Welcome to St. Andrew
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Due to our In-Person Outdoor Worship Service* planned for this morning, we will not hold our All Church Coffee Hour this week
Please join us next week – Sunday, November 8th, for our Coffee Hour Fellowship on Zoom!
*All available seats have been reserved for this week’s service. If you hoped to attend and didn’t get a chance to RSVP, we hope you will join us next time. Information coming soon!
SUNDAY – NOVEMBER 1, 2020
“More to be Revealed: Challenge and Comfort in Revelation”
Rev. Jan Reynolds
Welcome to this “virtual” worship service for Sunday, November 1, 2020
Many thanks for technical assistance / contributions from Ron Moser, Amy Cox, Rev. Jan Reynolds, Caryn Prince, Tracy Walthard, Kelsey Walthard, and Dawne Carver.
“You Are My Hiding Place”, by Michael Lerner – Performed by Maranatha! Latin
Discovery Time & Sunday School
Click the arrow below to watch Tracy Walthard present Discovery Time:
Our Sunday School Lessons for today are as follows:
Preschool Memory Verse for November:
Click the arrow below to watch the Sunday School video for our Preschool children for Sunday, November 1st:
Preschool Bottom Line for the week of November 1st:
GRADES K-5 LESSON:
Grades K-5 Memory Verse for November:
Click the arrow below to watch the Sunday School video for our Kindergarten – 5th Grade children for Sunday, November 1st:
Grades K-5 Bottom Line for the week of November 1st:
Message for Youth
The question asked in my devotional is, “Where do I need to let go and let God?” This is not a new question. In fact, this is an ongoing question in my life! Asking this simple (yet complex) question allows me to see where I am taking control of things and situations that I don’t need to take on! Things like how someone will respond to this message, if people will show up to a planned event, or practices and habits that I need to let go of. It’s opening my hands wide and saying “What do you, God, want to fill my day with?” And being willing to follow His plans!
It’s the complete opposite of holding my hands in a tight fist. When I hold tight to whatever situation, I’m basically saying to God (and the rest of the world) “Back off, I’ve got this and I’m doing it my way!” I am sure that God is saddened each time you or I do this.
Have you ever noticed that when you hold on to a situation, clench your hands in a tight fist, that anxiety and stress build? A massage therapist once told me to pay attention to my hands. He said if my hands were in a fist, to open them up and that my stress and tension would ease. This simple act surprisingly works. I was surprised at how often I would look down and see my hands clenched! I realized that I was holding on and not letting God take the lead in my life.
Scripture tells us that God has a plan. In fact He prepared the plan in advance!
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
So where do you need to “Let go and Let God”? What are you holding onto that you need to unclench your hands, open your hands wide and let God take the lead? Giving up control actually frees us for what He has planned and God’s plans are much bigger than yours or mine.
Rest in Him. Ask Him each morning where you need to open up and follow His will. His ways are not always easy, but His ways give us a peace that we won’t get from doing it on our own. 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.
Click the arrow below to read this morning’s Prayer
This prayer is from the words of Julian of Norwich, a 13th century mystic and author who experienced visions of Christ when she felt close to death. She survived the black plague and various uprisings and revolts during her life.
From Work of the People.com
Click the arrow below to see and hear Rev. Jan Reynolds read this morning’s Scripture or read the Scripture below
After this I, John, looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice, saying,
“Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, singing,
“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom
and thanksgiving and honor
and power and might
be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?” I said to him, “Sir, you are the one that knows.” Then he said to me, “These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
“For this reason they are before the throne of God,
and worship him day and night within his temple,
and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them.
They will hunger no more, and thirst no more;
the sun will not strike them,
nor any scorching heat;
for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd,
and he will guide them to springs of the water of life,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
We are grateful that even when things are unclear or unsure,
we can trust God:
“All Manner of Things Shall Be Well”.
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
“More to be Revealed: Challenge and Comfort in Revelation”
November 1, 2020
Rev. Jan Reynolds
Click the arrow below to see and hear Rev. Jan Reynolds’ Sermon or read the Sermon below
In just two days, there will be a momentous election…. We worry about the outcome… Do we know what will happen when there is a wide-spread unhappiness with the result? Will the results be unclear for a long time? Will continued unrest and even violence take place? Will either candidate really be able to deliver an end to the Coronavirus?
Right in time for Halloween … this is scary, for real.
Why are so many drawn to Halloween as a season, anyway? Maybe because in so-called normal times, we can practice being afraid and get it out of our systems.
Halloween scares can be cathartic, but maybe this year, not so much.
However, Halloween also marks the start of the fall season, when we begin turning inward as the leaves fall and the air gets a bit cooler, even in California. Maybe Halloween is so popular in the U.S. because it is in essence a spiritual time in a largely secular world when all are more aware of the thin veil between this life and the next.
