Bulletin 2 by Pastor Katy Stenta

Drive in Worship September 20th 2020
Announcements
Call to Worship
Give thanks to the Lord and Call on the name of God
Let the hearts of those who seek the Lord Rejoice

Spirit 319
Spirit, Spirit of gentleness,
Blow through the wilderness, calling and free
Spirit, Spirit of restlessness, Stir me from placidness,
Wind, Wind on the sea

  1. You move the waters,You called to the deep
    Then You coaxed up the mountains
    From the valleys of sleep And over the eons
    You called to each thing, Awake from your slumbers
    And rise on your wings
  2. You swept through the desert, You stung with the sand
    And You gifted your people, With a law and a land
    And when they were blinded with their idols and lies,
    Then You spoke through Your prophets
    To open their eyes
  3. You call from tomorrow, You break ancient schemes,
    From the bondage of sorrow. The captives dream dreams
    Our women see visions, Our men clear their eyes.
    With bold new decisions, Your people arise.

Genesis 37:20-28, 50:15-21
(1 finger)’Here comes this dreamer. 20Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; then we shall say that a wild animal has devoured him, and we shall see what will become of his dreams.’
(2 fingers)’but when Reuben heard it, he delivered him out of their hands, saying, ‘Let us not take his life.’
(3 fingers) Reuben said to them, ‘Shed no blood; throw him into this pit here in the wilderness, but lay no hand on him’—that he might rescue him out of their hand and restore him to his father.
(4 fingers) Then Judah said to his brothers, ‘What profit is there if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? 27Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and not lay our hands on him, for he is our brother, our own flesh. And his brothers agreed.
(5 fingers) When some Midianite traders passed by, they drew Joseph up, lifting him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. And they took Joseph to Egypt.
(Pastor Katy) Joseph was enslaved, abused by his owner’s wife and eventually imprisoned. There he told the prisoners who would be punished and set free according to their dreams. Eventually the Pharaoh heard and freed him, listening to the dreams of Pharaoh Joseph foretold a drought, so that only Egypt was ready for it. For this reason, Joseph’s brothers journeyed to Egypt for food.
(6 fingers) Realizing that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers said, ‘What if Joseph still bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong that we did to him?’
(7 fingers) So they approached* Joseph, saying, ‘Your father gave this instruction before he died, 17“Say to Joseph: I beg you, forgive the crime of your brothers and the wrong they did in harming you.” Now therefore please forgive the crime of the servants of the God of your father.’
(8 fingers) Joseph wept when they spoke to him.
(9 fingers) Then his brothers also wept,* fell down before him, and said, ‘We are here as your slaves.’
(10 fingers) But Joseph said to them, ‘Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? 20Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today. 21So have no fear; I myself will provide for you and your little ones.’ In this way he reassured them, speaking kindly to them.

Children’s Sermon

Sermon “God with All of Us” Pastor Katy Stenta

God, only you would bring a feuding family together and find a way to bless and reunite them. As we live with suspicion and in a divided nation, we pray that you teach us how to be gracious and forgiving. We pray that we don’t refuse to help one another out of prejudices or hate, and we pray that you order all things for good. We pray this using the prayer your son taught us. Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed by Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the Kingdom and Power and the Glory Forever. Amen.

O God of Every Nation 289

  1. O God of every nation, of every race and land
    Redeem the whole the creation with Your almighty hand
    Where hate and fear divide us And bitter threats are hurled
    In love and mercy guide us And heal our strife torn world
  2. From search for wealth and power and scorn of truth and right
    From trust in bombs that shower destruction through the night
    From pride of race and station and blindness to Your way
    Deliver every nation, Eternal God we pray.
  3. Keep bright in us the the vision of days when war shall cease
    When hatred and division, Give way to love and peace
    Till dawns the morning glorious When peace on earth shall reign
    And Christ shall rule victorious O’er all the world’s domain

Bulletin 1 by Rev. Dr Barb Hedges-Goettl, God of the Rainbow Coat Prayer, More Narrative Lectionary Resources

Bulletin 1 with Sermon

More Narrative Lectionary Resources

Prelude Arise, Your Light is Come
https://youtu.be/pDLOLH6LhaI?list=TLPQMTMwOTIwMjDl93yM-R7ESA

Opening Prayer (1)
Light-giving God, We lumber together in hope as Your church to lift Your Light. Let us lift not the light of our congratulation of ourselves, not the light of belief in our own superiority, not the light of our belief in our own narrow presuppositions, not even the light of our own church.
 
Let us lift the light from You, the light of the power You make known to us
in the truth of our powerlessness, learning to be at ease with You.
 
Let this be the light we lift as a beacon in the darkness we know best.
As we lift that light, may we too be lifted to know
the true power that lies among us
waiting to rise as a beacon of our true hope. Amen.

Call to Worship (from 1 John 1) (2)
5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you:
God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. 
6 If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true.
God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. 
7 but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 
God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. 
Let us worship and live together in the light.

