Sunday, April 18, 2021

Third Sunday of Easter

Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies – or else? The chain reaction of evil – hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars – must be broken, or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Good morning FCCG family! Our Joys, Concerns and Announcements this week include:

  • Birthdays or anniversaries coming up this week: Catherine Erwin’s Birthday (April 21), Lynn Rosier-Vazquez’s Birthday (April 24) and Mike Rosier’s Birthday (April 25); let us know if we missed yours!

Introit ………………… Holy Ground
Performed by Malcolm Cartwright

Bless the Lord, O my soul.
All that is within me bless God’s holy name.
Who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
Who satisfies you with good as long as you live.
We are the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Like them, we keep God’s covenant and remember to do God’s commandments.
We are followers of Jesus Christ, who proclaimed the Kingdom of God;
A kingdom of the forgiven and the forgiving.
Our lives are a gift from God, who forgives us.
By the grace of God, we are loved and affirmed each day.
God loved the world in the gift of Jesus Christ.
Through faith in Jesus Christ, we receive eternal life.

OPENING HYMN …………………………………………….. #17 O Worship the King

Let the winds of the Holy Spirit blow in our midst today, gracious God. Let us hear the sound and feel the power.  Open our hearts in new ways to the promise of your healing grace so we may bestow healing grace in your world. Empower us in the way of your mercy and forgiveness so we may bestow mercy and forgiveness upon your world. Strengthen our faith to withstand the trials and temptations that lead us away from a faithful journey with Jesus Christ. Amen.

Our spiritual ancestors sensed God’s call to leave behind the security of the familiar to venture to new places. Reminded of reluctance to take risks, or discomfort with change, and our resistance to the true implications of the love of Jesus Christ, we bow before God to confess our unfaithfulness. Let us confess our sin before God and one another, and may God have mercy.
May Christ have mercy.
May God have mercy.
O God, we confess that we have been far more ready to say we believe than to trust you to lead us to new ventures of faithfulness.  We are afraid of the evil that surrounds us. We fear risk.  We admire Jesus, but it is difficult to follow footsteps that lead to a cross. In the midst of life as we know it here, we blind ourselves to glimpses of your eternity. Save us, we pray, from our timidity, and use our doubts as an entry to deeper faith. Amen.

Hear now these words of assurance:
The great mystery of God’s love is that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Receive, with humility and joy, the new life God offers this day and for all eternity.

GLORY PATRI ………………………………………. #35

All readings are from the English Standard Version bible.

OLD TESTAMENT LESSON ……………………………………………………. Exodus 3:1-9
Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. And Moses said, “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.” When the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” And he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. Then the LORD said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them.

PSALTER LESSON ……………………………………………………………. Psalm 103

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless God’s holy name.

Bless the LORD, O my soul,
   and all that is within me, bless his holy name!
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
   and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
   who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
   who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
   so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
   so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
   so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
As a father shows compassion to his children,
   so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.
For he knows our frame;
   he remembers that we are dust. 
As for mortals, his days are like grass;
   he flourishes like a flower of the field;
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
   and its place knows it no more.
But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting
   on those who are faithful,
      and his righteousness to children’s children,
to those who keep his covenant
and remember to do his commandments.

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless God’s holy name.

EPISTLE LESSON ………………………………………….. James 2:8-13
If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

HYMN ………………………………………………………………… #350 I Bind My Heart

GOSPEL LESSON ………………………………………………………………. Matthew 18:23-35
“Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt.

But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt.

When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

SERMON ……………………..…… Chain Reactions…………….……….. Rev. Rebecca Clancy

The Lord’s Prayer
performed by participants at the Shenandoah Christian Music Camp

SPECIAL MUSIC …………. There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy
performed by Ed Bolduc

The faith that sustains us in not a commodity to be hoarded and protected.  Rather, faith is an active, dynamic relationship which God calls us to share with one another, not just in the church, but with everyone. Our offerings make possible faithful ministries within the church and our outreach in the world.
Thank you, God, for the glimpses of eternity in the daily experiences of life.  We are grateful for encounters that lift the horizons of our vision.  We rejoice in the teachings and care you have provided to us.  Bless now the gifts we return to you for the programs and outreach of the church. We want to share our faith with the world.  We pray for trustful relationships among all your children.  We rejoice together in the saving ministry of Jesus Christ that inspires us to give our best.  Amen.

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CLOSING HYMN ……………………………. #477 Pass It On

May the Lord watch between me and thee, while we are apart one from the other, Amen.

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Please keep the following individuals in your prayers this week:

  • Jodi Holleran’s mom (illness);
  • Mercedes Nuss (illness);
  • Jess Reddy’s friend, Keeley (illness);
  • Sue Cechner’s friend, John (Illness);
  • Barb and Dick Sharp’s nephew’s daughter, Kenzie (illness);
  • Lisa Peterson (illness);
  • Lisa Peterson’s niece-in-law, Wendy (illness);
  • Linda Moran (illness);
  • Faith DiMaria’s brother, Steve, and family (illness);
  • The Connolly Family (lots of prayers);
  • Karen’s Cousin, Dwight, (Illness);
  • Sheree Womack’s dad, Frank (surgery);
  • Those affected by violence as well as those serving in the military;

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