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, March 21 – 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 – MARCH 21, 2021

Gifts of the Dark Woods

For Goodness Sake
Rev. Nicole C. Trotter

Welcome to this “virtual” worship service for Sunday, March 21, 2021

Many thanks for technical assistance / contributions from Ron Moser, Amy Cox, Rev. Nicole Trotter, Tracy Walthard, Kelsey Walthard, and Dawne Carver.

Opening Hymn Medley

“Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus”, “I Need Thee Every Hour”, “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” – A well done medley of three classic hymns

“Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus”, by Helen Howarth Lemmel (1922), “I Need Thee Every Hour”, by Robert Lowry and Annie S. Hawks (1872), “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing”, but Robert Robinson (1758) – Performed by the Northwest Worship Team from Northwest Bible Church in Dallas, Texas – Arrangement by Seth and April Payne

Opening Video

“In You Alone” A visual benediction – featuring Aaron Strumpel

The Work of the People – Music by Latifah Allattas and Aaron Strumpel – www.aaronstrumpel.com

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 March:

Click the arrow below to watch the Sunday School video for our Preschool children for Sunday, March 21st:

Preschool Bottom Line for the week of March 21st:

GRADES K-5 LESSON:

Grades K-5 Memory Verse for March:

Click the arrow below to watch the Sunday School video for our Kindergarten – 5th Grade children for Sunday, March 21st:

Grades K-5 Bottom Line for the week of March 21st:

Message for Youth

Do I let the world say what I can do? Or do I let God say what I can do? These are the questions that I’m wrestling with this week. I’ll be honest- many times I’ll let the world say what I can do instead of looking at what God wants me to do. There are many times I’m not being who I am supposed to be. And sometimes, I stop believing. I stop believing in me. Yet even when I stop believing, God still believes in me. He knows who I am and is constantly letting me know that I’m loved and He has a plan. For me. Trouble is that I can’t always hear Him. It’s hard to hear Him when the world is shouting what I should be. If I believe the messages bombarding me by the world through social media, commercials, the news and magazines, I don’t have enough, I’m not healthy enough, I’m not safe enough, I don’t look young enough or even love enough. Bottom line- the world constantly shouts that I am not enough. It’s hard not to be overwhelmed by that.

Thankfully, I know that I am enough for God. That God is constantly pursuing me even when I mess up, put myself down and doubt that He loves me. God gives me those messages every day. I just need to listen. I need to switch off the world. Take a break from social media, the news and the ads that constantly bombard me. Instead of the TV, I need to take a walk and look around at His creation. Instead of the magazines, I need to read the Bible and the love and guidance in His words. Instead of social media, I need to reach out to friends and family through conversations on the phone and visits to celebrate the gift of one another. Instead of looking to what I don’t have, I need to look around at what I do have and give thanks!

Each day is a new day. Each day I have the choice of who to listen to- the world or God. Today, I choose to listen to God. I choose to believe that I am enough. I choose to believe that I am a precious gift in His eyes. Who will you choose to listen to today? Blessings, Dawne Carver

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

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 – Lord, open our hearts and minds by the power of your Holy Spirit, that as the Scriptures are read and your Word is proclaimed, we may hear with joy what you say to us today. Amen

John 12:20-33

Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor. Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say–‘ Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”
He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.

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

Sermon

“For Goodness Sake”

Rev. Nicole C. Trotter

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

Good morning, St. Andrew. Before we begin I want to plug next Sunday’s Live Zoom Worship for Palm Sunday. There will be some surprises in store. It is a Zoom Worship – it’s different from coffee hour. It’s a time when we can all be together virtually, without masks and worship together. We’ll watch videos together, listen to music, you can sing from your homes, have your kids wave… it’s a time for us to all be together in one space. Please join us, if you can, next Sunday at 10:00am.

The other thing I wanted to say is that I am continuing with my backyard visits, phone calls and Zooms and I would love a chance to meet each and every one of you. Some of you have expressed concerns that you’re taking up my time, but this is an extremely important piece of my Call and I do want to get to know each and every one of you.

And then the third thing I want to say is a bit of a disclaimer for this Sunday’s sermon. When I wrote it, I really hadn’t thought about people who suffer from mental illness and depression. That’s a different sermon, it’s not this one. But I wanted to say that because it’s such a serious condition and I didn’t want to confuse what I was speaking about today with that.

So, with that in mind, please join me now in prayer…

And now may the words of my mouth and the meditations of all of our hearts be acceptable to you, O God, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.

