June 7, 2020 (Trinity Sunday)


Announcements

  • Resuming in person worship at both churches this week.

  • Glenshaw Valley- Session Meeting June 10, 2020 via Zoom

  • Glenshaw Valley Deacons Meeting- June 18, 2020 via Zoom

  • Mt. Nebo Session Meeting June 30, 2020 at the church.

Joys and Concerns

- Let us pray for our city as we grapple with our history of racism, white supremacy, and unjust laws and policies. Particularly let us remember the friends and families of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd who were killed by police officers.

- Let us pray for a treatment and a vaccine to end the coronavirus pandemic.

-Let us pray for high school seniors graduating from high school this weekend.

-Let us pray for Allegheny County as we transition to the 'green phase' or reopening.

Call to Worship

Leader: When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,

People: What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?

Leader: You have made them a little lower than angels and crowned them with glory and honor.

People: You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet: all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild, the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.

Opening Hymn

Lord Jesus Christ, your light shines within us.

Let not my doubts nor my darkness speak to me.

Lord Jesus Christ, your light shines within us.

Let my heart always welcome your love.

Prayer of Confession

Merciful God, in your gracious presence we confess our sin and the sin of this world. Although Christ is among us as our peace, we are a people divided against ourselves as we cling to the values of a broken world. The profit and pleasures we pursue lay waste the land and pollute the seas. The fears and jealousies that we harbor set neighbor against neighbor and nation against nation. We abuse your good gifts of imagination and freedom, or intellect and reason, and have turned them into bonds of oppression.

Lord, have mercy upon us; heal and forgive us. Set us free to serve you in the world as agents of your reconciling love in Jesus Christ.

Words of Assurance: (Pastor)

Hear the good news: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven. Alleluia. Amen.

Apostle’s Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord. Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

Pastoral Prayer

Almighty God, in Jesus Christ you taught us to pray, and to offer our petitions to you in his name. Guide us by your Holy Spirit, that our prayers for others may serve your will and show your steadfast love; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord:

  • Let us pray for the world.

  • Let us pray for the church.

  • Let us pray for those who govern us.

  • Let us pray for world leaders.

  • Let us pray for the sick.

God of compassion, bless us and those we love, our friends and families that, drawing close to you, though we are apart, we may be drawn closer to each other, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Offertory

Where have you seen the Triune God at work in the world this week?

Scripture Reading

Matthew 28:16-20

16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Sermon

Let us pray,

May the words of my mouth, and the meditations of all of our hearts, be pleasing and acceptable to you, our rock and our redeemer…

It’s good to be back with you all this morning. I’ve missed being with you terribly over the last three months. Thank you for your willingness to worship in a slightly different way so that we can help keep everyone safe and healthy.

Today is Trinity Sunday. It is a day to celebrate the mystery of our faith in the triune God: Father, Son and Spirit. Trinity Sunday synthesizes all that we have celebrated over the past months. The celebration began at Christmas where God became man and dwelled among us. It continued on Easter where we celebrated Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, and the new life it offers us. It concluded with Pentecost where God’s Spirit became our guide and teacher.

Our belief in the Triune God is the basis of all we are and all that we do as Christians. Into the name of this triune God we are baptized. Into the name of this triune God we are to baptize others. As Jesus proclaims in his Great Commission, “therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” We baptize brothers and sisters in the name of the Triune God because we can do nothing apart from God- Father, Son, and Spirit. You’ll remember that we also ordain and install folks serving the church in one of her ordered ministries in the name of the Triune God because we cannot serve the church without God’s help.

On Trinity Sunday we celebrate that our discipleship is rooted in the mighty acts of the Triune God who is active in redeeming the world. The Great Commission is the vision of the end of a broken world and the beginning of a new creation. Where all of creation will call upon the name of the Lord. A new creation where all of creation is under the authority of the Triune God. We know that this new creation is not quite here, but we know that we have a role to play in its unfolding.

One way that we might participate in the beginning of this new creation is by highlighting where we see the Triune God at work in the world.

I’ve seen God at work in our world this week in the way that our school districts, community leaders, and parents have worked together to celebrate the graduating class of 2020. Graduation ceremonies are an important rite of passage for our young people. They help students and their families celebrate their academic accomplishments and help them transition into a new chapter in their lives. We are a people of ritual and traditions. They help us make meaning of our lives and remind us that we are all connected to one another.

Due to the current statewide ban on public gatherings, school districts have had to find creative ways to celebrate their seniors. On Friday, Shaler High School invited their seniors for a ‘Senior Send Off” celebration. Seniors and their families can drive up to the high school to receive their senior t-shirt and other senior items. Students and their families will have the opportunity to drive through campus one final time. Students can choose to receive their diploma in person, or have an administrator put it in their vehicles. Students are encouraged to decorate their cars. And the school created a backdrop for students to take selfies from their car on their graduation day.

What I love about this example is it shows a community rallying around its members who are really going through it right now. Instead of saying, “our hands are tied.” “Graduation is cancelled.” The school district has found a creative way to celebrate it’s seniors. I’m sure this creative option involved a lot of extra work for teachers and administrators. I’m sure they’ve heard their fair share of complaints for parents and students who just want a traditional graduation ceremony. But when I watch leaders find creative ways to celebrate their people, I see God at work in our world.

Friends this has been a tough week in our community and in our world. The coronavirus is still a threat to the health and safety of our community and the people we love. Every day there are more and more protests to end racism in our country. But even in the midst of all of this bad news, we can look for the helpers. We can look for the men and women saying that life is hard for so many people right now. Rather than sitting at home and criticizing and complaining about the state of the world, I am going to do my part to make my small corner of the world a better place.

When I’m feeling overwhelmed by the negativity on the news and on my social media accounts, I remember my favorite quote from former US President Theodore Roosevelt:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know victory nor defeat.”

Friends, this green phase of re-opening Allegheny County is going to require all of us to dare greatly. It will be hard to hold on to hope as your neighbor makes different choices than you do. It will be hard to act when every decision you make will be met with criticism. On those days and in those moments where hope is hard to find, remind yourselves that there are people all around you who are daring greatly. And in so doing giving us glimpses of the triune God at work in the world.

Thanks be to God,

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Closing Hymn-

Wait for the Lord,

Whose day is near

Wait for the Lord

Be strong, take heart.

Blessing

You go nowhere by accident. Wherever you go, God is sending you. Wherever you are, God has put you there. God has a plan and a purpose to you being there. Christ who dwells in you has something he wants to do, through you, wherever you are. Believe this and go in his grace and love and power, Amen.

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