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, JULY 4 – 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 – JULY 4, 2021

Popcorn Parables – “Julie and Julia”
“A Place at the Table”
Proverbs 9:1-12
Rev. Nicole C. Trotter
Sunday ~ July 4, 2021

Welcome to this “virtual” worship service for Sunday, July 4, 2021
Many thanks for technical assistance / contributions from Ron Moser, Amy Cox, Rev. Nicole Trotter, Kelsey Walthard, and Dawne Carver.

Opening Song

“The Table” – by Chris Tomlin, Ed Cash, Wayne Jolley – performed by Chris Tomlin

Licensed to YouTube by UMG (on behalf of SixSteps (SIX)); BMI – Broadcast Music Inc., LatinAutorPerf, Music Services, Inc. (Publishing), Polaris Hub AB, CMRRA, LatinAutor – UMPG, Adorando Brazil, Capitol CMG Publishing, and 9 Music Rights Societies

Opening Prayer

Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/

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

Opening Prayer 

God of Grace, we search. We search for purpose, we search for identity. We spend years, trying on titles and wearing names. One day this, another that. We take a job, we quit a job, we marry, we remain single, we live in the burbs, we live on the road, we go to college, we go to trade school, we go to work. We say we are this and we claim we are that.

Then one day, we find ourselves searching again. Help us, O God, to trust that You value us, not for what we do, but for how we reflect Your love in the doing. Help us trust we are enough, however we are. As we desire to become more of who You created us to be, let us be reminded it’s because You have loved us all along, and our truest desire is to express more of what You already see. May we search and find within us, all that reflects Your love, Your generosity, Your Spirit of goodness and grace, and may it connect us with all beings at Your Holy Table of Grace.

God in community Holy in One, let us pray the prayer Jesus taught us to pray, saying….

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

Discovery Time and Sunday School

Click the arrow to watch Rev. Nicole Trotter present Discovery Time:

Our Sunday School Lessons for today are as follows:


Preschool Memory Verse for July:

Click the arrow below to watch the Sunday School video for our Preschool children for Sunday, July 4th:

Preschool Bottom Line for the week of July 4th:


Grades K-5 Memory Verse for July:

Click the arrow below to watch the Sunday School video for our Kindergarten – 5th Grade children for Sunday, July 4th:

Grades K-5 Bottom Line for the week of July 4th:

Message for Youth

Happy Independence Day! This was the day, in 1776, the Continental Congress adopted the edited draft of the Declaration of Independence. It is the day we celebrate the birth of our nation. It is a day we celebrate our freedom with barbecue’s, picnics, parades and fireworks. It is also a celebration that has many people vocal about the fact not everyone has or had freedom or the “right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. Yet I believe in our country, even in the midst of the division and controversy.

I believe in the freedom of our nation and the people that protect that freedom. I believe that even in our imperfections, huge mess ups and constant struggles with one another, that we are a nation of hope. That we can learn to forgive the wrongs, we can learn from them and we can learn to see each other as fellow human beings and not objects to destroy. I have this hope because of my faith in Jesus Christ. I believe because there is a greater freedom that we have in Jesus Christ. A freedom from sin and death. A freedom from shame and guilt. It doesn’t mean that we won’t have pain, injustice and death in our lives. It just means that Satan doesn’t get to hold us down in the muck of it all. 

Jesus came to save us from ourselves, to show us a way to live and give us a reminder that God expects us to love one another as He loves us. We are commanded to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and our neighbors as ourselves. It is not a suggestion! And there is a great freedom in that commandment. For it gives us a blueprint in how to move forward. In how to live life.

I remember the first time I read Leviticus in the Bible. I was overwhelmed at all the rules and regulations and thought that was not freedom, but prison. These people had just been released from slavery from the Egyptians. But then I started to research the history, the customs and laws that were in place. And I realized that many of the rules and regulations that God was handing down to the people were actually a better way, and protecting the people from more harm. That in the way a parent guides a child, God was giving loving guidelines or rules to help the people grow and to thrive. And I started to understand what freedom looks like in His love.    

Freedom in Christ means that I don’t have to have all the answers. It means that when I learn to see others as God sees them, I learn to see myself as God sees me. It means that when I stumble and fall (which I do a lot) that I am not defined by my mistakes, and that I am not held down by guilt and shame. Freedom in Christ means that I have hope that you and I can and will become who God intended us to be- People who love Him with everything we have and then want to love others like He loves us. And that is something worth celebrating.

