IMPORTANT NOTICE

St. Andrew is suspending on-site worship services as a preventative measure during the spread of COVID-19 virus. We will be in contact with information soon about how we can continue to be in community and connected during this time.
In the meantime, welcome to this “virtual” worship service for Sunday, March 15, 2020.

Sing Praise to God

Bind Us Together

Bind us Together – Click to Listen

Morning Has Broken

Morning has Broken – Click to Listen

Discovery Time

Lent is the 40 days before Easter (not counting Sundays).  It is a time that we look to connect to Jesus and understand His great love for us.  This Lenten season we have provided children with an object lesson each week to take home as a family to reflect together.

Today, we are looking at the story of Jesus.  At Christmas we learned that Jesus was born in a manger to be the Savior of the World.  At this time of year, we have learned that Jesus had grown to be a man and had begun preaching to the people in the region.  Jesus had just been baptized and headed into the desert for 40 days. During these 40 days Jesus was tempted to move away from His relationship with God. Today, we celebrate 40 days of Lent and reflect on how we can move toward Jesus. 

Our weekly family devotion will require sand (or soil will work).  We ask that your family reflect on the temptations that Jesus resisted and what temptations we face in our lives today.

Pastoral Prayer and Time for Reflection

Gracious God, you know our hearts– that we are feeling uncertain.

Help us to slow down and not act from fear.   Encourage us to use this opportunity, perhaps as a rest from our everyday routines, for some solitude and prayer, and for reaching out to those who may be lonely and to check in on our neighbors. May we see this as a time to pause, to do the next best thing with purpose, patience and love.

We pray for all those who are feeling anxious, for those with compromised immune systems who are indeed vulnerable or at risk. We pray for those among us who may experience financial hardship.

Assure us that we will know your will for us in your time, one step at a time.

In gratitude for your steadfast love,
Amen

Moment for Mission – “Buy a Mile”

What is Buy A Mile?
Each year I’m asked that question. Buy A Mile is an annual way for the congregation to support Caravan (youth mission trip) through raising money for the gas and rental cars needed to get the youth and chaperone leaders to and from Caravan.

It’s about helping to change lives, the youth, leaders and those we will serve. This year we are driving to Portland, Oregon to serve. 24 youth and 5 leaders will give a week of their time, to come alongside people who are in need. We will serve in shelters, food banks, assisted living and with children.

This is our 27th year of changing lives through Caravan! This is my 15th year of being a leader! We have sent 329 youth over 15 years. Every year, I’m moved by how God moves in the lives of these youth. And that is why we have Buy A Mile- to help our youth connect with God, grow in community (here and elsewhere) and to serve others!

Please help support our mission trip, Caravan 2020 Portland, Oregon!
Donate to “Caravan” Buy-A-Mile Here

Blessings, Dawne Carver

Faith Offering

Please continue your giving to help sustain St. Andrew during this time when we aren’t worshiping in person

Click here to give electronically to the St. Andrew General Fund

Scripture: John 12:27-36

Jesus said, “Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say- ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.”

Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine.  And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die. The crowd answered him, “We have heard from the law that the Messiah remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?”

Jesus said to them, “The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going. While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.”

After Jesus had said this, he departed and hid from them.

Sermon

The Wisdom in Not Knowing:
Appreciating the Mystery in our Relationships

Psalm 119 and John 12:27-36

Rev. Jan Reynolds

During this time of being sequestered, of hunkering down into our houses, we actually have even more of an opportunity to reach out to our family, spouses, children and friends. We have an opportunity to check in, to be a sounding board, to make sure that social distancing isn’t emotional distancing.

Painting by Sherry Dooley

Since it will certainly NOT be business as usual, maybe we can use this opportunity to take a fresh view of our relationships and become closer in ways we hadn’t imagined to be possible. Maybe we take this opportunity to stop taking our relationships for granted and dig a little deeper.

In her book Gift from The Sea, Anne Morrow Lindbergh writes… “When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth- in freedom, in the sense that the dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in the same pattern.”

Painting by Shelby McQuilkin

Can we ever really know another person?   When we assume that we do, things can go awry. We act as if we know them when we don’t.  When we think we know someone close to us, we are quick to make up stories about how they think and feel.  We start to finish people’s sentences for them or hesitate to broach something because we think we know what they will say. We started editing ourselves or making assumptions.

We often are simply wrong.  We say phrases like “you always,” or “you never”.  This leaves little room for surprise.  We will never know their secret inner life of our spouse, child or friend.