Hymn: Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otm_o8ZQpXA

Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love;Hearts unfold like flow’rs before Thee, Op’ning to the sun above.Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; Drive the dark of doubt away;Giver of immortal gladness, Fill us with the light of day!
All Thy works with joy surround Thee, Earth and heav’n reflect Thy rays,Stars and angels sing around Thee, Center of unbroken praise.Field and forest, vale and mountain, Flow’ry meadow, flashing sea,Singing bird and flowing fountain Call us to rejoice in Thee.
Thou art giving and forgiving, Ever blessing, ever blest, Wellspring of the joy of living, Ocean depth of happy rest!Thou our Father, Christ our Brother, All who live in love are Thine;Teach us how to love each other, Lift us to the joy divine.

Call to Confession 1 John 3:9
9 If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 

Prayer of Confession
O God, at times our actions contradict the fact that we are your people, revealing that we are more interested in ourselves than in others. Forgive us, Lord.
Our words themselves can increase the distance between “us” and “them,” forgetting we are all made in your image.
Forgive us, Lord.
In our church, we can care too much for getting our own way and not enough for hearing and supporting one another.
Forgive us, Lord.
At home, we can show our worst selves, especially in these times of stress and too much togetherness.
Forgive us, Lord.
In private, we can forget that you love us and that we can trust you with our darkest thoughts and deepest hurts.
Forgive us, Lord.

(Silent Confession)

Assurance of Forgiveness 1 John 2:1-24
If anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2 and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for the sins of the whole world. Thanks be to God for the Good News: In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven
(Silent Confession)
Gloria Patri: (Blue #579) Glory Be to the Father https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUBxpypSblw Sharing of the Peace: The peace of Christ be with you. And also with you.
Prayers of the People/Lord’s Prayer (traditional)
Celebration of Birthdays and Anniversaries 9/27 Jane

Hymn of Dedication Jesus, Thy Boundless Love to Me
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVc5TrnEwhQ
1 Jesus, Thy boundless love to me, no thought can reach, no tongue declare;
O knit my thankful heart to Thee, and reign without a rival there.
Thine wholly, Thine alone, I’d live Myself to thee entirely give
2 O grant that nothing in my soul
may dwell, but Thy pure love alone!
O may Thy love possess me whole, my Joy, my Treasure, and my Crown.
All coldness from my heart remove; may ev’ry act, word, thought, be love.
3 O love, how gracious is thy way!
All fear before thy presence flies;
care, anguish, sorrow, melt away, where’er thy healing beams arise.
O Jesus, nothing may I see, nothing desire or seek, but Thee.

In a world of give and take, in a culture of mend and break,
give us minds, hearts, hands, and wallets for sacrificial care,
to satisfy hunger and thirst everywhere. These gifts, our prayers
and our very selves we offer in the name of Love himself, Jesus the Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Prayer for Illumination Be Thou My Vision
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLr1XrX3a1E
Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
Nought be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

First Reading: Genesis 37 selected verses4
Second Reading Genesis 50:15-214

Message About That Forgiveness Thing

Confession of Faith Adapted from the Second Helvetic Confession
True repentance is conversion to God. True repentance is a sincere turning to God and to all good. True repentance is an earnest turning away from the devil and all evil. True repentance is a sheer gift of God. True repentance is not a work of our strength. Now that sinful woman who washed the feet of the Lord with her tears showed true repentance. And Peter who wept bitterly and bewailed his denial of the Lord showed true repentance. The mind of the penitent who seriously who laments the sins committed shows true repentance. Moreover, the prodigal son showed true repentance when he said “ ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired servants” The tax collector in the Gospel, and not the Pharisee, showed true repentance when compared with the Pharisee, showed true repentance when he said, “God be merciful to me a sinner” And the truly repentant are accepted by God into grace. For the apostle John says: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” Thanks be to God.
*Closing Hymn Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts
https://youtu.be/jsqHOt29_48?t=36
Jesus, Thou Joy of loving hearts, Thou Fount of life, Thou Light of all,From the best bliss that earth imparts, We turn unfilled to heed thy call.
Thy truth unchanged hath ever stood;Thou savest those that on Thee call;To them that seek Thee Thou art good,To them that find Thee all in all.
Our restless spirits yearn for Thee,Wherever our changeful lot is cast;Glad when Thy gracious smile we see,Blessed when our faith can hold Thee fast.
O Jesus, ever with us stay,Make all our moments calm and bright;Chase the dark night of sin away,Shed over the world Thy holy light.
*Charge and Benediction

