Worship Resource for May 3, 2020

FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
May 3, 2020

Make a joyful noise to God all the earth;
Sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise!
~Psalm 66:1-2

PRELUDE – “All Creatures of Our God and King”  arr., G. Pollock

Haven Parrott and Cindy Joy

WELCOME TO WORSHIP                                                                                           Rev. Aho

CALL TO WORSHIP
(This may read in unison or shared between readers in your home)

Sing and shout with joy, for the God of hope is with us now.
Give thanks and praise to God, for the God of hope is always with us.
Come and see God’s deeds, and discover the miraculous power of unending hope.
Arthur & Frankie Marks; Steve & Ann Timberlake; Chip & Betty Fudge

HYMN OF PRAISE“Worthy of Worship”  JUDSON

Worthy of worship, worthy of praise, worthy of honor and glory.
Worthy of all the glad songs we can sing, worthy of all of the offerings we bring.
You are worthy, Father, Creator. You are worthy, Savior, Sustainer.
You are worthy, worthy and wonderful; worthy of worship and praise.

Almighty Father, Master and Lord, King of all kings and Redeemer,
Wonderful Counselor, Comforter, Friend, Savior and Source of our life without end.
You are worthy, Father, Creator. You are worthy, Savior, Sustainer.
You are worthy, worthy and wonderful; worthy of worship and praise.
~© 1988 McKinney Music, INC, T. W. York and M. Blankenship
CCLI# 1049296

CHILDREN’S TIME  Mrs. Debbie Pittard

SCRIPTURE READING – Acts 2:42-47  Rev. Aho

CALL TO PRAYER – “Spirit of the Living God” D. Iverson
Evelyn Hann, soprano
© 1935, 1963 Birdwing Music    CCLI #1049296

PASTORAL PRAYER – Rev. Aho

The early disciples devoted themselves to prayer, the teachings of the apostles,
and sharing the bread of life. They were a people of prayer, who shared their
joys and concerns, their passions and sorrows, with one another and with the Lord.
For the burdens shared are burdens lessened,
and joys shared are joys enriched.
Come, let us follow their examples and lift up our prayers to God.

(take a few minutes for silent prayer and reflection)

God of all hopefulness, bring hope to our weary world and to our troubled hearts;
Ignite hope within our worship this day.
Strengthen our faith as children of hope,
that we may partner with you and share the good news
of your steadfast faithfulness with the world. Amen.

RESPONSE – “Spirit of the Living God”   D. Iverson
Spirit of the living God, move among us all.
Make us one in heart and mind, make us one in love.
Humble, caring, selfless, sharing.
Spirit of the living God, fill our lives with love.
(additional lyrics by D. Burroughs, used with permission)
CCLI #1049296

MUSIC MEDITATION  –  K. Hill
“Carry Me”  – 2019 Oxford Baptist Youth Choir

Carry me, Father God, on Your strong eagle wings of love.
Through the storm keep me safe; through the tears and all my shame, carry me.
This world is full of trouble, and in the night, I stumble,
But You never will forsake me.
You see me when I fall, You hear before I call,
And you’re always there to save me.
Carry me.
©2003, Allegis Music Pub.  CCLI #1049296

MESSAGE                                             “Still the Church”                                             Rev. Aho

All of my ministerial life, I’ve appealed to Acts 2.42-47 as a reason for the church to gather for worship, discipleship, fellowship, and service. I am not alone in this. Most churches root their congregational practices in these verses. This makes it strange to read these familiar verses amid the constraints imposed by COVID-19. Therefore, this week, I have tried to consider this passage with fresh eyes and ask, what does this passage tell us about being the church for all times? And, if these verses tell us how to be the church, how might we do that today and for the days ahead?

The first thing I see is the importance of gratitude.

Scripture tells us that “Awe came upon everyone,” as the Holy Spirit was at work in the lives of believers. Awe and wonder pushed everyone toward gratitude with glad and generous hearts. That was true then, and it can still be true today.

Every day, when I talk to folks, I sense gratitude. Though our conversations contain elements of sadness, frustration, and grief, gratitude is also present. As Christian people, we do well when our lives are marked with gratitude. No matter the circumstances, we give thanks because God is still with us and working among us.

Secondly, it is impossible to miss the importance of gathering in the temple.

The early church, without the constraints of a pandemic, found strength, support, and fellowship in their place of worship with fellow believers.

Of course, we cannot do that right now. But that is also why we film as much worship as we can from the church sanctuary. Filming in that space, we hope, provides visual cues to point us to the strength, support, and fellowship that comes through our worshipping church. So, even though we cannot join together physically, I hope that memories of our sanctuary point us to our supportive family of God.

And thirdly, Acts 2 points to the importance of carrying faith beyond the temple.

Though this passage is often a way ministers implore believers to gather, what follows is, “[they] broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts.” The implication here is that Christians take their faith from the temple to the world.

Therefore, as people eat at home (all the time!!!) right now, we still eat as people with experiences that have propelled us beyond the temple. Our gathered worship shaped our lives so that faith reaches every place we go.   

These days, we are limited, and we cannot do things the way we have always done them. And, this might continue for a while. To quote a member of our church from social media, “Everything will be ok, but it will not be the same.” But even though things will change, change is not new to the Lord’s church. The church, throughout history, has been through trying times, and it remains the Lord’s church. We are still followers of Jesus, called to gratitude, awe, and practices of faith. In the days to come, we will discover new ways to embody faithful practices and spiritual habits that profess the goodness of the Kingdom of God.

We can eat with thanks because of all that God has done for us.
We can look around with awe and gratitude because of God’s work through so many.
And we can imagine a day when we all reenter the sanctuary, not just because it’s Sunday, but because we need gatherings of faithful people that propel us in faith from the pews, into the world, as God’s faithful children.
Amen.

OUR OFFERINGS
Taking an offering is an act of worship and a part of our service each week.  It is important to remember that our offering not only supports the ministry of the church but is an expression of our thankfulness for all God has given us.  We give today because God first gave to us.

BENEDICTION
With faith in the Risen Christ, we go forth to share faith with the world.
With the power of God’s Holy Spirit, we go forth to serve.
With the love of God our Creator, we go forth to love. Amen.

POSTLUDE “Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus”   arr., J. Payne
©2015 Lorenz Publishing Co.  CCLI #1049296

One thought on “Worship Resource for May 3, 2020

  1. Cindy Joy says:

    On Sat, May 2, 2020 at 11:14 PM OBC Spring Devotional Project 2020 wrote:

    > chris aho posted: ” FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER May 3, 2020 Make a joyful > noise to God all the earth; Sing the glory of his name; give to him > glorious praise! ~Psalm 66:1-2 PRELUDE – “All Creatures of Our God and > King” arr., G. Pollock Haven Parrott and Cindy Joy WELCOME TO WO” >

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