demand.
But a gift you accept.
Do not be confused here, the gift of peace accepted, will not remove all the challenges of life.
Given the circumstances of any given day, peace can easily be lost in the chaos, fear, worry, frustration… Just the same, you can have peace – today.
The Hebrew word for peace is “shalom,” and it forms the basis of the New Testament message of peace. Basically it means calmness, quietness, freedom from anxiety, tranquility.
The root meaning of shalom is “to be whole.” Shalom describes a “state of being at ease.” It pictures a condition in which people “feel at ease or comfortable with each other.”
The shalom of Jesus is perfect peace. No matter the stress, anxiety, situation, or circumstance we may face, it frees us from a troubled and fearful heart.
When others fall apart in times of trouble and distress, we can remain steadfast, because the Prince of Peace is our eternal Rock. This is the peace the world cannot give; the peace the world does not comprehend, but it requires us by the power of the Holy Spirit to maintain a steadfast mind.
The word steadfast means “to lean upon.” Shalom comes to us as we “lean on Jesus.” I’ve always liked the popular song by Ben E. King “Lean on Me.” The message of the first stanza and refrain ares:
Sometimes in our lives,
we all have pain, we all have sorrow
But if we are wise,
we know that there’s always tomorrow.
Lean on me, when you’re not strong,
And I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on,
For it won’t be long,
till I’m gonna need somebody to lean on.
Little Johnny was in the kitchen helping his mother make supper. She asked him to go into the pantry & get her a can of tomato soup, but he didn’t want to go alone. “It’s dark in there & I’m scared.” She asked again, & he persisted. Finally she said, “It’s OK. Jesus will be in there with. you.” Johnny walked hesitantly to the door, slowly opened it, peeked inside, saw it was dark, & started to leave when an idea came to mind, & he said: “Jesus, if you’re in there, would you mind handing me that can of tomato soup?”
We all have experienced fear in some form or another. We know that fear is a paralyzing emotion that can stop us dead in our tracks, preventing us from accomplishing some activity.
I want to ask you: what situations in life make you fearful? What are the things which cause you to be fearful and not have peace?
Perhaps you fear not having any money. The fear and anxiety of being broke and perhaps no means to earn more might be your biggest challenge.
The fear of being alone in this time of pandemic, fear of loneliness, might be more than you can take.
Fear of rejection, fear of death, fear of spiders, fear of the outdoors, fear of criticism, fear of death…
What fear keeps you from having peace in your life?
God is with you even if you don’t feel it.
Jesus left us with the words “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not let them be afraid.”
Friends face each new day with the confidence and peace that can only come from knowing Jesus as your Lord and Savior.
Please pray with me,
In places like the Middle East and New York, bullets fly, Children die and Parent cry, Give me Your peace.
Broken hearts. Lives too short. Fear of life and fear of death, Give me Your peace.
Tears fall down my cheeks like rain from the sky
Knots in my stomach and sleepless nights
Worries about tomorrow compete for space in my mind with regrets from the past, Give me Your peace.
Restlessness, impatience, annoyances, intolerance, frustration, and anger –
They fill my life like melted snow floods a fragile river, Give me Your peace.
Prince of Peace – Take my burdens and give me rest. –
Wonderful Counselor – Show me the way to peace.
Through the deepest valleys. In the darkest places. During the time I am alone. Show me the way to peace.
Peace with You
Peace with others
Peace with the world
And peace with myself, Give me Your peace.
Dysfunction, dismay, and despair – They exist in the world.
But You have overcome the world.
Help me be an overcomer who embraces Your peace.
I give You my fears
I offer You my failures.
My heart is no longer troubled because of Your peace.
You are God and Your peace surpasses all understanding.
Guard my heart and my mind.
Teach me once again Your presence is greater than my struggles. Give me Your peace.
Author: Craig Finnestad, Prayers from The Water’s Edge
Special MusicI’ve Got Peace Like a River
Offering and Prayer of Dedication
Sometimes the call to offering can be an awkward time for both the person saying the word and those hearing the words. Today let just share what I believe
I believe night always gives way to the dawn
I believe war always gives way to peace
I believe death is always shattered by life
I believe God is doing a new thing
Every minute of every day, God is at work, around us and within us
For the homeless, a place to live
For the hungry, a feast
For the thirsty, a cup of cold clean water
For the weary, rest
For the lonely, a friend
For the sick, healing and wholeness
Every minute of every day, God is making all things new, giving and giving and giving again
And you are called, we are called to be a part of God’s work of generosity
You are called, we are called to give, to surrender your time, our talent, and our treasure to this God-work of making all things new
You are called to give
We are called to give
What we give is used to further the work of our God both here and around the world!
Prayer of Dedication
Giver of all gifts,
we are grateful for your every blessing
and for your presence through all of life—
in our joys and fears,
and in our hopes and anxiety.
We pray for those who do not know
the comfort of your presence in their lives,
asking that you reveal yourself to them
through the gifts we have given
The love we share
and through the lives we live.
Reveal yourself, O God,
that all your children
may find their true home in you. Amen.
Pastoral Prayer and The Lord’s Prayer
Creator of All That Is,
In this place and time of peace, we thank you for your eternal presence. We thank you for all you have created that witness to each of us of your peace and grace.
Open our eyes to see your presence in all of creation. Open our ears to hear your slightest whisper in the sounds of nature.
Bring your peace into our everyday lives that we may be reflective of you to all we meet. May that reflection of you in our lives bring peace that is passed on to others.
In praise and thanksgiving of all we are, and all you have created us to be, may we grow in your peace. And now in the words you taught your 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
Being washed in the love of Christ, now go into this world with the healing love of God to be given generously in peace and hope. God’s peace will always be with those who live in God’s love. AMEN.
• Thank you to Natalie Sigstad for sharing the scripture with us.
• Thank you to music leader Ellen Schaffran and accompanist Elaine Keehr for our worship music
• Bishop Bruce Ough has asked all United Methodist churches in Minnesota to not host in-person worship or gatherings through May 30. We are using the month of May to plan for and prepare for our future.
• If you need food or supplies but can’t safely leave your home? Lower-risk people from Mora UMC will help-out. If you can pay for your items, we would appreciate it, but we want to help if you are unable to pay as well. If you need these services, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message at (952)240-3836.
• So until we meet gather again I wish you peace.