You are invited to St. Andrew’s All Church Coffee Hour
Sunday, March 29 – 11:00am – 12:00pm

While St. Andrew’s worship services are suspended, we are connected through love and friendship with you and people all over the world.  

Welcome to this “virtual” worship service for
Sunday, March 29, 2020.

Many thanks to Ron Moser (technical expertise), Amy Cox (formatting/posting), Caryn Prince (song selections), Tracy Walthard and Dawne Carver (teachings for children and youth). 

Sing Praise to God:

Spirit Of God Descend Upon My Heart

Let All Things Now Living

Discovery Time

Yesterday was our 28th day of Lent! Lent is the 40 days before Easter (not counting Sundays). Traditionally, Christians take time to sacrifice, serve others, and grow closer to God. We sacrifice everyday conveniences so we better understand the sacrifices Jesus made for us. Right now, we are living out real sacrifices. We have sacrificed time with friends, the freedom to gather at the park, attend school, or participate in our sports, drama, and music programs. Since we are already truly living out sacrifice during our Shelter in Place, today, I want to look at the idea of serving others.

Our story today in John 13:1-17, is an example of how we are called to serve one another. In this story, Jesus cleans his disciples dirty, dusty feet! GROSS! But, if Jesus is willing to serve others in such a humbling way, certainly we can. This week I’m challenging you to find ways as a family to serve one another in your homes!  

Our weekly family devotion will require a human action figure / doll / lego figure. We ask that your family reflect on how we can be more like Jesus and serve others. Being sheltered together in close quarters, serving one another has never been more important. How can your family serve each other, and how might you serve beyond your home while sheltered at home?

Pastoral Prayer

Click Here to Listen

Merciful God,

We give thanks for your many blessings, which keep flowing no matter what.   

We pray in gratitude for all the health workers, first responders and caregivers who are truly heroes to us. May your calm and comfort be with them. We pray in gratitude for the people we share our homes with and our online companions. 

We’re certainly praying for your light to be known by all who face financial hardship, all who are anxious and worried, and who are experiencing health issues of any kind. 

We ask that you give us your larger view, your cosmic perspective. Help us to not to be distracted by the various inconveniences we are experiencing, or by our fear when it creeps in.  Help us to constantly turn our gaze toward you. Help us, please, to have perspective to see with clear eyes the blessings in our lives. 

Lord, when we are tempted to despair, remind us that even through trouble you gift us with your goodness, mercy and grace, peace and love. 

As we reflect on our blessings, may we bless others by reaching out, extending ourselves through compassion and kindness.    We pray in the name of Jesus who taught us to pray in this way,    Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts,  as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power  and the glory, forever.  Amen.

Joys and Concerns

Please let us know how we can support you in prayer this week. We will share requests for prayer with Deacons and staff, and with the congregation as appropriate. Click below if you have a prayer request.


Music for Prayer and Reflection

“Prayer” composed this week by Jan’s friend John Steiner featuring his photographs of U.S. landscapes – Click here to enjoy this song

Message for Youth

I love to read Philippians. Paul is in prison and yet uses the opportunity to share the Gospel. More importantly, Paul saw God working through the difficult situations he faced!

I’m constantly challenged to see where God is working in my life through difficult situations. I’m reminded to be joyful in my troubled times, to praise God and to pray for my family, friends and even my enemies. I admit this past week has been a struggle. I went from not being sure of what I was supposed to be doing next, to feeling stuck. It’s not a good space to be in. And that’s why God’s word is so important in our lives! It reminds me that even in troubled times, I can be joyful. That God is here. That I can count my blessings- and there are so many! That in prayer, I’m pouring my heart out to a God who loves me more than I can understand!

Philippians 4:6-7 reads: “Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

God wants to hear our frustrations, our fears and our sorrows. And God wants us to know His peace, to feel His love and experience joy, even in troubled times! Take the time, today, to write down your troubles. And then write down your blessings. When you are done, lift them all to God in prayer. I’ll be checking in to see how it made you feel!
Blessings, Dawne Carver

Faith Offering

Please continue your giving during this time, so that St. Andrew may continue to serve our local community and our membership. We recognize that some of you will be impacted financially by economic repercussions of the Covid 19 pandemic. For those of you who can, please continue to give on a regular basis.

There are several options available:

  • Give electronically to the St. Andrew General Fund
  • Set up your donation to St. Andrew to be paid through your bill paying service at your personal bank.
  • Mail a check to St. Andrew, or drop your envelope into our mail box: 16290 Arnold Drive, Sonoma, CA 95476

Scripture Reading

Psalm 100  
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come into his presence with singing.  

Know that the Lord is God.
It is he that made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.  

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him, bless his name.  

For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

Sermon

The Wisdom in Not Knowing: 
Rooting in Place in Order to Rise
Psalm 100

Rev. Jan Reynolds

Click Here to See Jan and Listen to Her Sermon

There are moments in this crisis when I don’t do so well… when I muse about my own vulnerability, certainly, but especially when I worry about my two young adult children. Or when, along with my pastor colleagues, I feel some anxiety about my role in this crisis: what are the best ways to care for this congregation, to provide nurturing worship, pastoral care and connection when we can’t be together?  I know that none of this is all up to me.  We’re all in this together.  And a lot of what’s going on is totally out of our hands.

