Good Friday, April 10, 2020

Good Friday April 10, 2020
Peachland United Church and Penticton United Church

Welcome, Announce Service Outline

Candle Lighting 

Gathering Hymn VU 148 Jesus Remember Me (1 verse repeated 2x)

Gathering Prayer 
All-Vulnerable God,
you give yourself utterly and never withhold.
Remind us that we have no need
to achieve what has already been
totally given.
Oh, how you suffer and pay the price
for this giving, 
though we may resist the gift.
Help us to let go and to know
you will always be there
to fill our bucket to overflowingwith love and care. Amen.
Norah Laverty, St. Andrew’s U.C., Sioux Lookout, Ont. p. 40 

Choir: VU 132 Bitter Was the Night 

Call to Worship
We have gathered here today, 
to remember and give thanks for Jesus Christ,
the one who knew human joy and sorrow,
yet also the one in whom we discover God.
We give thanks for his life—
how he healed, forgave, and brought hope.
But we also gather to remember his death, 
to remember—
how those in power, feeling threatened by him, 
conspired to kill him;
how he was betrayed, denied, and abandoned 
by his friends.
Yet in his death, he bore the sin, grief, 
and suffering of the world.
We give thanks for Jesus Christ.
He lived for us, and he died for us.
That is why we gather to worship today.
Thanks be to God.
Frances Flook, Emo/Devlin P.C., Emo, Ont.

Hymn Oh Lord Hear My Prayer (Songs and Prayers from Taize 20)

Excerpts From the Passion Story

Reader 1: John 18:1-14 The Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus
18 After Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples. So Judas brought a detachment of soldiers together with police from the chief priests and the Pharisees, and they came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, knowing all that was to happen to him, came forward and asked them, “Whom are you looking for?” They answered, “Jesus of Nazareth.”[a] Jesus replied, “I am he.”[b] Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. When Jesus[c] said to them, “I am he,”[d]they stepped back and fell to the ground. Again he asked them, “Whom are you looking for?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.”[e] Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he.[f] So if you are looking for me, let these men go.” This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken, “I did not lose a single one of those whom you gave me.” 10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus. 11 Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?”

Jesus before the High Priest
12 So the soldiers, their officer, and the Jewish police arrested Jesus and bound him. 13 First they took him to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. 14 Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was better to have one person die for the people.

Sing Where You There, VU 144 Vs. 1 Played by Audrey Scowen    

Reader 2: John 18: 28-37 Jesus before Pilate
28 Then they took Jesus from Caiaphas to Pilate’s headquarters.[g] It was early in the morning. They themselves did not enter the headquarters,[h] so as to avoid ritual defilement and to be able to eat the Passover. 29 So Pilate went out to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” 30 They answered, “If this man were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.” 31 Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him according to your law.” The Jews replied, “We are not permitted to put anyone to death.” 32 (This was to fulfill what Jesus had said when he indicated the kind of death he was to die.)

33 Then Pilate entered the headquarters[i] again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” 35 Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” 37 Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” 

Sing 144 Vs. 2

Reader 3: John 18:38(b)- 19:7 Jesus Sentenced to Death
After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, “I find no case against him. 39 But you have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover. Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” 40 They shouted in reply, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a bandit.

19 Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they dressed him in a purple robe. They kept coming up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and striking him on the face. Pilate went out again and said to them, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no case against him.” So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!” When the chief priests and the police saw him, they shouted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him; I find no case against him.” The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has claimed to be the Son of God.”

Sing 144 Vs. 3

Reader 4: John 19:16(b)-19, 28-30 The Crucifixion of Jesus
So they took Jesus; 17 and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew[m] is called Golgotha. 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them. 19 Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth,[n] the King of the Jews.”

28 After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Sing 144 Vs. 4

Extinguish the Christ Candle

The parade is over. The laments, the denials, the excuses, the betrayals are over.  In fact it is all over.  Shadows have replaced light; fear has swallowed hope.  It is finished.  What now? 

Prayers of Confession and Intercession (Responsive)
With mixed feelings, we go out after supper 
to pray with you, O Christ.
With anger, we see the way you are met 
by those who come in force.

With fear, we approach the courts of the mighty where you stand with dignity.
With tears, we greet the sounds of the abuse 
you received.

With dread, we join in your final walk.
With horror, we see you raised up, bleeding.
With stifled sobs, we react to your final breath.

With shame, we flee and hide, Holy One, 
not trusting Love’s power.

