As Protestants, What Are We Still Protesting?

 For the Week beginning June 21st, 2020

FAMILY ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • An EXCITING video service just for children (and kids at heart) is found at the end of this service. Just scroll down!  (Thanks, LifeChurch!)  

 

The Prelude:  We Prepare Ourselves to Worship God

 

 We Gather Together
  • If you have family worshipping with you, give everyone a hug. 
  • If you are alone, take a moment and imagine the arms of the Loving Lord wrapped around you.  Send thoughts of love to those most important to you. 
  • Then, find a spot at your chosen place of worship.  Light your candle(s). 
  • Be silent for a moment, asking God to open your hearts to every good gift that God has for you today.

 

We Open with Prayer

(If possible, please pray out loud):

We rejoice and praise Your holy name today, O Lord, because you have saved us from destruction. We give thanks because Your word gives us hope and guidance at all times. You are the source of stability and deep seated faith, and our spirits are refreshed in your presence! Amen!

 

We Sing a Song of Praise:  "My Hope is Built"   UMH #368 (First UMC, Houston)

You can sing along with a music video (or just listen) by clicking on the image below. 

1 My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus' blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus' name.

Refrain:
On Christ, the solid rock, I stand;
all other ground is sinking sand,
all other ground is sinking sand.

2 When darkness veils his lovely face,
I rest on his unchanging grace;
in ev'ry high and stormy gale,
my anchor holds within the veil. [Refrain]

3 His oath, his covenant, his blood
support me in the whelming flood;
when all around my soul gives way,
he then is all my hope and stay. [Refrain]

4 When he shall come with trumpet sound,
O may I then in him be found,
dressed in his righteousness alone,
faultless to stand before the throne. [Refrain]

 

We Call Each Other to Worship

(If possible, read out loud.  If you are not alone, take turns reading the lines)

Grace and peace to you from God our Father,

who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing

that comes from heaven: (Eph 1)

who knew you and chose you before the world began; (I Pet 1, Eph 1)

who loves you so much that he calls you his own children; (I Jn 3)

who has brought you from darkness into light

and filled you with his glorious power; (Col 1)

who has prepared an inheritance for you

that will never spoil or fade; (I Pet 1)

who encourages and strengthens you

in every good deed and word; (2 Thess 2)

who comforts you in your troubles

so that you can comfort others. (2 Cor 1)

This is our God, the ultimate source of all things, and the One for whom we live. (I Cor 8)

Let’s worship God together!

We Pass the Peace of God to Others

If you are with others in your home, give each other a hug, and pray for those who will not have any human touch today.

If you are alone, ask the Holy Spirit to bring to your mind at least one person who needs a call or email or card.  Commit to following through on this as soon as this worship service ends.  (If you have others in your household, they can do this, too).

 We Read the Bible: Psalm 1:1-3 (NIV)
New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.

(If possible, read all scriptures out loud)

Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers.

++This is the word of God for the children of God:  Thanks be to God!

 

We  Sing a Song of Devotion:  "We Shall Not Be Moved"  Traditional Folk Song 

Members of the NW Community Gospel Choir and Congregation Beth Israel's Kol Echad congregational choir, Portland, Oregon, sang together at a special Shabbat service honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Friday, January 15, 2016.

Just experience this song or sing along by clicking the image below.

We shall not, we shall, we shall not be moved

We shall not, we shall, we shall not be moved

Just like a tree that’s planted by the water

We shall not be moved!

Fighting for our freedom . . .

Black and white together . . .

We’re on our way to victory . . .

We Testify to God's Grace

"What's the True Value of a Person?"   -- Phillip Rice, Michigan

You are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God. - Galatians 4:7 (NRSV)

An old and somewhat rare coin fascinated me, so I bought it. The value of the coin was stamped on it: fifty cents. But to a collector or a hobbyist, that coin is worth far more than that. The coin has two values: the value that the government stamped on it and the value that a collector might pay for it.

