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, May 30 – 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 – MAY 30, 2021

“Holy Vulnerability”
John 3:1-8
Rev. Nicole C. Trotter

Welcome to this “virtual” worship service for Sunday, May 30, 2021
Many thanks for technical assistance / contributions from Ron Moser, Amy Cox, Rev. Nicole Trotter, Ricky Bolanos, Tracy Walthard, Kelsey Walthard, and Dawne Carver.

Opening Hymn

“How Great Thou Art” – Music by Stuart Hine, arranged by Lloyd Larson. Recorded live by the at St. Francis De Sales Catholic Church in Ajax, Ontario, Canada

Memorial Day Prayer and Video

Memorial Day: Remembrance – SkitGuys.com

Opening Prayer and The Lord’s Prayer

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

Prayer of the Day, by Thom M. Shuman

You bind us to yourself
this day, God of seraphim and sinners.
You reach out to draw us ever closer,
that we might feel the brush
of your grace soft upon us,
that we might feel the healing touch
of your compassion resting gently within us.

You bind us to yourself
this day, Heir of Glory and Grace.
You keep us by your side,
that we might walk with you
through the streets of the kingdom,
bringing hope to the despairing,
offering consolation to the brokenhearted,
sharing love with those tossed aside by the world.

You bind us to yourself
this day, Spirit of Justice.
You fill our hearts with living water
that they might overflow to parched people,
you teach us how to give ourselves away,
so we might take on the burdens of others.
We bind ourselves to you this day,
God in Community, Holy in One,
even as we pray the words Jesus has taught us,

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 & Sunday School

Click the arrow to watch Ricky Bolanos present Discovery Time:

Our Sunday School Lessons for today are as follows:

PRESCHOOL LESSON:

Preschool Memory Verse for May:

Click the arrow below to watch the Sunday School video for our Preschool children for Sunday, May 30th:

Preschool Bottom Line for the week of May 30th:

GRADES K-5 LESSON:

Grades K-5 Memory Verse for May:

Click the arrow below to watch the Sunday School video for our Kindergarten – 5th Grade children for Sunday, May 30th:

Grades K-5 Bottom Line for the week of May 30th:

Message for Youth

I have a Post-it note that says “Get physically fit and spiritually fit”. It got me thinking- it’s a great, catchy phrase, but what does it mean to be spiritually fit? And what are the steps to get fit, both physically and spiritually?

Let’s start with the most common one. Wikipedia describes physically fit as a measure of the body’s ability to function effectively and efficiently in work and leisure activities, to be healthy, resistance to disease and to meet emergency situations.

We talk a lot about being physically fit. Whether for health reasons, to feel better, or about how we look, we often exchange ideas and strategies for what we know works. We spend time looking up ways we can be healthier, to be stronger. Things like exercising every day, eating the right foods, getting enough sleep, and going to the doctor for annual physicals. Yet, I have found there is more to being physically fit. When researching and talking with others about how to get physically fit, a few more things came up. Important things like warming up and stretching each day, staying hydrated, practicing mindfulness (meditation), having a support network of friends and family, and making time to de-‘stress through yoga, curling up with a good book or going to a park. I’ve even had talks about journaling and staying positive with an exercise partner. Let’s face it, it’s hard to get into a good routine to stay physically fit. Yet, we know through research and our own experience how important it is.

Now let’s talk about spiritual fitness. The definition of spiritual fitness is the belief and practices that strengthen one’s connectedness with sources of hope, meaning, and purpose; it is critical to developing overall wellness. The Military defines it as development of personal qualities needed to sustain a person in times of stress, hardship, and tragedy. 1 Timothy 4:7b-9 explains why we need spiritual fitness: “Exercise daily with God-not spiritual flabbiness please! Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so (useful), making you fit both today and tomorrow.” (The Message)

We don’t talk a lot about spiritual fitness. At least, I don’t hear conversations about it and I don’t see ads on media. So …how do we get spiritually fit? Here’s what I have gathered:

Pray regularly. When we pray, we are connecting to God, to someone outside of ourselves and we are expressing hope and positivity that we are not alone.

Read the Bible daily. God loves us and has given us a way to live. Not to suppress us but to protect and guide us. A way to grow in love.
Go to church/youth group. When we are together, hearing God’s word, singing songs and sharing in our joys and concerns, we are part of something more than just ourselves. We are a part of God’s family.

Serve others. When we give our time and energy to serve others, we are blessed in return. We feel better, our attitude improves, we grow in fellowship and sometimes we learn that we are stronger together.

Journal each day. Write down your blessings and your prayers. Tell God your dreams and your concerns. Write down the song that spoke to you, a verse that made you think, or something that made you laugh. When we put down our words on paper, it helps us to learn more about who we are and the things that motivate us.

Practice forgiveness. When I forgive, whether it’s someone else or myself, I’m giving myself freedom from anger, bitterness and resentment. I’m allowing more space for love and compassion.

