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, June 27 – 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 – JUNE 27, 2021

Popcorn Parables – “Babette’s Feast”
“Saying Grace”
Psalm 19
Rev. Nicole C. Trotter
Sunday ~ June 27, 2021

Welcome to this “virtual” worship service for Sunday, June 27, 2021
Many thanks for technical assistance / contributions from Ron Moser, Amy Cox, Rev. Nicole Trotter, Monica Bolanos, Tracy Walthard, Kelsey Walthard, and Dawne Carver.

Opening Song

“Dona Nobis Pacem (Grant Us Peace)” – text by Agnus Dei, music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – performed by Cantus

We seek peace in our world, peace within our community, our family and our hearts.

Opening Prayer

Click the arrow below to hear Rev. Nicole Trotter offer this morning’s Prayer, written by Thom M. Shuman or read the Prayer below

Opening Prayer written by Thom M. Shuman

With you,
God of Wholeness,
those who work the graveyard shift of life
find the dawn of resurrection;
those who look for healing
are led to the living waters.

Christ our Companion:
richer than Gates or Buffett,
you chose to become
as poor as Mother Teresa,
to touch us with hope;
you set aside Glory’s robe,
to wear the servant’s towel,
so we might touch you
and be made whole.

Spirit of Grace:
you encircle us
with love which never ends;
you touch us with grace
which mends all brokenness;
you pour out mercy,
which heals any wound we cause.

God in Community, Holy in One,
we lift the prayer Jesus has taught us, 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 Monica Bolanos present Discovery Time:

Our Sunday School Lessons for today are as follows:

PRESCHOOL LESSON:

Preschool Memory Verse for June:

Click the arrow below to watch the Sunday School video for our Preschool children for Sunday, June 27th:

Preschool Bottom Line for the week of June 27th:

GRADES K-5 LESSON:

Grades K-5 Memory Verse for June:

Click the arrow below to watch the Sunday School video for our Kindergarten – 5th Grade children for Sunday, June 27th:

Grades K-5 Bottom Line for the week of June 27th:

Message for Youth

Where do you get your confidence? That is the question that has been on my mind this past week. It probably has something to do with the fact that we have been singing and talking about what true confidence is in Vacation Bible School. Our VBS theme was Press Play. Our theme song, “Press Play”, is all about “getting into the mix and press play with confidence”. We’ve been exploring Bible stories through the week where people can have confidence because they are known, because they belong, because they are forgiven, because they can change and because they can make a difference. 

So let’s start with, what is confidence? Webster dictionary defines confidence as trust, reliance, assurance or a belief in ones own abilities. We talked about True Confidence in Vacation Bible School. It is a little different from Webster and yet it really isn’t all that different. To have True Confidence is to learn to see myself the way God sees me. In other words, we can have True Confidence when we learn to see ourselves the way God sees us. Wow!

And how does God see you and me? As His children with gifts that he has given to each of us. We are loved and cherished. He has amazing plans for us that include us being the best we can be, walking boldly into the situation and knowing that someone has our back. Again …Wow! Can you imagine if you and I lived our lives with the confidence that no matter if we mess up, if we don’t get something just right, that God has our back? We see this in little ones. Mistakes or mess ups are learning moments and we gain confidence as we practice. Somewhere in the journey of life, we lose that confidence of a child or at least we forgot where to get it. 

Which brings me back to my original question. Where do you get your confidence? Do you get it from your peers? Or from your work? Or from your own abilities? Or do you get your confidence from God? Hint, if you are getting it from sources than God, start going to Him for True Confidence! Talk to Him through prayer, read the Bible to see where others gained confidence through His love. Learn, through the Bible, how much God loves you. When we see ourselves through God’s eyes, the doubts and insecurities aren’t holding us back from what we are meant to do. When we see ourselves as loved and known by our loving Heavenly Father, we dare to dream big and to walk boldly. When you and I have assurance and trust in God, we are confident to step forward in what we need to do. Or as we kept saying this past week, you can have confidence to get in the mix! 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.

