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 9 – 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 9, 2021

“Sacred Heart”
John 15:9-17
Rev. Nicole C. Trotter

Welcome to this “virtual” worship service for Sunday, May 9, 2021
Many thanks for technical assistance / contributions from Ron Moser, Rev. Nicole Trotter, Amy Cox, Tracy Walthard, Kelsey Walthard, and Dawne Carver.

Opening Song

“The Gift of Love” – arranged by Hal Hopson

“The Gift of Love”, Written by Hal Hopson, sung by the Sheltering-In Choir for Virtual Worship at FPC Downey. Remote contributions from: Rebecca King Sommer, soprano; Julmina Elizabeth Marcelo, alto; Marius Evangelista, tenor; Norm Evangelista, bass and GarageBand.

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 May:

Click the arrow below to watch the Sunday School video for our Preschool children for Sunday, May 9th:

Preschool Bottom Line for the week of May 9th:

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 9th:

Grades K-5 Bottom Line for the week of May 9th:

Message for Youth

Who are the “moms” in your life? Those people who love you, listen to you, pray for you (sometimes all day long!), welcome you, celebrate you, and hold you accountable through this crazy journey called life.

Today is Mother’s Day. A day to celebrate, to recognize your mom. A day to pamper her and let her know that you love her. For some people, this is a day filled with cards, a special meal and gifts. For other people, it’s a hard day filled with painful memories. For some people, it’s not a thing at all, as there is no mom in their life. And that got me thinking. Everyone has a “mom” of some sort in their life. A “mom” to love and to celebrate. So who are the moms in your life?

I have a few moms. I have my mom who raised me. My mom has been gone for 8 years now. I miss her so much. She was my go-to person. I am so thankful for the love, patience, and guidance she gave me. She taught me to dream big, the love of gardening and reading, and that words are powerful so choose them with care. I have my biological mom. I never met her. Yet I’ve learned that I have some of her mannerisms and I am thankful for her strength in giving me up for adoption.

I have my mother-in-law. She has become one of my best friends. She is my prayer partner, taught me the importance of faith and she’s fun to go out with. I also have Betty. When my mom died, she said she would be there as my mom. She keeps me laughing, sends me sweet emails and always has a mint for me.

There are the “moms” who I rarely get to see, but I always know they are there to fill me with peace. And there are those who have come and gone. They are not in my life anymore, but they are not forgotten, as they have also taught me about what it means to love, have compassion, and be the best I can be.

Today, I get to celebrate the moms in my life. All of them. To say thank you for being a guiding part in my life. To say a toast, send a text, add a plant in the garden, prepare one of their favorite dishes and look through pictures. To recognize the importance of each of them in my life. Who are the “moms” in your life? Take time today to celebrate them, to honor them and to thank God for their love, guidance and presence in your life. 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.

Prayer for Healing and Wholeness

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

Creator of all children, we are born from mothers, and this is the day we celebrate mothers in our lives. For some, this is a glorious celebration, with joy filled hearts. For others, this day is a sad day, remembering mothers who are no longer in our lives, either by choice or chance or the natural end of life. For those feeling the weight of sadness, our hearts hold a space for sadness alongside theirs. For others still, those who have lost children, or have never been able to have children, this day may bring grief’s grip on broken hearts. Our hearts break with theirs, with compassion. Your son Jesus calls on us to love one another as He loved us, and so we do, this day, not because we are commanded to do so, but because our hearts have been touched by You, Your Son and the Spirit. You give us sacred hearts because of Your love which birthed us. With love we give You thanks for our ability to walk alongside our friends, in love, with joy, with tears and with compassion on this day and always.

God in Community, Holy in One, as we pray as 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

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

“Love One Another” – John 15:9-17- Scripture in visual Liturgy

“Love One Another” www.theworkofthepeople.com

John 15:9-17

As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

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

Sermon

“Sacred Heart”

Rev. Nicole C. Trotter

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

There’s a well known sentiment that states, “You never really know someone until you’ve heard their whole story.” But I have a friend who prefers to say, “You never really know someone until you’ve met their mother.” Then there’s the tee shirt that says, “If it’s not one thing, it’s your mother.”

When my kids were little and used to complain I was unfair I would remind them they could bring it up in therapy when they were 24.

All of this is to say that our relationships with mothers are quite complicated. Even when they are as good as it gets, it can still be wonderfully complex.

Today, in the secular world, is the day that Mothers are celebrated. And traditionally, churches have done things to honor the day. And for those who are celebrating today, we want to wish you a day filled with gratitude and joy.

But as I said in my weekly email, gratitude, even as I carry it wholeheartedly, also leads to compassion as my heart drifts into profound sadness for my friends who have lost children, friends who have never been able to have a child, friends who are estranged from their children or their parents. 

And that’s why the Worship Committee at St. Andrew decided that it would be more beneficial to explore the love of God as given to us through the divine feminine.

Feminine is a tricky word. If we played a word association game, and I said feminine, you might say, floral, pink, delicate, sweet, soft. But feminine, as I’ve experienced it and through the women I know, is also fierce, strong, powerful, earthy, protective, and life bearing.

