FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH

 

Rev. Deb Arnold

Pastor: Rev. Debra Arnold

Email: revdebarnold@gmail.com

Office: (207) 548-0327; Cell: (401) 486-5983

Pastor’s Office Hours

Varies (or by appt.)

Church Office Assistant: Bill Zito

Email: fccsearsport@gmail.com or text/call  at 207-323-0230

Church Office Hours

M/Th 2 - 6 pm

Church Spring Picture.jpg

DRIVE - IN WORSHIP  This Sunday we will continue to offer drive-in worship services in the church parking lot on Knox Bros. Ave.  Worship will begin at 10 am on the dot. You may want to arrive early because parking will take some time.   Be ready with your car radio tuned to 103.5 FM.  Remember to bring masks in case you to need speak to someone who outside your car (during collection?).  You are asked to remain in your vehicle the entire time. Bathrooms will not be open.  I have attached a simple bulletin with the hymn lyrics on it. You may want to print it and bring it along with you but I will direct your through the service if you decide not to do so. To limit contact and to maintain social distancing, we have decided to NOT distribute any papers to individuals.  We will take up a collection with a masked trustee bringing a wooden box on a long pole to your car window during the service.  If you have a joy or concern you would like me to share during prayer time, please let me know by 7 pm Saturday night.  We have made lots of plans using a great deal of consideration to keep everyone safe.  Let us pray this new adventure will please God.  ​

BULLETIN - MAY 9 - at 10:00 AM as PDF and WORD Bulletin prints out as:

 

 

 

 

AND AT HOME SERVICE WILL BE POSTED FOR MAY 9 AS FOLLOWS:

HOME CHURCH

ORDER OF SERVICE

SEARSPORT CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH

May9, 2021

Happy Mother’s Day!

Rev. Debra Arnold, Minister                                                  Carolyn Maunz, Minister of Music

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“Motherhood: All love begins and ends there." ~ Robert Browning

 

"The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.” ~ Honore de Balzac

 

Gathering Music

 

Prelude        El Shaddai                       Carolyn Maunz, Minister of Music

Prelude 5_9

Welcome & Announcements

 

Call to Worship

Beloved, we are called to love one another, because love is from God.

God’s love is poured in us from our birth.

We are called to extend the love of God to all people.

God’s loved is taught to us through the witness of God’s faithful people.

We are called to proclaim God’s love in all that we say and do.

In all creation, in all our relationships, may God’s love be made known. AMEN

Opening Hymn  THE CHURCH IN THE WILDWOOD

THE CHURCH IN THE WILDWOOD

There’s a church in the valley by the wildwood

No lovlier spot in the dale.

No place is so dear to my childhood

As the little brown church in the vale.

Oh, come, come, come, come

Come to the church in the wildwood

Oh come to the church in the vale.

No spot is so dear to my childhood

Thank the little brown church in the vale.

 

How sweet on a clear Sunday morning

To list to the clear ringing bell.

It’s tones so sweetly calling

O come to the church in the vale.

Oh, come, come, come, come

Come to the church in the wildwood

Oh come to the church in the vale.

No spot is so dear to my childhood

Thank the little brown church in the vale.

 

Joys and Concerns

*Tucker Fields - baby with heart and liver issues

*Dennis Lesuer battling cancer

*Shirley Kenney cracked her pelvic bone and is recuperating at home

*The Stout Family

*Sarah Werkman fighting pancreatic cancer

*Carolyn’s friend Bob battling cancer

*Rex Kelley 

*Cheri Stark - Wes Butler’s girlfriend battling cancer

*Those who have friends and family suffering from COVID infection

*Little “Will” diagnosed with brain/kidney tumor

*If anyone needs to sit with the pastor, please call her home 401-486-5983 and she will arrange to meet in a safe place with you complete with face mask.

 

Prayer 

Dear God, how difficult it must have been for the disciples, having again spent time with the Risen Christ, to be confronted with his upcoming return to God. They wanted to keep him near them forever, but he was called back home to his Father. He understood their fears and their concerns and offered to them a sense of what they must do. They must truly love each other as God has truly loved each one of them. Can we do any less? We are called to love each one here, with the kind of love that Christ displayed, patient, respectful, strong. Our world would have us believe that love is that emotion which is manipulative; we love in order to get what we want. How sad it is! We are called to a higher understanding. Love must take the form of service and compassion, of hope and proclamation, of patient waiting and urgent striving for the good of all people. Open our hearts today, Lord, and imprint your message of love upon them, that all we say and do is done in your name and for the sake of your people and your world. Accept our hearts as we pray the words Jesus taught us to pray saying, “Our Father . . .”

