Devotional Calendar

Devotional Calendar, for a google calendar ics version email katyandtheword at gmail Subject: Devotional Calendar and a copy of the file will be sent to you including the details of each activity

Please Share/Adapt with Credit to Katy Stenta and Please contribute to my Doctorate of Ministry with a Donation I have PayPal https://paypal.me/KatyStenta?locale.x=en_US Venmo www.venmo.com/Katy-Stenta or Google Pay to Katyandtheword at gmail

I have a goal to raise $2,000 this year to offset Tuition–Thanks

Seeds of Prayer: Extended Advent Resources for Narrative Lectionary: Prayers, Hymns, Children’s Books

Please Share/Adapt with Credit to Katy Stenta and Please contribute to my Doctorate of Ministry with a Donation  I have PayPal https://paypal.me/KatyStenta?locale.x=en_US Venmo www.venmo.com/Katy-Stenta or Google Pay to Katyandtheword at gmail

God Amongst Us

Nov 22 (Extended Advent Option 2)

God’s Promises a New Covenant

Jeremiah 36:1-8, 21-23, 27-28 then 31:31-34

Luke 22:19-20 Opt. Psalm 89:31-37

Call to Worship (Psalm 89:1-8)

Let the heavens praise your wonder, O Lord

Who among the skies can be compared to the Lord? 

O God of hosts, who is as generous as you? 

Your faithfulness surrounds you

Your love is like a feast 

Come let us praise God, who drips in grace

(Psalm 89: 14-18) Prayer of the Day/Dedication: Lord God, happy are those who know you, let us walk with you and exult your name all day long. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne. Steadfast love and faithfulness go before you. Let us go into the world and use all of our gifts to extol your righteousness in the light of you countenance today, we pray. Amen. 

(Joel 2:13) Call to Confession: Return to the Lord, your God, for God gracious and merciful—slow to anger and abundant in steadfast love.

Prayer of Confession: Lord God, we confess that sometimes we cannot look at all of the disasters and needs of the world. We confess we long for comfort—and that sometimes we compare God to governments or the wealthy. Teach us to have the ears to hear what it is we need to do, and the eyes to see that you have gifted us with enough to do it. Help us to be thankful and share all we have. You are here, God, sharing your very self with us. Teach us, love us and forgive us we pray. 

(Psalm 89: 20-22) Assurance of Pardon: Hear the good news: we belong to God, we have been baptized and anointed, God promises that God’s very hand hand shall always remain with us. Know the truth, that God is among us: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.

(Luke 22:19-20) Communion Prayer: Lord God, you have poured out your very self to us. First when you made space in your womb to birth the world. Then when you poured Jesus out into the world. Jesus who took bread and broke it and said “this is my body that is given for you, do this in remembrance of me” and in the same way he took the cup and said “this cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” Then you poured your Holy Spirit onto the world, pour that Spirit on whatever elements we have here today, fill them with your love so that we might be nourished for the (Advent) journey we pray. Amen. 

Hymn Options: God is My Rock, Just As I Am, https://katyandtheword.wordpress.com/2018/11/27/advent-hymn-tune-of-silentnight-god-of-peace-2/?customize_changeset_uuid=015d328a-26f2-4f92-bba6-4d54f2507b72&customize_autosaved=on God of Peace to the tune of Silent Night

Children: Stone Soup, The Goblin Chair (room for others)

Nov 29th 

Daniel’s Hope in God

Daniel 6:6-27

Luke 23:1-5 Opt Psalm 91:1-6, 11-13

Call to Worship (Psalm 91: 1-13)

You who live in the shadow of the Bounteous God

We say to God “My refuge and my fortress”

The Holy Spirit will fly up, and wrap you in her pinions

Under her wings, we will find refuge

God will command her angels concerning you, to guard you

We are borne of God, and can depend that she is among us

Prayer of the Day/Dedication: Lord who loves us and calls us each by name. We know that we are your beloved. If we listen we can almost hear the angels proceeding us shouting out to the universe “make way for the beloved of God.” But still we fumble: temptations and trials still exist, imposter syndrome lurks, and our imperfections sometimes shout at us louder than the angels. Open our ears to hear your voice, your voice that is here among us, that calls us by name, and remind us we are beloved children of God, we pray. 

(Joel 2:13) Call to Confession: Return to the Lord, your God, for God gracious and merciful—slow to anger and abundant in steadfast love.

(Psalm 91) Prayer Confession: Lord God we confess that we need protections. Lions and snakes are everywhere: bullying or sneaking power based upon their might or wealth. It is hard to stand up to the powerful. We also confess that we feel the terror, trust is hard to find, and pestilence lurks in diseases we cannot yet control. We confess that we feel afraid. Send your angels, spread your wings, protect us, deliver us, we pray. Help us to know how to withstand all the trials that come our way, we pray. 

