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, March 7 – 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 7, 2021

Gifts of the Dark Woods

“Temple Thinking”
Rev. Nicole C. Trotter

Welcome to this “virtual” worship service for Sunday, March 7, 2021

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

Call to Worship

Call to Worship – By Thom M. Shuman

The morning stars profess God’s glory:
the waking birds harmonize a refrain of grace.
The sun warms us with God’s hope,
the night sky whispers peace to our sleepy souls:
creation’s voice echoes continually in our hearts,
reminding us of God’s steadfast love.
Our wisdom is shattered by God’s absurd love;
God’s vulnerability strengthens our feeble faith:
God’s words place joy in our hearts;
we follow them to peace and hope.

Opening Video Reflection

“Mourning by Morning” As we continue to travel through the Dark Woods this Lenten Season, we are reminded of the ways in which mourning leads to morning. We become and rebirth through the God who carries us through.

The Work of the People – Shellee Layne Coley

Opening Song

“Come to Me” Based on Matthew 11:28. Come to Me is a good song to sing aloud to at home. It’s easy to learn, the lyrics are on the screen and it repeats often. I promise it will be stuck in your head all day, which is a good thing.

Come to Me” by Christopher Grundy – Licensed to YouTube by: CD Baby; Sony ATV Publishing, CD Baby Pro (Publishing), ASCAP, and 3 Music Rights Societies – CCLI #885509

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 7th:

Preschool Bottom Line for the week of March 7th:

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 7th:

Grades K-5 Bottom Line for the week of March 7th:

Message for Youth

During Lent, we are on a journey. A journey of sacrifice, discipline and obedience. And last weekend the youth and I experienced just that. Last weekend, the youth group successfully did a 30 hour juice fast. In our own homes! We willingly gave up food Friday and Saturday. We learned about the impact of hunger and what children and their families live with all over the world. We also learned more about us. 

This fast was the hardest one that I’ve been a part of. I expected challenges because we were fasting in our own homes. I just didn’t think the challenges would be that hard. This year, I was fasting while living life as normal. I quickly learned that being together with each other at the church, not surrounded by people that are not fasting, makes the experience so much easier. I’m not smelling foods that my son and husband are preparing and eating. (My husband did try not to eat food in front of me). I’m not watching someone else eat, while I’m hungry and knowing I still have seven hours before the fast is over. I’m not distracted by the games and conversations with one another. I also realized how being hungry plays on my emotions and how I over react to everyday situations. That tasks seem to take longer or seem harder than they actually are. Doing the fast surrounded by people not fasting definitely tested me. A lot.

When we gathered last Sunday, after getting to eat and getting a good night sleep, we had the chance to reflect on what we learned. It wasn’t about statistics or new knowledge. It was introspective. Here’s what was shared: Being grateful- grateful for what we have and the resources we have. Food, easy access to water, a roof over our head and our own space. Even though feeling physically weak, we were feeling stronger spiritually. A feeling of accomplishment at the will power to give up food and not eat, even as the families were eating around us. Feeling good about our accomplishment. Wanting to sacrifice, to give up, not just food but other things, more often. That giving up and sacrificing things humbles us. How much I can eat and still have food leftover when so many don’t have enough to eat. Realizing that we are part of a bigger family- God’s family, and that we can help our “brothers and sisters” who are in need, even if it feels like we are only helping a little. To remember the feelings of being cranky, tired and frustrated so we may have empathy with those who are hungry and struggling.

This year, during the St Andrew Youth Fast, we were blessed. Blessed by our families. Blessed by the support from people who donated and prayed for us. We not only reached our goal of $2,000 in donations, but collected $3,000+! We are blessed by our overwhelming gratefulness and seeing what blessings we have in our lives. Blessed by remembering that we are part of a bigger family, a bigger story. That God takes what we give and will multiply it for His Glory. That in sacrificing, we are actually being blessed by opening our hearts to those around us near and far. And that we are stronger than we thought. Because of God. Through our journey of sacrifice and discipline, I’m reminded once again to love one another.

“Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but actions and in truth.”
1 John 3:18

“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.”
Hebrews 10:24

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 followed by the Lord’s Prayer

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

Creator of all Life, we come to you this Lenten season seeking to see, with new eyes, the love you so graciously offer to us. And yet like those exchanging money in the temple, we all too often lose sight of what is most important; life itself. And when you restore us to sanity and reset our priorities, we will discover that there are those who will call us foolish for caring, foolish for giving, foolish for looking beyond our own self interests. If that is true, then call us fools for love. We follow the One who served, who cared, who stood up to injustice and overturned tables. Help us to turn over our will to You as we continue to follow the One who taught us to pray together 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

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 image below to see and hear Rev. Nicole Trotter offer this morning’s Scripture Readings 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


1 Corinthians 1:18-25

For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.

