FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH

 

Rev. Deb Arnold
Pastor: Rev. Debra Arnold
Email: revdebarnold@gmail.com
Office: (207) 548-0327; Home: (207) 505-1942
Pastor’s Office Hours
Monday, Wednesday, 1:00 – 4:00 PM (or by appt.)
Church Office Assistant: Bill Zito
Email: fccsearsport@gmail.com or text at 207-323-0230
Church Office Hours
Thursday, 9:00 AM—3:00 PM

 

WHERE ARE WE NOW AND WHERE ARE WE GOING?

VOLUME 2

 

          The Deacons, Trustees, Minister of Music, Moderator, and I all met this past Wednesday, June 24 to review where we are in the re-opening process for worship services. At this time, things are too uncertain to set a date for returning to worshiping in the sanctuary however we are planning to begin parking lot services on Sunday, July 12 at 10 AM. We are awaiting the arrival of a special transmitter that will broadcast the service through your car FM radio. That transmitter is due here by late next week. You will receive another email confirming the start-up but this should give you something to look forward to.

 

          Carolyn and I will broadcast from the Allen Room, each of us using a separate mic. I will stand before an open window so that we might see a little bit of each other.

 

          Here are some things you can expect:

1.    The service will be 30 – 40 minutes long.

2.    There will be parking lot attendants directing you to park in the Knox Street lot so that we can maintain safe social distancing.

3.    You will be instructed to turn to a particular radio station in order to hear the broadcast.

4.    An attendant will distribute a type of bulletin for following along, this will include words to hymns that we will sing.

5.    We will pray the opening printed prayer along with the Lord’s Prayer.

6.    If children are present, I will offer a children’s message although it won’t be interactive. This same message will continue to be recorded and emailed each week.

7.    I will offer a sermon – the same sermon that will continue to be recorded and sent via email each week.

8.    I will offer a pastoral prayer and include any joys/concerns that I receive by Saturday evening.

9.    We will sing 2 hymns and only a few verses of each.

10.           An attendant will approach each vehicle with an offering box for you to place your tithes and offerings. This attendant will be masked.

11.           Attendants will direct you out of the parking lot at the conclusion of the service.

 

Here are some things we expect from you in order to keep each other safe:

1.    Please remain in your vehicles. The church building will NOT be open for bathroom purposes.

2.    IF you do need to leave your car for any reason, you must wear a face mask and keep 6 feet from one another.

3.    You may open your windows or run your motor to use your A/C.

4.    Your radio will continue to broadcast the service for approximately 10 minutes after you shut your engine off. To re-start the reception, start your engine for a second and you will get another 10 minutes.

5.    Please use the smallest and fewest vehicles that will accommodate your seating needs so we have room enough for all who would like to join us.

 

In an effort to prepare for this event, we urge you to respond to this email telling us if you will be coming. We want to have parking spaces set up ahead of time if at all possible.  I will continue to publish and record the services as I have been since March so that you can worship with us from home if that is safest for you. Please keep all of this in prayer. I look forward to hearing from you!

In God’s Spirit,

Pastor Deb

First Congregational Church

Searsport, Maine

Worship from Home

June 28, 2020

“The truth may hurt for a little while, but a lie hurts forever.” ~ unknown

 

*To hear the music, download the attached songs onto your computer and then open them to listen.

 

Prelude:                         O My Beloved Father                                Carolyn Maunz, Minister of Music

Played by Carolyn Maunz

Recorded for you by Don Maunz

 

 

Call to Worship:

Brokenness floods our world dividing us against each other. Lord, who do you call us to be in these times of trouble?

Let us be bread, blessed by the Lord, broken and shared, life for the world.

Fear grips us and we need to know what to do. What shall we do?

Let us be wine, love freely poured. Let us be one in the Lord.

Lord, we come before you today seeking your guiding love. Pour out your Spirit on us that we may truly serve you. AMEN.

AMEN!

 

Opening Prayer:

Lord of hope, when the dark clouds assail, you ask us to bear the light of your love and truth. When fears seem to immobilize us, you give us courage and strength to bear your witness. We thank you for your call to us. We praise you for your sustaining love for us. We honor you with our lives and our service to you; for it is in Christ’s Name, we offer this prayer.  “Our Father, . . .”

Prelude 6_28
00:00 / 01:32

Anthem      El Shaddai

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qJMl95lb9k

Joys and Concerns

*Joyce Hopkins is in WCGH with acute back pain but continues to improve.

