A digital version of this week’s worship bulletin and sermon.

Gathering

PRELUDE          “June” (Barcarolle) by Tschaikowsky          Keith Yao

CONGREGATIONAL WELCOME

A BRIEF LITANY OF GOD’S ACTS

Gathering Song             “When Morning Gilds the Skies”          red book # 853

GREETING

KYRIE              red book page 98 (set 1)

PRAYER of the DAY

Word

ACTS 8:26-40

PSALM 22:25-31

1 JOHN 4:7-21

JOHN 15:1-8

SERMON                      Pastor Chris Halverson

Invisible, Love, Courage

It feels like there has to be a way to consolidate the letters of John…

the amount of repetition, adding a little chunk to the previous statement,

and then a little more,

then saying it all in a slightly different way,

then saying that the reverse it true also…

it feels like these words could be turned into a Venn diagram

—you know, those two circles that have overlapping characteristics…

One circle is God, one circle is Love and not connected to the two is fear…

or alternatively God, Love, and Courage all are intertwined somehow, right!

Or maybe it al could be put into an equation God=Love, Love>Fear, therefore God, who is perfect love, casts out all fears…

All I’m entirely sure of is that God is Loveand that Perfect Love casts out fear, and so there is a connection, a relationships between God, Love, and Courage.

Let us pray

 

The invisible God is revealed in our lives, when we love one another.

The unseen God, “The invisible God, made visible in Jesus Christ” as we sometimes say during Holy Communion.

It would be easy to equate invisibility, unseen things, with unreal, or at least unimportant, things…

But that would be foolish… have you ever seen someone look at their debt payment

—debts, all money really, is an unseen thing, an agreement we all make as a society in order to barter for a wide variety of goods…

If we think about the ancients at all, we often do so by make fun of the them for being afraid of invisible spiritual forces

—but I can only imagine how silly wewould all look to any pre-modern people,

with all our anxieties surrounding invisible, unseen, monetary forces…

 

For that matter, have you ever thought about unseenintentions?

Often people try to achieve one result, but end up with another

—to put it simply they fail at their goal.

My intention is to make my loved one happy… the seen result… less than….

Have you ever failed?I know I have.

I wonder what people think of when they see my failures? Do they assume I tried to do things that way? Do they assume my intention was to fail, to fall short? I’m guessing some people do…

a misplayed note,

a poorly spoken word,

failing to make a scheduled appointment,

failing to live up to a promise.

None of these intentional. Yet, how are we to know this, after all an intention is an unseen thing. At the end of the day we hope to be judged by what’s inside, while so often we judge others by their outsides.

Or… Have you thought about unseen practice?

Have you seen an experienced artist draw a portrait in under ten minutes?

An excellent butcher make precise cuts in mere seconds?

While part of what they do is natural talent, much of it comes from hours and hours, days, weeks, months of practice.

They say it takes 10,000 hours (416 days… by the way) of practice before you can be an expert.

They advise writers to produce 1,000 pages before they even think of trying to write something worth publishing.

All these unseen hours invested to do something well!

 

The invisible God is made visible in Love—and not just any love—but the love practiced by Jesus when he washed his disciples feet

—the love we celebrate every Maundy Thursday

—Love, one Another!

Love in a concrete, blood, sweat, and tears, way…

love each other like Christ loved his disciples and he hoped and prayed they loved each other

… that’s the kind of love that makes God known,

that perfects love in us,

that affirms the profound truth that God dwells in us.

 

Love… love casts out fear… love… creates courage…

Let me tell you about the courage of Philip?

The disciples have been hold up in Jerusalem, but Philip—Philip is courageous, he leaves that place of relative safety and goes to Gaza!

This Ethiopian Eunuch was way above Philip’s station of life—of high estate, high up as well upon a chariot, towering over Philip—but Philip—Philip is courageous, he approaches this man and joins this man on his journey, you’ve heard of carjacking, right, well he practically Chariot-jacks this Eunuch.

How to interpret this portion of Isaiah, about the suffering servant, was not worked out at the time, and poor Philip, he was a Deacon, not a Disciple, he was called to serve widows, not preach the word, but Philip—Philip is courageous, he reads Isaiah with the Eunuch and is able to tell him about Jesus!

Then this man asks that pointed question, “What would prevent me from being baptized” and the answer could have been:

“a lot, actually.”

Leviticus says Eunuchs may not come near God, and Deuteronomy says they may not be among God’s people… but Philip—Philip is courageous, he trusts in the wildness of God’s love and that the Spirit led him there for a reason and baptizes him right there!

Yes, the Love of God was at work in Philip’s encounter with this Ethiopian Eunuch, he was of good courage, and for that we too may rejoice!

 

Think of it, Philip did not look at the Ethiopian Eunuch’s outsideand his own inside, but instead looked with love!

Philip practiced this compassion, this looking with love, many times, perhaps he even got those 10,000 hours in

—latter he preaches to and baptizes sorcerers,

he is allowed to live long enough to see his daughters become preachers of God’s word!

 

I pray that we too might practice courage and love, seeing the face of God beyond any visible barrier that might separate us

—God dwells in us, let us love one another, that we might know God.

HYMN of the DAY             “Thine the Amen”             red book # 826

APOSTLES CREED

PRAYERS of INTERCESSION

PEACE

Meal

OFFERING

OFFERTORY           “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” by J. S. Bach            Kenneth Yao

GREAT THANKSGIVING

A MOMENT OF THANKFUL REFLECTION

LORD’S PRAYER

COMMUNION SONGS

Also, red book # 708, red book # 697

Sending

Blessing

ANNOUNCEMENTS

SENDING SONG           “There in God’s Garden”           red book # 342

DISMISSAL

POSTLUDE

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