Now, as we stand before the cross, 
as we look at the stains on our hands and hearts, 
we confess our shortcomings: 
fear and hatred live on, 
and we have tiptoed around them; 
power is abused all around us, 
and we have kept quiet. 

The shadows that gather, deep and cold, 
are in us as well.
We discover that we fear pain and suffering 
more than we love the good news that was in 
Jesus Christ—
good news for all people, 
for those suffering and those being crucified, 
for all creatures and all creation.

In the silence, we pour out our hearts:

(a time of silence)

When your good news stirred up 
fear and hatred, O Christ, you said, 
“Not my will, but yours be done.”
May this same love be in us, 
that all hearts may be opened, 
and your victory be shared by all. Amen.

Sing VU 144 Vs. 5

Words of Assurance 
Death does not have the last word.
Love is stronger than fear.
You are made in the image of God, 
and Love’s power pours out on you, 
strengthening you to hold fast 
to the Way of Christ.
Thanks be to God. Amen.
Robin Wardlaw, Glen Rhodes U.C., Toronto, Ont.

MV 221 I Am Walking a Path of Christ  (x3 – Peace, Grace, Hope)

Benediction 
We go into the dark
But there is a light that shines 
that not even death can put out.
We go into the dark 
but even now new life is dawning.
We go into the dark 
In the sure and certain hope that Christ is with us.
Go into the day not with grief and sorrow 
but with hope and even joy  

It’s Friday but Sunday is coming. 

Go into the day not in defeat and loss
But in awe at what God has done for us 
It’s Friday but Sunday is coming.
Go in peace, God has made a way for us
Go with the assurance of new life and light 
It’s Friday but Sunday is coming.
– Howard Carter, Northland, New Zealand

We go forth in Silence

Maundy Thursday Taize Service April 9, 2020

Gathering in silence

Gathering Song: Bless the Lord (Songs and Prayers from Taize 9)
Bless the Lord my soul
And bless God’s holy name.
Bless the Lord my soul
who leads me into light.
© 1991, Les Presses de Taizé, GIA Publications, Inc., agentContributors: Jacques Berthier, Taizé

Reading: Psalm 116: 1-2, 11-14 How Can I Repay Your Goodness Oh God? (Psalms Now, Leslie F. Brandt)
I know that God is here.
I know this because,
my soul bare and body naked before God,
God looked upon me with love
and responded to my cry for help.

I can never repay God for God’s ever-present love.
I can only dedicate my life to praising God
and to serving God wherever I may be.
I am God’s servant and God’s son; I shall love God forever.
I shall proclaim to all the world: “God is in our midst.”

Light the Christ Candle
As I light the Christ candle, I invite you to also light a candle, if you have one. It reminds us of the presence and the love of Christ. We are not alone.

Silence

Reading: Reading: John 13:1-17 Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet
13 Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table,[a] took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus said to him, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet,[b] but is entirely clean. And you[c] are clean, though not all of you.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

12 After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. 14 So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. 16 Very truly, I tell you, servants[d] are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. 17 If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.

Song: Be Still and Know that I am God (MV77)
Be still and know that I am God
Be still and know that I am God. (repeat)

Words: Psalm 46: 1, Music: John L. Bell. Music copyright  1989  & 1998 by WGRG, Iona Community, Scotland admin. GIA publications, Inc. excl N. America agent. All rights reserved

Silence

 Reading: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 The Institution of the Lord’s Supper
23 For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body that is for[a] you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Song: Oh Lord Hear My Prayer (Songs and Prayers from Taize 20)
Oh Lord hear my prayer,
Oh Lord hear my prayer.
When I call
answer me.

Oh Lord hear my prayer,
Oh Lord hear my prayer
Come and listen to me

Tune: Jacques Berthier, © 1982, Les Presses de Taizé, GIA Publications, Inc., agent Text: Taizé Community, © 1982, Les Presses de Taizé, GIA Publications, Inc., agent

Silence

Reading: John 13:31b-35 The New Commandment
31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32 If God has been glorified in him,[a] God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. 33 Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ 34 I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Prayer of the People
Loving, listening God, ever-attentive to the voices of those in need,
we call on your name so that we might live.
Now hear our prayer:

For the church that bears Christ’s name,
that the world may know we are his disciples
by the love that we have for one another.
For leaders of nations and all persons in positions of authority,
that their lives may be marked by Christ-like service and love.

For all who are oppressed and living in captivity,
that they may escape from evil and death
to find the land of freedom you have promised.

For those who are hungry and thirsty this day
and for those who have too much,
that we may learn to share your generous gifts, O God.