*Don & Carolyn’s relative – Nick – fighting glioblastoma. Nick’s dad for support.

*Barbara Blood went to her heavenly home this past Thursday.

*If anyone needs to sit with the pastor, please call her home 505-1942 and she will arrange to meet in a safe place with you complete with face mask.

 

Scripture

Psalm 13

Genesis 22: 1 – 14

Jeremiah 28: 5 – 9

Matthew 10: 40 – 42

 

*******

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!

 

For the Young and Young at Heart      LET’S DO THE DO BEE DANCE

(Listen if you wish)

When I was a little girl, every morning my mother allowed me to watch one television program. It was called “Romper Room” The show was like going to preschool in a way. There weren’t any preschools when I was young.

The teacher, Miss Jean, would look at the camera and ask if we had been good doobies? A good doobie is somebody who works hard and behaves like they are supposed to. Miss Jean always figured her television audience had been good doobies so she would go ahead and invite them to do the Do Bee dance. I remember prancing around the living room flapping my arms and shaking my feet along with the children on the television set. Of course, I also sang along with the song.

Sometimes children think they can’t do much to help spread the Good News about God and Jesus. Preaching and serving Communion and going to hospitals to visit sick people is something only grownups can do. But Jesus said that even the smallest act is a big help and is appreciated by God. He said that even if someone offered a little child a drink of cold water, that act would be great in God’s eyes.

God expects us to be helpful to others and love others in the same way God loves us. That is another way of saying God wants us to be good doobies. One way you could be a good doobie is to make a card or draw a picture for a person in our church family who hasn’t been able to be with others for a while. That would help them with their loneliness. Maybe your parents could help you choose someone from our church directory to mail one to. Maybe you can think of other ways to be a good doobie. Feel free to share them with me through email and I can suggest them to others.

When we finish praying, I hope you will go to the Youtube site I will give you so that you can try to do a Do Bee dance as well. Let’s pray: Dear God, thank You for all the ways You take care of me and let me know that You love me. Help me to find ways to show that kind of love and care for others. Help me to be a good doobie. Bless me, bless my home, bless the world where I go. Amen.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65Fitm9GPz8

 

Sermon                Spam Alert!

(Listen if you wish)

The other day my cell phone rang and just as I went to answer it, I saw “SPAM ALERT . . . This may not be a legitimate caller”. Needless to say, I didn’t answer the call. That feature on my phone is even better than Caller ID! I wonder how my phone was able to recognize that this call was not legitimate. For that matter, how does my email account know what to toss in my spam file and what to allow into my in-box? Every now and again the filter errs, and I find a message that should have been forwarded to me but that doesn’t occur often. While I am on the subject, why is junk mail called spam?

Russ doesn’t understand the moniker either. He thinks Spam is great! How many of you enjoy eating Spam? Just looking at it makes me suspect it is fake meat. Ah, but not so! According to Wikipedia, Spam is a combination of pork, potato starch, spices, and preservatives. It was used a lot during WWII because it was easy to ship, inexpensive, and had a terrific shelf-life. The name for this product derives from Scientifically Processed Animal Matter. That leaves me wondering exactly what pork animal matter is included in the scientific processing. I suppose pork animal matter is considered meat. Therefore, there is an essence of truth to the claim that Spam is canned meat. Is your mouth watering yet? Would you be able to detect whether cubed meat placed in a salad or potato casserole was ham or Spam?

These days my mind wanders in these bizarre streams of consciousness. Pondering the whole spam discernment issue, I recalled a television show I used to watch back in the sixties. “To Tell the Truth” was a game show where three challengers attempted to stump a panel of celebrities. Each of the three would say their name was “John Doe” and declare that they were some sort of odd professional (perhaps a dog groomer or a person who manufactured matchsticks). Panel members questioned the challengers to see if they could determine which of the three was the real deal. The real professional had to answer all questions truthfully, but the challengers could reply with any lie that would sound convincing. By the end of the show, the panel members would reveal which challenger they believed to be the genuine professionsl. Then, the emcee would say, “Will the real so-and-so please stand up.” With much aplomb the challengers would feint standing until the real so-and-so finally stood tall.

Our scripture story this morning depicts two prophets claiming to be message bearers from God. One is strolling the streets wearing a wooden yoke around his neck signifying the oppression by a foreign country persists because people have turned away from God; the oppression is a consequence and an expression of God’s displeasure with God’s people. This prophet is urging the Israelites to turn to God and repent from their sins and apathy. The other is hosting celebratory rallies of optimism about the peace and prosperity that is right around the corner.

