Well, in typical fashion for our weather, we have lept straight into the midst of summer. I hope you have been able to enjoy the sun and the holiday weekend. During this extended time of isolation, we have all longed for community, connecting with family and friends, enjoying celebrations, holidays, parties, and gathering of all sorts. The absence of these moments reminds us how vital relationships are, how central to our growth and enjoyment of life they truly are intended to be,
God's word is so clear about this in many ways, of course. He even intends for relationships. to be the primary means of communicating his love. Services are wonderful, events are efficient, sermons are inspiring, classes are informative but relationships engage and transform. The apostle Paul told his friend Timothy that the things he has heard from him to pass on to faithful men and women, who will then share with others. That's four generations of relationships: Paul to Timothy to men and women to others. He's describing a kind of contagion. One life touches another life and those live touch others and so forth until regions and communities and the world is "infected" with the only healing infection there is - the grace of God.
Paul talks more about this gospel contagion through relationships in the book of Thessalonians when he describes how they loved them so much that they delighted to share not only the gospel of God but also their lives as well. Sharing lives of hardship and ease, victory and failure, loss and gain, work and play. It's within these moments that the claims of Christ and the value of the God's love and grace and experienced and fleshed out in the nitty gritty. Only in relationship does Christianity move from being a doctrine to a faith and a life, which is what it is. And Paul was only doing what he saw and experienced Christ doing... sharing his very life with his people and the world. We don't have to be experts or teachers or trainers or gurus. Sharing the life we live with Christ touches upon the questions and struggles that the lives we touch face and exposes them to the infection that heals and changes the world. Your voice, your life, your heart shared with others can infect the world with change and love and justice and hope and courage.
Live Stream Worship and Cancelations
The session has been meeting and praying and researching in relation to our current crisis of pandemic. We have been staying aware of the developing community guidelines for gatherings and protections against the spread of the virus. Our desire has been to collaborate with our community, to care for our neighbors, and to slow the advance of illness, while also providing a regular way for anyone to explore and worship Christ. To accomplish this, we have, as you know, canceled all public events and services up to now, while still making our weekly worship service available online.
As we approach the end of May, we continue to desire to offer a safe and healthy atmosphere to reach out to and share the love of Christ with our community. In light of this, moving into June, there are several updates we'd like to note:
We will continue to offer the weekly live stream worship service at 10 am Sundays.
We are encouraging growth groups to meet in person, in homes or outdoors (as they may feel comfortable or desire). Also, that groups might gather in homes to worship with the live stream on Sundays together as that may desire.
Our youth group will begin meeting at the church building this week and on a regular schedule that our youth director, Noah Trask, will communicate to families.
On June 21st, we will begin opening the church building to our surrounding neighbors and anyone desiring and able to worship there during the live stream service. Of course, anyone doing so will need to wear a protective mask and practice social distancing by living units while in the building and then leave promptly when the service concludes. We will not be providing childcare, Sunday school or refreshments of any kind.
Our ministry team leaders will be coordinating efforts to prepare the building and ministry for these gradual changes. We will be cleaning and disinfecting public areas each week and making masks available for anyone who does not have one when needed.
We desire to be patient and well intentioned with these adjustments. We wish to make options available for folks who may not have any other options for worship and who may desire to gather in some fashion. We encourage everyone to be cautious. We desire no one to feel pressured to venture beyond their own conscience or comfort zones. There are still many who are at high risk or living with folks at high risk. We don't want anyone exposed to harm or unease. If you have any questions or concerns please contact me and I'd be very happy to chat.
Please be in prayer for one another and the session and leaders. Let us know if there are any needs or prayer concerns. Reach out with hope, love and grace to those around you. We love you and are praying for you day by day, thanking God for you and His grace at work in your lives.
HANOVER VALLEY PRESBYTERIAN BULLETIN
May 31st, 2020
Call to Worship
Beneath the Cross of Jesus
Beneath the cross of Jesus I fain would take my stand,
The shadow of a mighty Rock within a weary land;
A home within the wilderness, a rest upon the way,
From the burning of the noontide heat, and the burden of the day.
Upon the cross of Jesus mine eye at times can see
The very dying form of One who suffered there for me:
And from my stricken heart with tears two wonders I confess,
The wonders of redeeming love and my unworthiness.
I take, O cross, thy shadow for my abiding-place:
I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of his face;
Content to let the world go by, to know no gain nor loss;
My sinful self my only shame, my glory, all the cross.
My sinful self, my only shame, my glory, all the cross.
Corporate Prayer of Confession
Heavenly Father, You are a kind and loving Shepherd. When we wander away from you, you bring us back. When we fall into sin, you restore us. When we are wounded, you heal us; and when we faint, you revive us. You know our hearts: how we are prone to wander daily, how we need your help to live faithfully as your people, how we fall short of your commands and fail to live in peace. We seek after power to use it for our benefit. Give us compassion, gentleness, humility, and sacrificial love. We are stubborn, weak, and difficult to love. Thank you for the sacrifice of Jesus, which covers and protects us from our sin and ourselves. Make us humble, teachable, patient, and not easily offended. Help us to confess our sin quickly and to be fast and deep repenters, that we may find and rest in the comfort of the Lamb who died in our place.In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
Words of Encouragement
I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me... I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.
Announcements & Prayers of the People
Offering & Special Music
Sermon - Sacrifices of Praise
Song of Reflection
Let the weak say “I am strong,” Let the poor say “I am rich”
Let the blind say “I can see,” It’s what the Lord has done in me
Chorus: Hosanna, hosanna! To the Lamb that was slain
Hosanna, hosanna! Jesus died and rose again
Hosanna, hosanna! To the lamb that was slain
Hosanna, hosanna! Jesus died and rose again
Into the river I will wade, there my sins are washed away
From the heavens mercy streams of the Savior’s love for me
I will rise from waters deep, into the saving arms of God
I will sing salvation songs, Jesus Christ has set me free Chorus
Jesus died and rose again. Jesus died and rose again.
Parting Song of Praise
Think about His love
Think about His love, think about His goodness.
Think about His grace that’s brought us through.
For as high as the heavens above,
So great is the measure of our father’s love.
Great is the measure of our Father’s love.