Welcome to this service. We have new worship formats and spiritual offerings as of September, 2020. You can read about them by clicking here. The main difference in these online services will be that they are shorter and simpler to fit with our covid culture’s screen fatigue and shortened attention span.
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.
Whoever you are, wherever you are on your journey, you are welcome here and in our church community.
Pastor Tom Kinder
Today’s Order of Worship
Prelude by Annemieke McLane
Call to Worship: A Haiku by Herbert Goertz
Postlude by the United Church of Strafford Choir
Prelude 1st Arabesque by C. Debussy, performed by Annemieke McLane in the United Church of Strafford sanctuary.
Call to Worship This week’s haiku by Herbert Goertz, spouse of our usual haiku artist Mel:
Silence surrounds me
as I step into the fog—
the world disappears.
“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46 Let us worship together.
33:7 So you, mortal, I have made a sentinel for the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me.
33:8 If I say to the wicked, “O wicked ones, you shall surely die,” and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from their ways, the wicked shall die in their iniquity, but their blood I will require at your hand.
33:9 But if you warn the wicked to turn from their ways, and they do not turn from their ways, the wicked shall die in their iniquity, but you will have saved your life.
33:10 Now you, mortal, say to the house of Israel, Thus you have said: “Our transgressions and our sins weigh upon us, and we waste away because of them; how then can we live?”
33:11 Say to them, As I live, says the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from their ways and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel?
1Do not fret because of the wicked; do not be envious of wrongdoers,
2for they will soon fade like the grass, and wither like the green herb.
3Trust in the Lord, and do good; so you will live in the land, and enjoy security.
4Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.
6He will make your vindication shine like the light, and the justice of your cause like the noonday.
7Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him; do not fret over those who prosper in their way, over those who carry out evil devices.
8Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath. Do not fret—it leads only to evil.
9For the wicked shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.
Matthew 6:5-6, 24, 27-34
Whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 6But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
24“No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
27Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”
Sermon “Sentinel, Do Not Fret,” Rev. Thomas Cary Kinder
You can find the text of the Sermon by clicking here. (Note that the text version does not include a very brief introduction to the sermon about sunflowers. You need to watch the video for that.)
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.)
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. We are now streaming live readings and music from our sanctuary on that same Zoom link at 10:15 AM, so just sign on fifteen minutes earlier.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Postlude “Mayenziew” South African. Sung by members of the United Church of Strafford Choir.