Meditate. When you and I take time to meditate, we are cultivating clarity and peace.

Find a mentor or “spiritual” trainer to help motivate, strengthen and remind you of your path.

Practice grace and mercy. We are not perfect. We all mess up. When we give grace and mercy to others and ourselves, we are practicing how to love one another.

This list may seem overwhelming at first. Yet, if we spend 30 minutes each day to pray, read the Bible, meditate and journal, we’ve completed almost half of the list!

I realize that my catchy phrase is actually an important phrase. I do need to get physically fit and spiritually fit. Yet as much as being physically fit is important, being spiritually fit is more important. Life is not always easy and I want to be able to get through the hardships. Being fit, whether physically or spiritually, requires discipline and commitment. My list is just a starting point. Ask God to help you to get physically, and more importantly spiritually fit today. He will be there to help strengthen you, to guide you and to help to become the best you can be. 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 – 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 3:1-8

Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews.
He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.” Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

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

Sermon

“Holy Vulnerability”

Rev. Nicole Trotter

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

Preachers love to tell about a little girl who is drawing feverishly with all her crayons. When her Sunday School teacher asks her what she’s drawing she says, “I’m drawing a picture of God.” Her teacher says, “But sweetheart, no one knows what God looks like.” To which she replied, “They will when I’m finished.” I can’t promise you’ll understand the Trinity when I’m finished with this sermon, but I can say that I’ve enjoyed drawing a picture with my own set of crayons.

Please join me 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. (Psalm 19:14)

Today is Trinity Sunday. It’s not a biblical event. The only mention we have in the New Testament comes from Matthew’s Gospel, what we call The Great Commission, to baptize in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

The Trinity is a Christian doctrine. It’s not easily explained, and most Pastors I know tend to skip it, or hand it over to their associate to preach on, but Tracy preached last Sunday, so here I am. The Trinitarian doctrine has a long history. The hymn that comes at the end of our service, Holy Holy Holy, dates to the early 1800’s. We sing “God in three persons blessed trinity”. But to understand this idea of God in three persons, we can go back much further to Saint Augustine.

“In the fifth century Augustine tried to explain how God could be the Creator of all that is, be present in Jesus, and also a presence with us now, and still be one God. His answer was God is in three persons. Here’s the source of confusion; in English ‘person’ is a single individual, in Latin (Augustine’s language) ‘persona’ is a mask that enabled the same actor to play different roles.” (1)

Now that I can relate to. Having been an actor and having known a lot of actors, I can say with confidence that most actors are attracted to playing different roles because they have no idea who they really are, which is not entirely a bad thing. At the heart of acting is a desire for connection. Actors, with practice, become like a chameleon in whatever setting they’re thrown into, trying on the persona of the person they’re with, attempting to know them and connect with them, by trying them on for size. It’s a wonderful practice, one that builds empathy and compassion. It’s a practice that builds relationship. And if the Trinity is about anything, it’s about relationship. God loves us and perhaps wants nothing more than to be in relationship with us, so much so, that God said, if I’m not enough, I’ll send myself as one of my creation, taking on the persona of human beings, and if that’s not enough, I’ll send myself in the form of things unseen and unheard, in Spirit, inspiring and connecting all of creation.

At the heart of the Trinity, is a desire for connection. We’re born with the same desire. And so we enter into the practice of relationship. And as beautiful as this practice of assuming the persona of another is, there’s a shadow side. For all gifts, there’s a shadow side. When our desire for connection turns instead into a desire for approval, then connection risks becoming transactional rather than relational.

Transactional thinking sounds like this- If I do this, then you will do that. If I become more like you, than you’ll like me, accept me. This works professionally as well. If I network with this or that person, I’ll advance my career, my status, I’ll move up in the world.

Transactional thinking also lives in theology- If I live right, God will bless me, if I say and do the right things, God will love me. If I serve my church than the people of the church will value me.

I’m happy to remind us all that the reformers traded in transactional theology for free grace. We, as part of the reformed tradition, understand God’s love as given without merit. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have a responsibility as receivers of that grace.

Jim Burklo, Senior Associate Dean of Religious and Spiritual life at USC wrote about transactional living in his weekly column. He spoke about a college student who was grieving the death of her friend who had committed suicide.

“I thought I knew her,” the friend cried, “On Facebook, her life was perfect. I didn’t know she was suffering. I thought we were close, but….”

Burklo writes: “Very many relationships on campus – and in the wider world – are transactional. I hang out with you because doing so can help me get ahead. And vice versa. What is sacrificed at the altar of transactional relationships? Vulnerability. You don’t want folks to see the twists and turns of your life that might un-burnish your reputation. But without vulnerability, there’s no real friendship. And if we curate away from view our failures and foibles and flaws, we starve ourselves and others of love. Because love is attention. It is attentively seeing and sharing what is, as it is – not what we want it to be, or think it ought to be. Love is letting our kinks give us an authentic character that makes us believable, and that inspires vulnerability in others.”

