August 8, 2021

August 8:  

Looking Ahead: 

August 15, 9:30 a.m.  Holy Communion in Celebration of the Renewal of the Moravian Church.   On August 13th, 1727, the early Moravian Church experienced a Spirit-filled community gathering.  After times of disagreements and a fractious community, the early community gathered for a meal after worship in unity of a higher purpose.   

Wed. August 25: Cool Treats, Summer Nights (6:30 – 8 p.m.) featuring So Cool Ice Cream Bus, special music and lots of great kids’ programs (starting at 6:30 pm.) 

Our thanks to Samantha Zosky for her musical gifts as well as our lay leaders and readers this Sunday including Sharon Ettinger, Sam Spagnola, Cheryl Ferrich, Peter Swavely and David Venditta.   

Our Worship will focus around these passages from John 6:16-40, 48-51, and reflections on “What is the bread that sustains us?”    

Prelude 

Welcome and Announcements 


Introit     Hymn 754.   When Peace Like a River (vs. 1 and 4)

Liturgy for Grace pg. 31-33 

John 6:16-21:     Sam Spagnola. 

When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, got into a boat, and started across the lake to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The lake became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the lake and coming near the boat, and they were terrified. But he said to them, ‘It is I; do not be afraid.’ Then they wanted to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the land towards which they were going.

Can you think of an experience in life when you felt alone?  Or maybe exhausted like someone who has rowed for 3 or 4 miles and still facing the strong wind ahead?  Can you reach out to Jesus, and tell him what you are facing?   Can you trust another person who can help?   Can you open your eyes to see what possibilities might be out there – from your friends or greater community, your church, and your God?  Sometimes it starts with us saying yes, I want to see you God, open the eyes of my heart, help me not be afraid.    

Moment of Silent Reflection 

Special Music “Open the Eyes of my Heart”.  Samantha Zosky. 

John 6:22-27.     Peter Swavely ?

The next day the crowd that had stayed on the other side of the lake saw that there had been only one boat there. They also saw that Jesus had not got into the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone. Then some boats from Tiberias came near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus.

When they found him on the other side of the lake, they said to him, ‘Rabbi, when did you come here?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.’ 

When the crowd went to Capernaum looking for Jesus, they could still taste the bread and the fish that had been shared with them in the beginning of chapter 6 when over 5,000 were fed.   Maybe some of them thought of Jesus as a kind of divine vending machine, available whenever they got hungry.   They would stay in this cycle of following him whenever they got hungry.   What kind of cycle do we find ourselves getting stuck in – is it thinking about what we will eat, or what we will wear, or what the best way to satisfy a need or desire?    Does this interfere with Jesus’ command to “Seek first the Kingdom of God” or to set our sights on bringing God’s kingdom to the world around us?   

Moment of Silent Reflection 

Hymn 605.   Seek ye First the Kingdom of God (all verses). 

John 6:28-24   Cheryl Ferrich 

Then they said to him, ‘What must we do to perform the works of God?’ Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’   So they said to him, ‘What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing?   Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, “He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” ’ Then Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’   They said to him, ‘Sir, give us this bread always.’ 

As Jesus reminded the crowds about how God sustained their ancestors with manna in the wilderness, what sustained our ancestors?   Think about a family story in the recent or far-off past.  What assisted your family?   Did faith or a strong community ever support your family?  Or would faith have been helpful in a time of struggle in your family’s past?    What can we learn from the ways our ancestors were (or were not) sustained by faith?  

Moment of Silent Reflection 

Hymn 790.  Guide me, O My Great Redeemer  (vs. 1 and 3)

John 6:35-40, 48-51:    David Venditta. 

Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.   But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.   Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away; for I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me.   And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.   This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day.’

 I am the bread of life.    Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.   This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.   I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.’

First of all, remember that this passage comes after Jesus has satisfied the physical hunger of the crowds with the “feeding of the 5,000” in John 6:1-15.  Science has long shown that only when ones basic needs are provided for can we work for a deeper sense of bread, toward abundant life.  

Who is physically hungry in our community and in our world?  Consider checking out the work of the non-partisan, faith-based nonprofit Bread for the World (bread.org) and the good work that they do.    Or consider the work of Second Harvest in our own community and mark your calendars for the Crop Walk against Hunger – coming up Sunday, Oct. 10th.   

At the same time, Jesus urges us not to be bound only to the physical, but to also seek a deeper relationship with God beyond what we need for immediate survival.   Do we really want that Bread of Life, and if so what changes might we need to make to live like that? 

Hymn 502 Break Now the Bread of Life. (vs. 1 and 3) 

Prayers of the People     Sharon Ettinger 

Holy God, thank you for sending your Son, Jesus Christ, to be the Bread of Life for the world.  Forgive us for elevating earthly appetites above devotion to you.  Feed us with the knowledge of Christ so that we recognize our sin and gladly repent in his name.

Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.

We pray for those whose daily need for healthy food, clean water and proper shelter goes un-met, and for those misusing what they have in the vain pursuit of pleasure.  Feed them with all the good things of Christ for life now and in eternity.

Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Have mercy on those whose lives have been broken by violence and crime.  Feed them with hope and a new life in Christ.  And bless our brothers and sisters in prison and those who minister to them.

Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Feed those who are sick in body or mind, or in grief with healing and consolation through Christ.  We pray for those we name silently in our hearts.  Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Merciful God, you heard the prayers of your people in the wilderness and fed them bread from heaven despite their sin.  Graciously hear us today and feed us too with the Bread of Life from our Lord Jesus Christ, as we pray the prayer he taught his disciples: 

Lord’s Prayer.  

(adapted from the Lutheran Church of Australia’s LCA Worship Planning Page. http://www.lca.org.au/worship/)

Hymn 484 O Jesus, Highest Treasure. (Verses 1, 2, and 3) 

Benediction 

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