Remember that our freedom is something not to be taken for granted, whether it’s our freedom in Christ or freedom in this country. Someone fought and died for that freedom. Someone is still fighting for that freedom. So give thanks today for your freedom. Have hope for our country and for each other. And in all you do today and tomorrow, thank God for His amazing grace and mercy. Blessings, Dawne Carver

A Prayer for Our Nation for this 4th of July

God is the one who gives us freedom, and we ask that He would help our country turn toward Him, uniting all of us in the land of the free and home of the brave.


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.

Holy Scripture

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Click the arrow below to see and hear Rev. Nicole Trotter offer this morning’s Scripture Readingor read the Scripture below

Prayer for Illumination – God, source of all light, by your Word you give light to the soul. Pour out on us the spirit of wisdom and understanding that our hearts and minds may be opened. Amen

Proverbs 9:1-12 – The Message

Lady Wisdom has built and furnished her home;
  it’s supported by seven hewn timbers.
The banquet meal is ready to be served: lamb roasted,
  wine poured out, table set with silver and flowers.
Having dismissed her serving maids,
  Lady Wisdom goes to town, stands in a prominent place,
  and invites everyone within sound of her voice:
“Are you confused about life, don’t know what’s going on?
  Come with me, oh come, have dinner with me!
I’ve prepared a wonderful spread—fresh-baked bread,
  roast lamb, carefully selected wines.
Leave your impoverished confusion and live!
  Walk up the street to a life with meaning.”

If you reason with an arrogant cynic, you’ll get slapped in the face;
  confront bad behavior and get a kick in the shins.
So don’t waste your time on a scoffer;
  all you’ll get for your pains is abuse.
But if you correct those who care about life,
  that’s different—they’ll love you for it!
Save your breath for the wise—they’ll be wiser for it;
  tell good people what you know—they’ll profit from it.
Skilled living gets its start in the Fear-of-God,
  insight into life from knowing a Holy God.
It’s through me, Lady Wisdom, that your life deepens,
  and the years of your life ripen.
Live wisely and wisdom will permeate your life;
  mock life and life will mock you.

This is the word of God, for the people of God. Thanks be to God


Popcorn Parables – Julie and Julia
“A Place at the Table”
Proverbs 9:1-12
Rev. Nicole C. Trotter

Click the arrow below to see and hear Rev. Nicole Trotter’s Sermon or read the Sermon below

Some years ago now, my son Morgan turned me on to Reddit, a social media platform. I’m registered on Facebook, and I’ll friend you if you request it, but truly, I don’t pay attention to it.

Reddit on the other hand, I love. For those that don’t know, you get a feed of different posts just like facebook, but the posts are based on communities of interest, called subreddits, so you join based on what interests you. And there’s a subreddit for every interest. I belong to one on birds, one on NYC, one on cemeteries, and they have funny names, like cemetery porn, or power washing porn, another favorite. There’s subreddits for religion, spirituality, science, music, and on and on.

And when you post something of your own, just like on Facebook, people can comment on what you’ve posted or they can simply give you an upvote. It’s all anonymous, and on most subreddits are reminders for people to be respectful.

All of this is to set you up for this…..this photo of plates you just saw. I posted this photo on a subreddit titled Thriftstore Hauls a few years ago now. With the photo, I posted this comment:

Slowly collecting plates from different eras and letting guests choose their place at the table based on the plate that speaks to them. Each plate under $5.

Now, this is the amazing part. In one day, the post received just over seven thousand upvotes (which are like Facebook likes) and 175 comments (more than Morgan or any of his friends). Seven thousand upvotes from people I didn’t know. The comments varied. Some were about wanting to adopt the idea, others were about the dangers of lead in old plates, but most were about which plate spoke to them and why.

What is it about having a unique place at the table that appeals to so many people? If the plate is a metaphor for the diversity of the people who claim them, then what is the table that holds them?

Like the plates we eat off of, we, as babies, enter this world new, maybe gold trimmed and flawless. Over the years we age into cracked, chipped antiques or thrift store finds, but over the course of our lives, we all serve the same purpose; nourishing, feeding those we come in contact with as we share the same table.

This Sunday we continue our Popcorn Parable series on Faith and Food with the 2009 movie,, Julie and Julia about two women set in two different eras. The first is Julia Child, who in the 1950’s went to a renowned chef’s school in Paris. The other is Julie Powell, a New Yorker in the early 2000’s, blogging her experiences about cooking Julia Child’s recipes over the course of a year.

Both women are depicted in the movie as searching for fulfillment. Both experience roadblocks and failures along the way. Both find their passion in their love for and creation of food. You could say that both find their place at the table, if the table is a metaphor for life. 

As life unfolds for all of us, you could also say, that there are times when we get up from that place at the table (to continue with the metaphor) and walk away searching for a new seat at the table, because the old seat is no longer representative of who we are. The old seat no longer suits us. It becomes uncomfortable, too small, too old, too…”false”.