If we believe in the unearned grace of God, then part of our responsibility lives in our ability to live vulnerably- so that our relationships reflect the vulnerability of a God who created us for connection.

In our Gospel reading this morning, is a spiritual leader by the name of Nicodemus. Nicodemus holds a highly regarded position and over time we witness his willingness to risk his authority as a teacher in exchange for something deeper.

This same man who enters the story in a spiritual darkness, later on in John’s Gospel defends Jesus in front of the Sanhedrin and eventually anoints Jesus’s body at his burial. His journey is our journey. We assume roles and personas and identities. We carry our ideas of who we are only to find that when we let go, allowing ourselves to be vulnerable to God and one another, we discover our ultimate identity in Christ.

We are works in progress. We grow…we become…we are born again and again. We grow in curiosity, asking, “Am I allowing myself to be born again from above, letting go of my ideas of who I am, mother teacher, preacher….in exchange for my ultimate identity as a child of God, longing for connection, allowing for vulnerability?”

If the Trinity is about relationship and connection, then so is the church we are baptized into. We have a tendency to assume our best persona when we enter those doors. We dress well, we tell everyone we’re fine, we smile, we’re polite. So, this morning when we hear the hymn, Holy, Holy, Holy– let us be reminded of the holiness of being vulnerable to all the ways we need God and one another.

When we allow someone to really see us, we don’t just know about one another, we become a part of one another.

Finally, I’d like to leave you with a story told by Reverend Nanette Sawyer. Reverend Sawyer is Pastor now, but tells a story about the time she was a congregant at her Presbyterian church. The church was reaffirming their baptisms and her Pastor at the time had asked the congregation to talk with people who were present at their own baptisms to tell them about it. So she called her mom. Her mother paused for what felt like a long time. “I don’t think you were baptized” she said. Nanette asked her mom to check with her dad. “No” she said. She had not been baptized. She was now 37. So she decided to be baptized on the evening before Easter as she read this was an old tradition.

She studied all through Lent about different traditions. She considered full immersion, but this was a Presbyterian church after all, so she settled for a pitcher of water. She bought a kiddie pool to fit in the front of the sanctuary. She bought a cloth the same burgundy color as the carpet to drape over it.

When it came time she knelt down into the pool. First came one splash for Creator. The water trickled down around her ears and face. Then came one splash for the beloved son. The water started to move down onto her clothes. There was still a lot of water left in the pitcher. And the one splash for the Holy Spirit turned into one long pouring of water. She felt surprised, and out of control, as the water gushed over her face into her mouth flattening out her hair and soaking her shoulders. And for a split second, with water in her mouth and some in her nose, she felt as though she couldn’t breathe and for short moment she panicked. But then the water stopped. She wiped her face with a towel and took a breath.

Then, as was the tradition in her church, anyone who was old enough to sing at his or her own baptism, she began to sing “I have decided to follow Jesus”. She continues “As I looked out at the faces of those who had loved me and welcomed me to this moment, I knew I was being embraced into community. Not only into this community, but also into a larger community of faith, one that stretched back into history and into the future.” She continues her story and describes looking up toward the vaulted ceiling of the church and thinking of the openness and immensity of God. She was so overwhelmed by the magnitude of what was happening that her voice began to shake and crack as she tried to sing. “I have decided…” she could barely get the words out.

But her congregation was right there. And as her voice grew weak, the people began to hum. Their voices came in under her and grew louder, and as she gave into her tears they began to put words to her crying. “We have decided to follow Jesus, we have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back no turning back”.

She writes; “They sang for me when I couldn’t sing. They sang for me when I felt overwhelmed by my own smallness and the vastness of God. They sang when the sense of aloneness was broken in the midst of their communal presence. They sang while I healed, and after a while, I could sing again. That is what we do for each other. That is what it means to be the body of Christ and baptized into to the Holy Spirit of a creator God. We sing for each other.”(2)

We sing until the lines of other and self become so blurred, we become one. We sing as one voice, for one God, who gives us the ancient mystic blessing of the Trinity.

——————————————-

(1) Reverend Mark Trotter 

(2) Nannette Sawyer, Christian Century

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

“Holy, Holy, Holy” – By Reginald Heber (1826)‎, performed by Audrey Assad

Licensed to YouTube by TuneCore (on behalf of Fortunate Fall Records); Music Services, Inc. (Publishing), BMI – Broadcast Music Inc., LatinAutorPerf, LatinAutor – SonyATV, LatinAutor, Abramus Digital, UNIAO BRASILEIRA DE EDITORAS DE MUSICA – UBEM, LatinAutor – UMPG, and 8 Music Rights Societies

We welcome your comments / feedback

about today’s worship service.

FOLLOW THIS LINK to share your thoughts with staff!