Assurance of Pardon: Hear the good news, God says, Those who love me I will deliver; When they call to me I will answer, walking among them, and showing them my salvation. Know the truth: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.

Communion Prayer: Christ, how huge is your wingspan! You say the kingdom of heaven is like a tree where everyone can have enough to eat, and come home to roost. Your promise comes on the wings of the dove: first flying across the ocean as you created then earth, then your Holy Spirit flew showing dry land to Noah, then to baptize Jesus your son, and finally like a wild goose dispersed among the disciples. Here we can see your promise once again, as we practice communion together. Be present among us in this celebration we pray. Amen. 

Hymn Options: Here I am Lord, A Mighty Fortress is My God, Eagles Wings, My Hope is Built on Nothing Less, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen 

Children: Daniel and the Lion’s Den story, Where the Wild Things Are, The Gruffalo

Dec 6 (Regular Advent)

Joel: God’s Promised Spirit

Joel 2: 12-13, 28-29

Luke 11:13 Opt Psalm 139:1-12

Call to Worship: 

Lord, how vast are your thoughts, O God!

I try to count them—they are more than the grains of sand. 

Lord, the journey is long. 

But I know when I come to the end, I am still with you.

Prayer of the Day/Dedication: Lord, help us to dedicate ourselves to you in such a way that our eyes are opened to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Help us to be Christ to one another, to be the arms and legs of Jesus. Gift us with the prophecies, the dreams and the visions we need to have the energy to go forward into the world we pray. Amen.

(Joel 2:13) Call to Confession: Return to the Lord, your God, for God gracious and merciful—slow to anger and abundant in steadfast love.

(Psalm 139: 1-7) Prayer of Confession: Lord God, I confess that you know me completely. You know when I sit down and when I stand up. You have searched out my path, and are acquainted with all of my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, God, you know it completely. This is why we come to confess to you. For you know the truth, and there is nowhere to flee from your Holy Spirit. When I hide from you God, I confess that I am really hiding from myself. Forgive me Lord, and remind me that nothing I can say or do can separate me from your love I pray.

(Luke 11:13) Assurance of Pardon: Hear the Good News, God is merciful and just, always ready to give grace, how much more will God give the Holy Spirit to those who ask! We have said the word, so it is: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven. 

Communion Prayer: Lord God, you have poured out your spirit on all flesh. You have come among us then commandments, then judges, then prophets, and then Jesus: all to tell of your justice and mercy. Then you only son Jesus Christ took bread, and gave thanks and blessed it and broke it, and he did the same with the cup. A reminder that we can always come home to you for supper. A reminder that whenever we want Jesus to be particularly present, we can always invite ourselves to God’s feast. Spill your spirit once again onto these elements once again we pray, so we might taste and see your love and grace together. We pray this in your son’s most Holy Name. Amen. 

Hymns: Spirit, Open My Eyes That I May See, This Little Light of Mine, O Come, O Come Emmanual, https://katyandtheword.wordpress.com/2018/11/27/advent-hymn-to-the-tune-of-awayinamanger-based-on-nl/?customize_changeset_uuid=015d328a-26f2-4f92-bba6-4d54f2507b72&customize_autosaved=on God the Weaver to the Tune of Away in a Manger

Children: Runaway Bunny By Margaret Wise Brown or Guess How Much I Love You 

Dec 13

Spirit of the Lord Upon Me

Luke 4:16-21 Opt Psalm 143: 4-10 or Psalm 139: 13-18 (this works next week too)

Call to Worship (Psalm 143: 4-10) 

Lord God, I think of all of your deeds

I meditate on the works of your hands

I stretch out my hands to you

My soul thirsts for you like parched land

Come to the Lord Our God

God is our hope and refuge

Prayer of the Day/Dedication: Lord when I think about all you have done, when I contemplate who you are, then I long for you. I know whenever I spend time with you, my soul is lifted. I long for your teachings, I hunger for your Holy Spirit. Please come and be among us God, for it is your righteousness that brings me out of trouble. Be with us today, we pray. Amen. 

(Joel 2:13) Call to Confession: Return to the Lord, your God, for God gracious and merciful—slow to anger and abundant in steadfast love.

(Psalm 143:1-9) Prayer of Confession: Hear my prayer, O Lord; give ear to my pleas in your faithfulness. I confess that I am flawed, and that I am not perfect. Lord, I feel stuck in the darkness. Please answer me quickly, for my spirit fails. Teach me the way that I should go, I pray, for you lift up my soul. Save me, O Lord, I have fled to you for refuge. 

Assurance of Pardon: God’s love is steadfast, God’s mercy is new every morning. Thus take heart: In Jesus Christ you are forgiven. 