This morning will wrap up our Lenten series Gifts of the Dark Woods. Next Sunday, Palm Sunday, will take on a shift in tone as we head into Holy Week. These past 4 weeks, we’ve explored different kinds of dark woods. Primarily we’ve been focused on events that happen to us, those dark woods we find ourselves in because of something outside of our control, a life changing event, like the death of a loved one, the illness we can’t cure, the chronic pain. We’ve also explored the dark woods of division, the one we are experiencing in our country, and the ways we separate ourselves from others through false identities. And we’ve looked at the dark woods as traveling through the wilderness of this pandemic year.

But there’s another kind of dark woods. An internal place that lives in our thoughts and the ways we talk to ourselves. There are endless ways we can enter into the dark woods of our own thoughts. There’s the darkness of comparison; I’m not as good at this as him or her, I don’t make as much money, I’m not as thin or as built as him or her, my house isn’t as nice, my children aren’t as well behaved. Then there’s the darkness of “should”; I should be doing this, I should be kinder, should be more loving, should be something other than I am. There’s the darkness of attempting to please others in order to insure one’s desired outcome; If I do this than they will do that, I’ll be liked, I feel safe, If I give them this or that, they will see me, value me. There’s the darkness of false pretense, the ways we exaggerate the truth to make ourselves look better in the eyes of others. And then there’s the one that’s quite familiar to so many of us; the belief system that tells us we’re not worthy, not worthy of grace, of love, of compliment, of praise.

This is the darkness of our thoughts, our minds. In the words of Anne Lamott, “My mind is like a dangerous neighborhood. I should never spend time there alone.”

Thoughts are made up of words and words have the power to create false narratives about ourselves and our lives. They aren’t real but we can convince ourselves they’re real when left unchecked and unaware.

Our reading this morning comes from the Gospel of John. Theologian Frederick Buechner says this about gospel writer John:

John was a poet, and he knew about words. He knew that all men and all women are mysteries known only to themselves until they speak a word that opens up the mystery. He knew that the words people speak have their life in them just as surely as they have their breath in them. He knew that the words people speak have dynamite in them and that a word may be all it takes to set somebody’s heart on fire or break it in two.

Words matter, they matter in the ways we speak to ourselves, and they matter in this morning’s Gospel.

Jesus Speaking to God says;

Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”

The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.”

Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine.

For your sake, not mine.

Those words are huge, and yet I could find almost nothing written about them. Jesus is essentially saying, God is bestowing the essence of God’s self upon me but not for me, but for you, for your sake….

It must be too much to take in- because in a few more verses, in the verse you didn’t hear, the crowd says, everything you described Jesus, is not what the law taught us.

And it’s as if they never heard Jesus say, that voice you heard was God speaking to me, but not for me, but for you…. Instead, it’s as if the crowd said…

Yes, but……

Yes, but-

How often do we do this? When someone tell us we’re good at something, compliments us in some way, expresses love in some way….

We respond with yes, but… but there’s this other thing that discounts that “good” thing.

That “good” thing that someone sees and recognizes in you is part of God’s creation. To counter it with a “Yes, but”, is to hand it back to the person who gave you this gift, saying no thank you.

Walter Brueggemann writes this in prayer- Deliver us from the shackles of “yes, but” and free us to sing songs of miracles. Open our hearts and minds to your creative word, which calls into being things that don’t yet exist and brings life that is extraordinary and new.” Amen (1)

The word that is creativity that brings life in John’s Gospel is Jesus himself. God’s glory and the glory of all creation lives in Him in John’s Gospel, and according to Jesus, not for his sake, but for ours. All for our sake….

The “yes, but” response to that love is, “yes, but not really for my sake. Maybe for the other guy; the one who is kinder, more patient, more loving.” We can walk through the motions of our faith, recite the prayers, hear the word, but to embody the Word…is to stop at yes.

In 1963, research psychologist Robert Rosenthal conducted an experiment that is still widely talked about today.

Late one night he crept into his research lab and hung signs on all the rat cages. Some signs said that the rat inside the cage was incredibly smart, while others said that the rat inside was incredibly dumb (even though neither of these things was true). “They were very average rats that you would buy from a research institute that sells rats for a living,” says Rosenthal.

Next, he brought a group of experimenters into his lab and assigned each of them to a rat. He told them that over the next week, their job was to run these rats — some of whom were very smart and some of whom were very stupid — through a maze and to record how well it does. The results were dramatic: The allegedly smart rats did almost twice as well as the “dumb” rats, even though they were all the same kind of albino lab rat.

