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, June 14 – 10:00am* – 11:00am
*Please note that this is one hour earlier than previously!
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 – JUNE 14, 2020
Welcome to this “virtual” worship service for Sunday, June 14, 2020
Many thanks to Tracy Walthard (sermon), Ron Moser (production and artistic touches – don’t miss the opening and closing song videos with images chosen by Ron Moser!), Amy Cox (formatting and posting), Caryn Prince and Jan Reynolds (song selections), Kelsey Walthard (scripture reading), Ricky Bolanos, Kelsey Walthard and Dawne Carver (teachings for children and youth).
Gravity of Love, by The Brilliance
Discovery Time & Sunday School
Click the image to watch Ricky Bolanos present Discovery Time:
Our Sunday School Lessons for today are as follows:
Preschool Memory verse: “These are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.”
Grades K-5 Memory verse: “Now Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
Hebrews 11:1, NIV
Be sure to check our Facebook page for Sunday School videos to share with your children: St. Andrew Sonoma Facebook Page
Message for Youth
I read that learning isn’t a stage of life; it IS your life. That in learning something new every day, we continue to grow, be more insightful and hopefully more compassionate towards others (and ourselves)! That learning takes us on many paths. Paths of wonder and awe. Paths of sorrow and anger. Paths that are beautiful. Paths that are uncomfortable. Many of these paths intertwine with each other.
I’m on the path that is uncomfortable and involves self awareness. The events in the last couple months have brought racism and racial injustice to my attention…again. This is not a new subject for me. I’ve been a part of youth leader conferences, breakouts and book discussions on racism over the years. Each time I find myself trying to understand and learn where God is leading me. Each time I navigate through people’s perspectives, truth and passion on a very real subject. I’ve had uncomfortable (sometimes very uncomfortable) conversations with family, friends and colleagues I just met. I feel deep sorrow that there is still racism in our world. I’m feeling overwhelmed by the fear and hate of racism. It would be easier to ignore and think of easier things. Yet that’s not what Jesus taught.
Jesus taught us to love even when we are uncomfortable. He taught us that we are all God’s children and He loves us all. He showed us by example to step out and help those who need help. Jesus also taught us that the greatest commandment is to love God with everything we have and to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22: 37-39). We learn on our Caravan trips to see others through God’s eyes, no matter who they are, to walk through our prejudice and learn how to be comfortable being uncomfortable. And that we ALL need to be loved.
So…where do I fit in all of this? Well, I’m still learning that one. But I do know three things.
I need to listen more and talk less. I do not know what it is like to be a person of color. I have not walked in their shoes. I need to listen even when it makes me uncomfortable and not minimize or silver line their experiences.
I need to be informed so I can enter into uncomfortable conversations. If I don’t feel like I know about a subject, I tend to sit in silence.
I need to pray for guidance, compassion and understanding. I need to be a person of faith, hope and love.
As I navigate through this uncomfortable path, I know that God is working in and through me. I may not understand today what it is that I’m supposed to be doing, but I choose to have faith, to practice grace, and to show love. Blessings, Dawne
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.
Listen to Pastor Jan lead us in this morning’s prayer, adapted from A Prayer to Overcome Racism, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, by clicking on the arrow below:
Through your Son, you have found a way to unite yourself to every human being, and have called us to be one people, sisters and brothers to each other.
We ask for your help, through Christ, in seeking forgiveness for the times when we have failed to love and respect one another.
We ask for your help, through Christ, to receive your grace as we act to overcome the evil of racism and to build a just society.
We ask for your help in following Christ, so that prejudice and animosity will no longer infect our minds or hearts but will be replaced with a love that respects the dignity of each person.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord, who 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
Click below to watch this video, Be Still My Soul (In You I Rest) by Kari Jobe
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
Kelsey Walthard, Director of Children’s Ministries
Click the arrow to see and hear Kelsey present the Scripture Reading for today
or read the Scripture below
The Most Important Commandment
One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?”
The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
“Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!”
The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Parable of the Good Samaritan
Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.
By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.
Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, “Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.”
“Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked.
The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.”
Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”
The Good Samaritan by Vincent Van Gogh
Love Your Lord and Your Neighbor
Click the arrow to see and hear Tracy’s Sermon
or read the Sermon below
would like to start today with a scripture reading from the book of Mark:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.’”
I’ve sat through a lot of Love Your Neighbor sermons in the 39 years I have attended St. Andrew. I’m going to attempt to combine all those sermons into a crash course summary.
You are called to Love Your Neighbor. Why? Because God loves them. God created them for a purpose and that purpose glorifies God. You are to love your neighbor because God loves you. You are to love others with the same crazy, undeserving abandon that God loves you with. Crazy? Crazy like dying on the cross for you, crazy.
Here is my confession for the morning. I’m always looking for loopholes with God. The fine print I can use to make it all a bit easier on myself and lay a bit more responsibility on God. The “love your neighbor” part of Mark seems ripe for loop holes. I mean, who is my neighbor?
Well, according to the dictionary, the most commonly referred to authority in all disputes, noun
1. a person living near or next door to the speaker or person referred to.
That’s the loophole I was looking for! For me, it means I must love Carlos and Matt and Dawn. Easy! They are beautiful people. Carlos is always cranking his backyard tunes, and I share his choice in music. When they have their big family gatherings, we are always invited, and they do the best ground-roasted pig. Matt and Dawn have great kids and set up Corn Hole in the front yard for all to play. I got off easy.