(Isaiah 61:1-2, 10) Communion Prayer: Lord God, you have come to earth to bind up the broken hearted and to proclaim liberty to the captives. For this reason you come in a feast: you continue to party people into your kingdom. You will clothe us aright, in the garments of salvation. And here we get to have a foretaste of the feast. You have us practice communion with one another, and with you, so that the seeds of righteousness and praise will spring up before all of the nations. Teach us to celebrate communion, through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, here and now we pray. Amen. 

Hymns: My Shepherd will Supply My Need, Blessed Assurance, O Come All Ye Faithful

Children: Harold and the Purple Crayon, The Color Kittens

Dec 20

Jesus’s Birth Announce

Luke 1:26-45 [46-56]

Psalm 113 Opt Psalm 139: 13-18

(Psalm 113) Call to Worship:

Praise the Lord, O servants of the Lord!

Praise the name of the Lord

Blessed be the name of the Lord, from this time on and forevermore 

From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised!!

Who is like our God? Who raises the poor from the dust and the needy from the ashes?

God raises the forgotten, they will sit with rulers of nations.

God does not forget the barren or orphaned, God will make a home and a family for them!

Let us praise the Lord! 

Prayer of the Day/Dedication: God you are the God of the poor and the forgotten. You stayed with Abraham and Sarah as they lived as immigrants in the desert. You did not forget the Hebrews when they were enslaved in Egypt. You made a family out of Ruth and Naomi, and made them the grandmother’s of Jesus himself. You have remembered you covenant with Abraham, let us rejoice as his descendants, we pray. 

(Joel 2:13) Call to Confession: Return to the Lord, your God, for God gracious and merciful—slow to anger and abundant in steadfast love.

(Luke 1:52-54) Prayer of Confession: Lord, we confess that we do not always magnify you. We forget to fill the hungry with good things. We give trust too much the human power structures and get lost in the glow of the rich and powerful. Remind us to serve you and only you. Empower us to speak for the forgotten, like Mary, and help us to rejoice in your power only, we pray. 

Assurance of Pardon: God even now stoops down on bended knee to hear us speak, and then hug us like the loving Parent God is. This God with us, forgives us: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven! 

Communion Prayer: Lord Jesus, you have promised to fill the hungry with good things. We are hungering for you today. We are awaiting Jesus to be among us. Send your Holy Spirit so that we can taste your covenant. Remind us that you have blessed us to be a blessing. Jesus is here, and Jesus is coming. We celebrate both of these truths with communion. Help us to share this communion in a spirit of welcome and hope we pray. Amen

Hymns: https://katyandtheword.com/2019/11/18/magnify-the-lord-to-the-carol-o-come-all-ye-faithful/ Magnify the Lord (the Tune of O Come All Ye Faithful), It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

Children’s Story: The Velveteen Rabbit, God Gave us Christmas, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, Charlie Brown Christmas

Dec 24

Birth of Jesus

Luke 2:1-14 [15-20]

Psalm 96

Call to Worship

O Sing to the Lord a new Song

Come we are awaiting the Lord!

Declare God’s glory among the nations!

God’s marvelous works are among all people

Come Christ we are waiting

Prayer of the Day/Dedication: Lord God, we are awaiting for your presence among us. How wonderful is it that we have a God who stoops, taking a bended knee to be a human. Humble in birth, you showed us how to serve God. You came to be with us, and to remind us we are not alone Let us feel your presence we pray, in your most Holy Name. Amen. 

(Joel 2:13) Call to Confession: Return to the Lord, your God, for God gracious and merciful—slow to anger and abundant in steadfast love.

Prayer of Confession: God we confess that we need to practice. Every year we need to practice you being among us, otherwise we forget or are distracted. Otherwise we lose sight of the truth: That you are a God with us, for us and among us. Help us to ascribe to you all the glory, we pray. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon: God so loved the world he gave his only son, as a wee baby so we might all be saved and forgiven. Know the truth: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven. 

Communion Prayer: God, as we honor the arrival of your son, Jesus Christ, let us remember that Jesus came down to the world not to condemn it but to save it. Let us remember that God sent his only son, to love and teach us, to eat with us and heal us, to walk with us and to guide us. And as we practice communion, let us remember that Jesus washed his disciples feet, feasted with them, and then served them the bread and cup, saying take and eat every time you do this, you celebrate me until my return. Holy Spirit, help us to celebrate and remember Christ today we pray. Amen. 

Hymns: O Little Town of Bethlehem, Silent Night, Aways in a Manger, Angels We Have Heard on High, Hark the Herald Angels Sing

Children Stories: Christmas in a Barn, Room for a Little One, The Story of Christmas, Christmas in the Manger (The Friendly Beasts Song)

Dec 25

Shepherds’ Visit 

Luke 2:8-20

Psalm 123:1-2

Call to Worship

Glory to God in the highest

And on Earth Peace Among all those whom God favors

For unto us a son is given!