Estelle Frankel, in her book The Wisdom of Not Knowing writes, “No matter how much we strive to know those whom we love, we cannot never fully love the depths of their innermost being, for at our core, each of us is an unfathomable mystery.  Each of us, in the divine image, is an infinite and inscrutable mystery.  We are not only mysteries to one another, but mysteries to our own selves!”

We get to know Jesus through his relationships, not only his stories and sayings, but in the ways he relates through people in his life.

Painting by Debra Hurd

Jesus of course taught unconditional love, but he always saw the person in front of him in their particularity.  Their fears, their shame, what they needed most.  He addressed each person in a way that was specifically healing for them.

But Jesus himself was often mysterious to his disciples and the crowds who followed him.  He left things open for his followers to muse upon, brought up topics with open-ended meanings.

And the fact is, we humans are all mysterious to one another! The realization of the differences between us or the gulf in our understanding can be frightening. We look at another person and think “who are you?”  Even a best friend doesn’t have a perfect overlap of interests and emotions!  There are moments when we think, “wow, not only are we on a different planet, we are in different galaxies!”

Frankel writes, “Humans share these two fundamental needs: We need to feel a sense of safety and security in our loves – to have a home in the world where we are known and feel accepted for who we are. But we also have a need for adventure, for the novelty and surprise we experience when we go forth on a journey.”

Sometimes, like now when the world is most challenging, we require our partners or friends to not change, we want to hold them in place.  Sometimes our mutual need for security coincides and sometimes it doesn’t.

The entire outcome of our relationships is unknown, just like all of life.   The only thing we can really say about another person is that we never fully know what they will do next.

Painting by Jolie Lisa

There is a way through this unsettling realization. Let’s take a clue from the psalmist who writes about what it means to be in relationship with God…

O, how I love your friendship!
I walk with You wherever I go.
How glorious are the ways of your Spirit!
The path of love is sure, unhurried and filled with mystery.
–Psalm 119 (Excerpt from Nan Merrill’s Psalms for Praying)

When we meet God fully without expectation, but with delight in God’s presence, we are filled with appreciation and can only be filled with mystery.

And so it is with human relationships, even those with whom we are most familiar. We can honor the mystery of who we are each becoming, loosening our expectations.

Theologian Karoline M. Lewis, comments that this passage in John is Jesus’ farewell discourse.

Jesus’ parting words are not just in anticipation of his death, but in anticipation of his ascension, perhaps a far more difficult reality to face than his inevitability in a tomb. Jesus tries to prepare his disciples for his twice departure, his death and his ascension. Jesus will become something else entirely. He will die and transform. No one could fathom that.

And then in this story, Jesus hides. Very mysterious. We don’t know why. But we know he was preparing for his own death so that he could become something even more to these followers.

All of us need the freedom to transform over our lifetimes. All relationships require flexibility to survive the long haul. All relationships reflect to us our own transformation. How exciting that we change independently and together and can witness each other’s lives over time.

So, how can we honor the mystery in our relationships?

Estelle Frankel suggests that the unknown is the lifeblood of any long-term relationship.

Without the regenerating power and interest in the mystery in the other person, relationships become stale and claustrophobic. She suggests we keep a wide-open marveling stance in regard to any person in front of us.

We can start by making no assumptions about the internal life of our loved ones.

Ask gentle open-ended questions of our loved ones, and refrain from answering for another person or giving advice. Have fun with learning about what’s going on inside. We can experience each person as greater than the sum of his or her individual personality traits.

John O’Donohue says, “I think it is more interesting to be with somebody who still has his or her wilderness territory. Upon seeing that in the other person, promise yourself: One thing I will never do is try to domesticate his or her wilderness.”

Painting by Ashok

“Security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies in living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now.”
–Anne Morrow Lindbergh

In our friendships and family relationships, we can appreciate the other for the changes they are going through and notice the themes of their lives as separate from ours. We can marvel with them as their lives shift and change.

It is a holy thing to be a witness to another person’s life, to accompany them through the ebbs and flows, the living, the dying, and the transformation on the way.

May we encounter the divine mystery that resides within each person we love!

May it be so.

Closing Song

Be Thou My Vision


Be Thou My Vision – Click to Listen

Blessing

As you enter this week,
Trust the Lord God with all your heart… (Proverbs 3:5-6) 

And may the Peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus Christ. (Philippians 4:6-7)