September 22, 2013
Theme (Making service an act of worship.)
From where does the spark and inspiration for serving another come? Worship and Service are intimately connected. Finding our gifts and personal motivation for service and worship and keeping them connected is always the work of faith in the life of a Disciple of Jesus.
Come to us now, O Lord. May your love fill our worship and overflow into our lives, our relationships and our work in the world. Let every gesture and thought, every kind word, hand to help, arm to steady and act of mercy be from us a fulfilling of our worship of you O Lord our God.
Lesson (Click on the link to see the text) Romans 12:1-21
1) If you were to describe yourself as a part of a body, would you say you are more like:
the hands, the feet, the stomach, the elbow, the nose, the mind, the eyes, the small intestine? and why?
2) In a group of peers what role do you tend to play:
listener, talker, director, questioner, encourager, doubter, carer, problem solver, cheerleader? Others roles you sometimes play in a group? How can you use this gift in service to others?
3) What gift(s) do you have that you might naturally use to help the body of the community function at its best? How can you use this regularly in service to others?
4) When serving others, do you sometimes feel that they are less fortunate? What fortune is there in giving yourself in humble service. Is it possible that the giver might find a gift more necessary than the person to whom they seek to serve? How can we learn to serve out of true humble love and service?
5) Does service ever seem to be more of an obligation than an act of worship for you?
6) How does Jesus get around the barriers to service that Peter puts up? What barriers to the serving of others might Jesus have experienced?
7) How are vs 9-12 filled with examples of what Paul means in vs 1-2?
8) Are there reasons here for being about serving others and worshiping God?
9) Is there help here in discovering what role you might play in being a servant of God?
10) Is there advice you like here about how to accomplish worship and service in the context of:
those who don’t believe
those who are suspicious of you as a believer
11) What do you think is your strongest tool for making meaningful connections with others who might see the Gospel in your life?
12) Has anyone done something for you that made you think they might be motivated by Love or Worship?
13) Has anyone acted toward you in a way that brought you peace?
14) How do you recognize the actions of others that are motivated by love or peace?
15) How do you find the gifts of love and peace from which to act toward others?
17) How can our actions toward others be considered acts of worship?
18) What inspires you to service? How would you describe the inspired source of motivation for service? Can serving another be truly inspired? What might that look like?
Learning to find in our worship the urging and encouragement of God for being about acts of peace and love in service to our neighbors and those with whom we share the gift of faith.
To find our own motivation for crossing the barriers that keep us from loving and serving others.
To explore gifts for building up community and how learning to identify these gifts and to offer them purposefully is an act of worship.
Begin to make connections between our Serving and our Worship
Sermon from September 22, 2013 (audio file)
What are concrete ways or places where you can restore community, acceptance and peace in real world connections in your life? Go from This Sunday’s worship with plans and intentions to go from our worship into acts of service (Monday through Saturday) and tell someone about it.
Quaker community in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania managed to reach out to the family of the man who killed five of their young people. The reason they gave was that “they must be hurting as well.” See the Article here. Be sure to read the section titled “Amish community response.”
Additional curriculum and ideas
Find a place to serve and ask these questions before you get there and when you get back…
Think of an object or symbol that when given, might help others experience peace.
List people in your life you would like to experience peace and love. How might you help them experience these?
Who is the last person you would expect to show love or peace toward you? How might you take the first step toward showing them love or peace?
How might God be involved in our efforts of giving love and peace?
Theme (“Why” we serve can make a great deal of difference)
Jesus continues to be of humble service to disciples of every time and place. His teaching continues to reverberate in the life of the Christian Community as Jesus teaches us today the meaning of his service to us. Our Baptism continues to have its impact by rippling on into our lives and learning. The washing of Baptism is where it all begins, but the ongoing work of Jesus is carried on in this washing into even more lives.
Everything we need is brought, given and washed into our lives from the living activity of Jesus. Sometimes we want what Jesus has to give us, but we resist. It is a curious humility which allows ourselves to be served by one whom we honor. And sometimes we don’t allow the washing to move us to service; to melt the barriers that inhibit our moving from being sent to actually serving others as Jesus served us.