It seems to me that it is the same way with people. We may feel that society gives us a value based on our social status, income level, or appearance. But God values us as beloved children for whom Jesus Christ lived, died, and was raised again. God is the supreme collector who seeks to gather all of us into the kingdom of compassion, peace, and justice. When we accept and treat others as people of intrinsic worth who are endowed with dignity, the kingdom of God draws a bit closer. The lives of others are blessed and, by the grace of God, so is ours.

(Do you have a testimonial you'd like to share here during future services?  Send your story to thomas@hopefortulsa.com)

 

We Hear the Sermon from Pastor Thomas
"As Protestants, What Are We Still Protesting?"
We Reflect in Silence

Take several minutes to consider today’s scripture and message.  Here are some questions to help: 

  • How are you doing these days?  Does your life feel more stable or unstable?  What about the world around you?  What do you think is causing this?
  • Have you ever thought before that a stable life means working for justice?  What are some of your responses to this idea?
  • The Bible has a special word for "peace."  It's "shalom."  This word never means the absence of war or conflict, but rather, the establishment of righteousness and wholeness.  This is one reason Jesus asks to become "peacemakers," not "peacekeepers."  What might God be asking you to do to help establish righteousness and wholeness where it doesn't exist in our world right now?
  • Think of the three postures from our scripture:  walking, standing, and sitting.  What problem in your neighborhood or Tulsa or this world "gets you up and going?"  What issue makes you upset enough to "take a stand?"  If you had to "plant yourself down on a line in the sand" over some cause, what would it be?  Chances are you already know what the answers are because your heart has been stirred in the past.  Now is the time to do at least one thing to protest injustice.  Consider:  the Bishop's Call to Prayer Against Racism at 8:46 AM & PM; writing your city, state, and national representatives about a concern that impacts children in our community; reading a book to better understand the lives of our Black and Latino neighbors--see our recent newsletter.  There are lots more things you can do even from your home!). 
We Pray to the Lord

(The Lord's Prayer is from Matthew ch. 6, The Message)

(If possible, please pray out loud)

 God, today I (we) pray . . .

    • for the people of Hope United Methodist Church, and especially ...
      • See Barbara’s email prayer list for congregational requests.  To receive the email list, please reach out to healing@hopefortulsa.com
      • We especially pray for our members and friends who are in nursing homes and rehab centers.
    • for those who suffer and those in trouble, and especially...
    • for the concerns of this local community, and especially...
    • for the world, its peoples, and its civic leaders, and for the earth that you have given to our care.

Lord, you are the God who hears:

hear our prayer today for all who lament and all who repent.

For those among us who face discrimination every day because of their skin color,

we lament.

For those among us with white skin who benefit from racist systems sometimes even without realizing it,

we repent.

For those among us who have struggled and waited so long for the Promised Land of freedom and equality,

we lament.

For those among us who have acted in racist ways and have hurt people of color,

we repent.

For those protesting injustice who feel that the system is built against them,

we lament.

For those who think racism is someone else’s problem, and not a problem for humanity,

we repent.

God of hope, show us how to work for justice together,

standing up for what is right,

stepping in when something's wrong,

shouldering each other’s burdens,

holding each other accountable,

righting the wrongs we’ve done,

speaking truth to power.

We pray for change, lasting change,

for protection for those who work for change,

for a de-escalation of violence,

and for all of us to both speak and listen to each other.

Deliver us from evil, within and without,

in Jesus' name we pray, Amen

                                (by Carol Penner)

    • for the battle we are facing with COVID-19, and especially those who are suffering and those who are responding, and for ...                  
    • for the Church universal—its leaders, its members, and its mission. We especially pray for Bishop Nunn, for our retiring District Superintendent Cindy Havlik, and for our new Superintendent, Connie Gibson.  We also pray for those churches that are now opening up and ask that those who gather would be wise and caring for each other.  We ask that you would protect all your congregations from harm and disease, and give us a mighty dose of your Spirit.  We pray for these and for other Christian leaders, including...
    • in communion with the saints, remembering all those who have gone on before us, and now form part of the Great Hall of Faith which encourages those of us who remain on earth.  Today we especially remember . . .
    • For fathers of all kinds that provide nurture and care to those around them, we give thanks today; for the grace of forgiveness to extend to our own earthly fathers where have failed us; for reconciliation between parent and child where relationships are distant or strained; for gratefulness that our Heavenly Father, our Divine Parent, loves us much more than even the nest human being is able to; and especially ... 
    • For my (our) needs today, which include...