During this difficult time, people have joked that the scary Biblical end-times have begun – this refers to imagery from the last book of the Bible, Revelation. So, what a perfect time to dive into its meaning as we’re feeling we are on the brink of some kind of reckoning.
In the days the book of Revelation was written, there were dire predictions too… its scary imagery is perfect for Halloween, and its imagery as we imagine it is extraordinary and dramatic.
When we think of the book Revelation, it’s seemingly frightening images are often perpetuated by some scaremongers.
But let’s get a few things straight:
Revelation was written by a man named John who was imprisoned on the island of Patmos, off the coast of modern Turkey. It was a Roman prison, where early Christians were sent to get them out of the way because of their “testimony of/to Jesus” as it says in Rev. 1. Paul and Peter had already been executed, and the Romans continued to see people like John as dangerous.
While in prison, John had a vision during a dream, unveiling the revelation of Jesus Christ. It includes incredibly impactful imagery including “The One Who Sits on the Throne”, 24 crowned elders, the four horsemen of the apocalypse, the souls of those slain for the word of God clothed in white, seven angelic trumpeters and the Angel of Woe.
Unfortunately, modern day so-called prophets have taken these Revelation images out of context and use them to project “The Rapture” end-times on Earth as God’s retribution for human sins. But that is the opposite of what Revelation heralds!
Revelation is the culmination of the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ!
The word “revelation” means “unveiling”, a revealing of something that was hidden before. In the revelation, God reveals God’s saving grace. While we are not exempt from the pain in life and the sins of others that impact us, God’s presence is in and around and through our lives, and beyond our lives.
I was reminded of a scene in one of the most recent Superman movies, Man of Steel. Let’s watch this short clip where Superman is speaking to Lois Lane, having flown her high above the earth:
Perhaps this is how Jesus Christ in Spirit perceives the world – not literally above us looking down like Superman but living among us and in our hearts.
As one pastor blogger has written, “For most of us, the prospect of “hearing everything” that goes on around us—particularly the sorrows and the sufferings—would be unbearable. In fact, I think our eyes and ears have already been opened to this Christ-like seeing in the world today. Our eyes have been open to racial injustice, to government ineptitude, to greed and avarice, and indeed, it is almost unbearable.”
But God’s love is so all encompassing, that God responds with more love, sending Godself to us through Christ so we can see what us humans might aspire to be.
In Revelation, every nation, from “all tribes and peoples and languages,” all the boundaries and lines and divisions that separate us from one another are torn down.
This is the vision of the kingdom of God: where God and the Spirit of Christ envelope us with unconditional love and coaxes us out of our shells where we think we are what the world has formed us to be. But instead we are accepted and brought together across all divides. Throughout the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, the implication is clear: from start to finish, God’s purpose is to restore all people. And the vision of the vast and diverse crowd around the throne in Revelation gives us an idea of what that might look like.
In Revelation, God’s love overcomes the powers of evil. God’s vision is of a world that will evolve into a place ruled by love and in communion with all.
“All shall be well, all manner of things shall be well” as Julian of Norwich, the Christian Mystic wrote.
Of course, there is always tension between how we experience God’s love and care and the fact that so much of the world is in pain – this is the “already”, and “not yet”, that orients readers of Revelation to a life in the between times. And it certainly feels that we are in one of these in between times! Things are really hard for human beings right now. Covid has caused so many more people to die, to be painfully sick, to be in poverty. Climate change has caused so many more people in poverty to have to migrate out of their home and find other ways to provide for themselves. Nasty politics have divided families and regions of the US. It’s a very painful time.
But every time one of us chooses to follow the way of the Lamb in contrast to the world that is diametrically opposed to that way, we continue the process of turning the world upside down and around.
In the long run, let’s take comfort from the assurance that one day the way of the Lamb will be the way of the world; one day all the walls and fences and boundaries and divisions in this world will be eliminated.
So, we’ve just passed Halloween. Today is All Saints Day, a day when the church celebrates the human saints who have risen after a life well lived. A beautiful imaginative vision of a communion between us and all souls throughout time.
We are all passing through a dark season of life just now. There are too many tears daily, too much weeping, too much sorrow.
Of course, just pointing to Revelation won’t make things instantly better for us, either. But it does perhaps let us see ourselves from a Gods-eye view, knowing that hunger and sorrow and crying are things God in Christ cares deeply, deeply about.
No matter who you are: remember that the multitude in God’s heart is beyond counting and includes everybody from every place and everywhere. All are welcome and all will receive eternal consolation through God in Jesus Christ.
“Raise a Hallelujah” – by Jonathan David Helser and Melissa Helser, Performed by Bethel Music
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