May the service and washing mercy of your Son, humble, empower and embolden us to serve and share mercy with all to whom you send us. Let the service and example of Jesus washing our feet fill us, and send us. May the relationship that Jesus creates with us, also powerfully send us into each other’s lives.
( click on the link to read the text) John 13:1-17, 34
1) Are you shocked or inspired by this story of Jesus and his disciples? Why?
2) What is this gift/work that Jesus does in washing his disciples feet?
3) What in this story, can help us understand why we too should serve as Jesus served us?
4) How might being washed by Jesus help us in being of service to others?
5) What additional sense of community might there be among the Disciples of Jesus after they have seen Jesus wash all their feet?
6) Do the words of Jesus, explaining his actions help motivate or direct you in being of similiar service to one another? (vs 34, “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”) why or why not?
7) Whom do you think is included in this “one another” direction from Jesus? Are there those that are excluded or who might be harder to serve in this way?
8) Who’s feet would you be willing to wash? What would washing their feet look like?
9) How would you know or recognize someone whom Jesus would want YOU to wash the feet of, for him? Give an example of when you recognized and followed through or later realized you missed the opportunity, to be of this kind of service.
10) Have you ever felt too proud to bow down and serve like Jesus does in this story?
Find our own motivation for serving those whom Jesus gives us to serve as he served us, washing the feet of his disciples.
Letting Jesus’ example fill us, and send us to serve as he serves..
To have an experience of serving another as Jesus has served us.
Make room within ourselves to be of this kind of service whenever the Spirit urges to to serve another in this way.
Prepare ourselves to serve, exploring how Jesus has served us. Plan to respond when next we see an opportunity to serve as we have been served. Directed by the Spirit, find one person or encounter where we are able to move into the servant role (offering humble care and mercy to another). Then tell someone what happened, what you experienced, what you think it means.
Sermon on Sept. 15, 2013 “…as I Have Loved You.”
Have you been served by another in the way that Jesus serves his disciples by washing their feet? How might you recognize this washing in your life? Do you think you have been washed with the kind of washing that Jesus did for his Disciples in that upper room? How did it happen?
Foster Pierce Camp Story:
Our family had the pleasure of witnessing and experiencing firsthand the sharing of “one to another.” It took place at a Cub Scout day camp open house on the last day of the camp. We are a large family of six, and the children are all close in age (four children spanning less than five and a half years). Our oldest is a boy, 9-yr, and has been in Cub Scouts since he was in first grade. He plans on transitioning into Boy Scouts once he is old enough. This summer he decided he would participate in the annual Cub Scout summer day camp. At the camp, the cub scouts arrived each morning, grouped together by their age and Cub Scout rank. There were many adult helpers there to organize the camp and its events, as well as chaperone the scouts and lead the many activities that were planned. Many of the adults had worked on the planning efforts months leading up to camp week. That, in and of itself, is a very obvious example of “one to another” evidenced by the adults and parents giving of themselves; their time and talents, to provide the leadership, supervision, and instruction for the cub scouts.
In addition to having adult helpers, there were also Boy Scouts there to help out with the events. The boy scouts wore “Staff” shirts, and helped show the younger cub scouts how to run through an obstacle course that had some challenging parts. The boy scouts would help the cub scouts balance, or make sure their feet were properly placed on the rope bridge.
Families were invited to the last day of camp to come and see all the cool things the boys had been doing over the past week. As always, when our whole family comes to an event, there tends to be moments of yelling, wrestling, competition, and conflict between the children. When we first arrived, it was the same old thing. Enter the obstacle course. We all saw it at the same time. There was the usual competition to see who would go first, who was the fastest, who knew how to tackle the obstacles best, etc., but this time there was something noticeably different. Instead of our oldest racing to the front of the line and showing his younger siblings how fast and good he was at the obstacle course, this Cub Scout helped each of his siblings carefully make it over the obstacles. He helped them place their feet on the rope bridge and showed them where to hold to keep their balance. He was doing for his younger siblings what the older scouts had been doing for him earlier on the week. He became of service to them, instead of in competition with them. You could see that he was fulfilled by his caring acts. It was a glorious experience to behold for all of us.