For those who are dealing with loss or facing death,
that the presence of Christ may bless and keep them.

We now offer prayers for people and situations, silently or aloud.

Answer us in the day of trouble, O God,
so that we may lift up the cup of salvation
in the presence of your people,
giving thanks for all your goodness to us;
through Jesus Christ our Savior.  Amen.
~ posted on the website of the Presbyterian Church USA. 

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 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
The power and the glory
Forever and ever
Amen.

Silence

Reading: “Our Secret Entry,” Meister Eckhart
What is our secret entry
into Your heart?

We find it on the path of
letting go of what we

thought we knew, arriving
at the place where we

know nothing of knowing
beyond every notion of love,

and from light enter
the dark only to find

ourselves there, ever
one with You.

 

Blessing
May the blessing of the God who calls the people out of Egypt
call us out from our comfort and our safety
to embrace a journey of challenge and risk.

May the blessing of the Son who kneels and washes our feet
call us out from our comfort and our safety
to embrace and serve those we meet on the journey

May the blessing of the Spirit who weaves dreams of a new community
call us out from our comfort and our safety
to provide welcome and hospitality to strangers as well as friends.
~ written by Rev. Dr. Clare McBeath and Rev. Tim Presswood.  Posted on the Church of Scotland’s Starters for Sunday website

Song for Going Forth: Wait for the Lord (Songs and Prayers from Taize 12)
Wait for the Lord,
whose day is near.
Wait for the Lord:
be strong, take heart!
© 1984, Les Presses de Taizé, GIA Publications, Inc., agent Contributors: Jacques Berthier, Taizé

Going Forth in silence

Palm / Passion Sunday, April 5, 2020

Welcome

The Christ Candle is Lit
We light a candle to remind us of the presence and the love of Christ that is with us all.

Land Acknowledgement

We acknowledge these lands upon which we worship, for those of us in Penticton, as the ancestral, traditional and unceded lands of the Syilx (Say-elks) / Okanagan First Nations. Together with Indigenous peoples we desire a different relationship based on respect and right relations.

Call to Worship:

One:   The story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, 
tells us that after his celebrated arrival
he went into the Temple 
and looked around at everything. 
As we gather for worship today 
may it be with a sense that Jesus 
is with us too, and is looking around. 

All:     May our eyes be open to see Him, 
may our hearts be ready to be seen by Him, 
and may we be transformed 
so that we see the world through His eyes. 
Amen. (Anne Siddel, Stillpoint Spirituality, adapted)

Lenten Candle Lighting: Each Sunday we have been lighting a candle to mark our Lenten Journey. This week we light the sixth candle as we journey with Jesus into Jerusalem.

Centering Refrain: Bless the Lord My Soul (Songs and Prayers from Taize 9) x 3
Bless the Lord my soul
And bless God’s holy name.
Bless the Lord my soul
who leads me into light.  (© 1991, Les Presses de Taizé, GIA Publications, Inc., agent Contributors: Jacques Berthier, Taizé. Used by Permission (©LicenSing #605256))

Remembering Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1-17) 

21 When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, just say this, ‘The Lord needs them.’ And he will send them immediately.[a]” This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying,

“Tell the daughter of Zion,
Look, your king is coming to you,
    humble, and mounted on a donkey,
    and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd[b] spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,

“Hosanna to the Son of David!
     Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

10 When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?” 11 The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Now we join in welcoming Jesus into Jerusalem. This is the time to wave your branches or scarves or whatever you have (watch your candles) as we join together in singing:

Hymn: All Glory, Laud and Honour (VU #122)

Reflection:
Palm Sunday starts with much fanfare and loud Hosannas. Jesus rides into Jerusalem. People line the streets and cheer. They lay down their coats to greet him. 

There’s a lot happening in Jerusalem that day. When this story was taking place, it was the Jewish celebration of Passover. Jewish people would have been gathering in Jerusalem to celebrate this day. Passover is a commemoration and celebration of the Exodus, when God led the enslaved and oppressed people out of Egypt, through the wilderness, and into the Promised Land.

At the time, Jerusalem and all of the Middle East was under control of the Roman Empire. Now Passover had political undertones – it celebrated freedom – an escape – from Empire. The streets would be crowded with people and it was often tense –  ripe for a riot. So Rome would provide additional security during Passover. The Roman king would march into Jerusalem from the west side with a military procession. 

