CONFERENCE SERMON

 

Weekly Home Worship 9 (May 17- May 23, 2020)

 

Invitation to Worship

 

Leader: Make a joyful noise to God all the earth,

People: Sing out the praises of God.

Leader: Come all you people and know the joy of the Lord,

People: The love of God is greater than the tongue can tell!

Leader: Bless the Lord all you people, bless his Holy Name!

People: We praise, and worship, and honor, and glorify Your name

             O Lord!

 

Opening prayer

 

God of all time and space,

you initiated the relationship of love and generosity with creation

at a time before and beyond all knowing.

Through the Word and the Spirit,

you continue in eternal love for all beings.

Fill us with a deep and abiding awareness of your presence,

your call, and your grace in our lives and in our world.

Shape us to into the people you have made us to be –

poured out in creative mercy

for the sake of Jesus Christ in all creation. Amen.

 

Opening Hymn: As the Deer FWS 2025 (1, 2)

CLICK HERE FOR MUSIC

 

1 As the deer panteth for the water

So my soul longs after You

You alone are my hearts desire

And I long to worship You

(Refrain) You alone are my strength, my shield

To You alone may my spirit yield

You alone are my hearts desire

And I long to worship You

2 I want You more than gold or silver

Only You can satisfy

You alone are the real joy giver

And the apple of my eye

 

Prayers & Concerns of People

 

Sue Kraus Family(For loss, comfort and healing)

Healing & Recovery from COVID-19 Pandemic emergency

Those who are employed in essential businesses (banks, gas stations, pharmacies and grocery stores, etc. )

All medical and laboratory workers who fight for COVID-19

(Our church’s Healthcare workers: Carolyn, Cassie, Deb, Jen, Kate, Kelsey, Kristi, Medley, Stacey, Polly….)

Nursing Home Residents: David Stephens, Dorothy Voss, Ila Schuster,

Joe Goeman, Paul Birkett.

Greg Staskal(For healing and recovery)

Jerry Evanoff(For healing and recovery)

David Stephens(For healing and recovery)

Joe Orton(For healing and recovery)

Jacob Kavicky(For healing and recovery)

Don & Lois Booth(For healing and recovery)

Bob Curtis(For healing and recovery)

Glen & Marge Curtis(For healing and recovery)

Kaila Wilson

 Tammy’s friends: Megan, Wendy (For healing and recovery)

Tim Noyce’ brother Tom (For healing from cancer)

Janice Morgan’s friend Pam(For healing from cancer and comfort from losing her mom)

Lon’s wife Judy Weber(For healing and recovery)

Karen Slaght’s nephew, Bob Clark (For healing and recovery)

WI UMC Conference (UM Churches)

Cuba City UMC (Congregation & Financial Health)

Nation and states’ leaders for their leadership and decisions.

 

@@ Please share your prayer concerns, if you have or know, with pastor and congregation.

Church Phone: 608-744-2538, church email:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Pastor Phone: 414-737-4891 pastor email:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

New Testament Lesson: John 14:15-21

15 “If you love me, keep my commands.

16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[a] in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

Leader: The word of God for people of God.

People: Thanks be to God.

 

Sermon: God is With Us by Bishop Hee-Soo Jung

 

         It is a joy to share God’s word with you on behalf of our clergy community in Wisconsin. I have been blessed to serve among all of you and humbled to carry on with the servant leadership journey.

          Since we’ve been asked to “Stay Safe at Home” because of COVID 19 our clergy leaders, like each of you, have been under stress. They have quickly learned how to provide online worship. They have struggled to do pastoral care while maintaining appropriate social distance.

This has not been easy. I praise God for their leadership. This has also been a time when lay leadership has stepped up to help congregations to be connected through the internet. I praise God for your leadership as well.

          May is a month when many cultures celebrate family. In this country those who have mothered us are honored. I love May because of such strong spirit of gratitude and loving siblings. I also love May since it was in this month that John Wesley had a life changing experience at Aldersgate. There while listening to Luther’s Preface to Romans he suddenly realized that he was loved by God just as he was. With that love in his heart, Wesley formed the community of holiness that came to be called Methodist.

          We are Wesley’s heirs, continuing to live in the spirit. God was with him. God is with us. I came to experience that love when I was sixteen. I grew up on an island in the north west corner of South Korea. It’s on the Yellow Sea to the east of China and next to the North Korean border. It’s known as Kangwha-do. It’s a small, historic Island which has been the steppingstone in many international conflicts. As a child I became painfully aware of conflicts of its past when I was playing with a friend on a beach. The object he picked up was a mine that exploded and immediately took his life.

