…a place of peace and Presence by the sea
Focus: “How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.”
-William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice
Theshold Moment: (Video) Tim Janis, Sunrise over Ocean
Music: Come! Live in the Light (by David Haas) -Michelle Currie
Call To Worship:
L: Welcome to this community of faith.
P: We come seeking hope and courage for the future.
L: Here you will find peace, hope, love and joy.
P: We come weighed down by difficulties in our lives.
L: Here you will find Jesus who will take your burdens on himself.
P: Lord, we come to you this day in need of your mercy and love. AMEN.
Gracious God, we come this day seeking courage and hope for the future. Our world is in such peril. Heal these wounds and quiet the words of conflict and division. Help us to be those who bring peace to our families and communities. Banish the darkness of doubt and fear; anoint us with your light and love that we may spread the good news of your mercy to everyone. In Jesus’ name we pray. AMEN.
Sermon: Signs of Light Rev. Paula Norbert
Music: Bright Morning Star (by Resounding Worship) -Michelle Currie
Celebration of the Lord’s Supper
Words of Invitation The Bread and the Cup
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Musical call to Prayer: (two times) Hush now in quiet peace, be still your mind at ease. The Spirit brings release, so wait upon the Lord.
Prayers of the People:
Closing Music: I Saw the Light (by Hank Williams) -Michelle Currie
You are prepared to walk away from the darkness into the light. Go into this world confident in Christ’s love and God’s eternal presence with you. Go to be a witness for good and a bearer of peace to all you meet. Go in peace! AMEN.
Postlude: Go In Peace
A Prayer for the Week Ahead…
Loving God, At the beginning of Creation, You calmed the chaos of the world. Be present now to those whose lives are suddenly filled with chaos. Grant them the grace of calm in the midst of confusion. We pray to the Lord.
Lord, hear our prayer.
You have always shown us the way from darkness into the light. For those struggling now to see the light, we ask that You shine it a bit brighter in our world. Grant us all the grace to see a way forward through the present darkness. We pray to the Lord.
Lord, hear our prayer.
Throughout history, You have raised up leaders to care for your people. May those who are called upon to lead now in this time of despair be given the grace to do so with conviction and compassion. We pray to the Lord.
Lord, hear our prayer.
You are truly a God of abundance. Open our eyes so that we may see how our ministries can use the abundance with which we have been blessed to help those in need. Grant us the grace to move with humility and prudence in all that we do. We pray to the Lord.
Lord, hear our prayer.
You are also a God of wonders. We have often struggled to imagine the breadth and depth of what is possible with You at our side. Grant us all – those directly affected and those holding them in prayer – the grace of creativity in our response to this event. We pray to the Lord.
Lord, hear our prayer.
The Psalmist sings, “Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” Let it also be our song this day. May we, and those we pray for, truly hope in the Lord. And may that hope give us all the strength and heart we need to move from darkness into light.
Our Readings This Week
13:8 Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.
13:9 The commandments, “You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
13:10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.
13:11 Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers;
13:12 the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light;
13:13 let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness…not in quarreling and jealousy.
13:14 Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ,
18:15 “If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one.
18:16 But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses.
18:17 If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
18:18 Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
18:19 Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.
18:20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”
Reflections for Sunday, September 6, 2020
Signs of Light
Rev. Paula Norbert
The young people heading to college this fall were born in the days and months just before or after 9/11. I know this because our own daughter was born in the months that followed that tragic day. Right at the start of the Covid shutdown in mid March, she turned 18. She was sitting at our kitchen table with two friends having a small celebration before they would not see each other in person for a period of months and they were reflecting on the fact that they were born in the time after 9/11 and would ‘graduate’ in the year of Covid. In the years since their arrival into the world and into our hearts, they have seen far too much between all of the tragic school shootings and other world and national events that have caused this generation and all of us enough worry and anxiety to last for the rest of our lives. As we near the 19th Anniversary of that tragic day in our history, in the midst of this time of tremendous loss and division in our nation, I’d like to share some thoughts on where we may look for hope, for light in these times. Let us pray, O God, we feel at times that we are walking in darkness, that the isolation and worry may overwhelm us now and in the days to come. We ask that you shine your light, your mercy, your consolation upon us and give us what we need in the days ahead. In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.