And his name is wonderful counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Glory to God, in the highest. 

Prayer of the Day/Dedication: Lord, let us dedicate ourselves, once again to you. Help us to adopt one another as siblings of Christ, knowing that Jesus came to extol God’s love to us. Let us celebrate the beauty and miracle of Christmas. In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.  

(Joel 2:13) Call to Confession: Return to the Lord, your God, for God gracious and merciful—slow to anger and abundant in steadfast love.

Confession: Lord we confess that sometimes the celebration becomes rote. Sometimes we forget to stop and ponder. Sometimes Christmas seems like a huge to do list, instead of a time to spend with you. And here you are, here among us, let take that time to wonder at this truth we pray. Amen. 

Assurance of Pardon: God so loved the world, he translated himself into human form to love us and forgive us. Here the good news: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven. 

Communion Prayer: Jesus, you are here. In the manger and the elements, and the Holy Spirit. We confess we do not know how to fully imbibe your presence. So we pray that we can practice taking you in as we experience communion: we pray that it binds us together, that the taste on our tongue tastes like grace, and we pray that you send your Holy Spirit to bless us as we do. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen. 

Hymns: O Little Town of Bethlehem, Silent Night, Aways in a Manger, Angels We Have Heard on High, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, What Child is This

Children Stories: Christmas in a Barn, Room for a Little One, The Story of Christmas, Christmas in the Manger (The Friendly Beasts Song)

Please Share/Adapt with Credit to Katy Stenta and Please contribute to my Doctorate of Ministry with a Donation  I have PayPal https://paypal.me/KatyStenta?locale.x=en_US Venmo www.venmo.com/Katy-Stenta or Google Pay to Katyandtheword at gmail.

I plan to raise $2,000 to offset tuition

Seeds of Prayer: Extended Advent Resource Topical Prayers + Video Links for each week

Please Share/Adapt with Credit to Katy Stenta and Please contribute to my Doctorate of Ministry with a Donation  I have PayPal https://paypal.me/KatyStenta?locale.x=en_US Venmo www.venmo.com/Katy-Stenta or Google Pay to Katyandtheword at gmail

I plan to raise $2,000 this year to offset tuition.

Nov. 22 God Amongst Us

Promises, promises

God you are the God of all promises,

I know you are there when promises are made and promises are broken. 

Sometimes we humans have to break promises to be safe, and sometimes the only safe thing for us to do is to keep our promises. 

But I also know, God that your promises are different—they are impermeable, your promises don’t change depending on the circumstances, because you know what you have signed up for.  

You are the eternal parent, the constant companion, the devoted friend. You do not check out when things are hard, nor do you ever give up on me…even when I give up on me.

Lord, you know that’s what I need a God who won’t give up on me. That’s why you are this way. You are exactly the God we humans need.

Thank you for never giving up. And for accepting me the moments I give up.

Thank you for renewing your promises to us: in every rainbow, in every star, in every grain of sand, in every baptism and in every communion. 

Remind me that there are so many ways to access your promises. 

And help me to think not of all my broken promises, but instead to rely upon your kept promises and covenants, I pray. 

Amen. 

Nov 29th Daniel’s Hope in God

Lions, and Tigers and Bears

Lord, sometimes we are like Dorothy in the woods. Repeating to ourselves all the dangers that are along the way.

Lions, and Tigers and Bears, Oh my. 

When we repeat the things that endanger us: illnesses, natural disasters and loneliness. 

Whatever they may be, please turn them into a prayer for help. 

Send your angels to comfort and defend. 

Help us to bravely face the dangers that are in front of us, like Daniel.

Shut the jaws of any and all who threaten us: dear God, we pray, because evil likes to slither like a snake and tell lies, and they roar their powerful roars to threaten us. 

Remind us that your angels are mighty balls of fire, with a zillion eyes and a million wings, and that they are so scary that even the bravest are told to “fear not” when we see them. 

Send your angels upon us we pray in your most Holy Name. Amen. 

Dec 6th 

Joel: God’s Promised Spirit

Poured Out

Lord God, you know that sometimes I feel completely poured out. 

I have given all I can, and I am “all out of nice.” 

I have trouble motivating myself to do more, and I feel empty, or lonely, or done. 

Is this what happens when you pour yours spirit onto the world? 

When the Holy Spirit comes and sparks visions and dreams, do you feel an emptiness?

It is a wonder how you continually make room for us! Guiding us carefully but never taking over us! 

You are not a clockmaker or video game God who simply sets everything up and leaves the room or grabs the controller turning us into God zombies. 