Postlude Be Thou My Vision Glad
https://youtu.be/nPLcOlg0PWo

Old Testament Reading Genesis 37iii selected verses Dan Smaczny
3 Now Jacob loved Joseph more than any other of his children, because he was the son of his old age; and he had made him a coat of many colors. 4 But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably to him.
5 Once Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. 6 He said to them, “Listen to this dream that I dreamed. 7 There we were, binding sheaves in the field. Suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright; then your sheaves gathered around it, and bowed down to my sheaf.” 8 His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Are you indeed to have dominion over us?” So they hated him even more because of his dreams and his words.
17 Joseph went after his brothers, and found them at Dothan. 18 They saw him from a distance, and before he came near to them, they conspired to kill him. 19 They said to one another, “Here comes this dreamer. 20 Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; then we shall say that a wild animal has devoured him, and we shall see what will become of his dreams.” 21 But when Reuben heard it, he delivered him out of their hands, saying, “Let us not take his life.” 22 Reuben said to them, “Shed no blood; throw him into this pit here in the wilderness, but lay no hand on him”—that he might rescue him out of their hand and restore him to his father.
26 Then Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is it if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? 27 Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and not lay our hands on him, for he is our brother, our own flesh.” And his brothers agreed. 28 When some Midianite traders passed by, they drew Joseph up, lifting him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. And they took Joseph to Egypt.
29 When Reuben returned to the pit and saw that Joseph was not in the pit, he tore his clothes. 30 He returned to his brothers, and said, “The boy is gone; and I, where can I turn?” 31 Then they took Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a goat, and dipped the robe in the blood. 32 They had the coat of many colors taken to their father, and they said, “This we have found; see now whether it is your son’s robe or not.” 33 He recognized it, and said, “It is my son’s robe! A wild animal has devoured him; Joseph is without doubt torn to pieces.” 34 Then Jacob tore his garments, and put sackcloth on his loins, and mourned.
Second Reading Genesis 50:15-21 Rev. Dr. Len Hedges-Goettl

(3) And the brothers seeing that Joseph’s father was dead, are saying “Suppose Joseph is holding a grudge against all of us and will reverse all the evil we visited upon him against all of us.” So they demanded a messenger to go to Joseph to say “Your father commanded before he died saying ‘Please forgive your brothers and their sins for they did evil to you and now I pray, please forgive the transgressions of the servants of the God of your father’”

And Joseph was weeping when they spoke to him.
And his brothers falling on their faces before him said, “Behold, we are servants to you.”

And Joseph replied, “Don’t fear me, am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant it for evil but God devised it for good. God brings to pass this day the good to keep many people alive. Now, therefore, fear you not;
I will nourish you and your little ones.” And Joseph comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

Sermon: Dr. Len Hedges-Goettl

As we have noted in the past, we are following the series of scriptures suggested by the narrative lectionary instead of what is called the Common Lectionary. In my years of preaching, I often wondered why the Joseph story, that we typically get taught in Sunday school, is not included for preaching in the Common Lectionary… especially since I use the Joseph story often when I doing therapy, especially when am treating abuse survivors.
Joseph is kind of the ultimate abuse story. Joseph is not only abused physically and emotionally, but that abuse is all the more horrible because it is at the hands of the family that is supposed to love and protect him. It is the breaking of trust by those who are supposed to be the most trustworthy, the folks who are supposed to “have is back.” Joseph goes on to be sexually abused by Potiphar’s wife and then gets blamed even though he was the victim and he gets imprisoned by the Pharaoh, but none of these terrible experiences destroy is trust as much as the betrayal by the ones who were suppose to love him. Did you notice the parallel when the brothers got 20 pieces of silver for betraying Joseph and when Judas got 30 pieces of silver for betraying Jesus? So one expects Joseph to never trust anyone again, especially his brothers.
So chapter 50 comes as something of a surprise, at least to me, when Joseph’s father has died and is buried and the brothers must face Joseph after all the dust has settled. You probably remember that Joseph more than put his life back together and was in charge of all the food that Egypt needed and that his brothers and their families needed in a time of famine. Joseph was being asked to be compassionate to the ones who abuse and betrayed him.
