A Service of Worship and Communion for Sunday, August 2, 2020 —
Old First Church, Philadelphia, PA
the Rev. Michael Caine, pastor; Holly Phares, music director; William Lowden, organist
No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.
Prelude Improvisation on Forest Green
The regular practice of sacrament of the Lord’s Supper,
as an outward and visible sign of inward & spiritual grace,
can lack the pang, punch, and palpable presence of God in our lives,
but only because we do not tell our own stories and
our spiritual hungers as part of the ritual meal.
Words of Gathering —
One: All who are thirsty, come!
Many: God is the fountain and living water for our lives.
One: All who are hungry, come!
Many: Jesus feeds us the bread of heaven with goodness and grace.
One: Rich and poor, young and old, neighbor and guest, come!
Many: The Holy Spirit gathers everyone around the Table Jesus has prepared for us.
Loving God, we confess that we have not followed your ways, and we have forgotten your commandments. We have left the poor hungry and sick. We have left the ill without medicine and care. We have left our neighbors in other nations and in our own country too without justice and declared them illegal and treated them as less than human. Forgive us for our lack of love and compassion. Forgive us for not seeing our neighbors as ourselves. Forgive us, most of all for not seeing you in the faces of those all around in need. In the name of Christ, who shows us compassion and mercy, we pray. Amen.
Silence — In the silence, we may continue with our personal confessions…
A Time with the Children Ian and Iris Kaib
The Scripture Matthew 14:13-21
Draw Us In the Spirit’s Tether
Holly Phares, vocal and piano
Draw us in the Spirit’s tether, for when humbly in your name,
two or three are met together, you are in the midst of them;
Alleluia! Alleluia! Touch we now your garment’s hem.
All our meals and all our living make as sacraments of you,
that by caring, helping, giving, we may be disciples true.
Alleluia! Alleluia! We may serve with faith anew.
The Sermon What Are You Hungry For?
There is a tradition that “the Word is not preached until the responses of the congregation has been heard. Preaching is always a conversation; a sermon talk-back just makes the conversation more explicit. Now is a time for questions, corrections, comments, additions…
Affirmation of Faith — from the Belhar Confession
We believe that the unity of the people of God
Must be manifested and active in a number of ways:
That we share one faith, have one calling;
Are of one soul and one mind;
Have one God and Father;
Are filled with one Spirit;
Are baptized with one baptism;
Eat of one bread and drink of one cup;
Confess one name;
Are obedient to one Lord;
Work for one cause, and share one hope.
Offertory Somos Pueblo Che Camino
Guitars & Vocals: Julie Steiner & Marjorie Wilhite
Communion and Prayers
Reader 1: Christ’s invitation is simple —
sit down where you are.
You don’t need to run off somewhere else —
not a nearby village market or a familiar sanctuary,
communion is where you are — sit down.
Reader 2: The disciples complained —
it is a deserted place and the hour is late.
Jesus said, “They need not go away.”
No one needs to go away.
No one is deserted, and no one is late —
not you who are alone,
because you are vulnerable to virus
or you who would feel alone
even in a not-distancing crowd
has made your life a wilderness.
Reader 3: Jesus has compassion on every crowd,
healing them, even the hungers,
one by one by one.
Here is green grass,
someone to help you sit down,
someone to help you stand up again,
someone to bless Communion,
so it will be enough,
and break it into pieces you can handle.
Sit down where you are.
Prayer of Consecration
Pastor: I would like to begin our prayer of consecration by asking if any of you want to share what you are hungry for? That way, your hunger and openness and sharing will become part of our consecration of these element.
In the story about feeding a multitude, Jesus asked that people bring to him what they had. You have done that today. In your many kitchens and living rooms, rest your hands lightly upon these elements which we set aside today to be a sacrament. We ask God’s blessing on them to make them enough and also to make them abundant for us and for all those who are in our prayers this morning.
Unison: God of compassion, you bless and break everything we are and everything we bring to you. Our deep scarcity becomes enough to sustain us, and then our “enough” becomes an abundance we could never imagine. We pray that your Spirit of life and love, of tenderness and power, rest upon every bread and every cup, that they may feed the inmost need of each child of God and pour forth a grace that can change the world. Risen Christ, live in us, that we may live in you.
And now let us pray together the prayer of our Savior…
Words of Remembering
Pastor: We remember the Creator
fed the aurora borealis and ocean depths,
pterodactyls and diatoms,
all we see now that grows and breathes,
all that swims, swarms, slithers,
all that runs, flies, leaps and loves.
We remember Jesus Christ
played vintner at a wedding feast,
rubbed elbows with Zacchaeus’ friends,
taught the disciples they should not substitute
anything like stone or snake
for really important menus
like reduced lunch, 68 hours, soup kitchen
food pantry or meals on wheels,
and, in the midst of profound grief
for cousin John’s death,
expanded the disciples’ understanding
of the hope recipe in
bread crust and fish scraps,
and then, when they forgot … did it again.
We always remember a Passover in Jerusalem
when Jesus borrowed an upper room,
soaked and scrubbed the tired feet of others,
and explained that there is
a God-shaped hole in everyone’s belly
and Jesus would fill it with love.
Remembering is beautiful,
but there is not much taste in it.
Let us stop running to nearby villages
with our hunger and thirst,
and sit down here and now,
to eat and drink, be blessed and broken.
Sharing of the Elements
Leader: Friends, will you lift the bread before the camera, if you are able? The bread on your table is blessed and broken like the picnic of grace.
Unison: Sharing love, we will never be hungry.
Leader: Friends, will you lift the cup before the camera, if you are able. The cup on your table is blessed and shared like the overflowing of tears and joy
Unison: Drinking deeply, we will never thirst.
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Pastor: In thanksgiving for the meal that heals yesterday and the unexpected grace that empowers tomorrow, we pray for the wisdom to give away as fast as possible some twelve baskets of leftovers …
O Holy One, as we received this sacrament in the holy dispersion of virtual worship, we thought we “ordered” from a select gourmet menu, and never expected to become the curbside pickup of your love and justice, of your compassion and courage, of your hope and healing for all of your children who need a meal in a deserted place. Help us gather the leftovers from the miracles in our lives and give them away. Let us in such sharing pass your peace among ourselves. Amen.
- Congregational Meeting after worship today.
- No Children’s Bible Storytime on Monday, as Michael is redesigning this ministry to kids.
- The church office will be closed on the Mondays of August.
- Lunch with the Pastor on Tues.@ 12:30 pm: special guest Geneva Butz
Blessings and Benediction
Postlude Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
Helen H. Lemmel
To approve funds for getting architectural drawings for 3 projects