Opening Hymn 5_9

Anthem            Sing of the Lord’s Goodness       Carolyn Maunz, Minister of Music

Offertory5_9

Scripture Reading

Psalm 98

Acts 10: 44 - 48

John 15: 9 - 17

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Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost!

 As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be –

 World without end. Amen!

 

Children’s Message                   LOVE YOU FOREVER

         How many of you have had someone read to you, “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch? It’s kind of a silly story, in a way, about a mom who loves her baby boy and tries to hold him in her lap and sing him a lullaby even after he grows to be an adult. The story shows how, even though the little boy does some naughty things, his mother always loves him at the end of the day and wants to hold him in her arms. She reminds him over and over, “I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, As long as I'm living, my baby you'll be.”

         The idea of a mother loving her child forever is not silly. What is silly is the idea of an older mother holding her adult son in her lap. I think the author is trying to say that the mother holds her adult son in her lap in her imagination. I do that. I close my eyes and remember how it felt to hold my children in my lap when they were small. My girls are now all older than thirty. I don’t think they would fit in my lap anymore. I don’t have a lap anymore and they have grown tall.

         I remember Valerie used to scurry out of bed early in the morning and come right to my lap with her pink blankie as I sat at the kitchen table sipping my coffee. How I loved sitting there with her just rubbing the silk edge of her blankie on her lip snuggling close to me. We didn’t talk. We just sat. It was so wonderful. 

         I learned, years later, that Lindsay was so frustrated because she wanted to sit on my lap too but Valerie always beat her to it. If I had known, I would have given each girl a special time in the morning to snuggle. But I didn’t even know Lindsay was awake! Oh, how I wish she told me.

         I can still close my eyes and remember rocking baby Laura to sleep in the morning as I sat in the rocking chair watching “The Waltons” on television. When her bottle was finished, she would hum/groan and sing herself to sleep on my shoulder. I didn’t want to put her in her crib. I just stayed in that chair and rocked her for hours listening to her breathe and feeling her warm little body so close to my heart. 

         It has been many, many years since I had my little girls, my babies, on my lap and sang lullabies to them. Still, I can close my eyes and remember every single moment that we shared. My love for them will never stop. I understand Mr. Munsch’s words: “I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living, my baby you'll be.” Someday, if you become parents you, too, will understand the love that a parent feels that never, ever goes away.

         God also feels that love for us. God imagined us and then created us and brought us to life through our parents. God knew us and loved us even before our parents did and God will love us forever! We don’t just have a father and mother on earth, we have a heavenly Father who loves us even more, if that is possible. We are precious children of God. 

         Children grow up and start lives of their own and have their own children. They don’t live forever with their parents. Well, we too, started lives of our own once God brought us to life. That doesn’t mean that God has forgotten about us. God remembers us sitting in God’s lap before we were born to our earthly parents. Every single one of us once sat on God’s lap and God loved us dearly. God still loves us and always will. I can almost hear God saying to each of us, “I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living, my baby you'll be.” Isn’t that incredible?!

         Let’s pray. Dear God, I can’t begin to understand just how much you love me and my earthly parents. Thank you for promising to always love me even when I make mistakes and get older. Help me to love others so they might understand how special your love is. Bless me. Bless my home. Bless the world where I go. Amen.

Childrens sermon
Sermon 5_9

Sermon  A MOTHER'S LOVE

Perhaps one of the wildest things Jesus taught was that God called all people to be His children, not just Jews. Although the disciples spent a great deal of time with him, it appears they were not completely sold on the idea of Gentiles being included in God’s family. Why else would it have been necessary for God to give Peter a vision about inclusion?

Just prior to today’s story, Peter has had a vision of a sheet being lowered from heaven with all sorts of animals, reptiles, and wild birds in it. A voice told Peter to make and eat a feast of these critters to which Peter replied, “I couldn’t! I’ve never eaten anything considered ritually unclean or defiled.” Remember, Peter was Jewish and has kept kosher all his life. God speaks again and instructs Peter to never consider anything unclean that God has declared clean. 

No sooner did Peter begin puzzling over this vision, but some Gentiles sent by a Roman soldier named Cornelius showed up and asked him to come with them to their leader’s home. God urged Peter to go. Once Peter finally arrived at Cornelius’ home and went inside, everything about the vision became clear. Jews were forbidden to go into a Gentile home or to even associate with them. Gentiles were deemed religiously unclean. But God was saying, “Go and be with him in his own home. I have sent you to him.” 

