Welcome to St. Andrew

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In addition to this Virtual Worship Service, you are invited to join us on Zoom for the
All Church Coffee Hour
Sunday, August 16 – 10:00am – 11:00am
It will be a time for Check-in, Prayers, and getting better acquainted in Small Group Conversation.
We hope you’ll join us – Bring a church friend!

Use the Zoom link in our Saturday and Sunday emails.
Email the church office if you need the Zoom link: Link Request

SUNDAY – AUGUST 16, 2020

Sunday, August 16, 2020

“The Power of One: The Gospel According to Four Strong and Courageous Women… and One Funny Man” 
Rev. Robert Conover

Welcome to this “virtual” worship service 
for Sunday, August 16, 2020

Many thanks to Ron Moser (production), Amy Cox (production, formatting and posting), Jan Reynolds (song and prayer selection, artistic touches), Rev. Bob Conover (sermon), Tracy Walthard, Kelsey Walthard and Dawne Carver (teachings for children and youth).

Prayer for Back to School

Click the arrow below to hear a special prayer for our children and youth heading back to school in these challenging times

Song of Praise

“The Summons”, by John L. Bell & Graham Maule, Melody: ‘Kelvingrove’, Scots traditional.

Discovery Time & Sunday School

Click the arrow to watch Tracy Walthard present Discovery Time:

Our Sunday School Lessons for today are as follows:

PRESCHOOL LESSON:

Preschool Memory Verse for August: “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:14

Preschool Main Point for the week of August 16:

GRADES K-5 LESSON:

Grades K-5 Memory Verse for August: “Lord, You are great. You are really worthy of Praise. No one can completely understand how great You are.” Psalm 145:3

Grades K-5 Key Question for the week of August 16:

Grades K-5 Bottom Line for the week of August 16:

Be sure to check our Facebook page for Sunday School videos to share with your children: St. Andrew Sonoma Facebook Page

Message for Youth

There are constants in our life. One of them is learning. We are learning all the time. Some of us learn quickly, some slowly. Some learn hands on and some learn best through quiet study. There are so many ways to learn. Sometimes I forget that learning isn’t always easy. And yet learning always leads to growth. The important thing is to always be open to learning!

I’m learning to be in the moment and to trust more in God’s plans and less in my plans. I’m learning to use technology to connect and to create (That’s a huge struggle for me!). I’m learning to relax and breathe in God’s beauty and love and breathe out the world’s toxic thoughts and fear. To take each day and be present, asking God “what do you have planned for me today?” And then actually making room for the interruptions in my schedule for God and His plan.

It’s not easy to put my schedule or my plans aside. I may not understand why something is happening or what I’m supposed to be doing. But I have learned that good things – awesome encounters – happen when I follow His leading. That some of the best things in life come from the unexpected. Life, especially right now, is full of the unexpected!

School is starting back up. For some, you will start this week, others started last week and for some it means starting next week. I’m sure that it looks very different than what you or I thought it would be. That’s not easy to get used to. It’s one more thing to adjust to. One more plan to put aside. One more unexpected thing. Yet we have no idea what God will do with on-line learning and what plans He has for you!

It’s very easy to get discouraged, to complain and be bitter. Easy, but not healthy and very divisive. Jesus taught us to be a light in the darkness. We are to encourage and help one another. Definitely go to God with your struggles and disappointments but then turn them over to Him and have faith that He is in control and that He will bring good out of this. Then with hope in Him, you can be open to a new way of learning. You can trust that God will help you to learn your lessons, to engage with your classmates in new ways and that this is only for a short season of life. You can have faith that God will take this unexpected time of your life and bring something wonderful from it. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but in His perfect timing. I pray that you will look at this new school year as an adventure, having faith that God will do something amazing during this unexpected time!
Blessings, Dawne Carver

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 on the image below to submit a prayer request.

Pastoral Prayer

Click the arrow below to hear Rev. Jan offer this morning’s Prayer or read the Prayer below

Merciful One,

We are grateful that You are the God who hears us. You are our God. You are forgiving and good, abounding in love.

Lord, we come to You knowing that we have nothing to offer you but ourselves. When we put our trust in You, we begin to understand that you put your trust in us as well! You count on us to become our most true selves, to love from our most true hearts, and to offer our talents and gifts to this world in your name.

This year has brought pain, chaos, and uncertainty, but we know that this is the perfect backdrop for Your faithfulness and our faithful action. Give us the self-knowledge to know what it is we can offer on behalf of you– in our homes, in our neighborhoods. May we not act out of ego-blindness, but out of holy inspiration, humility, and love.