Instead your lead and you coax. You love and are patient. And when we have trouble hearing, seeing or feeling you—you empty yourself out to us. 

You embody our communion, so that we might taste and see you.

You splash into baptism, sealing your love for us in every droplet of water.

Thank you for pouring yourself out for us. Glory be to your Name. Amen. 

Dec 13

Paging the Holy Spirit 

Spirit of the Living God, 

Kneel, fly, Stoop, Nosedive, or even Fall on me. 

I know this is not a new prayer. But I need your Holy Spirit to come. 

I’m hungering for your Spirit, 

Bind the Broken hearted

Proclaim Liberty

Comfort Those who Mourn

Plant Oaks

Raise up the Devastated

Repair the Ruins.

Come as a dove, a duck or an angry goose. 

Do what you do Holy Spirit! And help me to do it too!

Spirit of the Lord, Come upon me! I pray. 

Dec 20th 

Justice Promised

God of Eternity: 

Whispering the promise of Justice to Mary

Telling the truth about just how unimportant powers and principalities are

Promising Mary, that justice will not be delayed

Filling the hungry with Good Things

Only you God, promise to fill the hungry with Good things

This is your promise to a mother who will have to somehow feed her baby

This is your promise to Cousin Elizabeth, who will be bearing Jesus’ forerunner, 

and perhaps best friend cousin, John the Baptist.

You bring your promises to life in Jesus Christ,

help us to magnify them, I pray. 

Amen. 

Dec. 24th

Christmas is Coming

Somehow God  in the midst of the to do lists, the worries and the imperfections. 

Christmas is going to come. 

The baby that has been promised,

will like a miracle, appear. 

A miracle born of long journeys, hard conversations and heart wrenching changes 

in both Mary and Joseph’s lives. 

Gabriel was just the beginning, 

of tumult, and angels, and ministry. 

But it was also the beginning of 

Glory to God in the highest. It was also the beginning of 

peace on earth and goodwill to all humankind. 

Are we ready for the Good news? 

Help us to be ready for the Good News of Christmas, 

this is our prayer.

Amen. 

Dec 25th

Christmas Prayer

Wonderful, awe-inspiring, scary but hopeful counselor of Truth

Mighty, powerful abundant and fully Fleshed God

Everlasting, Eternal and Faithful Parent, 

You are the forebearer, heir and conveyor of Peace. 


Whisper in our hearts.

Gift us with contemplation

Encourage us to embrace the mystery

Allow us to admit we do not understand. 

And teach us the true meaning of Christmas. 

Lord hear our prayer. 

Amen. 

Please Share/Adapt with Credit to Katy Stenta and Please contribute to my Doctorate of Ministry with a Donation  I have PayPal https://paypal.me/KatyStenta?locale.x=en_US Venmo www.venmo.com/Katy-Stenta or Google Pay to Katyandtheword at gmail

I plan to raise $2,000 to offset Tuition

God’s Care for the Widow

1 Kings 17:1-16 [17-24]
Luke 4:24-26 Opt Psalm 146: 5-10

Call to Worship (Psalm 146)

Praise the Lord, O my soul!

I will praise the Lord as long as I live

Do not trust in princes, there is no help 

Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,

Happy are those whose hope is in the Lord their God

God executes justice for the oppressed and gives food to the hungry

The Lord watches over the strangers; he upholds the widow

The Lord will reign forever, Praise the Lord!

Hymn: Here I am Lord

1 Kings 17:8-15 (We shall read the text together wherever we are, please read the appropriate passage when I hold up my finger)

(1 Finger) Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, ‘Go now to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and live there; for I have commanded a widow there to feed you.’ 

(2 Fingers) So he set out and went to Zarephath. When he came to the gate of the town, a widow was there gathering sticks; 

(3 Fingers) he called to her and said, ‘Bring me a little water in a vessel, so that I may drink.’ As she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, ‘Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.’ 

(Pastor Katy) But she said, ‘As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of meal in a jar, and a little oil in a jug; I am now gathering a couple of sticks, so that I may go home and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.’

(4 Fingers) Elijah said to her, ‘Do not be afraid; go and do as you have said; but first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterwards make something for yourself and your son. 

(5 Fingers) For thus says the Lord the God of Israel: The jar of meal will not be emptied and the jug of oil will not fail until the day that the Lord sends rain on the earth.’ 

Children’s Sermon

Sermon   “God Among Strangers”     Pastor Katy Stenta

My Shepherd Will Supply My Need

Feel free to use/adapt, if you use the prayers please credit Pastor Katy Stenta

More Narrative Lectionary Resources Here

Bulletin: Golden Calf by Pastor Katy Stenta

Golden Calf
Exodus 32:1-14
Luke 23:34 Opt Psalm 97:6-9

Call to Worship

God you are more precious than Gold, more powerful than Kings

Help us to worship you

You remember us, even when we forget you

Let us remember and worship you today. 