John 2:13-22

The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” The Jews then said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking of the temple of his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.

This is the Word of God, for the People of God, Thanks be to God

Sermon

“Temple Thinking”
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. I’m recording from a different place this morning to try and alleviate some of the noise in my house and I was thinking that maybe I will try recording from the sanctuary one of these days. We make do where we can.

I want to again thank you all for all of your invitations to come to your yards and phone calls and Zooms and I’m going to extend that time indefinitely. So if you’d like to meet with me, I’d like to meet with you.

And now please join me in prayer…

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.

In his Lenten devotions titled, A Way Other Than Our Own, theologian Walter Bruggemann says this about the gospel reading you just heard:

The Gospel of John likes to play tricks. For temple, think Jesus. For destroyed temples think Friday crucifixion. For rebuilt temple think Easter resurrection. So think of temple as the symbolic center of your life, as the place where you’re met by the goodness and the holiness of God, where you draw fresh on the core purpose of your life, where you get some clarity about who you are and what your life amounts to and how you will be remembered. And then think of duties and disciplines that belong to becoming fully whom you are called by God to be. 

And then imagine, what if we are in the wrong temple, imagining our life in misguided ways and committed in the wrong directions? What if we are thinking temple-mall, theatre, market, indulgence? 

By the time John was writing, the resurrected Christ is understood as living among the people, God is no longer separated from us but with us, and temple thinking, is to embody the way of Christ so that every facet of our lives expresses that way of life.

I would add to Bruggemann’s list of wrong temple thinking to include: apathy, boredom, indifference, complacency, defensiveness, and fragility.

True temple thinking, then, includes taking steps to change the status quo, to stand up to injustice, to overturn the tables and change systems of inequity so that all God’s people have access to basic human needs of food, shelter and healthcare.

True temple thinking, when put into action, may evoke feelings of anger for those who don’t see it the way you see it. And it may cause others to be angry at you.

We don’t talk much about anger in the church, and yet the prophets knew all too well what it meant to be righteously angry in the face of injustice.

Jesus is angry enough to “make a whip of cords, drive all of them out of the temple, pour out the coins of the money changers and overturn their tables.”

That’s my kind of guy. Not because he was capable of anger, but because it was the right kind of anger. The right kind of anger is anchored in the righteousness of God. Righteous anger doesn’t harden the heart, but breaks it free from bitterness. Righteous anger doesn’t turn away in silence but enters into discussion with hope for change. And perhaps most of all, righteous anger remembers that it’s born from love; love for God and love for others. 

Author Cole Arthur Riley @Blackliturgies writes this as if speaking to God:

“We fear that to allow for anger is to become less like you. Let us meet the God of the prophets. For you tell the truth. You hold fury at injustice. You, in embodied anger, flipped the temple tables. 
Rejecting that anger which leads to bitterness or hatred of another, yet tapping into a righteous rage when that which you’ve created is under abuse and neglect. The dignity of creation demands our emotions. Make ours a beautiful rage.”
— from Cole Arthur Riley, @blackliturgies, on July 29, 2020

This past week I had the pleasure of speaking on the local radio station as part of the SVIMA (Sonoma Valley Interfaith Ministerial Association). I was asked to choose a topic, so being the new kid on the block, I chose “Seeing through a new set of eyes”. I listed many ways we can do this in our lives but I saved what I understand to be most important for last on my list of seeing through a new set of eyes. The last on my list was being able to see the “other” as though you’re seeing through their eyes. Being able to build up the muscle of empathy and ask, “What is it like to walk in their shoes, to be them, to be like them?” That’s a question I imagine Jesus lived by as the Incarnate One. The One who God sent down to be one of us, and to transcend our limitations, to have asked himself “What must it be like to them, and them, and them?”

We can’t help boxing people into groups of self and others. There’s now a verb for this called “othering.” We all do this. We can’t escape it. At some point in our lives we were taught to think of ourselves as one kind and others as, well, other. For myself, this happened when I received the message that there were those who looked good and those who looked cheap. Especially girls. We shopped for clothes at Lord and Taylor and Sax. I’m not sure we could afford them, but somewhere along the way the message was you shouldn’t look cheap even if you couldn’t afford them. This must be especially funny for those of you who have had me into your backyards and I showed up in sweatpants and sweatshirt. 

