You are invited to:
St. Andrew’s All Church Coffee Hour
Sunday, April 5 – 11:00am – 12:00pm
Bring a palm or other branch, or wave flowers!
Bring something to eat and drink (anything!) to Communion!
Use the link in our Saturday and Sunday emails. Email the church office if you need a link: Link Request
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, April 5, 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).
April 5, 2020
Sing Praise to God:
Hosanna, Loud Hosanna- Click here or below to enjoy this song
First Scripture Reading
Click to hear to listen to the reading by Ron Moser
When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.’”
They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting,
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.
Sing Praise to God
Praise You in this Storm by Casting Crowns – Click here or below to enjoy this song
Click here or below to watch Tracy Walthard present Discovery Time!
Follow this link or click below to watch the story of Palm Sunday
As the people wave palms to welcome Jesus into Jerusalem, so we welcome him into our lives this morning. King of Kings, King of Peace, Servant King, reign in our hearts and lives this day and all our days.
This faithful congregation has committed themselves to travel together in this unexpected time, to walk alongside unexpected people, and to witness to your work in the world in unexpected ways. Be present with us, give us strength, courage, and love in our anticipation for what is to come. May they rejoice in each other’s companionship online and in their homes, and in your presence. Today, we pray for all those who are suffering, who are laying down their very lives in service; we pray for all those in this world who need your comfort and your healing love.
Merciful One, as we sing our ‘Hosannas’ today, may we remember what Jesus was riding toward: his suffering and rejection, pain and humiliation, the cruel Cross. May we know your presence in our own suffering, while we look forward to the joy of Easter Day when Christ rises from death as our leader in love forever.
Help us, Oh God, as we daily lay our lives before you, to live the resurrection life that acknowledges Jesus as Lord above all other Lords.
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.
Music for Prayer and Reflection
Psalm 23 – Surely Goodness, Surely Mercy – by Shane & Shane – Click here or below to enjoy this song
Message for Youth
Palm Sunday starts off Holy Week with a celebration- People are lining up, laying down their cloaks and branches for Jesus, who is riding a colt, to walk on. They are cheering for Jesus! Hosanna! Our version of the Red Carpet for celebrities.
Yet we know that this week holds betrayal, denial, deep suffering and death. So did Jesus. He knew what was going to happen. And Jesus chose to go through all of it for you and me!
This week is a special time for me. I walked into church on a Thursday evening 24 years ago, thinking I was going to a choir practice. Yet God had so much more for me than choir practice. It was Maundy Thursday, which I had never heard of. My eyes and heart were opened to hearing what Holy Week is really about. I was absolutely overwhelmed by the suffering that Jesus went through to save us- to save you and me.
I had never really thought of what happened after the crowds cheered for Jesus that Palm Sunday. And how fast the people turned on Him! A lot happened from Palm Sunday to Easter! I went home that night changed. I told my husband that something happened and that I was different. I wanted to live differently. Jesus loved us so much. He overcame death so we may have eternal life! Wow!
So how do I live differently? It’s been an ongoing journey as I learn to trust in His love. It’s not always easy but I have gained so much. Here are a few scriptures that are helping me this week:
Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.”
My ways are not God’s way. I can’t see the big picture. But He can.
Romans 12:12 “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer.”
John 16:33 “In this world, you will suffer; but be courageous, for I have overcome the world.”
In the struggles of life, we can trust that Jesus is there. He knows pain and suffering. Yet, He also knows victory over death!
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
Click to hear Pastor Jan’s reading
As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.
You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.
The Wisdom in Not Knowing:
Courage and Joy in the Face of Fear
Mark 11:1-11, John 15:9-17
and John 16: 20, 22, 24
Rev. Jan Reynolds
At Passover each year, the Romans marched into Jerusalem to show the Jews where the real power lie. Pontius Pilate rode from the west in full procession, riding a horse at the head of Roman cavalry and soldiers. Pilate entered the city proclaiming the power of the Empire.
Jesus entered the city from the east, riding down from the Mount of Olives out of Bethany (which is exactly how the Messiah was supposed to come, from the east and the Mount of Olives). Jesus’ procession proclaimed the Realm of God.
In contrast, Jesus demonstrated that he was a different kind of leader. Not one of domination, authority or power, but one of servanthood and humility.
But, as Fr. Richard Rohr muses, “We’re not really impressed by little people – we are impressed by big people. We wouldn’t notice a little man on a donkey – and we often can’t recognize God because God comes to us as we are, as the world is, not how we wish it would be. God comes to us in our poverty and in our suffering. “
Jesus led by example, even as he approached his death. And what does Jesus show us? You can be in turmoil, and still know joy. You can feel alone, and still know love. Jesus shows us, you can be afraid and still have courage.