So here you have coming into Jerusalem from the west, the King, Empire surrounded by the military, waving their swords. And coming into Jerusalem from the east was Jesus, riding on a donkey, surrounded by women, fishermen, outcasts in society, cheering and waving palm branches, singing Hosannas. There is God in contrast to Empire, palm branches – a symbol of peace and anti-imperialism – in contrast to guns and swords.

Jesus is engaging in a radical, subversive act – he is intentionally creating a counter-narrative to the one being offered on the other side of the city. 

Empire is saying: power and force. 

Jesus is saying there’s a different way to be in the world, to make the world work. This way is rooted in love – indiscriminate love.

This understanding is helps us as we navigate our way toward Easter. Seeing Jesus making the choice of indiscriminate love. It can also be helpful as we navigate our world. There are always two ways of being in the world. We can take an approach of power or of love.

This scene feels so far away today. It does not feel like a time to celebrate. There is no one in the streets, yelling Hosanna as the world collectively watches with bated breath to hear about the latest numbers of those infected with the corona virus, those who recovered and those who have died. 

And yet, we can see that it is love, not power, that is bringing us together during these times. We are so inter-connected right now. Even though we can’t meet in person, this pandemic has made us aware of just how connected we are, how much we yearn for community and connection, how our actions affect each other — in our church community, the wider community and around the world.  

It is out of love for our family and neighbours that we stay home and practice physical distancing to reduce the spread of this virus and the impact on our front-line workers. It is out of love that we reach out and connect with each other. It is love that will lead us toward making a more just world. 

We are currently reading The Return of the Prodigal Son for the Lent book study. In the book, Henri Nouwen suggests adopting a practice of gratitude as a way to stay to connected to the love that exists within. He points out that gratitude “involves a conscious choice.” (85) Each time we make that choice, the next choice “is a little easier, a little freer, a little less self-conscious.” (86) He says that living in gratitude means to love without expecting love in return. This takes a leap of faith, but each time he takes that leap, it reveals God, with him and within those around him.

(Inspired by Nick Coates, Red Deer UC and “The Last Week”, Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan)

Let us join together in a responsive prayer based on Psalm 118

A Psalm of Celebration (Based on Psalm 118)
One:   Though we have known hardship and pain,
though life has not always turned out as we had hoped,
we will stand here and say:

All:     God’s steadfast love endures for ever!

One:   Though life becomes more complex,
the deepest questions remain unanswered,
and the mystery of faith deepens, we will say:

All:     God’s steadfast love endures for ever!

One:   And though the pain of the world
often seems more than we can bear or address,
we will stand firm in our faith and say:

All:     God’s steadfast love endures for ever! (Ann Siddall, Stillpoint Spirituality)

As we prepare for Holy Week, we listen to what unfolded for Jesus after his entrance to Jerusalem

Reading #1: Jesus Cleanses the Temple, Matthew 21:12-13 
Then Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who were selling and buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. He said to them, “It is written,

‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’;
    but you are making it a den of robbers.”

Centering Refrain: Bless the Lord My Soul (Songs and Prayers from Taize 9) x 3
Bless the Lord my soul
And bless God’s holy name.
Bless the Lord my soul
who leads me into light.  (© 1991, Les Presses de Taizé, GIA Publications, Inc., agent Contributors: Jacques Berthier, Taizé. Used by Permission (©LicenSing #605256))

Reading #2: Matthew 21:14 – 16
The blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he cured them. But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the amazing things that he did, and heard[a] the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they became angry 16 and said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read,

‘Out of the mouths of infants and nursing babies
    you have prepared praise for yourself’?”

Reflection: 
We often have visions of a calm, peaceful Jesus. Yet in Scripture we also hear that Jesus got angry. Jesus turned over tables, he confronted religious authorities. 

Money changers had a role at the Temple. Each year at Passover Jews came from all over to make a sacrifice at the Temple. It was too far to bring animals to sacrifice with them so they would purchase them in Jerusalem. This was also the time that most Jews paid their Temple tax. Money changers would exchange Roman coins for currency used in the Temple. This was not bad in and of itself. But people were taking advantage of the situation. They were over charging for the sacrificial animals and charging exorbitant rates to change money – exploiting those who were living in poverty. 

Jesus was angry over injustice.

There are things in our world to be angry about. As we experience these unprecedented times and make adjustments to our lives to stay home and stay safe, we are reminded that there are people in our communities without a home; there are people who live close to the margins and are facing uncertainty and loss. This crisis is highlighting challenges in our economic system; people have been failed by systems that have been put in place to help. There are indigenous communities that in addition to dealing with these new measures, still do not have clean drinking water; People are experiencing racism and hatred.

