11.26.2009

Luke 15:8–10

Jesus tells a lot of stories about the lost and found.
In those stories Jesus always shows God’s love for the lost.
Jesus comes to find the lost.

Jesus told this story:
There is a woman has ten silver coins and loses one.
She then lights a lamp.
She sweeps the house.
She searches carefully until she finds it.
Then when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, “Rejoice with me. I have found my lost coin.”
In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. (Luke 15:8–10)

She is throwing a party because she found 1 silver coin.
She is rejoicing over this one coin.
The ministry of Jesus is about finding this one coin.

Reaching out to the neighbors, and strangers, we help God finds this one coin.
God wants to find them through us.
Jesus searches carefully until he finds the lost.
In the same way, this lady looks for her money.
This explains why Jesus spent so much time with “sinners.”

Jesus reveals how God thinks and how heaven thinks.
God is searching for the lost.
God is looking every corner to find them.
Then, there is a great joy, when anyone understands the very heart of God and returns to God.

This desire of God is so strong that the Son Jesus is even crucified to find the lost.
This is how God thinks.
God thinks that forgiveness of sin is possible through Jesus.
God thinks that the blood of Jesus heals the world.
Through the blood, God makes a new covenant with the human beings.

When we are in tune with the Divine, we rejoice over someone who turns toward God.
This returning leads to the salvation of human races.

Christ Jesus knows this.
Jesus wants to reconcile God and human beings.
In this way, God wants to have God’s beloveds back.

11.20.2009

Waiting with Patience

By Henri Nouwen (modified)

How do we wait for God?
We wait with patience.
But patience does not mean passivity.
Waiting patiently is an active waiting in which we live the present moment to the full in order to find there the signs of the One we are waiting for.

The word patience comes from the Latin verb patior which means "to suffer."
Waiting patiently is suffering through the present moment, tasting it to the full, and letting the seeds that are sown in the ground on which we stand grow into strong plants.

Waiting patiently always means paying attention to what is happening right before our eyes and seeing there the first rays of God's glorious coming.

A Reflection from Junior Highs

How would you finish these sentences?

Being created and chosen by God means____________.
I can feel good about myself because______________.
God wants me to shine like a star by______________.

These were asked to our junior highs who attend our Sunday school.
Some of their answers show that they understand that they can make God happy by just being who they are. I am glad that they feel good about who they are.

Would you like to see their answers?
Here we go.

Being created and chosen by God means:

“I am blessed”
“I am loved”
“I am an individual”
“I am unique and extra special”
“I am thankful”

I can feel good about myself because:

“I know that God loves me”
“I do the right thing”
“God loves me”
“I was chosen to be alive for a reason”
“God made me and I am special”

God wants me to shine like a star by:

“Being who I am”
“Being awesome”
“Doing His will and being the best person I can be”
“Doing short and simple acts of kindness for others
To make their everyday lives better”
“Shining as bright as I am”

11.18.2009

Opening Prayer

Christ Jesus, you plant in us your very word.
You pant your forgiveness and your confidence in us.

You are the Way.
We want to walk in your footsteps.
Then you offer us the energy to begin anew.

Help us to follow you through the humble events of our day.
Help us to discern a way.
Help us to know that you are not burdening us with obligations.
But when we walk in your way, we find that on this road you come to meet us.

11.12.2009

Prayer

(A children sermon)
I am so glad you are here today.
I wonder whether you know how to pray.
I want you to know that you can talk to God anywhere and anytime.
So, I want to have 30 seconds silence together.
You don’t have to say out loud.
God hears even when we speak silently to God.

Jesus speaks to you, too.
In silence God speaks.
The voice of Jesus is very gentle, calm and peaceful.

You can easily brush it off.

But when you listen to Jesus, you learn a lot about him.

So, let’s have a 30 second silence together.
Try to say something to God in silence.
Try to listen to what Jesus has to say to you.
Let's quiet down and listen.
Let’s begin.
I will watch the time.

I wonder whether you were able to communicate with God.
How was it?
Thanks for your participation.

