March 13, 2011
First Sunday of Lent
Psalm 95:1-3 Gods Word Translation
Matthew 6:5-5 Gods Word Translation
1 Kings 19:11-13 Gods Word Translation
“Silence is Golden”
The Lord be with you
And also with you
Let us pray. . .
Loving, Gracious God, giver of all wisdom, we pray for your spirit to fall down upon us this day. . . we pray that we would hear the word you have for us this day. Inspire us Lord, so that we will be your ambassadors in this world of despair. May we have ears that hear, eyes that see and a heart that is open to your will in our lives. Speak Lord. . . you disciples are listening.
We live in a world that there is so much noise going on around us. There is noise of cars, noise of the voices of others, noise of construction. Noise. . . noise. . . noise. . . there is a no wonder that we can think at all. Sometimes the noise gets to be too much and I just want to get away and find a place that is quiet for a moment just to get my thoughts together. But then again there are times when the noise can be a good thing. . . like when the girls are making noise I know everything is OK and when it is quiet. . . I start to worry. . .
We even read in the New Testament about Jesus needing to get away from the noise of the crowds and be alone. We hear about how He went to mountaintops to be away from the noise and center himself again. I have come to believe that “Silence is Golden”, it is a commodity that is tough to find in a world full of noise but when it is found. . . it is precious. . .
This morning is the first Sunday of Lent. It is a time when we prepare our hearts for Holy week and the Passion of Christ. It is a time of self reflection and prayer. During this time of reflection, Pastor Huntley and I will be doing a Sermon series on the Mother Teresa Quote. . .
The fruit of silence is prayer,
The fruit of prayer is faith,
The fruit of faith is love,
The fruit of love is service,
The fruit of service is peace.
We will be looking at. . . reflecting about. . . each of these fruits and pray that we all come away changed. . . having a different perspective about. . . our relationship with our Lord and God.
So let’s begin. . . the fruit of Silence is Prayer. . . Have you ever had so much going on around you and you know that prayer will help but you just can’t find the words? There is so much noise that you can’t even think straight. . . you can’t even figure out what to pray for. I think that Jesus must have felt that way and that is why He went to the mountaintop. It was a place where it was quiet and He could get His thoughts together and think. It was a place where He could be alone with God and actually hear God’s voice in the silence which He could not hear in the noise and confusion of His ministry. It was a time of renewal for Him.
In the Old Testament, we read about another person who needed to hear a word from God. In the book of 1 Kings we read about Elijah. He had run away for His life from Jezebel who had swore she would see him dead. He was hiding in a cave when the word of the Lord came to him and told him too stand by the entrance of the cave and the Lord would pass by. What I am about to read is an account of what happened when he stood by the cave entrance. It is found in 1
Kings 19 verses 11-13 and it reads (and I’m reading from the gods Word Translation). . .
The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
It was in the silence that Elijah heard the voice of the Lord. . . not in the noise of the wind or earthquake or fire but in the still silence.
Jesus gives us an example about when we encounter God. In those quiet places and times, we are able to hear more clearly God’s direction for our lives. Jesus was intentional about His time with God. He intentionally went away from the noise and confusion of the world around him. Jesus came back refreshed and ready to continue His ministry with a new vision. . . a renewed strength that enabled him to go on.
Church. . . we need to be intentional with our Spiritual life. . . we need to be intentional about our time with God. We need to intentionally find time away to be with God. . . to be renewed and refreshed. . . to be led by still waters and green pastures so that we too will be able to go on with what we are called to do by God. We need to hear a word from God. We need to hear what our call is and we can’t find it in the noise and confusion. . . it can be found in the quietness.
Now I know what you are thinking. . . Pastor Ruth. . . my life is so full and hectic. How can you expect me to find time to be in the quietness of God? How can you expect me to find time with all that I have to do? Beloved child of God. . . it is in that quiet time that you will find peace. . . it is that quiet time that you will build a stronger relationship with God. . . it is in that quiet time that you will find the strength we need for the day. Isn’t that a precious and golden thing to have? Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to have the peace that goes beyond understanding? Beloved. . . how can we know what our call is. . . what God would have us do without that time alone with Him?
This is my challenge. . . so to speak for you. . . and even for myself is I want you to take some time maybe even five or ten minutes at the beginning of your day. I want you to really embrace quietness during this time. I know it will be hard because of the busy world we live in. . . it will be hard to shut out the world and our lives from our minds. . . but just try. . . I pray that as we find this time away it will become a part of every day for us. . . not just during Lent. I pray that you will have peace for the day and strength for whatever may come. I pray that this time of silence leads you into a time of reverent prayer. I pray you will fall deeper in love with our first Love. . . our God and our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Let us pray. . .
Loving and Gracious God, we love you because you loved us first. Help us to set aside time to be in quiet listening. . . Holy listening. . . with you each day. May you give us strength and peace for the day. May we find hope and inspiration as you lead us on our journey. We love you and praise you in the name of our Risen Lord, Jesus Christ. . .
March 14, 2011
1 Kings 19:11-13
Matthew 6:5-6 (God’s Word Translation)
Psalm 95:1-3 (God’s Word Translation)(Call to Worship)
Prayer of Adoration
Prayer of Dedication
(hymn “Glorify Thy Name”, The Faith We Sing, #2016)
John 12:21 and Ephesians 1:17-18
(hymn “Open My Eyes”, The Faith We Sing, #2086)
(hymn “Lord, Listen to Your Children Praying”, The Faith We Sing, #2193)
(hymn “Come and Find the Quiet Center”, The Faith We Sing, #2128)
Worship Theme: “The Fruit of Silence is Prayer”
(1st in 5 part Lenten Worship Theme series on Mother Teresa’s quote:
“The fruit of Silence is Prayer,
The fruit of Prayer is Faith
The Fruit of Faith is Love
The fruit of Love is Service
The Fruit of Service is Peace”)
March 13, 2011
First Sunday in Lent
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
(“In the Garden”, United Methodist Hymnal, #314)
Call to Worship
Prayer for Peace
Distribution of Ashes
and Ash Wednesday Meditation
by Pastor Ruth Foss
Suncook United Methodist Church
March 9, 2011
by Barack Obama
March 9, 2011
“Michelle and I join with millions of Christians
here and across the world to mark Ash Wednesday.
As we observe the season of Lent, we receive
with thanksgiving this opportunity for grace and repentance,
recommit ourselves to our faith, and
remember our obligations to one another.”