If we carefully read the Hebrew when the brothers return following the funeral of their father, we notice some very telling details. The inevitable confrontation between Joseph and his brothers is the climax to the story and the brothers just know they are really in for it now. Joseph has the power. Joseph has the food they desperately need. And Joseph knows full well how terribly they treated him. Their only concern is the revenge Joseph could now take on them without their father around to protect them.
Many commentators for this scripture jump to the conclusion that this is an excellent example of forgiveness and reconciliation. Thankfully, at least one commentator agreed with my reading of the text. The brothers were cowards afraid because the one they harmed so grievously now had power to harm them. The did NOT say they were sorry for their behavior. They did not even take responsibility for their behavior. They did not identify themselves as sons of Joseph’s father but kept leaning on the wishes of “Joseph’s father,” as if they weren’t even part of the family. Joseph was supposed to forgive them, not because they confessed their sin and repented of their behavior but because of some command that they say “Joseph’s father” made when “Joseph’s father died.”
Barb said I should tell the story about her mother whose words seldom took responsibility for her actions when things went wrong. She might say “someone” forgot to do a thing, vaguely noting the offense but not the offender. She also typically refused to acknowledge what is called agency, that is when a person causes something to happen and takes responsibility. She would say “the glass broke” or “the milk spilled” as if it happened without any person involved. I really don’t remember her saying “I broke this” or “I did that.” Since things apparently “just happened” without anyone being responsible, she never had to apologize!
Joseph’s brothers act as if things “just happened” to Joseph, they don’t accept responsibility even though they fear Joseph’s revenge.
So the brothers press Joseph to forgive them not because they are sorry, not because they apologized, not because they repented of their actions, but because “Joseph’s father” not their father but “Joseph’s father” said Joseph should forgive them. Repenting from our behavior means we
acknowledge that we are responsible for what we have done
apologize and ask for forgiveness (not just say you ought to forgive without me being sorry)
repent from our bad behavior. Repent is a Hebrew word meaning to turn away from one thing and turn toward another… to turn away from bad behavior and turn toward good behavior from then on.
And Joseph’s response is startling! Well, it is not so startling that he begins by weeping. The hurt caused by his brothers was so deep and they stirred up the memory of all that hurt without taking responsibility and without repenting and without even asking for forgiveness themselves. Who wouldn’t weep if we demanded an abused person to just go ahead and forgive someone who doesn’t even try to apologize?
But then Joseph responds: Don’t be afraid. You meant it for evil but God used it for good. He then asks: Do you think I am taking God’s place? Joseph likely could not forgive his brothers. Why not? Let’s think about the call to confession today used from 1 John.
If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness
God is perfectly willing, in fact God is aching to forgive our sins…IF… we confess our sins. Full confession of sin means acknowledging and taking responsibility for what we have done, being sorry for what we have done, and turning from bad behavior toward good behavior. I wonder sometimes if God gets impatient with us or if God is just sad and yearning as God waits for us to fully confess so that at last God’s forgiveness can occur.
The brothers did NOT confess their sins against Joseph. If God does not forgive without full confession, why would we expect Joseph to forgive? He probably ached for his brothers to accept responsibility, ask forgiveness and repent of their behavior. Perhaps even like God, Joseph longed to forgive and be reconciled with his brothers.
But before we get too shocked by this lack of forgiveness, lets also look at Joseph’s behavior toward his brothers in the absence of forgiveness. Despite the deep hurt, Joseph nourished his brothers and their little ones. Joseph comforted them and spoke kindly to them.
When someone hurts us, even if the hurt is not at the level of abuse, we want them to change, to apologize, to make things right with us. And it can be so unnerving if they won’t even take responsibility for their actions. But like Joseph, our response should not be a response of revenge. And our response should not be some fake effort to forgive when they have not done their part to make forgiveness possible. But like Joseph, perhaps our response could be to show the love and compassion… the grace… the thing they don’t deserve even if they don’t do a full confession. Like Joseph we could feed their needs and the needs of their family anyway. Like Joseph we could comfort them and speak kindly to them. Because the grace Joseph shared, the grace we might share, is tiny compared to the grace God shares with us in our own sinfulness…every single day.
God is faithful and just and so full of grace… may we be likewise. Amen.