Help us remember, Lord, that you are merciful and good, and quick to act in times of need.  We thank you for all of your many blessings that you graciously give to us and to the world you love.

Therefore, as your children on earth, we pray the prayer that our Brother Jesus taught us to pray:

Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right;
Do what’s best—
    as above, so below.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You’re in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You’re ablaze in beauty!
    Yes. Yes. Yes.

We Give Gifts to the Lord

Even during COVID-19, the work of Hope United Methodist Church continues!  Please take a moment to remember all the many blessings God has given you, and then go to www.hopefortulsa.com/give to make an online donation.  It's simple to sign up--just have your checkbook, debit card, or credit card ready to provide the requested information.  You just have to do this one time.  You can continue to use this online portal in the weeks ahead to bless your church and your Lord. 

If you'd like to mail a check instead, please make it out to "Hope UMC" and send it to:  Hope UMC, 12424 E. 31st St., Tulsa, OK  74146.  All donations are tax-deductible.  And thank you in advance!

 

We Say What We Believe:  The World Methodist Social Affirmation

(If possible, read this out loud):

We believe in God,

       creator of the world and of all people;

 and in Jesus Christ, incarnate among us,

         who died and rose again;

 and in the Holy Spirit,

         present with us to guide, strengthen, and comfort.

We believe; God, help our unbelief.

 

We rejoice in every sign of God's Kingdom;

     in the upholding of human dignity and community;

     in every expression of love, justice and reconciliation;

     in each act of self-giving on behalf of others;

     in the abundance of God's gifts entrusted to us that all may have enough;

     in all responsible use of the earth's resources.

Glory be to God on high; and on earth, be peace.

 

We confess our sin, individual and collective, by silence or action:

     through the violation of human dignity

     based on race, class, age, sex, nation, or faith;

     through the exploitation of people

     because of greed and indifference

     through the misuse of power

     in personal, communal, national, and international life;

     through the search for security

     by those military and economic forces that threaten human existence;

     through the abuse of technology

              which endangers the earth and all life upon it.

Lord, have mercy; Christ, have mercy; Lord, have mercy.

 

We commit ourselves individually and as a community

     to the way of Christ:

     to take up the cross;

     to seek abundant life for all humanity;

     to struggle for peace with justice and freedom;

     to risk ourselves in faith, hope, and love,

     praying that God's kingdom may come.

The kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.

Amen .

 

Closing Hymn  "Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus"  UMH #514
(First UMC, Houston)

1 Stand up, stand up for Jesus
ye soldiers of the cross;
lift high his royal banner,
it must not suffer loss:
from vict'ry unto vict'ry
his army he shall lead,
'til ev'ry foe is vanquished,
and Christ is Lord indeed.

2 Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
the trumpet call obey;
forth to the mighty conflict
in this his glorious day:
ye that are men now serve him
against unnumbered foes;
let courage rise with danger,
and strength to strength oppose.

3 Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
stand in his strength alone;
the arm of flesh will fail you,
ye dare not trust your own:
put on the gospel armor,
each piece put on with pray'r;
where duty calls, or danger,
be never wanting there.

4 Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
the strife will not be long;
this day the noise of battle,
the next the victor's song:
to him that overcometh
a crown of life shall be;
he with the King of glory
shall reign eternally.

Benediction (based on Amos 5:14-15)

May you always seek good, hate evil, and establish justice in the city.

In this way you will find life, and the LORD, the God of Hosts, will always be with you.  Amen.

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