BINDING SOUL AND SOURCE

Daily Prayers of the Church Street family

March 17, 2020

Pastor Jan

 

O Holy Mystery, the prophets tell us that you search for us. And we long for you as well. We search for you, yet you often seem hidden and elusive. Perchance you know that we have sought you in unlikely places. We wait for lightning to flash when we are most in need. We fashion harried schedules, then expect to hear your booming voice break in upon our crowded lives. In this Lenten Season, and particularly in this time of inordinate stress, help us to learn that you are with us already. You abide in the shadows of our souls, and you live within the very beating of our hearts. Amid the cacophony of voices around us and our frantic pace to remain safe, may we become still and know that you are God – ever loving and ever faithful.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.    

We lift up this day these particular friends in our church family who have asked to be remembered:

  • a young woman whose fiancé tragically perished in a fire
  • a member who sits by her dying father’s bedside
  • three women who have been widowed in recent weeks
  • our homeless friends in need of food and shelter
  • an adult son in desperate search of work

Hear now our private confessions and concerns . . . . . . . .

and also our praises for the joys you have brought about in our lives . . . . . . . .

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

These petitions we offer this day, remembering the Son who loves us more deeply than we can understand, and it is in his name we make our 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 trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

Dear Church Street Family and Friends,

We are living in an uncertain time, but we can be very certain of God’s love for us all. Our clergy, staff, and Parish Health Ministry Team (PHMT) are continuing to monitor the increased number of cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and locally. As of today, there has been one identified case in Knox County.

As we have monitored the spread of this disease, we have considered both the size of our corporate worship and the vulnerability of many of our members to COVID-19. Today, Holston Conference Bishop Virginia “Dindy” Taylor shared the following with the Conference:

 “…I strongly urge the churches of Holston Conference to suspend worship and large-group gatherings beginning today for the next two weeks.”

(read the entire letter here)

Thus, Church Street will suspend all large group gatherings, including Sunday worship and Sunday School, beginning Sunday, March 15 until Tuesday, March 31, and church leaders will re-evaluate and communicate next steps no later than March 31. All events, activities, and meetings are also canceled through March 31.

 

Here are some additional details:

  • “Attending” Worship: You can watch Rejoice! on WVLT each Sunday morning at 8 am. Clergy are working on ways to continue to share scripture and a homily or sermon through video. Please watch for further communication so that you can connect with the Word.
  • Staff: Church staff will still be working at the church at their discretion (otherwise, they will work remotely). Our custodial staff will use this time to do some deep cleaning of our space. The church will be closed, however, to any non-staff persons.
  • Outreach Ministries and Missions: All of our populations served by our missions will continue to be served in amended ways, and each outreach ministry will enact plans to protect both those serving and those served. This, too, is fluid and may change. Contact Rev. Cantler if you have questions.
  • Offering: The operations of the church move on! If you choose, you may still mail your offering to the church – staff will be on site. This might be a good time to set up your online giving. It’s simple – you may go to the Give section of our website, linked here, or download the Give Plus App.

Rest assured, we will continue to provide updates and communicate from the church when needed, and we will re-evaluate and communicate our next steps with you through as many channels as possible.

 

We offer this prayer for you to use at home or with family, as we continue to move through these uncertain times:

Lord God, hold those who have contracted this virus and their loved ones in your mighty hands, as well as those who are in vulnerable populations. We pray for our health care workers around the world who are exposed and working tirelessly to treat and care for our brothers and sisters. We pray, too, for all the leaders of governments, organizations, businesses, and service providers of all kinds who are making hard decisions with serious repercussions in all directions. And Lord, we look forward to the time when we will worship together again at Church Street, having moved through this uncertain time hand-in-hand with you. In Jesus’s name we pray, Amen.

 

Sending you and your family prayers of hope and healing, and assurance of God’s love for us all.

Your Church Street Family

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned—sin was indeed in the world before the law, but sin is not reckoned when there is no law. Yet death exercised dominion from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who is a type of the one who was to come.

But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died through the one man’s trespass, much more surely have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abounded for the many. And the free gift is not like the effect of the one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification. If, because of the one man’s trespass, death exercised dominion through that one, much more surely will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness exercise dominion in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

Therefore just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all. For just as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.

 

Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.” And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.

As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

And so, brothers and sisters, I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but rather as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for solid food. Even now you are still not ready, for you are still of the flesh. For as long as there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving according to human inclinations? For when one says, “I belong to Paul,” and another, “I belong to Apollos,” are you not merely human?

What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. The one who plants and the one who waters have a common purpose, and each will receive wages according to the labor of each. For we are God’s servants, working together; you are God’s field, God’s building.

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

 “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:
“Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali,
on the road by the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—
the people who sat in darkness
have seen a great light,
and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death
light has dawned.”
From that time Jesus began to proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.
Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people.

The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.” And John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.”
The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed). He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).

Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him,

“In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:

‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who is to shepherd my people Israel.’”

Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy.  On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.