And the brothers seeing that Joseph’s father was dead, are saying “Suppose Joseph is holding a grudge against all of us and will reverse all the evil we visited upon him against all of us.” So they demanded a messenger to go to Joseph to say “Your father commanded before he died saying ‘Please forgive your brothers and their sins for they did evil to you and now I pray, please forgive the transgressions of the servants of the God of your father’”

And Joseph was weeping when they spoke to him.
And his brothers falling on their faces before him said, “Behold, we are servants to you.”

And Joseph replied, “Don’t fear me, am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant it for evil but God devised it for good. God brings to pass this day the good to keep many people alive. Now, therefore, fear you not;
I will nourish you and your little ones.” And Joseph comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

As we have noted in the past, we are following the series of scriptures suggested by the narrative lectionary instead of what is called the Common Lectionary. In my years of preaching, I often wondered why the Joseph story, that we typically get taught in Sunday school, is not included for preaching in the Common Lectionary… especially since I use the Joseph story often when I doing therapy, especially when am treating abuse survivors.
Joseph is kind of the ultimate abuse story. Joseph is not only abused physically and emotionally, but that abuse is all the more horrible because it is at the hands of the family that is supposed to love and protect him. It is the breaking of trust by those who are supposed to be the most trustworthy, the folks who are supposed to “have is back.” Joseph goes on to be sexually abused by Potiphar’s wife and then gets blamed even though he was the victim and he gets imprisoned by the Pharaoh, but none of these terrible experiences destroy is trust as much as the betrayal by the ones who were suppose to love him. Did you notice the parallel when the brothers got 20 pieces of silver for betraying Joseph and when Judas got 30 pieces of silver for betraying Jesus? So one expects Joseph to never trust anyone again, especially his brothers.
So chapter 50 comes as something of a surprise, at least to me, when Joseph’s father has died and is buried and the brothers must face Joseph after all the dust has settled. You probably remember that Joseph more than put his life back together and was in charge of all the food that Egypt needed and that his brothers and their families needed in a time of famine. Joseph was being asked to be compassionate to the ones who abuse and betrayed him.
If we carefully read the Hebrew when the brothers return following the funeral of their father, we notice some very telling details. The inevitable confrontation between Joseph and his brothers is the climax to the story and the brothers just know they are really in for it now. Joseph has the power. Joseph has the food they desperately need. And Joseph knows full well how terribly they treated him. Their only concern is the revenge Joseph could now take on them without their father around to protect them.
Many commentators for this scripture jump to the conclusion that this is an excellent example of forgiveness and reconciliation. Thankfully, at least one commentator agreed with my reading of the text. The brothers were cowards afraid because the one they harmed so grievously now had power to harm them. The did NOT say they were sorry for their behavior. They did not even take responsibility for their behavior. They did not identify themselves as sons of Joseph’s father but kept leaning on the wishes of “Joseph’s father,” as if they weren’t even part of the family. Joseph was supposed to forgive them, not because they confessed their sin and repented of their behavior but because of some command that they say “Joseph’s father” made when “Joseph’s father died.”
Barb said I should tell the story about her mother whose words seldom took responsibility for her actions when things went wrong. She might say “someone” forgot to do a thing, vaguely noting the offense but not the offender. She also typically refused to acknowledge what is called agency, that is when a person causes something to happen and takes responsibility. She would say “the glass broke” or “the milk spilled” as if it happened without any person involved. I really don’t remember her saying “I broke this” or “I did that.” Since things apparently “just happened” without anyone being responsible, she never had to apologize!
Joseph’s brothers act as if things “just happened” to Joseph, they don’t accept responsibility even though they fear Joseph’s revenge.
So the brothers press Joseph to forgive them not because they are sorry, not because they apologized, not because they repented of their actions, but because “Joseph’s father” not their father but “Joseph’s father” said Joseph should forgive them. Repenting from our behavior means we
acknowledge that we are responsible for what we have done
apologize and ask for forgiveness (not just say you ought to forgive without me being sorry)
repent from our bad behavior. Repent is a Hebrew word meaning to turn away from one thing and turn toward another… to turn away from bad behavior and turn toward good behavior from then on.
And Joseph’s response is startling! Well, it is not so startling that he begins by weeping. The hurt caused by his brothers was so deep and they stirred up the memory of all that hurt without taking responsibility and without repenting and without even asking for forgiveness themselves. Who wouldn’t weep if we demanded an abused person to just go ahead and forgive someone who doesn’t even try to apologize?
But then Joseph responds: Don’t be afraid. You meant it for evil but God used it for good. He then asks: Do you think I am taking God’s place? Joseph likely could not forgive his brothers. Why not? Let’s think about the call to confession today used from 1 John.
If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness
God is perfectly willing, in fact God is aching to forgive our sins…IF… we confess our sins. Full confession of sin means acknowledging and taking responsibility for what we have done, being sorry for what we have done, and turning from bad behavior toward good behavior. I wonder sometimes if God gets impatient with us or if God is just sad and yearning as God waits for us to fully confess so that at last God’s forgiveness can occur.
The brothers did NOT confess their sins against Joseph. If God does not forgive without full confession, why would we expect Joseph to forgive? He probably ached for his brothers to accept responsibility, ask forgiveness and repent of their behavior. Perhaps even like God, Joseph longed to forgive and be reconciled with his brothers.
But before we get too shocked by this lack of forgiveness, lets also look at Joseph’s behavior toward his brothers in the absence of forgiveness. Despite the deep hurt, Joseph nourished his brothers and their little ones. Joseph comforted them and spoke kindly to them.
When someone hurts us, even if the hurt is not at the level of abuse, we want them to change, to apologize, to make things right with us. And it can be so unnerving if they won’t even take responsibility for their actions. But like Joseph, our response should not be a response of revenge. And our response should not be some fake effort to forgive when they have not done their part to make forgiveness possible. But like Joseph, perhaps our response could be to show the love and compassion… the grace… the thing they don’t deserve even if they don’t do a full confession. Like Joseph we could feed their needs and the needs of their family anyway. Like Joseph we could comfort them and speak kindly to them. Because the grace Joseph shared, the grace we might share, is tiny compared to the grace God shares with us in our own sinfulness…every single day.
God is faithful and just and so full of grace… may we be likewise. Amen.

(1) Excerpted from a prayer by Dr. Susan M. (Elli) Elliott. Source: http://ellielliott.webs.com/sermonsprayers.htm

(2) New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved

(3) Translation by Dr. Len Hedges-Goettl using the Hebrew Interlinear Bible

Bulletin 2 by Pastor Katy Stenta, God of the Rainbow Coat Prayer, More Narrative Lectionary Resources

Mourning

God, how is it that I can have a relationship with someone I’ve never met?

Sometimes, I don’t even know the fullness of someone’s personality till after they die, and yet I feel their loss.

I’ve lost a piece of myself today. So I’m crying out to you God.

A woman who worked hard, a woman who wouldn’t take no for an answer, a woman who had the imagination to see the world as better and healthier place.

And because those things are what I want to, I lost a piece of myself today.

You know what I mean God!

Her notoriety was paved with refusals: refusals to back down to the dean of Harvard law, her refusals to let cancer have it’s way first with her husband, then with her career, and finally with her life.

Her dissent was for justice for all and sparkled whenever it was brought into the light.

She said no, when life told her to quit, over and over again. She was steadfast.

She was a fighter, small in stature and long in memory.

Lord, It is said a person who dies on Rosh Hashannah is tzaddik- a person of great righteousness.

That they die at the last possible moment of the year because they are so needed.

Lord you know we all needed a notorious and righteous RBG in our lives.

Lighting the way for all those who are striving to be notorious.

May that righteousness, that piece I feel like I’ve lost, actually remain like a lit fire in my belly.

Well done Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Good and faithful servant.

We here on earth are praying that you are hatching a plot with the company of saints, I know you are sitting with God and John Lewis and Chadwick Boseman.

And while you are plotting we pray that you are hanging your collar in the stars, so we might see, and remember how justice shines in the dark.

Help us in our grief to cry and rage, and then find ourselves in your work we pray.

Lord hear our prayer.

Amen.