Julia is at such a place in her life…..She’s searching….

Julia is searching, and while some might be critical of the search of a bored, privileged housewife who came from money and went to the best schools, including Branson School in Ross, and Smith College, I would suggest we let go of all judgment and instead understand this search as something that is experienced by most of us at some point in our lives. Rohr calls it the search for our true self, our soul, or our deepest identity as given to us by God. We don’t make or create our true selves, they are God given, we unfold or become who God created us to be, and there is nothing simple about it. It includes soul searching, it includes failure, and falling. It includes trips into the wilderness, losing our way, suffering great trials. And often, perhaps for women especially, it looks a lot like this:

In the book of Proverbs, Wisdom is personified as a woman. She was there by God’s side when God created. She was there before anything else was created, and some interpret her as God’s wife. Others interpret her as the fourth person of the trinity, if the trinity turned to a quadrinity. I understand her as Wisdom personified, and just that. That is, the part of us seeking to understand God as a part of us, connecting us with all of creation. Understanding Wisdom’s ways is understanding with your whole being, understanding often without words, without intellect.

St. John of the Cross knew all too well about the search for the true self. He knew that much of that search takes place in a kind of darkness, or what he referred to as the dark night of the soul. He understands this as a necessary part of the process because, as he puts it, “If we fully knew what was happening, and what transformation God will eventually ask of us, we would either try to take charge or stop the whole process.” (1)

We search for a true self not because the old self was bad, but because it doesn’t fit anymore, like an old beloved pair of shoes, that no longer fit and can’t provide the support we need now. Even when we can’t name exactly what it is we need, or want, we feel the desire for more, and Lady Wisdom speaks to that desire saying….

“Are you confused about life, don’t know what’s going on?
  Come with me, oh come, have dinner with me!
I’ve prepared a wonderful spread—fresh-baked bread,
  roast lamb, carefully selected wines.
Leave your impoverished confusion and live!
  Walk up the street to a life with meaning.”

It’s through me, Lady Wisdom, that your life deepens,
  and the years of your life ripen.
Live wisely and wisdom will permeate your life;
  mock life and life will mock you.(2) 

Wisdom is a way of knowing, a path, from the book of Proverbs, which is part of what we refer to as the wisdom books, and the wisdom tradition. In the New Testament, Christ becomes the wisdom path and way of knowing. Christ, post resurrection, becomes a part of us, lives within us and within every living thing. 

Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/

This week, I had the pleasure of remembering this children’s book, Where does God Live? It’s too long to read, but here’s my favorite paragraph:

“God lives in the frogs and the birds and in you.
When you’re looking for God it’s easy to do.
God lives in all things that you see, hear or touch.
God lives in all people. God’s in each one of us.

And when you meet people who are loving and good,
They’re letting God out, just as everyone could.
And if you meet people who seem hateful or bad,
They’ve forgotten God’s here, and that makes God sad.” (3)

When we stop separating ourselves from God, as God up there, and accept God up there and God in here….when we begin to understand Christ universally connecting us with God and with all other forms of life, we find our place at the table, given to us by God. We don’t have to work at creating our own place or plate, we don’t have to work at creating gold edges, or fine details, because finding our true selves is more about passive listening than actively creating. It’s more about being led, than leading the way. To live within God, and God within you, becomes a sacred dance, one that includes falling down. We perceive as failure, or emptiness….But Wisdom knows that’s a wonderful place to begin, to come eat at her table, not because you’ve got it all figured out but precisely because you haven’t.

When people were commenting on the Reddit post and plates and choosing the one they liked best, the one most chosen was that of their Grandmothers. The Franciscan pattern from the 50’s of pink flowers. 

The favorite plate was the one they remembered at their Grandmother’s table, further connecting them to their place in this world, if the table is a metaphor for a world that keeps us searching. The table brings us together, but a plate celebrates our individual place, connecting us to all who have eaten on it before us, and all who will eat on it tomorrow.

That’s what this ritual of coming to the table does each time we celebrate the Lord’s Supper. We remember and we connect, but perhaps most of all we find our place, our ultimate identity as belonging to God, as holding God within, and of connecting to one another, no matter how chipped, worn out or misplaced we may feel, for everyone born is a place at this table, waiting for you to be re-born as you eat, and enter the ways of wisdom’s grace.

(1) Gerald May, Dark Night of the Soul, 2004

(2) Proverbs 9, The Message, Eugene Peterson

(3) Where Does God Live, Holly Bea

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

Closing Hymn

“For Everyone Born” – Text by Shirley Erena Murray, Music by Brian Mann – performed by The Choir and Congregation of First Plymouth Church, Lincoln Nebraska

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