Welcome to St. Andrew

Scroll Down to Experience This Virtual Worship Service

In addition to this Virtual Worship Service, you are invited to join us on Zoom for the
All Church Coffee Hour
Sunday, August 23 – 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 23, 2020

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Silver Linings Playbook

Rev. Jan Reynolds

Welcome to this “virtual” worship service for Sunday, August 23, 2020


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

Song of Praise

“Impossible”, by David Frey and Ben McDonald, performed by the Sidewalk Prophets

Discovery Time & Sunday School

Click the arrow to watch Bella and Toria Magnani 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 23:

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 23:

Grades K-5 Bottom Line for the week of August 23:

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

Message for Youth

Have you ever put things off that need to be done? Homework, cleaning out that closet, or spending time with God? Maybe you are really busy. Maybe you just don’t think you can do it. Or maybe you just don’t want to, you are feeling lazy. Instead you want to play a game or watch Netflix. So you put it off. And you put it off.

I have found that I do this with simple things like sending a card or scheduling my physical. And I’ve done this with big things like prepping for a fellowship event. Guess what? I usually end up feeling stressed out, overwhelmed and/or not prepared. Which then leads to anxiety and a lack of self worth.

That’s why discipline is so important. If you are training for sports or practicing for a play, you know that putting things off is not good for you or the people around you. When I’m not feeling good about the things I’m supposed to be doing, everyone around me is going to know it as well. And what’s worse is that it’s a vicious cycle. That is not what God wants from me or from you! “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” Proverbs 6:13. God wants me to show up and do my best. That doesn’t mean I am going to BE the best. I’m just supposed to DO my best. And that starts with going to God in all things and learning who God wants me to be!

I need to make sure that I’m connected to God each day. God is constantly revealing who He wants me to be and what He wants me to do. He also wants me to go to Him with everything. He wants to help me be the best I can be. And that involves showing up, being prepared and ready for God to use whatever I’m doing for His glory. When I do that, I feel so much better physically and emotionally. That means the people I come in contact with will see a smile instead of a frown. Peace instead of chaos. Our attitudes are contagious! And when I do mess up (I’m not perfect), I am honest about it.

I learned a couple of steps that have been helpful to push through when I feel like I’m putting things off or I’m truly stuck. The first thing is to ask for God’s help. That means I need to name it- write it down on paper, tell a friend or family member. It’s not such an overwhelming thing when I share it with someone I trust. Then I set time aside in my calendar to actually do it. Then I push through it. It sounds easy but it’s not. There are a lot of distractions in this world. Some are really good distractions like helping out a friend or taking time to talk to a stranger. But most of the time the distractions are me being lazy or wanting to do something else that’s fun- like baking or watching TV.

So the next time you don’t feel like doing something, ask yourself is it worth following that feeling or is it worth following through and completing it? Learning to follow through on your commitments is not always easy but so worth it. Being with God daily is a commitment that we should all be striving to follow through on as well. When God is in the center of your life, clarity and guidance are there for you!
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

A prayer written by Rev. Susan Gregg-Schroeder for NAMI. (NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. A prayer written by Rev. Susan Gregg-Schroeder for NAMI. (NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. https://www.nami.org/Home)

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

Loving Creator, we come to you because we know that you are a God of love and compassion. We come seeking your presence, comfort and guidance. We come this day because we believe that you, Divine One, love each one of us just as we are, and you walk with us on our individual journeys through life. You see the ignorance and injustice that divides and separates persons struggling with mental illness and you weep with us.

Give us courage to face our challenges and open us today to the many ways you are already working in our midst. Help us to identify mental illness as the disease it is, that we might have courage and wisdom in the face of ignorance and stigma. Inspire us as we seek to overcome fear, acquire knowledge, and advocate for compassionate and enlightened treatment and services.

Sometimes, Divine Spirit, we feel discouraged and hopeless in the face of so many challenges. Help us to see ourselves as you see us…persons of value and worth…persons of creativity and potential. May we come to understand the interconnectedness of mind, body and spirit in bringing about health and wholeness.

Lead us as we open our hearts and homes, our communities and job opportunities, our houses of worship and communities of faith. Enable us to find ways to be inclusive and supportive of persons living with mental illness in our everyday lives. Be with those seeking care or without care. Be with the doctors, therapists, researchers, social workers, and all those in the helping professions as they seek to overcome ignorance and injustice with care and compassion.

And may we go forward into our communities with a renewed sense of vision, hope and possibility for the future.

Amen.

=====================================

Enjoy this classic hymn sung by a youth choir and orchestra by clicking on the arrow below.