In her book The Wisdom of Not Knowing, Estelle Frank writes that courage is the quality that enables us to overcome our fear as we venture into the unknown. We develop the capacity for courage by continually confronting, rather than avoiding the challenges that life presents.
Courage is not fearlessness! It is simply the willingness to act or persist despite fear, danger or resistance. Courage is not impulsive risk taking. Courage is purposeful, in order to benefit others or to grow ourselves.
We can be courageous when take a risk of physical safety, self-image or self-esteem. We are courageous when we refuse to give up after failure, when we maintain hope in the face of despair, when we break life-draining patterns. By stepping out of our comfort zone and facing our fears rather than avoiding them, we discover our own courageous hearts.
Every time we confront rather than avoid something that our heart knows is our path, we build our bravery.
Last week, I read the non-fiction book: The Electric Woman: A Memoir in Death-Defying Acts by Tessa Fontaine. When she lost her mom to cancer, Fontaine joined the circus! Her first side show act was to learn how to eat fire. And she learned that circus performers really do eat fire! She wrote, “The only way to do it is to do it. There is no trick.”
When I read that, I thought of Jesus and the week of anticipating his death… Jesus knowing it was the right thing to walk right into it. Even in the garden when he struggles with his fate, then willingly surrenders to God, he knows that something good will come out of it – but not exactly what. But Jesus also knew there was no trick to this. The only way to do it, was to do it. He doesn’t get to spring right to Resurrection. He must walk through fire first.
Jesus also shows us in Jerusalem that you can be in turmoil, and still know the deep joy of love and friendship. Deep Joy arises when we recognize the importance of any moment and realize we will never be in this place in the same way again.
Jesus tells his disciples, when you eat this meal again, remember me. Meaning: this is a time you should never forget. Not only this moment, but everything it stands for.
During this last meal, Jesus – if not his followers – recognized the many times they had spent over a good meal together, being nourished by food and the company. Sharing stories about their lives, perhaps laughing and kidding one another as friends who have been through a lot together.
A deep joy.
I wonder in years from now what we will be remembering from this sequestering time. Will we, our friends and neighbors say for decades to come, “I remember when we were stuck in our homes and we… played games for hours, howled at the moon each evening, cooked great meals, laughed at the absurdities… What will you remember from this time outside of time? What is being etched into your memory forever?
In John 15, Jesus desires that his disciples’ joy would be complete. This is his ultimate desire for them. If we carry that wish for ourselves and for all those we love, how will that change us in these times of trouble?
Yes, Jesus shows us that you can feel alone in your fate, and still know and show love. In his last hours, Jesus gives his most important and poignant message of his ministry. A message that must have been remembered, because it’s been passed down to us through the ages.
Jesus leaves his disciples his final commandment: to love one another. He knows that if they do love one another, they will be experience joy and fulfillment. What greater lasting desire could he have bestowed upon them?
This time last year, your Pastor Rich Gantenbein and a faithful group from St. Andrew were travelling together in Israel. Visiting Holy Places that we read about in scripture during Holy Week. No one could have foreseen that in a short time, you would be without Rich.
We are always on a journey in the unknown. We are always on the brink of eternity. We cannot know what will befall us. Even if we know our fate, the journey itself is mysterious.
Yet, friendship and love abide. Like the disciples, we can remember all the times when love has met us when we felt alone in our fate. Especially in times of fear, turmoil and the unknown, courage, deep joy and love abide.
Jesus assures his disciples and us: “You did not choose me, I chose you.” Whatever we experience and whatever happens, may we remember that from the beginning we were chosen by love and for love.
Knowing that God has chosen us, that God loves us, we gain the courage to face our challenges. Knowing that all humanity is redeemed through God’s love provides us with the strength and energy to work with our own gifts and talents, to make what we touch better.
This week, of all weeks, we recognize the self-emptying love of Jesus. We are seeing the self-emptying love everywhere. In the front-line health aides, nurses, doctors, store and shipping workers – anyone who physically steps into a space where they are in danger in order to serve others. And we experience self-emptying love countless ways in our own households and in Zoom rooms connecting us across this world.
We’re told that the impact of the pandemic will get worse before it gets better, and yet, we have joy in many things and look forward to the new life that follows.
I leave you with the words Jesus spoke just before he and his disciples leave the upper room after their last supper together:
John 16: 20, 22, 24
Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy.
So, you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.
Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.
This week, we walk with Jesus in courage and love, during the darkest times, in anticipation of complete joy.
It will not be easy.
And yet, we abide in Christ and Christ in us. From the beginning to the end of our days and beyond.
May it be so.
All To Jesus I Surrender by Robin Mark– Click here or below to enjoy this song
As you enter this Holy Week, may your heart expand with courage and joy, even in the midst of adversity.
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.