Let’s pray together: Christ, thank you for hearing us. Thank you for listening to us. May we have a very close relationship with each other. May I do what you would have me do for this world. In your name we pray.

11.10.2009

Bulletin

Gathering the Community

Prelude

Call to worship

Leader: God says, “Be still and know that I am God.”
All: “I still and quiet my soul. Like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.”
Leader: God says, “In returning and rest you shall be saved. In quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”
All: “Our soul waits for the Lord. God is our help and shield.”
Leader: “Wait for the Lord. Be strong. Let your heart take courage.”
All: “Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles.”
Leader: “Blessed are all who wait for the Lord.”
All: For God alone my soul waits in silence. For my help comes from God.

Hymn #485 To God Be the Glory

Opening Prayer:

God says, “Return to your God. Maintain love and justice. And wait for your God always.”
Jesus, take us by the hand so that we may cross over from hesitation to confidence, that we may abandon ourselves to you in body and in spirit, knowing that you offer us the sounds of joy and festival.

Praise Anthem

Unison Prayer of Confession

Jesus, you know that, without intending to, when we touch our neighbor, we sometimes wound, while your touch never wounds.
And yet tirelessly you remind us: “Don’t be afraid; I am here.”
So we pray, Christ: breathe your resurrection into our very minds, our very flesh. Receive me, Lord, and I will live. May my expectation be a source of joy.

Silent Confession

Assurance of Pardon

In our heart of hearts, in that place where no two people are alike, Christ is waiting for us. There the unexpected happens. The Risen Christ takes hold of us, and he takes over. He takes upon himself everything that is unbearable. It is only later, some times much later that we realize: Christ came, he gave his overflowing life.

Scripture Reading Psalm 131:1-2, Luke 24: 45-49

A Time with Children

Meditation “Wait, Empowered, and Move with the Spirit

Hymn #322 Spirit of the Living God

Offertory

Prayer of the People and the Lord’s Prayer

Hymn #316 Breathe on Me, Breath of God.

Benediction

Leader: May the God of peace fill you and me with joy, hope and faith.

All: May the peace of Christ guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus.

Choral Benediction

Postlude

11.07.2009

Luke 15: 11-32


Jesus told another story:

There was a man who had two sons.
The younger one said to his father, “Father, give me my share of the estate.”
So the father divided his property between them.
Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country.
And there he squandered his wealth in wild living.

After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country.
And he began to be in need.
So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs.
He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

Then he came to his senses.
He said, “How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired men.”
So he got up and went to his father.

But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him.
The father ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
The son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.”
But the father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again. He was lost and is found.” So they began to celebrate.

Meanwhile, the older son was in the field.
The father totally forgot about him.
When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing.
So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on.
He replied, “Your brother has come and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.”

The older brother became angry and refused to go in.
So, his father went out and pleaded with him.
But he answered his father, “Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!”

The father said, "My son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found." (Luke 15:11–32)

Again in this story, the father runs to the returning son!
Again this shows the very heart of God.
The father runs to the son who left him.
His son misunderstood about happiness.
But now he returns.
The father opens his arms and hugs the son.

God reminds the older one that everything is his.
When he is with God, he is able to do everything that makes him happy.

God Jesus is searching for all who have gone away from God.
And by forgiveness, God places on our finger the ring of the prodigal son, the ring of festival. (Modified from Taizé community)

When we join this divine endeavor of searching and finding, we serve God.
When we rejoice over the lost son, we please God.
It is easy to please the heart of the Father.
It is exciting to please the heart of the Father.

Telling the Story of Jesus

Written by Henri Nouwen

The Church is called to announce the Good News of Jesus to all people and all nations. Besides the many works of mercy by which the Church must make Jesus' love visible, it must also joyfully announce the great mystery of God's salvation through the life, suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
The story of Jesus is to be proclaimed and celebrated.
Some will hear and rejoice, some will remain indifferent, some will become hostile.
The story of Jesus will not always be accepted, but it must be told.

We who know the story and try to live it out, have the joyful task of telling it to others.
When our words rise from hearts full of love and gratitude, they will bear fruit, whether we can see this or not.