“Leaning On the Everlasting Arms”, music by Anthony J. Showalter and lyrics by Showalter and Elisha Hoffman, performed by Fountainview Academy

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 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 hear Ron Moser and Amy Cox read this morning’s Scripture or read the Scripture below

Mark 5:1-20 (The Message)
They arrived on the other side of the sea in the country of the Gerasenes. As Jesus got out of the boat, a madman from the cemetery came up to him. He lived there among the tombs and graves. No one could restrain him—he couldn’t be chained, couldn’t be tied down. He had been tied up many times with chains and ropes, but he broke the chains, snapped the ropes. No one was strong enough to tame him. Night and day he roamed through the graves and the hills, screaming out and slashing himself with sharp stones. When he saw Jesus a long way off, he ran and bowed in worship before him—then bellowed in protest, “What business do you have, Jesus, Son of the High God, messing with me? I swear to God, don’t give me a hard time!” (Jesus had just commanded the tormenting evil spirit, “Out! Get out of the man!”)

Jesus asked him, “Tell me your name.”

He replied, “My name is Mob. I’m a rioting mob.” Then he desperately begged Jesus not to banish them from the country.

A large herd of pigs was browsing and rooting on a nearby hill. The demons begged him, “Send us to the pigs so we can live in them.” Jesus gave the order. But it was even worse for the pigs than for the man. Crazed, they stampeded over a cliff into the sea and drowned.

Those tending the pigs, scared to death, bolted and told their story in town and country. Everyone wanted to see what had happened. They came up to Jesus and saw the madman sitting there wearing decent clothes and making sense, no longer a walking madhouse of a man.

Those who had seen it told the others what had happened to the demon-possessed man and the pigs. At first they were in awe—and then they were upset, upset over the drowned pigs. They demanded that Jesus leave and not come back.

As Jesus was getting into the boat, the demon-delivered man begged to go along, but he wouldn’t let him. Jesus said, “Go home to your own people. Tell them your story—what the Master did, how he had mercy on you.” The man went back and began to preach in the Ten Towns area about what Jesus had done for him. He was the talk of the town.

Romans 12: 3-21 (Excerpts)

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.

Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.

Sermon

Popcorn Parable

Silver Linings Playbook
Rev. Jan Reynolds

Click the arrow below to see and hear Jan’s Sermon

or read the Sermon below

There’s no shortage of themes or great scenes from the movie Silver Linings Playbook! Great cast. Great movie!  

At the beginning Bradley Cooper’s character, Pat Jr., is released from a mental health institution after violently attacking a man he caught with his wife. We immediately see that he trespasses boundaries set by his Mom. His emotional high intensity is matched by his Dad, Eagles fan Pat Sr. (played by Robert DeNiro). Pat and his Dad are in constant conflict.

They both have mental health issues, although Pat Jr. is the diagnosed patient. In many families, there is often an identified patient who becomes the scapegoat for the rest of the family’s issues. But both of them are endearing as well as annoying in their obsessions. Pat Jr. fixates on his estranged wife and Pat Sr. is obsessed about the Eagles team, betting recklessly.

This film is funny and touching, with intense emotion among almost everyone, except the passive, loving Mom who tries to keep the peace.  

We all know families are complicated, and all families have moments of chaos and discord. Yet families who are centered around a person with mental illness may experience a great deal of suffering. Some avoidable, much unavoidable. 

It’s only in the last 50 years or so that we’ve become more enlightened about mental health. Institutionalization is very unusual now; local community-based treatment is the norm. 

Yet, the National Institutes of Health report that:

* 26% of adult Americans — about 1 in 4 adults — suffer from a diagnosable mental illness.
* 18% of people ages 18- 54 have an anxiety disorders. 
* 10% of all American adults suffer from depression or bipolar disorder.

Knowing that Pat Jr.’s ex-wife has moved on, a good friend invites Pat to dinner to fix him up with his sister-in-law, the equally voluble Tiffany, a young widow. Pat Jr. is nervous anticipating this, but his dad says, “Don’t drink too much, don’t hit anyone, you’ll be fine.”

Here’s the scene at the dinner party:

There were many critiques about the portrayals of mental illness in this movie, but Harvard Medical School psychiatrist Dr. Steven Schlozman loved the film. He felt the swapping of medication stories in this scene was accurate and de-stigmatizing. He liked the depiction of bipolar disorder in Pat Jr., who’s quite bright and has some insight into it. 

Dr. Scholzman says that hiding meds by patients happens all the time. That kind of defiance can even be healthy, he says; when someone pushes back about meds, it’s a message that the person is sticking up for themselves and that they are partners in the healing process. Side effects are real, but medication also often helps people get better. Near the end of the movie, Pat says, “I’m taking my meds, I’m doing good.”  

The doctor worries more for Tiffany in some ways: you don’t see her inner complicated life as much Pat’s, but there’s a lot going on below the surface. 

Running away is a theme in the movie – literally running away, but also running away from hurt, from trust and trustworthiness, from emotional intimacy and offered care. The family is in crisis with Pat’s alienating and confounding behavior. And that’s typical in families as they grapple with how to deal with their loved one’s illness. 