At first, no one believed him. “I was having trouble publishing any of this,” says Rosenthal. But what he eventually figured out was that the expectations that the researchers had in their heads actually translated into a whole set of tiny behavior changes.

Their expectations subtly changed the way that the experimenters touched the rats and then, in turn, the way that the rats behaved. So, when the experimenters thought that the rats were really smart, they felt more warmly towards them and touched them more carefully…Subsequent research found that a similar dynamic can happen in people, too. (2)

And if that’s true for rats, and the way we treat others, how much more true is it for ourselves, with the words, thoughts and stories we tell ourselves are true about ourselves.

C.S. Lewis wrote, if you want to get warm, you must stand near the fire; if you want to get wet, you must get into the water. If you want joy, power, peace, eternal life, you must get close to, or even into, the thing that has them.”

We are baptized into all those things when we’re baptized into Christ. But we cannot embody any of those if we negate our own God given gifts by playing it small, putting ourselves down, or following yes, with but.

God created each day, using the word “good” for each part of God’s creation. And in John’s Gospel, the Word becomes flesh in Jesus.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

The words we use in our minds and thoughts are intended to be a reflection of the God created goodness bestowed upon us at birth. The light we shine onto others is intended to be the light of all humanity. We cannot shine that light onto others until we accept that that same light lives within us, for the sake of all God’s good creation. For goodness sake.

If we really want to serve God and I believe we do, then begin by recognizing all the ways we say yes, but, and for goodness sake, for the sake of Christ and all that is good in God’s creation, simply say….yes.

Say yes. Can you say yes to that which God has planted deep inside of you, can you say yes to the outpouring of love upon you by a God who glorifies Christ for your sake? Can you come to the cross during holy week, and allow all the ways you say “but” die upon a cross as a way to say yes to the resurrection of new thoughts, new life, which is good.

Letting the old ways die, and finding new ways of being takes time and practice, God knows, I know. Each of us will find ways to practice this when our thoughts take us into the dangerous neighborhood of our own minds. I can share my favorite with you. I imagine my daughter. I imagine what I would say to her, which always sounds quite different than what I would say to myself. And I imagine Jesus, who says:

“Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.”

For goodness sake. Amen

_____________________

(1) Brueggemann, A Way Other Than Our Own

(2) https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/09/07/644530036/watch-can-you-affect-another-persons-behavior-with-your-thoughts

Special Music

“You Say” – by Lauren Daigle

Licensed to YouTube by: WMG (on behalf of Centricity Music/12Tone); Adorando Brazil, SOLAR Music Rights Management, Essential Music Publishing, CMRRA, LatinAutor – UMPG, Adorando Publishing, LatinAutorPerf, LatinAutor – SonyATV, Capitol CMG Publishing, CAIOS Co Ltd, UMPI, Sony ATV Publishing, and 13 Music Rights Societies

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.

Prayer of Wholeness and Healing

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

Pastoral Prayer – Written by Thom M. Shuman
The Lord’s Prayer

In these uncertain times
of empty moments and foggy brains,
we are reminded that you forget
more than we will ever remember,
you forgive so much more
than we are capable of messing up,
you crack open our hardened hearts
to write your name on them.
Redeemer of all,
we praise you.

In the blazing heat
of a summer filled
with empty backyards
you cooled us
with the shade of life.
In the fall of our fears,
when worries knocked on doors,
yelling, ‘trick or treat!’
you kept us safe by your side.
In the winter of our despair,
you gathered us into
the warmth of your heart.
And now, in the spring of hope,
you plant those seeds of life and grace.
Jesus of the tears,
we praise you.

When we were afraid
to even venture outside,
you stayed at our side.
When we took those tentative walks
around our neighborhoods,
you held our hands.
When we stared at the ceiling
on those long, lonely nights,
you would point to your watch
and remind us that the hour
was coming, and waited with us.
Generous Spirit,
we praise you.

God in Community, Holy in One,
we open our mouths to sing your praise,
even as we pray as we have been taught, 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

Closing Song

“We Glorify Your Name” – by Hillsong Worship

Licensed to YouTube by: Hillsong (on behalf of Hillsong Music and Resources LLC); Adorando Brazil, Canzion Group (Publishing), ASCAP, UNIAO BRASILEIRA DE EDITORAS DE MUSICA – UBEM, SOLAR Music Rights Management, Essential Music Publishing, LatinAutor – UMPG, LatinAutorPerf, Capitol CMG Publishing, LatinAutor – SonyATV, BMI – Broadcast Music Inc., and 12 Music Rights Societies

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