PLUMSTED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
September 20, 2020— 16th Sunday After Pentecost
Welcome and Announcements
* Call to worship (Psalm 105:1-6)
O give thanks to the Lord, call on God’s name,
make known God’s deeds among the peoples.
Sing to the Lord, sing praises to God;
tell of all the Lord’s wonderful works.
Glory in God’s holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Seek the Lord and God’s strength;
seek the Lord’s presence continually.
Remember the wonderful works God has done,
the miracles and the judgments God uttered,
O offspring of God’s servant Abraham,
children of Jacob, the Lord’s chosen ones.
* Hymn 207 (Red) We Have Come to Join in Worship
Confession and Assurance
God offers us grace, and yet we grumble. God hears our grumbling and provides, and yet we want more. God’s generosity knows no bounds, and yet we begrudge God’s goodness. Recognizing the many ways we miss the mark of discipleship, we come to a time of confession, grateful that God’s loving kindness persists even in the face of our ongoing sin.
Lord God, you hear our cries of pain and our murmured complaining. Your relentless compassion for your people defies any human logic or understanding. You provide manna in the wilderness, bread from heaven and the assurance that you will not abandon us in our need. Despite your overflowing goodness, we grumble. Rather than rejoice in your grace to us, we resent that you extend kindness to others. Instead of gratitude for your mercy, we question why you would embrace those we think undeserving — forgetting that none of us are righteous, all of us saved by grace. Forgive us for judging others and begrudging your generosity. We thank you for yet again hearing our cries and responding with love. Amen.
The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Jesus Christ came not for the righteous, but to save sinners. Therefore, we can believe the good news that we are in fact forgiven and even now made new creations in Christ. Thanks be to God!
Prayer for illumination
Lord, the days run together and our ability to discern your voice through all the world’s noise grows difficult. Recognizing that you still speak, no less than to Moses or Mary, we ask you to send your Spirit that we might hear the word you have for us this day. In Christ’s name we pray, amen.
The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather on other days.” So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening you shall know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your complaining against the Lord. For what are we, that you complain against us?” And Moses said, “When the Lord gives you meat to eat in the evening and your fill of bread in the morning, because the Lord has heard the complaining that you utter against him—what are we? Your complaining is not against us but” against the Lord. Then Moses said to Aaron, “Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, ‘Draw near to the Lord, for he has heard your complaining.’“ And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked toward the wilderness, and the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. The Lord spoke to Moses and said, “I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’“
In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the Lordhas given you to eat. This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Gather as much of it as each of you needs, an omer to a person according to the number of persons, all providing for those in their own tents.’“ The Israelites did so, some gathering more, some less. But when they measured it with an omer, those who gathered much had nothing over, and those who gathered little had no shortage; they gathered as much as each of them needed. And Moses said to them, “Let no one leave any of it over until morning.” But they did not listen to Moses; some left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and became foul. And Moses was angry with them. Morning by morning they gathered it, as much as each needed; but when the sun grew hot, it melted.
On the sixth day they gathered twice as much food, two omers apiece. When all the leaders of the congregation came and told Moses, he said to them, “This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Tomorrow is a day of solemn rest, a holy sabbath to the Lord; bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil, and all that is left over put aside to be kept until morning.’“ So they put it aside until morning, as Moses commanded them; and it did not become foul, and there were no worms in it. Moses said, “Eat it today, for today is a sabbath to the Lord; today you will not find it in the field.
For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which I prefer. I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better; but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. Since I am convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in faith, so that I may share abundantly in your boasting in Christ Jesus when I come to you again.
Only, live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent and hear about you, I will know that you are standing firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind for the faith of the gospel, and are in no way intimidated by your opponents. For them this is evidence of their destruction, but of your salvation. And this is God’s doing. For he has graciously granted you the privilege not only of believing in Christ, but of suffering for him as well— since you are having the same struggle that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; and he said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, ‘Why are you standing here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard.’ When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.’ When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage. Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
Affirmation of Faith from A Brief Statement of Faith
We trust in God, whom Jesus called Abba Father.
In sovereign love God created the world good and makes everyone equally in God’s image, male and female, of every race and people, to live as one community.
But we rebel against God; we hide from our Creator. Ignoring God’s commandments, we violate the image of God in others and ourselves, accept lies as truth, exploit neighbor and nature, and threaten death to the planet entrusted to our care.
We deserve God’s condemnation. Yet God acts with justice and mercy to redeem creation. In everlasting love, the God of Abraham and Sarah chose a covenant people to bless all families of the earth. Hearing their cry, God delivered the children of Israel from the house of bondage.
Loving us still, God makes us heirs with Christ of the covenant. Like a mother who will not forsake her nursing child, like a father who runs to welcome the prodigal home, God is faithful still.
With believers in every time and place, we rejoice that nothing in life or in death can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Sharing of Joys and Concerns
Lord in your mercy, or Lord, in thanksgiving,
Hear our prayer.
Prayers of the People
The Lord’s Prayer
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.
God provides for us, giving us manna in the wilderness, extending mercy when we fail to follow Jesus, granting grace instead of condemnation. In response to such generosity, we offer our gifts for the sake of making God’s love of creation evident to those in need of knowing that the Lord hears their cries and responds with compassion.
Generous God, receive these gifts as an outward sign of our inward gratitude. We cannot repay you for your goodness to us, but we know you accept that which is given in faith. Take and distribute this offering in ways that show forth your mercy and goodness. Multiply what we offer in ways that nourish others hungry to know they are your beloved people. In Christ’s name we pray, amen.
* Hymn God, Be the Love to Search and Keep Me
God, be the love to search and keep me;
God, be the prayer to move my voice;
God, be the strength to now uphold me:
R O Christ, surround me; O Christ, surround me.
Bind to myself the Name of Holy,
Great cloud of witnesses enfold;
Prophets, apostles, angels witness: R
Brightness of sun and glow of moonlight,
Flashing of lightning, strength of wind,
Depth of the sea to soil of planet: R
Walking behind to hem my journey,
Going ahead to light my way,
And from beneath, above, and all ways: R
Christ in the eyes of all who see me,
Christ in the ears that hear my voice,
Christ in the hearts of all who know me: R.
* Charge and Benediction
* Please stand if you’re able
Pastors: Rev. David Bowman, Rev. Phyllis Zoon
Music: Mrs. Gail Miller