Here is a scene where the father is vulnerable with his son. 

Love does make everything better. That message is of course always at the heart of the Gospels. But with mental illness, we also all need education in regard to brain chemistry and medical treatment. There is a need for the unraveling of trauma in therapy, and emotional coping skills.

In many of Apostle Paul’s letters, he suggests alternatives to impulsivity, impatience, and driven excess. Of course, it’s harder for those with mental illness to have this control, but the people in my life who suffer from extreme mental illness have learned to function in the world with the help of therapists, treatment and community who provide support and healthy boundaries.

In the Romans passage, Paul suggests ways that could help communities support those with mental illness. For example, not thinking ourselves above or separate from people who have symptoms, having our own sober judgment (not getting carried away on the tide of intensity). He teaches that diversity is valuable in community, appreciating the gifts ALL people bring. Paul asks us to love one another with mutual affection and to outdo one another in showing our respect – we all know what that feels like when we are on the receiving end of respect! And we’re asked to support one another with hope, be patient in our suffering and persevere in prayer. Good advice for ways of learning to live long term with the differences between us. 

Tiffany and Pat Jr. learn to stand up for themselves and advocate for one another.

Many cultures have viewed mental illness as a form of religious punishment or demonic possession. Remarkably, in the Mark passage, the man suffering from demons is restored to community. He wants to follow Jesus, but Jesus knows he has a purpose in his village: to be a living example of fighting for one’s own healing and the healing power of God. If Jesus hadn’t sent the healed man back to his community, they would only carry a vague memory of someone who had been a real nuisance to them. So, Jesus tells him to go home, back into the community who needs to know his story and witness his resurrection by God.  

And that’s what happens to Pat and Tiffany. By taking risk and performing in a dance competition they know they can’t win, they experience a restored sense of place in community as everyone cheers for them and bets on their winning a parlay bet. 

See the triumph in their less-than-perfect performance!

They really messed up at the big moment. They got a low score, but just good enough for Pat Sr. to win money in a bet so his restaurant doesn’t have to close. 

A full life with a disability is something to celebrate. With self-agency, resilience and community support, it is possible to have a life with less suffering, with love and belonging. 

Tiffany’s and Pat’s 5 out of 10 score is something to celebrate for many reasons.

When my son got his GED, I bragged to an acquaintance and they laughed, saying – “Well that’s because it’s so easy.” But I knew how hard it had been for him and how tortuous it had been for him to sit in classrooms throughout his schooling. But he persevered anyway to sit through the multiple GED subject tests and going in again when he failed it the first time. Yes, I am so proud of my son for getting his GED.

A seminary friend fulfilled her life-long dream to become a pastor. Because of her mental health disability, it took her 10 long years of study and then she was offered only a temporary position in a small church for just three hours work a week. But I was ecstatic for her! Why? Because I knew her stories of childhood abuse and her struggle with severe PTSD, and of being in mental hospitals multiple times. She persevered despite her PTSD, is now a gifted chaplain who teaches about mental health resources in churches. Her family, despite being deeply flawed, never left her behind. They are her refuge as she continues to struggle with this lifelong challenge.

Silver Linings Playbook does a beautiful job of showing two people supporting one another in their respective loss and struggles, and it also portrays the many challenges of supporting a close family member who struggles with a mental disorder.

It’s very possible that 25% of you hearing this sermon today are suffering from mental health issues of some kind. To you, Dear Ones, bring others into your world. Work with a counselor if you can, to learn coping mechanisms and behaviors that will allow you to live comfortably in community. Investigate the new treatments that might be available – science is adding to options all the time. With the help of friends, family and therapists, you can develop relationships that are mutually life-giving, and most of you probably already have!

If you are a family member of someone with mental health issues, know that it is possible to build on your relationships. Learn as much as you can so you can be a support, not part of the problem. Understand when you need to set boundaries. Find ways to rest from the intensity. Widen your own circle of care. Seek strategy coaching and be in therapy yourselves. Build trusting relationships where you can talk about your situation. And love one another. 

Each of us can invest in our own emotional wellness and maturity so that we can thrive as possible, together in community. 

After the dance competition, Tiffany runs away after she sees Pat talking to his wife, but Pat catches up with her. Pat expresses his long-held love for Tiffany. 

Tiffany and Pat are embraced in the family. Let’s watch this final scene from the movie.

A Sunday family hang-out day, in all its imperfection and lavish love.

People with mental illness may feel they have lost parts of themselves, but they are never lost. May we all seek and create places where we have belonging, acceptance and support to work through our foibles and our broken places. 

Everyone deserves that. Each and every one of us. 

Closing Song

“Stand By Me” – by Ben E. King, Jerry Leiber, and Mike Stoller, performed by Ben E. King

If you would like to receive emails from St. Andrew with current information about our Virtual Services and links to Virtual Meetings click below