Today, we lift up our schoolteachers, administrators, staff, and students as they start school this week. We pray for protection from disease for those who are vulnerable. We pray that children can be cared for, educated, and protected. We pray for those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds or unsafe home environments whose challenges may now be amplified. We pray for parents as they weigh their children’s educational, emotional and health needs with their own capacities and responsibilities. May families who need extra support this fall find it.

Holy One, we pray that Your peace will fill our homes and our hearts, even as we feel anxiety and worry. May Your peace be a beacon that draws us to the goodness of Your gospel, and may our eyes be open to opportunities to reach out in your love.

And now we pray the way that Jesus taught us:

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

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“Prayer of St. Francis, (Make Me A Channel of Your Peace)”, sung by Angelina

This video was filmed in the hometown of the great St. Francis in Assisi, Italy where St. Francis walked and preached the Gospel to the poor people of this land.

Faith Offering

Gratitude for God’s trust in us to make a difference.

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 have been 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 locked mail box: 16290 Arnold Drive, Sonoma, CA 95476

Scripture

Click the arrow below to see and hear Rev. Robert Conover present this morning’s Scripture Lessons or read the Scripture Lessons below

Good morning, St. Andrew – as always, it is good to be with you! We have three lessons this morning, but I’m only going to read two and I’ll explain why a little bit later. They are both from the Old Testament and the first is the familiar story, at least I imagine it is familiar to most of you. It’s the familiar story of Moses, as a baby. So first hear this lesson from Exodus 2:1-10.

Exodus 2:1-10
Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was a fine baby, she hid him three months. When she could hide him no longer she got a papyrus basket for him, and plastered it with bitumen and pitch; she put the child in it and placed it among the reeds on the bank of the river. His sister stood at a distance, to see what would happen to him.
The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her attendants walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to bring it. When she opened it, she saw the child. He was crying, and she took pity on him. “This must be one of the Hebrews’ children,” she said. Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?” Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Yes.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed it. When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and she took him as her son. She named him Moses,“because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.”

Now our second lesson comes from the Book of 1 Samuel 2:1-10. Again, this is the story of a young mother. In this case, it is the prophet Samuel’s mother, and her name is Hannah. And this is Hannah’s song:

1 Samuel 2:1-10
Hannah prayed and said,
“My heart exults in the LORD;
  my strength is exalted in my God.
My mouth derides my enemies,
  because I rejoice in my victory.
“There is no Holy One like the LORD,
  no one besides you;
  there is no Rock like our God.
Talk no more so very proudly,
  let not arrogance come from your mouth;
for the LORD is a God of knowledge,
  and by him actions are weighed.
The bows of the mighty are broken,
  but the feeble gird on strength.
Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,
  but those who were hungry are fat with spoil.
The barren has borne seven,
  but she who has many children is forlorn.
The LORD kills and brings to life;
  he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
The LORD makes poor and makes rich;
  he brings low, he also exalts.
He raises up the poor from the dust;
  he lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit with princes
  and inherit a seat of honor.
For the pillars of the earth are the LORD’s,
  and on them he has set the world.
“He will guard the feet of his faithful ones,
  but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness;
  for not by might does one prevail.
The LORD! His adversaries shall be shattered;
  the Most High will thunder in heaven.
The LORD will judge the ends of the earth;
  he will give strength to his king,
  and exalt the power of his anointed.”

May God bless to our hearing, and our strength, and encourage this reading from God’s holy word. Amen

Sermon

“The Power of One: The Gospel According to Four Strong and Courageous Women… and One Funny Man”

Exodus 2:1-10, 1 Samuel 2:1-10, Luke 1:46-55
Rev. Robert Conover

Click the arrow below to see and hear Bob’s Sermon or read the Sermon below

We just heard two lessons and I said I would mention the third that we didn’t read. The third lesson that we didn’t read is the Magnificat. It’s Mary’s song, there at the very beginning of Luke, Luke chapter 1, beginning with verse 46.

Luke 1:46-55
And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
  Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
  and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
  from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
  he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
  and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
  and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
  in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
  to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

So three lessons, actually, if you think about it, all three are the same. It may not sound like it on the surface, but Mary’s song, My soul that magnifies the Lord, we hear it right before Christmas each year. Mary’s Magnificat is based on the Song of Hannah. It’s about God restoring the poor to a place in which they share in God’s abundance as well. So that it’s not just the haves who have it all, but the have nots also have their fair share.

