Community News
Worship for a snowy Sunday: January 24, 2016
Category: Community News

This is an order of worship for Sunday, January 24, if heavy snow makes it impossible or dangerous to gather at church.  Please set aside time starting at either 8:30 or 10:45 and begin by picturing others who are doing the same.  Perhaps you have a copy of the church directory; look at the pictures and consider what you would say to particular people or how they would greet you.


CALL TO WORSHIP                           Luke 4:18-19                                                                                    

Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”


      HYMN                                      “Blow Ye the Trumpet, Blow”       



Give us the grace, O God our Liberator, to accept the freedom that you offer us: freedom from sin, freedom from fear, freedom to live full and holy lives.  When your Spirit opens the gates of the prisons we have come to accept as our homes, help us to step with full confidence into the open air of the lives you would have us live.  Through Jesus we pray.  Amen.


EPISTLE LESSON                       I Corinthians 12:12-31                                                                            

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot were to say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body’, that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear were to say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body’, that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many members, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’, nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’ On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.

 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; then deeds of power, then gifts of healing, forms of assistance, forms of leadership, various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But strive for the greater gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way. 


SERMON                             “The Weaker Are Indispensable”                                              


HYMN                                     “Help Us Accept Each Other”                                                           



Pray for those whose needs you know, and for those whose needs are known only to God.




HYMN                                “In Christ There Is No East or West”                                            



Pray for God’s blessing for those who are there with you, for those who are worshiping elsewhere at the same time, for the world, and for yourself.



Category: Community News

In case of serious snow, check here for any news related to event postponements or cancellations.

As of Friday evening, December 13, there is no reason to expect anything to be canceled on Sunday, but everyone is urged to be cautious.  If you cannot get out, here is a form of worship that you can use at home.  Please remember to pray for (among others) all who are on the roads, those whose work continues at all times, and those who face any kind of hardship from the weather.


Listen to, or sing along with “In the Bleak Midwinter”.


Read and meditate on Psalm 148

1Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights!
2Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his host!
3Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars!
4Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!
5Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded and they were created.
6He established them forever and ever; he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed.
7Praise the Lord from the earth, you sea monsters and all deeps,
8fire and hail, snow and frost, stormy wind fulfilling his command!
9Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars!
10Wild animals and all cattle, creeping things and flying birds!
11Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth!
12Young men and women alike, old and young together!
13Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his glory is above earth and heaven.

Read Luke 1:46-55

And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”


 “The Magnificat”

Thomas Tallis, Palestrina, Michael Praetorius, Monteverdi, Buxtehude, Henry Purcell, Johann Sebastian Bach, Karl Phillip Emmanuel Bach, Antonio Vivaldi, Mozart, Antonio Salieri, Schubert, Felix Mendelssohn, Bruckner, Gounod, Tschaikowsky, Vaughan Williams, Vincent Persichetti, and John Rutter: these are only a few of the composers who have set Mary’s words of praise to music.

“My soul magnifies the Lord, 
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; 
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name. 
His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.” 

Much powerful music has accompanied those words.  Luke ascribes this high poetry to Mary in a speech traditionally called “The Magnificat”, from its first word in its Latin form: “Magnificat!” It’s related to the word “magnificent”.  It is Mary’s exclamation of wonder at God’s magnificence.

“My soul magnifies the Lord, 
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior”.

The story of the Magnificat doesn’t begin with wonder, though.  It begins with fear.  It started with the appearance of a messenger from God, who appeared to a teenage girl living in Nazareth, a small village with the sort of reputation that would lead the future disciple Nathanael to remark, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” [John 1:46].

“The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’” [Luke 1:30-33]  

“Do not be afraid?”  Are you kidding?  An angel appears to you and you aren’t supposed to be afraid?  And then he tells you (and remember you’re a young woman in the Middle East) that you are about to become pregnant outside of your marriage, and you aren’t supposed to be afraid?  You are going to be responsible for a child who will “be called Son of the Most High” and you aren’t supposed to be afraid?  How could you help it? 

     As proof, the angel tells you that a relative of yours who is well past childbearing years is now six months pregnant.  There’s your chance.  Go see her.  Go see Elizabeth, wife of Zechariah.  If you really are pregnant, too, the trip will get you out of Nazareth before you start showing and before anybody realizes what is going on.  If you are imagining the whole thing or if you’re going crazy and hallucinating, then seeing what’s going on with Elizabeth, that she is not expecting a baby, will be a reality check.  So, Luke says,

“In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb.” [Luke 1:39-41]

     Well, that settled it.  That was where she would perk up as the fear changed over into wonder and awe.  The angel had said “nothing will be impossible with God” [Luke 1:37] and the next thing you know, Mary has gone from “the lowliness of [a] servant” [Luke 1:48] to someone whom “all generations” [Luke 1:50] will bless.  She has suddenly seen that God is God of the humble and the hurting, not like the earthly kings who roll over anyone in their way.

“He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. 
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly; 
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.” [Luke 1:51-54]

It’s like the song, possibly the very earliest preserved in the Bible, that was sung by the Hebrew slaves who had just escaped Egypt and received freedom.  Exodus [15:20-21] says that

“the prophet Miriam, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand; and all the women went out after her with tambourines and with dancing. And Miriam [whose name would be shared by the Messiah’s mother] sang to them: ‘Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.’”



     The truth of that was Mary’s sudden insight, the heartbeat giving life to her sudden song.  It isn’t just that God can work miracles.  That goes without saying.  It was that it wouldn’t be an isolated incident here or there, but a regular happening, and it would turn the world upside-down and inside-out.  No wonder she burst out in poetry.What drew that 

      Magnificat from her soul was exactly the awareness that when God is in the picture (which is always, only we don’t always realize or admit it), the folks who think they are in charge really aren’t in charge and the ones who think they aren’t really are.  It’s like a Christmas pageant.  We adults like to think we can script and guide it, but finally it’s the shepherd who shows up holding a stuffed tiger instead of a sheep or the wise man who arrives early or the angel who forgets her lines that makes the play.

     Will Willimon observes, [from “The First Christmas Pageant” in On a Wild and Windy Mountain (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1984), 39-40.]

“I venture that Mary did not look much like the queen of heaven that night in Bethlehem.  I venture, with Luther, that she looked more like a rather confused, bewildered teen-ager from your church youth group who was about to giggle in her nervousness and had not the slightest notion of what to do with a baby or even what her next line was supposed to be. …And we, whether we really like it or not, or have experience or ability or understanding, get pushed onto the stage of history to act our parts, with stage fright, filling roles that are too big for us, wondering what the next line will be, doing our best to do what he wants us to do even when we are not sure why he wants us to play the part.”



Listen and pray with  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63cVL2_bLrA .

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