VU #117 Jesus Christ is Waiting v 1-3

Reading #3: The Lament over Jerusalem Matthew 23:37 – 39

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you, desolate for I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.’”

Centering Refrain: Bless the Lord My Soul (Songs and Prayers from Taize 9) x 3
Bless the Lord my soul
And bless God’s holy name.
Bless the Lord my soul
who leads me into light. (© 1991, Les Presses de Taizé, GIA Publications, Inc., agent Contributors: Jacques Berthier, Taizé. Used by Permission (©LicenSing #605256))

Reading #4: Matthew 26: 1-5, 14-16
The Plot to Kill Jesus

When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.”

Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, and they conspired to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him. But they said, “Not during the festival, or there may be a riot among the people.”

Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus

14 Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15 and said, “What will you give me if I betray him to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver. 16 And from that moment he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.

Reflection:
you are cheap at the price, jesus:
thirty pieces of silver for a kingdom.

i bet judas and you had conversations galore about this
for three years nearly,
that this was no surprise to you.

i can imagine him taking you aside saying, ‘now, lord. now!
the people will listen and they’ll rally round you.
this is the kairos.’

and what was your reply?

did you have one
or was it a silent acceptance of what people cannot accept
that love is a different way
it is never by force
never by conflict
never by violence

that they saw the wrong conflict

this one was much bigger (Roddy Hamilton, Muddy Paws)

VU #117 Jesus Christ is Waiting v 4-5

Time of Silent Reflection

Pastoral Prayer 
Let us center ourselves for prayer. 

God of all hopefulness, God of my life
on this holy day of Palms and Passions
and through this
the holiest of weeks,
when our Lenten journey
finds its completion

through pain
sorrow
illness
losses of all kinds,
through fear
anger
hatred
and finger pointing.

Fill us we pray, with the ability to
turn to you, 
In our hearts and minds and souls
Let you in
that we might turn to you,
return to you,
be transformed in you,
through you, by you,
for you.

Transformed
once more,
this day, this week,
me, you.

May we become a new people,
a gentle people,
a people of
love and compassion,
born anew from our
deepest sorrow
through the breadth of your
forgiveness
and love.

And then, may we do likewise.
Forgive.
And, love.
Amen.  — written by Terri and posted on RevGalBlogPals A Place for Prayer blog (adapted)

(Each Sunday in Lent we are reciting a different version of the Lord’s Prayer)

Lord’s Prayer  (NEW ZEALAND PRAYER BOOK
Eternal Spirit 
Earth-Maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver, 
source of all that is and that shall be, 
Father and Mother of us all.
Loving God, in whom is heaven. 
The hallowing of your name echoes through 
the universe! 
The way of your justice be followed by the peoples 
of the earth! 

Your heavenly will be done by all created beings! 
Your commonwealth of peace and freedom 
sustain our hope and come on earth. 
With the bread we need for today, feed us. 
In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us. 
In times of temptation and test, spare us. 
From the grip of all that is evil, free us. 
For you reign in the glory of the power that is love, 
now and forever. 
Amen.

Offering

 

Music: Imagine 

The story of the last week of Jesus’ life continues with Holy Week Services this week. We will close with a blessing from Murray Pruden, Indigenous Minister at Pacific Mountain Regional Council, before our going forth hymn.

A Blessing

(Shared by Murray Pruden, Indigenous Minister, Pacific Mountain Regional Council UCC)

God loves you and Blesses you.
We pray that you always love yourself,
Heal and take care of yourself,
With the guidance of Jesus our friend and teacher, 

The Holy Spirit that brings us the source of our being, 

And the Creator, the maker of it all.
Amen. 

Going Forth: MV #215
Peace be with you, peace forever, 
peace be with you my friends.  
Till we meet again, 
may God be with you. 
Peace, peace, peace. (Words and music Alison L Wesley (Slaats) 2000. Words and Music copyright Alison L. Wesley (Slaats). Used by Permission (©LicenSing #605256))

 

 

 

 

Silence

The story of the last week of Jesus’ life continues

April 9     Maundy Thursday Taize Service 10 am
April 10   Good Friday 10 a.m. 
April 12   Sunrise Service 7:30 a.m.
UCC Easter Communion Service 12 pm

Church Chat April 3, 2020

Palm Sunday

This Sunday is Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week as we lead up to Good Friday and Easter Sunday.       