Hymn: Amazing Grace  Sweet the Sound

Prayer of Confession: Lord God, we hate to admit how many idols live in our lives. We long so much for dependability that we mistake money or power or stocks as security. We forget that these things belong to Caesar, help us to render unto Caesar and human institutions that which belong to them and to instead focus on Sabbath, nourishment, servanthood and grace as the means to embody your love. And when we slip and fall, encourage us too to look at the stars and be assured by the covenant promise, that you will always be our God and we will always be your people. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen

Assurance of Pardon: God promised us grace over and over: to Abraham and Sarai, to Moses, Tzipporah and Miriam, to the grumbling Hebrews in the desert. It is in this assurance of your promise that we know, through Jesus Christ we are forgiven. Amen.

Exodus 32:1-14

(1 finger) When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered around Aaron and said to him, ‘Come, make gods for us, who shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ 

(2 Fingers) Aaron said to them, ‘Take off the gold rings that are on the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.’ 

(3 Fingers) So all the people took off the gold rings from their ears, and brought them to Aaron. He took the gold from them, formed it in a mold,* and cast an image of a calf; and they said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’ 

(4 fingers) When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation and said, ‘Tomorrow shall be a festival to the Lord.’ 

(5 fingers)They rose early the next day, and offered burnt-offerings and brought sacrifices of well-being; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to revel.

(6 fingers) The Lord said to Moses, ‘Go down at once! Your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have acted perversely; they have been quick to turn aside from the way that I commanded them; they have cast for themselves an image of a calf, and have worshipped it and sacrificed to it, and said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” ’ 

(Pastor Katy) The Lord said to Moses, ‘I have seen this people, how stiff-necked they are. Now let me alone, so that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them; and of you I will make a great nation.’

(7 fingers) But Moses implored the Lord his God, and said, ‘O Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? 

(8 fingers) Why should the Egyptians say, “It was with evil intent that he brought them out to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth”? Turn from your fierce wrath; change your mind and do not bring disaster on your people. 

(9 fingers) Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, how you swore to them by your own self, saying to them, “I will multiply your descendants like the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it for ever.” ’ 

(10 fingers) And the Lord changed his mind about the disaster that he planned to bring on his people.

Children’s Sermon

Sermon               “God For Us”             Pastor Katy Stenta

Communion: Invitation

The Lord be with you

And also with you

Lift up your hearts

We lift our hearts to the Lord

Let us give thanks to the Lord

It is right to give our thanks and praise!

Communion Invitation: God is forever inviting us to come, come and taste and see the Lord. And so it is on behalf of not the church or even PCSUSA, but on behalf of Christ that I am able to say, come all those who are hungry for I will give you nourishment. Come all you who are weary, for I will give you rest. Come let us feast with Jesus.

Communion Prayer: Dear Holy Spirit we are asking you to come and be present in the elements that we have here, make your presence known, we pray. For at times, we know that we are lost in the desert, grasping at straws and idols to give us what we need. When often, when we are lost and lonely and worried you invite us to stop, rest and eat. Let us take this moment to sit with the Holy Spirit and with each other, becoming one through communion we pray…and we continue our prayer

(prayer continues…) as your son taught us to pray. 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.

Hymn: the Day of Resurrection

Passing of the Peace

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

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Passover Prayer

I see what you did there, God. All those years ago.

You put forth all the plagues: the bloods and the bugs and the frogs (or a giant frog depending how you translate it).

And when all of that was said and done. When Moses’ leadership alone wasn’t enough to set the Hebrews free–you required some participation.

You said, with arms outstretched, that if you want salvation, I’m going to need a little work and sacrifice from you people.

I imagine there might be some Godfearers in Egypt–some friends–who also put the sign of God upon the door. I imagine there was grace there that is as of yet unknown.

And I wonder, God, if the method to this was the foretaste of the work to come. The understanding that Moses could lead all he wanted but without the people, nothing would happen.

What a great precursor to Jesus who stands with an open hand for our salvation–and at the same time forces no one and waits for our participation.

God is always with us, but are we able to see it?

Lord, how can I participate in my own salvation? How can I help others paint their doors with the sign of God?

Image from Prince of Egypt from here

In an era where we continue to think it’s every person for themselves, I’m praying that you show us how to be more like the people in Exodus–who although they complained every step of the way, and fumbled and made mistakes. In the end they understood that my freedom is wrapped up in yours.

Lord teach us to be safe and free, teach us how to love and serve one another. Help us to participate in our own Passover today. Not because we are better than anyone else, but because we want every single person who can be saved, to be saved.

I pray this is your most holy name. Amen.

