On Line Worship Service, May 24, 2020

Welcome to this service.  You will find an “Orientation to this Service and Announcements” after the first few items.

Prelude French Suite V, Allemande, J.S. Bach; Annemieke McLane, piano:

Introit “The Peace of the Earth,” traditional Guatemalan, translated by Christine Carson, arranged by John L. Bell, sung by the United Church of Strafford Choir

“The peace of the earth be with you…Deep peace falling over you, God’s peace growing in you.”

Scripture Lessons:

Luke 24:44-53
Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you–that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven.  And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; and they were continually in the temple blessing God.

Acts 1:1-11
In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. “This,” he said, “is what you have heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

Call to Worship and Mel Goertz’s Haiku

You can read the text of this Call to Worship video by clicking here.

Hymn  “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name”  I listened to a dozen different YouTube recordings, all but this one performed by large choirs or gospel bands, and some were quite impressive, but then I came to this young man in what looks like a dorm room and somehow this moved me more even than the polished city choruses with their soaring descants.  If this doesn’t do it for you, feel free to search YouTube—it will be time well spent!

Orientation to this Service and Announcements

Welcome to this online worship service of the United Church of Strafford, Vermont for May 24th, 2020, the Seventh Sunday of Easter and Ascension Sunday.

You can respond with thoughts about the service or with anything you would like to say by using the comment feature at the end of the post or by emailing us.  You can also bring others into this experience by sharing the link to this service by email or social media.

Today we have a series of videos including:

  • the Prelude, Introit, Call to Worship and Hymn above;
  • Children’s Time for all ages;
  • the New Lord’s Prayer;
  • a Hymn to sing along;
  • the Sermon;
  • a Hymn;
  • a moving video of youth from South Africa;
  • a sung benediction from Indonesia;
  • a Postlude.

Please note that we are gathering as a congregation by Zoom at 10:30 AM on Sunday mornings to say hello to one another and share our Joys and Concerns and Prayer requests and offer our compassion and support and company for this journey.

Our Heartfulness Contemplative Training Circle is also meeting by Zoom on Thursdays at 6:00 PM.  This is for anyone who is interested in practicing mindfulness or meditation, or heartfulness and centering prayer.  It is a time for talking about those practices and also more generally about our spiritual life.

You can find links to instructions on how to be part of those Zoom gatherings on the Welcome Page of our website.

If you are not on our weekly email list and would like to be, please email us at unitedchurchofstrafford@gmail.com and we will make sure you receive all our church news.

It is extremely important that we stay connected now.  Please reach out by phone or email to neighbors and other members of the congregation, especially those who live by themselves or are struggling or vulnerable.  Our Deacons, Becky Bailey, Kim Welsh and Maggie Hooker, are coordinating our Deacons Fund and our outreach to people in need of support, and Danette Harris, Chair of our Mission Committee, is leading our work with the Food Shelf.  Becky, Danette and Joey Hawkins are on the town committee that is coordinating outreach as well.  If you would like to donate or help please email us or use the comment feature on this page.

You can listen to this service in one sitting in under an hour or you may spread it out over the course of the day or week. Thank you!

Time with Children and Youth (and all ages…)

Alternative Lord’s Prayer

I invited children, parents and other adults to record themselves saying the prayer.  Here is a composite of six readers.  Please keep sending these in—it would be wonderful to have every member of the congregation lead the prayer!

Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer,
Way, Truth and Life,
Force of Love and Light
flowing within and all around us,
may your realm of compassion,
justice and peace rule our world.
Thank you for nurturing and guiding us,
forgiving us and helping us forgive,
and leading us away from harmful desires.
Please save us from all forms of evil,
for you are our source, our home, our power,
all goodness and beauty forever. Amen.

Hymn “Thuma Mina” South African/Zulu  You can sing along with this version.  Be sure to hear the beautiful version after the sermon, as well.  Also, just before the Benediction I have included a group of young South Africans who are speaking out for oneness and who end by saying “Thuma Mina, send me, Lord.”  It is powerful, and gives a sense of what we are really saying when we sing this hymn.

Sermon

You can read the text of the Sermon below by clicking here.

Anthem  “Thuma Mina,” South African/Zulu, Annemieke McLane, solo

Offering

This congregation is a small but meaningful part of the movement to establish God’s realm of peace, justice and care for God’s creation on earth, actively engaged in serving our community and supporting the wider worldwide movement.  One of the ways we work together and increase our strength beyond our individual abilities is by pooling our resources.  This is hard to do when we are forced apart by the pandemic, so we hope you will take just a minute to use our online donation service.

To make your offering on line, please click here.  (This is a service we are providing through an extremely well established on-line donation company specializing in churches that is recommended by the national United Church of Christ and used by thousands of churches like ours.  To read more about our decision to allow on line donations, click here.)

The Benediction Part One Be sure to watch more than the first minute and a half…

The Benediction Part Two  A gorgeous John Rutter benediction sung by an internationally acclaimed Indonesian chorus…

Postlude  F. Chopin, Nocturne in F# minor Op. 48 No. 2, Annemieke McLane, piano

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