Now, I said, all three were the same. Again, it may not sound like that, but that’s what this story of Moses’s sister and mother are all about; doing what they can as folks who were marginalized slaves, trying to find a way to protect their family and make ends meet. The part of the story we didn’t read was that Pharaoh had sent out a decree saying that all Hebrew baby boys were to be killed. And so Moses’s sister and Moses’s mother saved the day.

Here we have the story of four women, one quite young, just a girl. Four women, all standing up for the wellbeing of all, taking their stand. Now we know throughout history, and this is certainly the case in scripture, that oftentimes women get the short end of the stick. I don’t remember the figures right off the top of my head, but the percentage of salaries that women earn is small compared to men in this country, in this day. Hopefully, we’re working to correct this.


But what is really fascinating here is we can quite easily say that Moses is the most significant figure in the Old Testament. That’s not to say there aren’t other very important figures, but the Exodus is really central to that whole Old Testament narrative, and it’s a narrative that continues to be important to us today, that mighty act of God, leading the people out of slavery. And Moses spent 40 years doing that. It’s not hard to put Moses in the position of the most significant Old Testament personality.

But what’s interesting is Moses wouldn’t be in the story at all if it weren’t for his mother and his sister. And do you notice that their names are Moses’s Mother and Moses’s Sister? They’re not named, yet we could say if Moses is the most significant figure, were it not for his mother and his sister, Moses would not have been significant at all. They took their stand. Samuel’s story is very much the same. Were it not for a mother teaching him what is the very will and nature of God, as it relates to humankind, Samuel would not have been nearly the person he came to be, and yet his mother stood strong.

Now, we can say the very same thing about the mother of Jesus. Perhaps one of the shortcomings of Protestantism, and all traditions have their shortcomings and their strengths, but one of our shortcomings is we’ve given Mary just about entirely 100% over to our Roman Catholic friends. We would be well-served to give her a little more due in our tradition. So Mary’s song, the Magnificat, My soul magnifies, magnifies the Lord, is the same as the Song of Hannah. Trying to correct the injustice of the world, recognizing that the world of some have it all and some have next to nothing is not the intent of God and standing up to say so.

Now, that’s exactly what Jesus did as well, and speaking in that way, acting in that way, was such a threat that ultimately he was crucified for it. And note that Mary is part of Jesus’ story. From the very beginning to the very end, she did not waver. Last week I was preaching and it was the story of Jesus walking on the water in the midst of the storm with Peter. Peter says, “Oh, I want to walk on the water too.” Jesus called him out of the boat and he started to walk and then things got a little shaky and he began to sink. It wasn’t the first time that the great Disciple Peter was in the midst of a challenge and backed out, yet Jesus stood by him as well. But notice Mary, and there were some other women too, from the very beginning, all the way to the very end and beyond, Mary did not waver.

I entitled this sermon, “The Power of One”. Here we have four strong and courageous women standing up for what they know to be true and just. Standing up to proclaim God’s intent for all humankind. Four strong and courageous women, “The Power of One”.

I know you have done this a number of times, this sermon series is called Popcorn Parables. Now, I have never tried doing anything like this before, so this is a real challenge for me. I was trying to think of what movie, if you will, could we use to exemplify this “Power of One”. I found a film. It’s a short film, about seven minutes long, and it’s a French film. I think it’s made in Belgium, but French language, and it doesn’t have any subtitles… I think it’s going to work out.

Now, as you watch this film, certainly notice the “Power of One”, and what happens around this one person. But the other thing I encourage you to notice is what happens in yourself as you watch it. Now, I wish we were together in person and could have a conversation after this, but we’re going to end my part of the sermon now and then you can watch the video.

Here’s your homework. Your homework during and after the video is not only to notice what’s happening in the film, but notice what’s happening in you. And then the rest of your homework this week is to notice in yourself, when you want to stand up and stand firm and speak out. Now, maybe you won’t speak out. Maybe you will, but just notice what is in you when you want to do that. Notice what is in you, when you want to speak out for what is true and right, and displays the will and wellbeing that God has, and intends for all humankind.

Have fun as you watch the film. Notice what goes on in you and share that with others. It’s good to be with you. God bless you. Amen.

Click the arrow below to watch the short film, “Merci!”, by Christine Rabette

Closing Song

“The Servant Song” – Composed by Richard Gillard, performed by BuKas Palad Ministries

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