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Bulletin: The Promise of Passover

The Promise of Passover: Sermon & Prayer
Exodus 12:1-13; 13:1-8
Luke 22: 14-20 Opt Psalm 105: 31-36

Sermon by Rev Dr. Barb Hedges-Goettl

More Narrative Lectionary Resources

Prelude Song of Freedom             Bing Crosby from Holiday Inn https://youtu.be/HldLDqMQcQw

Opening Prayer                        Rev. Dr. Barb Hedges-Goettl 

 

God, just as You rescued the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt, setting them free to worship and serve You, so You have also rescued us, setting us free from slavery to sin and selfishness, and inviting us into relationship with You and one another,and so we praise and thank you. Amen. (1)

Call to Worship

When you set us free, O God, we are free indeed.

O God, we rejoice in your freedom.

A freedom which transforms us and the world around us.

O God, we rejoice in your freedom.

A freedom that invites us to intimacy with you.

O God, we rejoice in your freedom.

A freedom that demands action.

O God, we rejoice in your freedom.

A freedom that makes us different—like in Christ instead of the world.

O God, we rejoice in your freedom.

A freedom that invites us out of the norm and into the extraordinary.

O God, we rejoice in your freedom. (2)

Hymn: The Day of Resurrection 

Call to Confession                                Rev. Dr. Barb Hedges-Goettl

We recognize our responsibility not only for our immediate family and our own people, but for all humankind. As long as nation lines up against nation and class lines up against class, as long as oppression and injustice weigh down the lives of our fellow human beings, as long as there is poverty, disease, ignorance, crime and war, our conscience cannot be at ease. (3)

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

Hymn of Dedication  Love Divine, All Loves Excelling https://youtu.be/6oM1NZ9YSnw

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

* Prayer of Dedication  

O God, by this offering we remember the lamb without blemish offered at the first Passover–and on the cross. Join our offerings and our selves to the gifts of your people and the self-offering of Jesus himself. (4)

Charge & Benediction

(1) Adapted from a prayer by Christine Longhurst from https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2011/08/prayers-of-people-september-4-2011.html

(2) Adapted from Reformation Worship, copyright Lisa Frenz. Posted on Lisa’s Liturgies. https://sites.google.com/site/lisasliturgies/home 

(3) Adapted from an English version of a Hebrew prayer of confession found at https://www.oztorah.com/2009/09/confession-of-sins-a-liturgical-commentary/#.X2fHN2hKjIUf

(4) Adapted from a prayer by https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/worship-planning/through-the-wilderness/fourteenth-sunday-after-pentecost-year-a-lectionary-planning-notes/fourteenth-sunday-after-pentecost-year-a-offertory-prayers

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Sermon: Passover

Rev. Dr Barb Hedges-Goettl

The book of Exodus, telling the story of the freeing of God’s people from slavery, begins about four hundred years after the story of Joseph, saying: “Now a new king arose over Egypt who did not know Joseph.” This new king, as you may recall, feels threatened by the Hebrew people who have grown great in numbers, and he seeks to subdue them. He enslaves them and then embarks on a campaign to break them by increasing their workload and punishments. When this doesn’t work, he orders that all newborn Hebrew male babies be drowned in the river.

This is when Moses’ mother puts him in a basket and floats him down that same river, where the pharaoh’s daughter rescues him. She even hires Moses’ mother to be his wet nurse! After he is raised by the daughter of the pharaoh, Moses kills an Egyptian who was beating an Israelite-a death penalty crime. He flees to Midian, where he marries Zipporah. Through the miracle of the burning bush, God calls Moses to return to Israel to free the Hebrew people from slavery. But Pharaoh does not listen to Moses, and Egypt is subjected to nine plagues: the water was turned to blood; then there were frogs, lice, flies, diseased livestock, boils, a thunderstorm of hail, locusts and darkness for three days. And now, as described in today’s passages about the Passover, the tenth plagues: the death of the firstborn of all living things. 

This particular plague echoes the killing of all of the male children of the Hebrews ordered by the pharaoh. By the deaths of the firstborn among the people and the animals, God upends the power of pharaoh. By passing over the houses of the Hebrew people marked by the blood of the Lamb, God indicates who his people are. And the pharaoh finally (momentarily) relents and lets God’s people go only to try to chase them down to bring them back, resulting in the drowning of the Egyptian army in the Red Sea.

Jesus’ actions at the Last Supper, depicted in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke as taking place at the time of the Passover, resound loudly here. Jesus takes the role of the Passover Lamb, providing the blood that makes God pass over our sins. 

The upshot of both the story of the Exodus, and of Jesus at the Last Supper, is that God is the God of freedom. God is about the business of freeing God’s people. That freedom is not limited to people’s spirits, but includes freeing people from all kinds of oppression.