Often we begin prayers with Heavenly Father. When you ask children to draw a picture of what God looks like, they will often, without ever being taught this, draw an old man, with a white beard on a throne. It’s embedded in our culture. And even if we’re able to move beyond gender when thinking of God, we know Jesus was male. So if you’re thinking about the Trinity, we have God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit, which leads some people to ascribe the female pronoun to the Holy Spirit referring to the Spirit as She.

Others argue that we should expand the Trinity to a Quadrinity so that we can include Sophia or Wisdom, who in Proverbs claims to be by God’s side at creation, before the earth was formed…

Wisdom says-
I was like a child (or a master worker) by his side. I was delighted every day, enjoying his presence all the time, enjoying the whole world, and delighted with all its people. (Proverbs 8: 30,31)

Others, like myself, look to Mary, the mother of Jesus when I feel the need to be in touch with the feminine, and through her, who I understand as the mother of us all, I find enormous comfort.

And others point to scripture and other descriptions of God as feminine or mother… too many to list them all but here’s a few….

Genesis- God created both male and female in God’s image….making God both father and mother.

The Prophet Hosea-describes God as a mother bear.

Deuteronomy describes God as a mother eagle and later it is God who gives birth to us.

Isaiah depicts God as a comforting mother and a nursing mother and even as a woman in labor.

And in Matthew and Luke, Jesus likens himself to a mother hen.

I could have chosen any of these scriptures for this morning’s focus, but I stayed with the lectionary because of Jesus’s command to love one another as friends. He doesn’t say that exactly, but He does command us to love one another as He has loved us and then tells us He’s called us His friends.

Friends can be mother, father, male or female, or any other combination you can think of. And as friends, We abide in his love as he has loved us…says Jesus…

No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
 
There are those in our life that qualify as our mothers, not through birth, but because of their hearts. They’re the ones we call when we’re in pain and in need of comfort, because whether female or male, they’re strong enough to hold our tears, carry our sorrow, anger, confusion and every other emotion known to God and love us through. They are the ones in whom we can abide as Jesus calls on us to do, as we abide in his love (vs 9,10). They are the ones we call friends.

I’ve been blessed with many good friends in my life. And when one of them is hurting and they reach out I find myself calling them sweetheart. Some of you may roll your eyes at that term of endearment, and truth be told, I’m not sure why I’ve landed on the term sweetheart over other terms of endearment…. but when the person in front me, friend or stranger falls apart with a broken heart, it feels natural to use a term that mentions their heart, because at the end of the day, it’s about heart speaking to heart and words are generally superfluous. Whether a heart is filled with joy or deeply broken, all hearts are sacred at their core. Created in the image of God, our ability to see Christ in the other, in that sacred place of the heart, is what it means to love as Christ has loved us.

In moments of comforting those who are suffering, our job is not to fix it or figure it out, or even to take away the pain, but to help hold it, carry it, to listen, to gather up under our fragile but protective wing, like the mother hen. Creating a space that feels safe, letting them cry, allowing them to be angry, thanking them for their trust, and asking how we can help. To love as Christ loves is to say, “I see you and I hear you and I’m here, and your heart and mine, in that sacred place are one and the same.”

Earlier this week, was an interview with ecologist Suzanne Simard. Simard recently had a book published titled Finding the Mother Tree. In the interview she explains that trees are linked to neighboring trees by an underground network of fungi that resembles the neural networks in the brain. In one study, Simard watched as a Douglas fir that had been injured by insects appeared to send chemical warning signals to a ponderosa pine growing nearby. The pine tree then produced defense enzymes to protect against the insect. “This was a breakthrough,” Simard says. “The trees were sharing information that actually is important to the health of the whole forest.”

In addition to warning each other of danger, Simard says that trees have been known to share nutrients at critical times to keep each other healthy. She says the trees in a forest are often linked to each other via an older tree she calls a “mother” tree.

“In connecting with all the trees of different ages, [the mother trees] can actually facilitate the growth of these understory seedlings,” she says. “The seedlings will link into the network of the old trees and benefit from that huge uptake resource capacity. And the old trees would also pass a little bit of carbon and nutrients and water to the little seedlings, at crucial times in their lives, that actually help them survive.”

This is my commandment says Jesus, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 

To lay down one’s life for a friend was not as foreign an idea in Jesus’s day as it is to us today. And yet, Jesus did just that. As the mother tree who spreads warning and nutrients, we are called into friendship and interrelatedness with all of humanity. We are commanded and have a responsibility to love others as though we, too, are a mother tree sharing resources, nurturing those that are connected to us, whether people incur lives, or state next to state, nation along side nation, mother along side children, or friends across all barriers….

There is but one sacred heart….Abide in his love.

Closing Song

“Give Yourself to Love” – by Kate Wolf

“Give yourself to Love”, by Kate Wolf – Licensed to YouTube by WMG; ARESA, BMG Rights Management (US), LLC, CMRRA, and 2 Music Rights Societies

We welcome your comments / feedback about today’s worship service. FOLLOW THIS LINK to share your thoughts with staff!