Notorious RBG with Quotes Digital Art by Madison Ann

Image

Feel free to use/adapt with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

On the motivational side: Part of Her Work

Here is the Link for Pandemic Prayers and Resources: Top Posts are “In an Abundance of Caution” “The Lord is My Shepherd: What kind of Sheep are You” and “Masks: A Prayer”

Communion Tastes Different Now

God, I have had many times when I realized I didn’t really know anything.

All the things I knew how to do have changed.

From going for a walk to grocery shopping.

And, so, Communion tastes different.

Do we even know how the economy works? I doubt anyone knows anymore.

Money and power become nonsensical, time itself has changed.

When I see two or three year olds wear a mask, without blinking, for three hours of nursery school.

I realize that they are the only ones who will know how the world works right now. Because they are growing into it.

Meanwhile ancient schemes are being broken

And the Holy Spirit is here, whispering new words on the wind.

And because I have changed, and I’m a part of communion, communion tastes differently now. The kingdom tastes different.

Because everything is being made new.

The whole world is indeed laboring in birth, and I am praying that somehow, all things are working together for good.

The thing about labor is, you don’t know what you’re doing

Parts of you die and parts of your body make room for the new thing, and parts of your body are never the same again.

It’s messy and bloody and it hurts like hell.

And when you are handed the child, whew.

You really realize that you really don’t know anything.

Mothering, swaddling God, tell us it’s ok if communion tastes different, it’s still communion.

Lord, teach us how to handle this new reality that is being birthed, I pray.

Amen.

Feel free to use/adapt credit Pastor Katy Stenta

Here is the Link for Pandemic Prayers and Resources: Top Posts are “In an Abundance of Caution” “The Lord is My Shepherd: What kind of Sheep are You” and “Masks: A Prayer”

God of the Rainbow Coat

God,

when you looked into Joseph’s face, laced with drama;

when you saw his heart–full of queer notions…

And his coat that was gay to its core.

When you truly got to know who Joseph was.

Then, and only then did you call him by name.

I know this, because you are God, and you are with us.

You don’t call us as strangers who might be able to help.

You call us as beloved children who you know can be more fulfilled serving others.

You didn’t ask Joseph to take of his rainbow coat, or to change, or to be better–you just asked him to come.

And it is beautiful that you can take a dreaming boy, who was too flamboyant, and dramatic, and talked to much, and turned his dreams into hope.

First for all of Egypt, and then for the very siblings that betrayed him.

May we all have the grace to remember that God calls us exactly as we are. Remind us, that just as God knows each and every star, God knows and calls us all by name.

We pray in Christ’s most Holy Name.

Amen.

More Narrative Lectionary Resources

Orange Skies

Lord, today I wonder what you think when you see our skies in California, stretched orange with smoke.

When Karachi is flooded.

When Superstorm Laura winked out the power before a heat wave.

When Beirut explodes, and Typohoon Haishen blows through Japan and South Korea.

Did you have a big messy cry when violence erupted not once but twice in Kenosha, WI?

I did.

God I cannot even grasp the news. I can feel people falling through the gaps as children go hungry and try to sign online to education.

Are there days when you feel like you can’t look at the news anymore–does God wish God could close God’s own eyes sometimes? And yet I know you never do.

You work for that justice that has been delayed and therefore denied too long! No justice, no peace.

For you have promised that one day justice and peace will make love!

I worry about the jobless, the homeless, the sick.

I worry that I haven’t upheld my promise to be anti-racist today. (I haven’t, and the work continues)

I am continually angered by the hotspots that people don’t seem to want to control.

I cringe at how in policy, protection and politics about how all lives–don’t!–matter. Cringe and taste vomit in my mouth.

Today, I think the orange skies pretty much exactly show how absurd my emotions have become.

And though I really don’t think you punish us with disasters–I highly suspect there are a million exit signs on the road that we willfully ignore–I do wonder how you process them all.

Lord God Almighty. What do we do when the sky turns orange?

Please take my messy cries, my absurd emotions, my mistakes, my exhaustion, my cringing and the vomit in my mouth. And shape them into a prayer.

An embodied prayer, so that we can do that which needs to be done.

With my entire self I pray.

Amen.

Feel free to hit share or use or adapt with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

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God’s Promise to Abraham

God With Us

More Narrative Lectionary Resources

God’s Promise to Abraham Bulletin and Sermon & Consider Prayer
Genesis 15:1-6 alt Gen 17: 1-8
Luke 3:8 Opt. Psalm 8

Sermon by Rev. Stephen Cook: please attribute https://day1.org/weekly-broadcast/5d9b820ef71918cdf2004067/stephen_cook_on_beyond

Consider Prayer

Bulletin
Prelude Be Not Afraid John Michael Talbot
https://youtu.be/wQr4udSiEew?t=2

Opening Prayer
God of our forebears, as your chosen servant Abraham was given faith to obey your call and go out into the unknown, so may your church be granted such faith that we may follow you with courage for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, on God, forever and ever.  Amen.

(Book of Common Worship, Westminster John Knox Press, 1993. pg. 245.)

Call to Worship
In days of old God called Abraham and Sarah:
Come—I am with you; step out in faith.
God speaks still, claiming people of every land and race:
Come—I will bless you, that you may bless others.
In the dark of night, Jesus confirms God’s gift of abiding love.
Come—I will bless you with eternal life.
Heirs of the covenant, let us continue the journey:
Come—let us worship the Lord!