Back in June, an article in the Chicago Tribune started, “The babies born in the year of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks are turning 18. They entered the world during one of our nation’s darkest chapters, bringing what their parents call “much-needed light.” Of course the children born on or near Sept. 11, 2001 don’t remember that fateful, tragic event when terrorists hijacked planes and crashed them into the Twin Towers in New York, part of the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and a field in Pennsylvania. Yet they live the consequences. Their mothers say their children’s arrival brought hope and the reminder that even in the toughest of times, love can prevail. ” Chicago Tribune, Donna Vickroy, June 2019
The good news, and we need to take in good news in these times, is that many of these young people, the children who were born at that time, and the children of those who lost their lives are growing up and going out into the world to make their parents proud and hopefully to help make our world a better place. Last September, the NYT ran a story about some of these young adults, “They were just children when their fathers ran toward the twin towers on Sept. 11, 2001. They grew up revering parents — firefighters and police officers — who were killed that day, or died years later from the toxic dust.
When a reporter starts to ask them “How old?” — wanting to know their current age — many reflexively answer “7” or “5” or “10,” their age when their families were upended by a terrorist attack that remains painfully etched in the city’s collective memory. Last year, a record number of these children of slain rescuers took an oath, like their fathers did, to serve New York City.
“Of the class of 301 trainees graduating as probationary firefighters, 21 are children of men who died in the line of duty. Their ranks include 12 sons and one daughter of firefighters killed on Sept. 11; six sons of firefighters or police officers who died of diseases linked to their time on the pile; and the sons of a firefighter and a police officer who died on the job. “It’s all I wanted to do all my life,” said Scott B. Larsen, 22, one of the youngest trainees. “To help other people.”
He was just 4 when his father, Scott A. Larsen, was killed after responding to the attacks from a firehouse near South Street Seaport. Mostly, he remembers “everyone freaking out” at his grandparents’ house in Glendale, Queens, and the birth of his brother two days later. But his family’s sacrifice became part of his identity.
Lauren McIntyre‘s father, Port Authority Police Officer Donald McIntyre, died after running into the South Tower to save others. Lauren – who is now 16 and was born less than three months after 9/11 – and her two older siblings, Caitlyn, 22, and Donald Jr., 20, became like surrogate children to their father’s surviving fellow officers, and Lauren is comforted by his final act of bravery.
“I could only imagine how much courage someone could have to go into a situation like that,” says Lauren, who appeared on PEOPLE’s 2011 cover wearing a locket with her father’s photo. (She still wears his badge number on a necklace.) “It’s beyond amazing.”
Ronald Milam, Jr., 17, lost his dad Ronald at the Pentagon while his mother, Jacqueline, was five months pregnant with him. (She was working on the other side of the building during the attack.) A high school basketball player, today Ronald Jr. wears the number 33 on his jersey, the age his father was when he died.
In 2001 and 2002, new babies arrived throughout our country bringing hope and light and much joy to their families. I’ve watched some of these children growing up, my own, and the sons and daughters of my friends, and I know that their arrival brought a special message of hope at the time and to us now as they embark on their adult lives. Our hope is that they use their gifts and talents to bring healing and hope to our nation which is in desperate need for all of that.
I’ve been thinking about some of the babies born in recent months. The daughter of a close friend of mine and her husband had a little baby boy back in June. She’s a nurse at Children’s Hospital in Boston and experienced a great deal of anxiety in the weeks leading up to the delivery, not wanting to get sick, not wanting her newborn to get sick. And yet, to see the beautiful photos of this precious new life and to see the hope that his arrival has brought to her family is a joy. Lisa Barstow’s new grandchild arrived just a week ago and Rich and I are looking ahead to a new granddaughter in just a few weeks. Each of these new arrivals are symbols of hope; they are an important reminder that things will get better, that we will get through this. Much like the children born after 9/11, we need these little ones to help us look ahead with hope and great expectation that it will get better, that we have to continue to help make it better for the next generation and for the ones to follow. We are grateful for these new lives and we pray that they may be healthy and safe and will one day bring their gifts and their light out into the world as a sign of hope and inspiration.