         Historic conflict is one aspect of life on Kangwha. The other is the presence of Methodism that was first brought there by an American missionary. It was through conversations with a Methodist pastor that I came and many others came to follow Jesus.  The entire population of the island is some 68,000. There are four districts of the Korean Methodist church and 140 congregations. Jesus has led them through many difficult times.  It was there that I learned that I should be connected to God daily and live with liberty, dignity, justice and humility.

         Jesus says in John’s Gospel, 14:15-16, as translated by Peterson: “If you love me, show it by doing what I’ve told you. I will talk to the Father. He will provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you.  This Friend is the Spirit of Truth.”  I am so grateful for this promise of Jesus. God IS with us. Christ was crucified, died and was resurrected for you and me. Jesus was rejected by his world, but through his mystical presence and redeeming love we have become Easter people. COVID 19 strikes fear. It has killed some we loved. It has caused us to socially separate ourselves. This separation has become a true test and trial of our faith. The longer it continues, the harder it may become to accept our current reality with grace.  “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” To Jesus those commandments are loving God and loving our neighbor. The Spirit is present with us. Listen carefully. You will hear the spirit say, “You are loved, accepted and forgiven. You belong to me.”  I ask you – be in silence and in that silence listen for the voice of the Spirit.

       Listen again to Jesus in John, vs. 18-19 “I will not leave you orphaned. I’m coming back. In just a little while the world will no longer see me, but you’re going to see me because I am alive and you’re about to come alive.” Because of the Spirit, even in quarantine we are close in spirit, in mutual care and in prayer. I frequently experience being close while physically apart in my relationship with my spouse, Im. She often travels to far parts of the world, but we remain close in our loving relationship. This has taught me that it is possible to be humanly close while physically far apart. This is what we are all learning in these times: To be close in our relationships though physically apart.

         As Christians, the Spirit within each of us allows for a closeness otherwise out of reach. It unites us. It blesses us.

Blessed assurance Jesus is mine.

O what a foretaste of glory divine!

Heir of salvation, purchase of God,

Born of his Spirit, washed in his blood.

This is my story, this is my song,

Praising my Savior all the day long,

This is my story, this is my song,

Praising my Savior all the day long.”

We are invited in these difficult times

to focus with greater intentionality

on our life in the spirit with God.

Siblings in Christ, I commend you to seek spiritual depth in these challenging times. God knows you better than you know yourself.

        Again listen to Jesus (v. 20). At that moment you will know absolutely that I’m in my Father, and you’re in me, and I’m in you. It is this – the Spirit sent by God – that unites us as Christians.  It is not anything we do that unites us. It is not believing the same things that unites us. It is the presence of God that Jesus promised that makes us one in Christ. In other words, Christian unity is not a thing we create but a gift of God to us as the spirit dwells within us.

         Serving among you beautiful people in Wisconsin I am ever more convinced that unity is God’s purpose even when we have strong disagreements as to where we believe God is leading us. I continue searching in these days for where we are being led by God. In some ways COVID 19 has made the search more difficult, in other ways it has opened us to see new possibilities.

        I am imagining that United Methodists in Wisconsin will be led to live and practice the gospel on every day and in every place, not just Sundays in buildings reserved for that purpose. I am imagining that we be led to become eco-friendly caring for God’s earth as God has asked us to do. I am imagining that we will become a people who understand that our individual welfare is inseparable from the welfare of the world. I am imagining that we will be led to review critically how we live, what we consume, and what we claim “to own” in a world that belongs - not us - but to God.

        There are many things to discern is learning how God is leading us, but of one thing I am sure: As followers of Jesus, God is not leading us to go off in separate ways because we sometimes disagree. What God has brought together no human shall tear apart. We are One in The Spirit, We are One in The Lord. We are One in The Spirit, We are One in The Lord.

        And we pray that all unity may one day be restored. And they'll know we are Christians by our love, By our Love, yes they'll know we are Christians by our love. They’ll know we are Christians by our love. Amen.

Prayer for Offering

Generous God, here are our gifts of time;

here are our gifts of talents; here are our gifts of money;

building stones for Your Kingdom,

awaiting shaping and placing within Your loving purpose. Amen.

 

## Your offering and contribution support our church and ministry. You may send to Financial Secretary Tammy Wilson, or you may use online giving if you go to church website www.cubacityumc.org.

 

Closing Hymn: Great is Thy Faithfulness UMH (1, 2)

CLICK HERE FOR MUSIC

 

1 Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father;

there is no shadow of turning with thee;

thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not;

as thou hast been thou forever wilt be.

(Refrain)Great is thy faithfulness!

Great is thy faithfulness!

Morning by morning new mercies I see:

all I have needed thy hand hath provided--

Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

 

2 Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,

sun, moon, and stars in their courses above

join with all nature in manifold witness

to thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.

 

Blessing

May the blessing of almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

be with us now and forever. Amen.

 

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;

I have summoned you by name;

you are mine.”

Isaiah 43:1