Our initiative is to grow fresh veggies for the community, “Our Daily Bread” Food Pantry and St. Mary’s Caring Soup Kitchen. We have 2 gardens in progress—check out the pictures of progress on the Fellowship Hall bulletin boards.
Have a few extra minutes here or there? We can always use your help with tending both gardens. Questions on what is needed or when? Contact Anita P. to join this exciting community initiative.
One major area of food waste in America is in farmers’ fields, where crops that don’t meet top-grade quality are left to rot or be plowed under. Gleaning is the traditional Biblical practice of gathering crops that would otherwise be left in the fields to rot, or be plowed under after harvest. The Gleaning Network coordinates volunteers, growers, and distribution agencies to salvage this food for the needy.
Good Sam is planning a gleaning trip again this fall (October 4-6). Jennifer N. is coordinating the trip – more information about the trip and how to register is available below.
From Jennifer N.:
This year we are going a bit earlier and to a new place (different from the new place we tried to go to last year – that event has been scheduled for November, which I thought was too late). We’re going to Fincastle, Va (near Roanoke) Oct 4-6, 2013.
REGISTRATION DEADLINE IS SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 14. PLEASE MAKE PAYMENTS AND TURN IN FORMS BY THEN.
Who can register? The trip is open as a chaperoned trip to all youth in 6th – 9th grade. 5th graders who are 10 will be considered. We have included them in the past, but this year I want to make sure the 9th graders (who did not get to go for the past 2 years due to cancellations) get the first chance to go if they want to. High school youth in grades 10-12 are also welcome as volunteers – please speak to me about this if you are interested (we will need chaperones for those under 18). Adults who want to participate are always welcome – as chaperones, volunteers, or as participants with no youth responsibilities. I will, or course, need chaperones for the trip – numbers to be determined once folks sign up. We need to bring one adult for each 5 youth of each gender, and must have at least one committed chaperone for each 10 of each gender.
Online Registration & Payment: If you are committed to attending the gleaning event, please go to http://www.endhunger.org/Harvest/HoH-Registration.htm and register yourself and/or your child. You will need Good Sam’s log-in and password–please ask Jennifer N. or the church office for this info. You can also make payments on this site if you choose to. If you do pay this way, please forward me a copy of your receipt so I can keep track. Many youth have credits in the gleaning account from last year – if you are planning to use your credit, please send me (Jennifer N.) an email. If you tell me on a Sunday morning, I’m sure I will forget. If you prefer to pay the traditional way (check to Good Sam), please give me the check directly. It’s too hard to reconcile who has paid and who has not when it goes straight into the offering plate. And, of course, if you prefer for me to register you, just let me know.
Scholarships: THERE ARE 4 SCHOLARSHIPS already funded for the youth, and more available; so please don’t let money be the only reason you don’t send your child to this life-changing event.
Required Forms: There are forms that are required by the HOH folks. They can be found at http://www.endhunger.org/Harvest/Fincastle-Oct-4-6.htm. If you don’t have the ability to download these and fill them out, please let me know and I will get you a copy.
Let’s end hunger together!
~ Jennifer N.
All parking lots on the church property will be cleaned, sealed and restriped on Friday, August 9 and Saturday, August 10.
As a result, the church office, Our Daily Bread Food Pantry, and St. Mary’s Caring Soup Kitchen will be closed during their regular hours on those days.
Please move any cars from the property by 6:00 am on Friday. Thanks for your cooperation!
The Empty Nesters will gather at Judy and Rob K.’s home on Sunday, August 4 for a pool party that we won at the Youth BBQ silent auction. If your nest has just emptied or been empty for many years, if you are single or a couple–all are welcome. We will meet at 4 pm at Judy and Rob K.’s home. Please bring your own meat to grill and a dish to share. Iced tea, lemonade, paper products, and condiments will be provided. Feel free to bring beer or wine. Please let either Diane H. or Jill W. know that you are coming or let us know if you have any questions.