God stopped the genocide of the Hebrew people and then freed them from their oppression. God demands justice for those who do not have power: for the widows, the orphans, the strangers, the poor. God takes action on the side of the oppressed against the powerful, confronting those who sit in power.

While the phrase “speaking truth to power” was part of the Quaker call to non-violence in the 1950s, you could say this is something the prophets have done all along—and it is what Moses did when he said, “Let my people go.” 

Belonging to God means serving as God’s voice,                                                                   joining Moses in saying, “Let my people go,”                                               raising up issues of oppression and injustice wherever they arise.                   Serving God means serving, as Jesus said, “the least of these.”

How do we serve God by serving the least of these? 

    Serving starts by listening

(When Len was in his first pastorate, we got a phone call from a lady who said “Is this the pastor who listens?”—a feat so rare that it brought a stranger to us via the telephone. 

    Listening means that I do not tell you what your experience is

    I let you tell me what your experience is

    The fact that it’s different from mine reinforces that it’s your       experience    

Listening means I don’t necessarily try to solve your problem, esp. if that is not what you are asking me to do. Listening may just mean—listening. 

That’s a hard one for me—our kids know if they want a list of suggestions, call Mom. If you want someone to just listen, call Dad.                                                 

Can I say, “Do you want to know what I think?” and accept if the person says no?

A Korean-born friend of mine recently (once again) went through a set of circumstances in which she was ignored

The professional accomplishments she reported were not included in the newsletter

The gift from the company for those working at home was not sent to her house

The donations list put down her donation as 1/5 of what she’d given

And while she has been asked to serve on her company’s committee to address racism, she feels, especially in light of her experiences, that this means she is being asked to solve something over which she has no power.

But when she raises this list of occurrences, she is told that these are just details and that nothing was meant by it. She is, essentially, told that her experience is not valid; that no one wants to hear it and she should get over it. 

But the devil is in those details

    The very act of dismissing her experience is itself oppressive

The inability to hear her pain is itself an indication of how far astray the system has gone

We didn’t mean it, so you shouldn’t be hurt

But if they didn’t mean it, why don’t they fix it? Why don’t they change things?

When we are little, we are taught, 

what do you say when you hurt someone? 

And, even more so,                                                                                       what do you say when you hurt someone accidentally?

But we can’t, we don’t, do it

Instead we tell the one who is hurt                                                

that they are wrong, they aren’t hurt, 

that it doesn’t count, 

that it doesn’t or shouldn’t matter, 

that they are making a stink over nothing, 

that they should get over it, 

that they should say it better, differently, at another time, to another person because right now we just want them keep quiet, to shut up, about it.

When we do these things, how can we argue that we are on God’s side? 

How do we (better) serve 

the God who hears the people’s cry, 

the God who frees his people? 

For all God’s people to be free, we should listen to all God’s people

Instead of pre-judging your experience to make it fit what I already think, 

I can listen–

I can listen—we can listen even when we don’t want to hear

Actually, that is the most important time to listen

    Because it means we are being told something 

we won’t discover on our own, 

because we don’t/can’t/won’t see it.

God calls the Israelites to remember

                      to celebrate Passover

                to teach the children

                to be compassionate to the strangers among them

Being compassionate to those who are hurting means listening   

When someone talks about sexual abuse or sexual harassment

we can listen

When someone talks about the challenges and problems of police work

we can listen

When someone talks about police brutality and oppression, 

we can listen

When someone talks about being white in America, 

we can listen

When someone talks about being a minority in America, 

we can listen

When someone talks about being sick, we can listen.

When someone talks about being old, we can listen.

When someone talks about being poor, we can listen

When someone talks about what they need, we can listen.

No, really, we can!

In addition to listening, I am doing some little thin. 

One of the things I am doing is wearing my new justice T-shirts

In support of black people who are experiencing racism

When I’m deciding whether or not I want to wear those T-shirts,

I realize, isn’t it nice to be able to decide?

Aren’t I privileged that I can decide that today I don’t want to deal

with injustice, with equal rights, with standing up for others

People of color don’t get to choose not to deal today

Every day, everywhere they go, racism may greet them

    But I can decide I just don’t want to go there today

When I say I am doing “little things,” in part what I mean is 

that I have found some things I can do and I am doing them. 

I am doing these little things to try to make the world better.

And if lots and lots of people do little things, they add up…

After you have listened, find one little thing to do in solidarity with others

And do it.

Because, like my Asian friend noted, 

    Racism has to be solved by everyone

    And especially by those for whom race isn’t usually an issue

In solidarity with those who don’t get to choose if today                                                                                 they want to go there/be there/address this or not 

And the God of freeing the slaves in Israel be with you and empower you. 

Let us pray…

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