It turns out that Cornelius was a Gentile who worshiped the Hebrew God devoutly. During his prayer time, an angel came to Cornelius and told him to seek out Peter. Peter spent that entire afternoon preaching and teaching the good news about Jesus Christ to Cornelius and others who were with him. He began by saying, “I now realize that it is true that God treats everyone on the same basis. Whoever fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him, no matter what race he belongs to.”

As those gathered listened to Peter’s words, the Holy Spirit anointed them. Peter ordered these Gentiles be allowed to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ immediately. Eureka! God through Jesus Christ loved all children! In fact, Jesus stated outright, “I love you just as the Father loves me.” Take a moment and reflect on how incredible that statement is. Jesus loves us just as much as God loved Jesus.

Do you realize how precious you are to God? Do you have any notion of how deeply you are cherished by a holy Father? This is true! You may need to take time every morning before you start your day and think on those words.  You are God’s precious child and God loves you to the moon and back. Write it on a scrap of paper as you drink your coffee. “I am God’s precious child. God loves me to the moon and back.” How might this truth impact your day, your decisions, your devotion? 

Jesus continues, “My commandment is this: love one another, just as I love you.” One way of loving others as Jesus loved us is to tell them how loved they are. Imagine telling your beloved or your close friend or your child, “You are God’s precious child. God loves you to the moon and back.” What might this world look like if we performed this simple ritual sincerely and consistently every day - for ourselves and for others? Imagine looking at a cashier and thinking, “You are God’s precious child. God loves you to the moon and back.” What might happen if you held those thoughts as you listened to an irritable complainer: “You are a precious child of God. God loves you to the moon and back.”

The world is filled with hurting, angry, empty people. I believe the reason is that people do not realize how precious they are. They do not know or live into the reality that God loves them to the moon and back. Had I thought of it earlier, I might have asked Carolyn to play, “What the World Needs Now Is Love Sweet Love”. That song is as much a gospel song as any other. If Jesus arrived during my lifetime instead of thousands of years ago, I picture him enjoying a meal with his disciples and singing that song karaoke style with them, 

This story reminds me of my own mother. She loved all children. Children were naturally drawn to her as well. She wasn’t just another adult supervising little underlings. She regarded each child as a friend, often sitting down to play a game of canasta with one of the neighborhood boys or girls. As the game wore on, Mom would share the things that were on her mind and in her heart with each child and they, in turn, would confide in her. Jesus reminded the disciples, “I do not call you servants any longer, because a servant does not know what his master is doing.” 

My mom knew how special she was. She was well aware of the connection she shared with the children. She used to brag, “I baked cookies nearly every day because I knew all the kids in the neighborhood would conjugate in my backyard after school. Mom always had a way with words. She really did say that; numerous times!

The one thing my mom would not abide was fighting. She insisted we love one another even if we couldn’t agree on an issue.  “Don’t be like that,” she would admonish, “You kids are friends. Start acting like it.”  Of course, we were easily cowed. No one wanted to make Mrs. Ogert cranky or sad. Often Mom would redirect the angst by initiating some silly game with all who were in contention. Our squabbles would cease and soon we would be infected with fits of giggles and squeals. 

I never felt my mother’s love diminish. I also know that nothing my children might do could ever extinguish the deep love I have for them. That is the kind of love God has for us ~ a mother’s love. I miss my mother every day. I wish I could have kept her with me forever. But that would have denied what she has today. The disciples wished they could keep Jesus with them forever. But that would have denied the fruition of God’s plan for salvation. One way I can love my mom today is to love others, especially children, as she loved. That is what would warm her heart. That is exactly what Jesus wanted and that is why he adjured his disciples to love others as he had loved them. 

As you remember your mothers today, think about the many ways she loved you. Remember that, even as your mother loved you, God loves you more. You are a precious child of God. God loves you to the moon and back. Embrace that. Live into that. Share that. And the people of God said, “Amen.”

Hymns         What a Friend We Have in Jesus

WHAT A FRIEND WE HAVE IN JESUS

What a friend we have in Jesus

All our sins and griefs to bear.

What a privilege to carry

Everything to God in prayer.

Oh, what peace we often forfeit

O what needless pain we bear.

All because we do not carry

Everything to God in prayer.

 

Have we trials and temptations?

Is there trouble anywhere?

We should never be discouraged

Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Can we find a friend so faithful;

Who will all our sorrows share?

Jesus knows our ev’ry weakness

Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Closing Hymn 3_9

Benediction

Go now in the love of God the Father,

In the joy of Jesus Christ, the Son

And in the company of the Holy Spirit

This day and forever more. Amen.

 

Three-fold Amen

Amen

Postlude       The Wind Beneath My Wings          Carolyn Maunz, Minister of Music       

           Played by Carolyn Maunz, Recorded for you by Don Maunz

Postlude 5_9