Lord, our God, you know who we are: People with good and bad consciences; satisfied and dissatisfied, sure and unsure people; Christians out of conviction and Christians out of habit; believers, half-believers, and unbelievers. But now we are before you: in all our inequality equal in this, that we are all in the wrong before you and against each other; that we all must die some day; that we all would be lost without your grace; but also in that your grace is promised to and turn toward all of us through your beloved Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Most of Virginia is now in Phase III of reopening. However, the number of COVID19 cases in our immediate area is such that we will continue to only offer worship online until it is reasonably safe for us to reopen. To that end, we are in the midst of putting together a group with the responsibility of creating a plan for reopening such that it is safe, healthy, and faithful. If that is something you are interested in, please let me know.
Until that time, we will continue to offer Sunday worship online, in addition to Wednesday Bible Studies and email devotionals. Online giving can be made on our About page on the church website, cokesburyumc.church which will be linked in the video description for live worship as well as checks through the mail.
Hymn 249 – Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in his wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of his glory and grace.
Lord, humble us so that we will be capable of hearing your Word. Rid us of all distractions vying for our allegiance such that we can turn our hearts and minds to You. In the midst of confusion give us clarity. For those of us who are suffering under undo burdens, give us peace. For those us who are afraid, give us comfort. For those of us with less days ahead than behind, give us gratitude. Above all, pour our your Spirit upon us again that we may truly thank you for the gift of yourself in the scriptures. For, Lord, we rejoice in its complexity – it reminds us that life is not just one thing after another. Life is a gift, from you.
And as you taught us, so now we pray… Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
Scripture – Matthew 13.34-43:
Jesus told the crowds all these things in parables; without a parable he told them nothing. This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet: “I will open my mouth to speak in parables; I will proclaim what has been hidden from the foundation of the world.” Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, “Explain to us the parables of the weeds of the field.” He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!
Hymn 369 – Blessed Assurance:
V1. Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine! O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God, born of his Spirit, washed in his blood.
This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long.
V2. Perfect submission, perfect delight, visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending bring from above echoes of mercy, whispers of love.
V3. Perfect submission, all is at rest; I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above, filled with his goodness, lost in his love.
Sermon: In The Weeds
Lord, draw us to your beauty so that our lives will glow with reverence for you. We confess that too often, if we glow at all, we are hot with hatred and anger. We cannot will our lives free of these powers, so we ask that you send us faithful friends to transform our hatred and anger into love and mercy. We rejoice in the Good News that is your Son who comes to take away the sins of the world, even ours. Make us bold in the knowledge of that news. Make us refined by your fire that we might glow here, now, and forever. Amen.
Offering – Reminder for online giving, through the mail, or the drop slot at the church.
I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth; And in Jesus Christ his only son our Lord: who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; the third day he rose from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
I did a funeral a while back for an older woman, and during the service people stood up to talk about how amazing she was how she always cared for everyone in her midst and how she was the paragon of virtue. We heard from grandchildren, co-workers, neighbors, it went on and on.
When the funeral was over, I mingled among the gathered people, offering condolences and so on until I met the recently dead woman’s caretaker. She was wearing scrubs, having already moved on to a new client and was only able to get away for the funeral. We chatted briefly exchanging pleasantries until she said, “You know what’s strange Preacher? Having to sit there and to listen to all these people talk about how perfect she was. Because she was the meanest woman I’ve ever met in my life. She treated me worse than dirt.”
I stood there silently stunned unsure of how to respond.
And then she said, “It’s a good thing we worship a God of forgiveness, right Preacher?”
I have a great sign in my office that says, “Live your life so that the Preacher won’t have to lie at your funeral.”
What will someone say about you when you’re gone? Is it all good? Is it all bad? Chances are it’s both. But how might your life start to change now if you take time to really think about how we worship the God of forgiveness?
Blessing and Benediction