But when I’m having “a moment,” I realize it’s because I don’t have perspective.  I’m burrowing down into whatever feeling I’m having.  I’m not stepping back to get a God’s eye view.

Psalm 100 lifts us up out of our narrow confinement and gives us perspective. 

It is considered a Psalm of thanksgiving, and of course, it is.  

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come into his presence with singing.

“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth”: meaning all the inhabitants of the earth are included in the psalmist’s invitation to give thanks. God created us as the human race in the beginning, and human lives continue to take shape every day.  

And then, the psalm gives us comfort:  

Know that the Lord is God.
It is he that made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.  

We belong to God. We’re gathered in as residents of God’s wide open realm.  And for that, we once again give praise:  

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him, bless his name.  

And then, the Psalmist leaves us with the perspective-changing consoling long view.   

For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

This is a different perspective from being confined to our momentary discomfort and fear. With perspective we look through to the other side.  God’s love endures for ever and ever, no matter what may come, no matter the outcome.   

Mark Nepo, a contemporary spiritual writer, offers these words:

Even in the Dark
To be broken is no reason
to see all things as broken

Seldom seen, growing along the ocean floor, the white
plumed anemone is a watery blossom. It is white lace
opening under tons of black, opening as if bathed in the sun
while so far from the sun.

This is the trick to staying well, isn’t it: to feel the sun even
in the dark. To not lose the truth of things when they go out
of view. To grow just the same. To know there is still water
even when we are thirsty. To know there is still love, even
when we are lonely. To know there is still peace, even when
we are suffering.

 None of this invalidates our pain, but only strengthens
our way back to the light.

I re-gained my perspective this week through prayer and meditation.  I felt much more grounded and centered after spending some of each morning in prayer.  Insight Timer (insighttimer.com) offers many free guided meditations providing a cornucopia of support and inspiration (you may want to search for “contemplative Christianity.”) When I am aware of the presence of God, I remember that I am, after all, fully reliant on God.   

So every morning now I listen to a few guided meditations and prayers. A beautiful one is called “Rooted to Rise” which reflects the spring theme of invisible growth under the earth and the expectation of rising into the light. 

The writer of this meditation suggests: “While many of us are being grounded at home Mother Nature continues her seasonal flow. We can take cues from this season of growth by being rooted in God’s wider view, so that we can cultivate a shift of perspective to benefit our highest good. Perhaps we are rooting in place in order to rise.”

Maybe we can reframe our situation in terms of being rooted or anchored in place, rather than viewing our lives as being blown about by the wind, limited and lacking.  Anchoring healthfully in place, rather than hiding from an agent of doom.  We are grounding for a while, being fully supported in our homes, nourished by the food we cook, the company we keep.

Nature always gives us a wider perspective.  In year’s past, when there was a beautiful Sunday and not many people were in the pews, Rev. Doug Huneke would say, “Well, it looks like most folks are worshiping at The Church of Mt. Tam.”

This poem by Wendell Berry points to the healing perspective that nature provides:

Click Here to listen to this poem or read it below

We may not yet be allowed to visit the parks in Sonoma or Marin, but we can get creative in our recreation, breathing deeply of the fresh air at least for a time every day.  Perhaps driving way out into the country viewing our magnificent spring landscape and appreciate the scene of a father and child fishing in the reservoir.  Remember to go outside, to your garden or patio, or even just walk around the block if you can safely.  My neighbor across the street sits on a chair on her small front stoop, and waves and smiles to anyone who walks by.

I also regained my perspective by speaking with at least 100 people on Zoom this week – with most of the parish pastors in the Presbytery, with St. Andrew’s Session and staff, and two gatherings of you and me sharing how we’re doing.  Through kindnesses, humor, sharing our ways of coping, our perseverance and generosity of spirit, we became “rooted” again.

At 11:00 am this morning, we’re having a virtual coffee hour – all are welcome! “Drop in” to our Zoom Room and see one another’s faces.  We are not alone in this!  We have companions amid unimaginable challenge, and God is with us.  The Lord God is Good.

There are myriad ways this church is reaching out during this time.  Spring gift bags for our much-loved homebound members, Deacon and congregant calls and notes, Lenten activity kits for families, and funds for food for our Romanian friends who are sequestered by law. And at some point, when the time is right, we will be poised to help our Sonoma neighbors.

The great contemporary British artist David Hockey created a timely painting just this week, entitled “Do Remember They Can’t Cancel Spring.”  

Now that’s God’s cosmic perspective.  The green grasses grow, daffodils blossom and California poppies abound.

Rooted to rise.  Easter is not yet here.  But it surely will be.  In the meantime, our roots are grounded and connected with each other and the whole world.

May it be so.

Closing Song

Great is Thy Faithfulness

Blessing

As you enter this week, take a wider view.  Spring is inevitable.  And…

Do not worry about anything,
but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving
let your requests be made known to God.

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