But there’s another kind of othering. One that wasn’t necessarily taught within the family, but by the society in which we were raised. And that’s a kind of “othering” that is the most difficult cycle to break, because so much of the way we do it we’re not even aware of. Movements in this country are raising our awareness and consciousness is being raised, but so too are peoples’ sense of righteous anger. So perhaps the real question is, “What do you do when the other is the one who makes you angry?”

Can I still attempt to build empathy for the one who angers me? Can I try to see through the eyes of the one who angers me? Can I ask what is it they must see? My experience tells me it’s usually fear, which allows me to look in the mirror and ask where the fear in my own life is keeping me blind to systems that I benefit from as a white, educated, privileged woman in this country? 

Who and what angers you? And is your anger rooted in love and in the face of injustice on behalf of a Christ whose way is your way? Is it a righteous rage when that which God has created is under abuse and neglect? Or is a self righteous rage because the privilege you’ve benefitted from for so long now feels threatened? 

And if you’re like me, you are capable of both. And the more we can admit that, the more God can do what God does, which for me, often looks like your 21 one year old daughter who is studying race and ethnic studies educating you as to why you’re wrong. And I’m grateful to her for that. 

Would you help us to become faithful discerners of when to calm and when to rouse?

At the age of 22, long before I knew this passage, or if I had known it, I had consciously forgotten it, I was living in Brooklyn and would spend long days in Manhattan auditioning. The appointments were usually spread out over the course of the day. Too close together to travel all the way back to Brooklyn, so I would kill time in bookstores, fancy department stores and churches. But soon after my grandmother had died, I found I only wanted to sit in churches. I’d enter in, usually with three or four others sitting at a distance into these large cathedral-like churches and find my way over to the Mary statue, because my grandmother loved Mary. Each time, I felt a warmth, a calm come over me. The same warmth and calm I would feel when she hugged me in her large soft arms. Or the sound of her voice that would end every phone call with; “All the best now. Good luck, Grandma wishes you all the best,” she would say.

But on one particular day, after a rough day working as a waitress, in the middle of an eating disorder, and miserable with the life I had chosen, I went into a cathedral looking for the warmth and calm I had grown accustomed to. Instead, all I could hear were the voices of tourists, and the bells of a cash register, and money being exchanged. I remember feeling annoyed, to the point of anger, not in the same noble way Jesus was feeling in this morning’s scripture, but because they had messed up my calm.

I walked out in a huff. It was hot and humid and the subway tracks smelled like urine. I got on the train and it was packed. I found a seat and took out a book. But at the next stop an elderly woman got on and no one was getting up for her. Annoyed at the rudeness of others, I stood up and gave her my seat. I stood over her. I held up my book. She spoke a few words to me. I don’t remember much. But apparently I spoke enough words back to her, because as my stop approached and I got ready to exit the doors, she said, “All the best to you, good luck, all the best.”

The doors closed and it wasn’t until the train was well on its way that I stopped in my tracks to stare back at the train now disappearing from my vision, when I realized what had just been said. I can’t tell you how to make sense of that story. Each of us will understand it differently. But I can say, that I no longer had to enter into a church to experience her love. From that day on, I understood her love as surrounding me and available to me whenever I needed, and no cash register, no obstacle could separate me from that love.

I don’t claim to understand how God works. But I can’t help but wonder if my anger and annoyance didn’t act as a vehicle towards a new understanding of the accessibility of God’s love which lives in the subway as much as it lives in the temple or church.

As we continue our Lenten series “Out of the Dark Woods” let us remember that to feel angry at injustice or even at the circumstances of our own lives is not rejected by God when it’s rooted in a desire to love. God can hold our anger and our passion as vehicles towards change.

We all move between living in the wrong temple and the true temple. Christ, is the Holy temple, the Holy center of our lives, not confined to a sanctuary, even one as beautiful as ours, nor is it confined to our own bodies. The temple body of Christ lives among us, connecting us to one another, so there is no longer us and them, self and other, but one, in communion with all. Amen.

Closing Song

“Rise Up” – Whether we rise up for one another or in the face of injustice we rise up for Christ alone. We rise up for the One who is risen by God, who loves and calls on us all to rise up.

Rise Up” by Andra Day, Cassandra Batie, and Jenn Decilvio – Performed by Urban Voices Collective (Virtual Choir) – CCLI #885509

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