(Rev. Barb Hedges-Goettl)

PC(USA) Online Hymnal worship suggestions for March 8, 2020. https://hymnal.pcusastore.com/Home/

Opening Hymn The God of Abraham Praise
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZovXddne9I
The God of Abraham praise, who reigns enthroned above,the Ancient of Eternal Days, the God of love!The Lord, the great I am, by earth and heaven confessed,we bow before your holy name, forever blest.


Your spirit still flows free, high surging where it will.In prophet’s word you spoke of old and you speak still.Established is your law, and changeless it shall stand,deep writ upon the human heart by your strong hand.


Your goodly land we seek, with peace and plenty blest,a land of sacred liberty and Sabbath rest.There milk and honey flow, and oil and wine abound,and trees of life forever grow with mercy crowned.

You have eternal life implanted in the soul;your love shall be our strength and stay, while ages roll.We praise you, living God! We praise your holy name:the first, the last, beyond all thought, and still the same!

Prayer of Confession and Assurance of Pardon
Call to Confession
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, God who is faithful and just will forgive our sins and cleanses us from all unrighteousness. In humility and faith let us confess our sins before God and one another.

Prayer of Confession
Holy and merciful God, in your presence we confess our sinfulness, our shortcomings, and our offenses against you. You alone know how often we have sinned in wandering from your ways, in wasting your gifts, in forgetting your love.
Have mercy on us, O Lord, for we are ashamed and sorry for all we have done to displease you. Forgive our sins, and help us to live in your light, and walk in your ways, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Savior.
(Time of silence for personal confession.)

Assurance of Forgiveness
Hear the good news! Who is in a position to condemn?
Only Christ! And Christ died for us, Christ rose for us, Christ reigns in power for us, Christ prays for us. Anyone who is in Christ is a new creation. The old life has gone, a new life has begun. Know that you are forgiven and be at peace. In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven. Thanks be to God!

(Book of Common Worship, pages 52-56. Reprinted by permission from Book of Common Worship, © 1993 Westminster/John Knox Press.)

Gloria Patri: (Blue #579) Glory Be to the Father
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUBxpypSblw

Prayers of the People/Lord’s Prayer (traditional)

Celebration of Birthdays and Anniversaries
Doxology (Blue, #592) Praise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivaDXu27_IY

  • Prayer of Dedication Please place gifts in the plate on your way out.

In a world of give and take, in a culture of mend and break,
give us minds, hearts, hands, and wallets for sacrificial care,
to satisfy hunger and thirst everywhere. These and all prayers we offer,
in the name of Love himself, Jesus the Christ.
Amen.

(Todd Jenkins, Happy To Be a Presbyterian PC(USA) https://www.facebook.com/groups/happy2pcusa)

Hymn of Invocation: Spirit of the Living God5
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccaFnRYLTok
Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me (repeat)
Melt me, mold me, Fill me, use me.

Prayer for Illumination
God of mercy, you promised never to break your covenant with us Amid all the changing words of our generation, speak your eternal Word that does not change. Then may we respond to your gracious promises with faithful and obedient lives; through Jesus Christ. Amen.
Old Testament Scripture Genesis 12: 1-4a
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” 4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him.
Psalm: 1216
I lift up my eyes to the hills; from where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.
The Lord will not let your foot be moved; nor will the one who watches over you fall asleep.
Behold, the keeper of Israel will neither slumber nor sleep,
the Lord watches over you; the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord will preserve you from all evil; and will keep your life.
The Lord will watch your going out and your coming in from this time forth forevermore.

Old Testament Scripture Romans 4: Selected Verses6
What then are we to say was gained by Abraham, our ancestor according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to one who works, wages are not reckoned as a gift but as something due. 5 But to one who without works trusts him who justifies the ungodly, such faith is reckoned as righteousness.
13 For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 14 If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. 15 For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation.
16 For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us, 17 as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”)—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. 18 Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become “the father of many nations,” according to what was said, “So numerous shall your descendants be.”
20 No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 being fully convinced that God was able to do what had been promised. 22 Therefore his faith “was reckoned to him as righteousness.” 23 Now the words, “it was reckoned to him,” were written not for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in the One who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification.
Message Rev. Elizabeth Wagner

Affirmation of Faith from the Brief Statement of Faith, 1983

In life and at death we belong to God. Through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit, we trust in the one triune God, the Holy One of Israel, whom alone we worship and serve.

(Book of Common Worship, page 91. Reprinted by permission from Book of Common Worship, © 1993 Westminster/John Knox Press.)

Closing Hymn Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPKpkrqBwNs
Come, thou Fount of every blessing; tune my heart to sing thy grace;streams of mercy, never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise.Teach me some melodious sonnet, sung by flaming tongues above;praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it, mount of God’s unchanging love!
Here I raise my Ebenezer; hither by thy help I’m come;and I hope, by thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love;here’s my heart; O take and seal it; seal it for thy courts above.
Jesus sought me when a stranger, wandering from the fold of God;he, to rescue me from danger, interposed his precious blood.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love;here’s my heart; O take and seal it; seal it for thy courts above.
O to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be!Let that grace now, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to thee.Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love;here’s my heart; O take and seal it; seal it for thy courts above.
Charge and Benediction

Postlude Be Not Afraid The Orchard Enterprises https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEOt7yXCaJI&feature=youtu.be

More Narrative Lectionary Resources

Consider

Lord,

I know when I am frustrated or stuck,

When I’m lamenting or angry, that you tell me to consider

Consider the lilies of the field, who neither toil nor spin

Count the stars, the grains of sand, if you can

Consider who made the mountains, all animals and food.