Holy Scripture

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

Psalm 19

The heavens declare the glory of God;
  the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
  night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
  no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
  their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
  It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
  like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
It rises at one end of the heavens
  and makes its circuit to the other;
  nothing is deprived of its warmth. 
The law of the Lord is perfect,
  refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
  making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right,
  giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
  giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is pure,
  enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm,
  and all of them are righteous.
They are more precious than gold,
  than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
  than honey from the honeycomb.
By them your servant is warned;
  in keeping them there is great reward.
But who can discern their own errors?
  Forgive my hidden faults.
Keep your servant also from willful sins;
  may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless,
  innocent of great transgression.
May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
  be pleasing in your sight,
  Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

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

Sermon

Popcorn Parables – Babette’s Feast
“Saying Grace”
Psalm 19
Rev. Nicole C. Trotter

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

Babette’s Feast was written by Isak Dinesen who had a complex and challenging life. Her father, who she was very close with, committed suicide when she was ten. Years later she contracted Syphilis from her unfaithful husband, eventually divorced, and then found love again. She never married again, but endured two miscarriages with her partner who she eventually lost in a plane crash. And on top of all of that, the coffee farms she moved to Africa to produce, failed because of land prices, locusts, and droughts.

This is a portrait of the woman who wrote Babette’s Feast, and I think it’s important in understanding Babette.

The story takes place in the late 19th century on the rugged coast of Denmark, in a fishing village named Jutland. Through a series of flashbacks we learn about the early life of the characters, long before Babette arrives.

We meet the founder of a puritanical sect of the Lutheran faith, who has two devoted daughters that he named after the reformers, Martina and Philippa. Both daughters are beautiful and have suitors who attempt to love them.

Philippa walks away from the chance to be an opera singer with a world-renowned baritone who wants to be her husband and manager. Martina’s suitor, a lieutenant, walks away from the affair because he felt foolish among what he refers to as such “pious melancholics”.

Years later, the father dies, and the sisters take over the now declining religious sect. The members of this small community are bickering and harboring resentment and the sisters remain faithful and determined to keep them faithful through prayer and hymns.

In 1871, 18,000 Parisians, known as the Communard, were killed as they protested Prussia’s conservative rule over France on the heels of the Franco-Prussian War. Another seven thousand were deported.

Enter Babette, a Catholic refugee, fleeing from Paris after her husband and her son have been killed.

She comes to the sisters’ home, who speak both Dutch and French, with a letter from the previous love interest of Philippa, the opera teacher, who now years later, writes from Paris, asking them to take Babette in and allow her to work for them.

For fourteen years she serves them without complaint.

Throughout the movie, we witness Babette often alone, often in her room or in a field. In the book we read of Babette’s “dark eyes,” “quiet countenance,” and “strong hands”. A woman alone, far from home, grieving.

Babette wears a cross around her neck, at times holding it, but I think it’s fair to assume, that like most of us, her grief has left her wondering where God is, whether God is, and at times, bereft of hope. Babette’s husband and son were killed brutally, how could she not wonder what so many of us wonder; If God is all good, how can God allow horrendous suffering? We’re not told she’s asking this, but we are left to wonder while we witness Babette alone in her room.

Fourteenth century mystic Julian of Norwich, who also spent years alone in her room, describes her suffering this way-

I was wholly at peace, at ease and at rest, so that there was nothing which could have afflicted me. This lasted only for a time, and then I was changed….I felt there was no ease or comfort for me except faith, hope and love….. and truly I felt very little of this. And then presently God gave me comfort and rest for my soul…..and then again I felt the pain, and then afterwards the delight and joy, now the one, and now the other, again and again, I suppose about 20 times. (1)

Just when we think we have our old selves back and are going to be okay, we’re pulled into grief again. And maybe our faith is tested at those times, maybe not. And then over time, maybe even as long as fourteen years, we find healing through the grace of God.

During one of the darker periods of my life, I didn’t have a room of my own to go to, so I spent time alone in empty Catholic churches, lighting candles, praying to Mary, while learning about her son in seminary. I hid my grief well when in public, not unlike Babette, who smiles in the market while buying food. But left alone, I was convinced that if I were to ever come out of this dark period, I would never speak of it, certainly never from the pulpit, as it would be too difficult to recall. 