Not so fast… This is certainly a place where the dictionary and the Bible don’t agree. What is God’s definition of neighbor? In our scripture reading this morning we heard the passage from Luke 10: 25-37 when a Pharisee tries to grill Jesus on his definition of neighbor, and Jesus gives the example of a Good Samaritan. He says the man who helped the one in need was a good neighbor. The answer was, “anyone that crosses your path.”
That could still work for me… I’m starting to feel the burden of loving my neighbor, but at least it’s just those who have come into my life. But, we know that’s not true. I really did think at first I had found the loophole I was looking for, but then I began to ponder, what is the opposite of a neighbor or person I’ve never met? A stranger! The Bible, depending on the translation, will use stranger, alien, or foreigner. How does the Bible instruct us to treat the stranger or foreigner among us?
Leviticus 19:33-34 “Do not take advantage of the strangers who live among you in your land. Treat them like native-born Israelites, and love them as you love yourself.”
Exodus 22:21 “You must not mistreat or oppress foreigners in any way. Remember, you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt.”
Yes, we are to love the stranger as ourselves, we are not to oppress the foreigner or stranger, and then we are reminded- don’t forget, you were once one too!
Every person is a child of God and worthy of love. Every. Single. Person.
You might be wondering how this is tied into our look at the Holy Spirit in this sermon series, and I’m asking myself that at the moment too. But, here it goes – I’m circling back to the Holy Spirit.
It’s one thing to know that we’re to love God and love our neighbor as ourselves, but it’s another thing to do it! It’s not possible without Jesus Christ (John 15:5), but with Him, all things are possible (Mathew 19:26).
As I look out over our nation, my heart feels hopeless. The complex, multi-layered social inequities facing us today, rising up in our streets to demand our attention, are deeply rooted. I do not know how we can make a difference.
I do know two things – all things are possible with HIM! And I know the Holy Spirit can be felt and will move us to the action we have been called to. I’m not going political here. I’m not calling for marches. I’m not saying “Black Lives Matter”, or “Blue Lives Matter”, or “ALL Lives Matter”. I’m saying Jesus left the ninety-nine to find the one. He didn’t leave the ninety-nine behind because they didn’t matter, he left the ninety-nine for the one because even that one mattered. It’s not either/or – it’s ALL. And maybe right now the attention will be given to the one, because they are the one separated from the flock. The focus should be on giving love to the one in need. The focus shouldn’t be on the slogans that can divide us. We need to keep the “Main Thing the Main Thing”.
We MUST not deny the unrest and the pain that is in America, and the world, today. We need to ask ourselves, no, we need to pray, that we see and hear what God wants us to learn from this. What new thing am I supposed to see, what perspective am I to gain. And, what is God asking me to do with it?
That’s where the Holy Spirit, who is with us, in us, comes in.
I do not believe we should be called to action from the voices of humankind. I believe we should be led by the Holy Spirit, find our voice, our gift to lend, our action to help drive this earth closer to His Will be Done on Earth as it is in Heaven.
God’s promise is for all people (Joel 2:28-39). The Holy Spirit does not discriminate. He does not hate. He does not divide. He moves us closer to one another. It calls us to dream of a better world.
This past week I was listening to a sermon that was explaining that the very young and the very old are the world changers. The very old because they hold the wisdom and they are less concerned with “holding on to or building” their own kingdom. As we grow closer to the end, we are less bound by earthly things and more drawn to kingdom thinking. And the very young because they are so inexperienced and naive- the world hasn’t taught them how little impact they can have. Life hasn’t broken their dreams or taught them scarcity. It is the very young and the very old that change the world. The most complacent end up in the middle – the thirty to seventy year old range.
The minster was speaking to the power these ages groups have in the church, but I began to see the power they have in the world. The thirty to seventy year old group are the policy makers, they are breadwinners, they are the economic and social influencers, but they are the most conservative in their dreams.
America needs dreams today. Not my sermon, not a politician’s speech, but the dreams of those who are willing to dream big, trust God, and take action, led by the Holy Spirit, and help God’s vision of peace on Earth, Love your Neighbor, become a reality.
In the midst of the pandemic, some felt called to give to charities and serve our community. We sent money to SOS, Romania, and our sister congregation, Grace of the Cross. We reached out to each other and checked in. We did an excellent job loving and caring for our neighbors and supporting those who have crossed our paths. We were good Samaritans.
But what about now? When the focus has moved from hunger and disease to social action? Will we love our neighbors in other communities that don’t look like ours? We will rise up against the oppression of the “stranger.” Be listening for the Holy Spirit’s guiding force to call you to action. Big or small, loudly or quietly, in your home, in your prayers, in your letter writing, in the streets. Where has God called you to act in these times?
There is too much to divide us right now. What can bring us together? Loving one another, and knowing that to give love to one, doesn’t mean you have withdrawn it from another. Jesus loved the ninety-nine when he went looking for the one. When one of my children is sick, and I am spending more time caring for them instead of joining the other two in fun, do I love the two less? No, I love all my children, but at times, one needs more attention or something different.
My prayer for us in the coming days, weeks, and months is that we are open to the Holy Spirit. We are able to hear God’s voice above all the news, rhetoric, and speeches. That we allow His calling to settle upon our hearts and make our way clear. I believe as Christians we are called to be the salt and light unto the world- to bring a message of hope and reconciliation. A message of love.
Loving all God’s people is possible, because through Him, all things are possible!
2 Corinthians 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Turning Over Tables – by The Brilliance