Who made the flood, the earthquake and the hurricane.

Consider who God is, and then remember,

No matter what you say or do.

God says, “Consider,

Consider, I have made a promise, a holy covenant that cannot be broken,

that I will always be your God, and you will always be my people.”

God proclaims that God is not constrained by place or time or ethnicity.

You promise to be present. You promise to be.

“I am, what I am”

The burning bush, the pillar of fire, the whirlwind, the rainbow.

You can be praised by all types of people in all types of circumstances: the enslaved woman Hagar on the run in the desert, the imprisoned and abused Joseph in Egypt, the triumphant and loving sister Miriam.

You are present in Black Lives Matter, in the beauty of being Trans, in all those marginal places we refuse to see: mental illness, drug addition, homelessness, sex trafficking, war zones.

In the midst of trial and tribulation, you are with us. Your rod and your staff comfort us. You remind us “I am, what I Am”

You are God, always and forever, empowering the powerless.

Let us be the kind of people who consider who your are. So we no longer define you by our own constraints, but instead are liberated to worship the multitude that is the trinitarian, relational God.

God, the great I am, let us worship you through the all considerations of who you are–and when we forget remind us to look at the stars we pray.

Amen.

More Narrative Lectionary Resources

Enough for Grace

Holy Spirit, as I live and breathe I consider my requirements and hold them up against your grace.

How is it I am enough for you? On the one hand I am never enough. I have this drive to achieve and perfect. But though this drive is a part of being human, I know this is by no means your requirement.

For who is perfect but you, God?

Sometimes, when I imagine heaven, I know I get it all wrong. Picturing it like a Hall of Fame of acheivements or a place of perfection.

When, instead, you promise it to be the feast where everyone gets fed, and no one is too late to join.

Instead, you promise it to be a place where participation is valued, not perfection.

What a balm, to remember that you want each of us to participate.

There is no such thing as perfect communion. If you required perfection for communion, it would unravel–becoming a practice of the singular being a Christ.

Instead, you invite us to come, in all of our messy, fumbling, clumsy ways of love. Instead you encourage any and all to participate in whatever way we can. Jesus stands at the table with open arms, tearing the bread apart with his own hands, his eyes twinkling.

And then, God you make communion: miraculously happen, by being present!

You are there when the lips of the ill or frail touch the elements. You are there when the cup of grace is overfilled and drips and spills over. You cross the great expanses of screens and bring us into communion with one another and you even over the internet. The miracle of your promised presence each and every time we practice communion is perfection itself.

Communion is perfect.

And we are it’s participants, not its perfecters.

Lord, help us to remember you value true and honest participation over any attempt at perfection. You are perfect so we don’t have to be. You created communion so we can be a part of perfection, a part of you, together.

Only you, O God, would see perfection as something to partake in, rather than something to strive for.

In this way communion is truly a foretaste of the kingdom meal. And for that I give you thanks and praise.

Amen.

This Prayer can be used/adapted with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta 

More Mundane Prayers: for surviving the Day to Day

Here is the Link for Pandemic Prayers and Resources: Top Posts are “In an Abundance of Caution” “The Lord is My Shepherd: What kind of Sheep are You” and “Masks: A Prayer”

Childcare

Lord God Almighty, you know that childcare is a tricky endeavor.

I remember when I had three preschoolers and the babysitter would cancel, and I would get to feel like a bad professional and a bad parent both at the same time.

Today, I still feel like “balance” is a misnomer for what it is a parent has to do to care.

As we enter into this new kind of school year it is with many deep breaths (Come Holy Spirit, Come!) and the attempt to set reasonable expectations.

You know, God, that caring for a child never ends.

How many times have I told my children “Nope, sorry can’t stop worrying and caring it’s my job” (although I do try not to worry all the time).

Help all those who have inadequate childcare in their life right now, which I’m going to guess is pretty much every parent of a young or disabled child. Please Lord, walk with them as they try to do all the things that need to get done.

Lord God, this is a new landscape. One in which we in my country are asking ourselves the very important question–do we care about our children? Is child-care a part of our community?

I’ll never forget the one church I worked at, where children ran around and were loud and were let to be children. And my baby was always being held by someone else. Because it was a church that valued nurturing my child.

When my child was baptized there, I knew they took their baptismal vows seriously.

Does the kingdom of heaven look like childcare?

Today I think it does, please God help us to bring that reality to this kingdom here today.

Amen.

All Prayers can be used/adapted with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

More Mundane Prayers: for surviving the Day to Day

Here is the Link for Pandemic Prayers and Resources: Top Posts are “In an Abundance of Caution” “The Lord is My Shepherd: What kind of Sheep are You” and “Masks: A Prayer”