Bradenton-Sarasota Congregation online worship
July 19, 2020
Call to Worship
The Lord knows each and every one of us and loves each one dearly.
Sometimes it feels as though God has drifted away from us.
Be strong! Look for the ways in which God is present to you.
Given all the troubles of the day, we often look more closely at them.
Come, open your hearts and spirits to God’s love and presence
Lord, help us to see your presence in all of life’s circumstances.
Thrive by Casting Crowns
Words of Assurance
God’s seeds of love have already been sown in your midst. Come and see the love of God outpoured for you. You are God’s beloved ones. Come, live in the light of God. AMEN.
Prayer for Peace
O God of peace and reconciliation, we praise you for teaching us about love and how it heals our relationships. Thank you for your powerful demonstration of divine love that places eternal value on every person. As we come into your presence and experience your love for us, help us to radiate your love, thereby bringing healing to our cities, our nations, and people facing violence. Open our hearts to bring a ministry of love. Amen.
-by Juanita Zion
Ministry of Music – I Love You Lord by Sherry Lindgren
Message by Elder Ginger Robertson
“Lord, you are my God. You have sealed your Spirit deep within my soul. I know you are here with me. I pray you will help me to relax, to be calm, to be quiet and to be still.”
Thus began my 15 days of radiation treatment to rid the nemesis cancer from two very persistent lymph nodes. After being positioned in just the right place on the radiation table, I closed my eyes and began my daily prayer, or mantra of reassurance and blessing. Each day became less stressful and quietly routine; Every night before falling asleep I gave thanks for God’s care and vigilance during this time of new and hope filled treatment. The song “I Love You, Lord” that Sherry sang before this message was also a testament to the gratitude and joy I experienced each day as I spent that peaceful time with God. It often played over and over in my mind. I won’t have my PET-Scan until August 24th, but I can tell you already the constant pain I had been dealing with for the last 8 months is almost completely gone now. Although I am back in chemo for now, I have a renewed hope that God’s healing hand will continue to be upon me through it all.
These last five months have been difficult for everyone. We have all been faced with challenges we have not had to face before. We as a congregational family of believers have all missed our Sunday Fellowship and Worship together, our casual gatherings…even our weekly Mahjong games. The changes and disruptions of daily lives have been devastating for many; lost jobs, isolation, fear of infection of this pandemic disease that is out of control in so many places. I can understand how easy it is to be fearful and discouraged, but we must remember that even in this uncontrollable situation God’s hand is upon all of us!
Our scripture lesson this week is from Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43. This passage is the Parable of the Weeds. After sowing good wheat in his fields, an enemy came into the farmers fields and sowed seeds of weeds. The workers wanted to remove the bad seeds, but the farmer told them to wait until harvest, as he did not want to lose any good wheat seeds. Jesus later explained to his disciples that at harvest (end) time, the weeds (the enemy) could be easily removed, bundled and burned. What would be left was the beautiful wheat (believers) that had grown and flourished. Every day we are bombarded with reminders that there are weeds, or, better explained, evil or discouraging “seeds” planted in our hearts and minds. As we wait longingly for that time when we will all be together, worshiping and fellowshipping once again, we must be patient, and never forget that God is with us. He is but a breath, a prayer, a thought within us. God does not want to lose us to our human fears and divisions. God has sealed his Spirit deep within our souls, always ready to reassure us with his love and compassionate care.
We will be together again when it is safe, but until then it is my prayer for all of us that we will continue to call upon God and know he is with us…to pray for each other and to be like the wheat that grows and flourishes in the loving light of God.
Wherever you go this week, know this:
God knows you better than you know yourself.
No matter where you go or what you do,
God is already there,
surrounding you with mercy
and guiding you with love.
So go with joy and confidence,
knowing that God goes with you.
(based on Psalm 139:7-12)
This service was prepared by Heather Devine and Ginger Robertson.