The grace and goodness of God healed those wounds…as did the care of a few good friends, my love for my two children who required I show up, some warm soup that arrived when I didn’t want to eat, and the eyes of a black Labrador who reminded me I was loved even if I felt unloveable. Over time, wounds begin to heal, as we recognize the grace of God being given, we’re called to receive, so we might continue to heal. Not once and for all, when the memorial service ends, or when the family goes home, but over the course of time. And then…. 

The grace of God that brings with it the ability to feel joy again, to laugh, to dance, to sing out loud, as resonated in the Psalm you heard…..

giving joy to the heart….giving light to the eyes……enduring forever……more precious than gold….sweeter than honey….

The Psalmist lifts up all that is good, including divine mercy, grace that comes unearned, even through all the blame, all the doubt, all the hurts, the ones we feel and the ones we’ve caused, God’s goodness prevails.

Babette’s only connection to home is a friend who has been playing the lottery for her and one day, she receives a letter, and discovers she has won the lottery. Babette cashes in her lottery ticket, and places the money in a wooden box. She walks upstairs to her room and sits down holding the winnings in her lap. 

We see a photo of a man we presume is her husband. We see a time piece on the wall below that. Then the camera cuts to Babette on the beach as a white bird flies overhead. She turns to head back to the house and we’re left with the impression that she’s decided what to do with her money. 

She’ll spend her earnings on a meal, but not just any meal, on a feast, that she’ll create. One that will employ her greatest God given gift as an artist, as a chef. She’ll create. The God who created out of nothingness, gifts us with the ability to do the same. We may not think of ourselves as the creative type, but if you’re alive, you’re creative. There’s not one among us who has not been given the ability to create. Some will do this tangibly, through art forms like music, and meals, and others through vocations like parenthood, and others still through making of quilts, or writing, or building, contracting, engineering, teaching, but even if you are none of these, all of us are called to create a space that allows for love to be expressed. Creating a space between you that says, I see you, I hear you, I’m here for you, is something each of us has the ability to create, especially in this space we call the church.

The group that is dining in the clip you’re about to see is the small group of devout Christians who have taken a Puritanical approach to faith. They vow together, before the meal, behind Babette’s back, not to speak of the food they’ll consume, convinced that it’s not in keeping with God’s will to eat anything other than the simple meals they’ve grown accustomed to. 

But they have an unexpected guest, the nephew of one of the members of their group. The same nephew who was once the lieutenant and love interest of Martina. Now the honored guest, and a decorated General, years later, he’s lived in the world and has experienced fine dining…including food at a famous cafe (which we find out later was also the place Babette spent her time as a chef, so when he speaks, he’s speaking of her). And if you pay attention you can see the relief on the faces of those who have vowed not to enjoy or speak of the food. It’s as though he’s speaking for them, and you can feel the glimmers of relief that he has said what they are all feeling.

That scene illustrates the transformative power of food in its ability to bring us into intimacy and communion with one another. In this way, the movie we saw last week, and this week’s movie have everything in common with the transformative grace of Christ as shared at the communion table.

We’re never told directly what Babette’s motivation was for wanting to do this. Some believe it was sacrificial, others believe it was in gratitude. Others that it was a burying of grief, like a celebration of life that she never had time to experience before she fled France.

I imagine she, like the Psalmist, wanted to please the God who saw her through an unimaginable grief. The God who granted her refuge and strength in those who took her in, cared for her. I imagine she wanted to honor those whom she loved, her husband and son, by getting out of room and entering life with the gifts God had so graciously bestowed upon her. And I imagine that in her doing so, she inspired others to embrace life as well. I imagine her entire meal as a way of saying “grace” – Grace waited for, Grace received, Grace shared.

At the end of the movie we witness the once divided group who vowed not to comment on a meal that was all too foreign for them, come together under the stars.

At the beginning of the meal, the general gives a toast. They’re words to live by, they’re words to grieve by:

The moment comes when our eyes are opened, and we see and realize that grace is infinite. Grace, my friends, demands nothing from us but that we shall await it with confidence and acknowledge it in gratitude. Grace, brothers, (and sisters) makes no conditions and singles out none of us in particular; grace takes us all to its bosom…
Amen.

(1)  https://digitalcommons.unomaha.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1072&context=jrf

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 Song

“You Are Mine” – By David Haas

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