The Israelites, along with other countries, have been invaded by powerful Babylon; their Temple treasures stolen, their citizens kidnapped and forced into exile. Many have died, many have been separated and are suffering isolation from their loved ones. Life in this once great nation is chaos. Nothing is certain.

Hananiah is pedaling the news that God has destroyed the enemy and all the Temple treasures and exiles will be returned; Israel is going to be great and glorious once again. The horrific oppression that has wrought so much suffering and destroyed the economy of the Israelites is all just going to go away. In fact, it is already gone. Things are going to get rosy very soon.

The challenger declares, “Wonderful! I hope the Lord will do this! But the wise ones who spoke long before I did have predicted that war, starvation, and disease will come to many nations. There will continue to be waves of this affliction for some time to come. You may presume to break the bonds of isolation here, but the whole world will continue to be oppressed by Babylon, this virus that is isolating, killing, and enslaving so many! Your claim of being a message bearer for God with your ear-tickling, reassuring prophecy can only be proven when all that you say actually comes true.”

Jeremiah’s refutation infuriates Hananiah. He rips the wooden yoke off Jeremiah’s neck and shatters it arguing in front of the crowds, “God said that He will have completely destroy this enemy in just two years!”

You are a panelist. Which prophet is telling the truth? How do you know whom to believe? Both are ardent in their proclamations. Both prophets seem to bear the essence or by-products of holy living. Do you dismiss the misery loving drama king who seems bent on demanding change in the way God’s people conduct themselves? Do you prefer the pleasant taste of a shiny, popular, effortless hope?

Go back to the game show. The panel can only come close to discerning the truth by asking questions, testing each challenger to root out the imposters. Without testing, one guess is as good as the next. Without testing, you don’t have to come face to face with reality. The apostle Paul, in a letter to one of Jesus’ youngest disciples, Timothy, warns: “The time will come when people will not listen to sound doctrine, but will follow their own desires and will collect for themselves more and more teachers who will tell them what they are itching to hear. They will turn away from listening to the truth and give their attention to legends. But you must keep control of yourself in all circumstances; endure suffering, do the work of a preacher of the Good News, and perform your whole duty as a servant of God.”

Yes, it would be good news to hear that all suffering will cease soon. But better news is found in the truth that God is in all circumstances and God will provide eternal life for those who trust in Him. God gives us a peace that passes understanding; a peace that cannot be destroyed by any superficial tragedy. God loves us with an everlasting love; a love from which we can never be separated. Our task is to read our email as well as the spam and then reflect on all in a spirit of prayer, looking to God constantly for God’s direction and God’s voice of truth.

And the people of God said, “Amen.”

DoBee Dance (1)
00:00 / 02:39
Sermon June 28
00:00 / 07:59

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hymns:      Whatsoever You Do & We Are Called

WHATSOEVER YOU DO

Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers

That you do unto me.

 

When I was hungry you gave me to eat;

When I was thirsty you gave me to drink.

When I was homeless you opened your door;

When I was naked you gave me your coat.

 

Now enter into the home of my Father.

Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers

That you do unto me.

When I was weary, you helped me find rest;

When I was anxious, you calmed all my fears.

When in a prison, you came to my cell;

When on a sickbed you cared for my needs.

 

Now enter into the home of my father.

Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers

That you do unto me.

 

WE ARE CALLED

Come! Live in the light!

Shine with the joy and the love of the Lord!

We are called to be light for the kingdom

To live in the freedom of the City of God!

 

We are called to act with justice.

Wea are called to love tenderly.

We are called to serve one another;

To walk humbly with God.

 

Come! Open your heart!

Show your mercy to all those in fear!

We are called to be hope for the hopeless

So all hatred and blindness will be no more.

 

We are called to act with justice.

Wea are called to love tenderly.

We are called to serve one another;

To walk humbly with God.

Played by Carolyn Maunz

Recorded for you by Don Maunz

 

Benediction

Go, now in the truth of God the Father,

In the way of Jesus Christ, the Son

And in the peace of the Holy Spirit

This day and forever more. Amen!

 

Postlude    Hallelujah

Played by Carolyn Maunz

Recorded for you by Don Maunz

Postlude 6_28 (1)
00:00 / 02:34
Hymns 6_28
00:00 / 04:27

OUR CHURCH

 

 

8 Church Street    
PO Box 261    
Searsport, Maine 04974    
(207)548-0327  

 

 

 

 

 

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