Sunday Worship: We are currently gathering for online Services on Sundays at 10 am. This can be accessed on the Worship page of the church website. pentictonunitedchurch.com/worship/. Services will be recorded and posted on the website if you want to watch at a later time.

If you are joining the online service on Sunday (April 5), there are a couple of ways you can participate in the welcoming of Jesus during the service:

  • Cut a branch from a tree or plant that you can wave 
  • Make a palm branch using paper and a stick or wooden spoon 
  • Use something else that you can wave like a scarf or ribbon. 

For all the services, you can take part in the ritual of lighting the Christ candle. Have a candle nearby that you can turn on or light when we light the Christ candle at the start of the service, recognizing that where ever we are, Christ is with us.

We are going to create a photo montage of ‘signs of spring’ for an upcoming service. Take pictures of signs of spring that you see. Email your photos to Joanne by April 8 at noon.

Upcoming Services

April 910 amMaundy Thursday Taize Service
April 10  10 am                                                                    Good Friday Service              
April 12  7:30 am  Easter Sunday Sunrise Service  – The service will be followed by a time of fellowship in our virtual space. Bring your hot cross buns, cinnamon rolls, or breakfast goodies!                                                                                                          
April 1212 pmEaster Communion Service – Led by United Church of Canada’s Moderator the Right Rev. Dr. Richard Bott (* See link below) 
April 19                                        10 amFirst Sunday after Easter Guest speaker Rev. Donald Schmidt 

Sign on information for all services can be found on the PUC website: http://www.pentictonunitedchurch.com/worship/

* Easter Communion Service This service will be led by UCC’s Moderator. It is a chance to join in an Easter celebration with people from across Canada. “Bring bread (or crackers, or muffins, or tortilla, or more!) and juice (or wine, or water, or more!), a candle, and anyone in your household who wants to celebrate Easter with folks from across The United Church of Canada.”

The service can be found on the United Church of Canada’s youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/unitedchurchofcanada?fbclid=IwAR2Vd-WO3rKW9pFfLPLiUyiQCcg6muxnaAqnoVR8DXd1Dr18vRkCLsz015Q

We will be sending out information on these services during next week.

A written copy of the Service is available on the website on the Blog page. If you would like a hardcopy and can’t access the website, please let the office know.

Contacting the Church: Staff are regularly monitoring the church mail, email and phone messages. The best way to get in touch is via email:  

Church office: punitedc@telus.net
Joanne: joannescofield@telus.net

We will post updates on:
Website: pentictonunitedchurch.com/blog/
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/PentictonUnitedChurch1/ 
(please note: we had to start a new Facebook page so be sure to go to the page and click “like” to see updates)

Study Group: the fourth and final session will meet on Tuesday, April 21 at 1:30 pm.

Don’t forget Coffee and Chat: Monday and Wednesday at 9 via Zoom.  Access this through the website under Covid19 Response/Virtual Coffee Break. This will be cancelled for Monday April 13 and Wednesday April 15.

Candle lighting Let’s join together in a ritual of pausing, lighting a candle and saying a prayer or meditation every day at 8 pm. It’s a way for us to connect as a community, in spirit. A number of congregations across the country have started this ritual so we can think of our own family and friends, the PUC family as well as the broader church. Here is a suggested prayer we can use:

You never sleep, God.
You are always awake, always willing the world and its people
towards wholeness and healing.
So tonight, will you comfort those who cannot sleep
because of illness
or worry,
or fear;
or for reasons they cannot understand.
And tonight will you be close to those who wait
patiently or impatiently
for a birth or death,
or for pieces of their life’s jigsaw to fit together.

And God, listen to us
as we share with you
whatever joys or sorrows,
discoveries of questions
we will take with us into the night…
Into your hands we commit ourselves –
our souls, our bodies our minds, our futures –
for all things are best kept in your care. Amen. (Iona Community Worship Book)

Offering

During this time when we don’t have our usual weekly offering, people are encouraged to continue their givings as you are able. Thank you to everyone who has dropped off cheques to the church and signed up for PAR. It is much appreciated to maintain the work of the church. There are a number of ways to make your offering:

• Going on PAR. This ensures that we are receiving money regularly. If you are interested please contact the office.

• Mail your donations to the office 696 Main Street, Penticton, B.C. V2A 5C8

• By making a direct donation on the Canada Helps website: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/penticton-united-church/

Prayer list so that you can include these people in your prayers. Please notify the office if we can remove anyone or add to it.

We pray for all who face health challenges and treatment including: Ann, Evan and Brook Brunellse, Dave and Teri Brunelle, Elsie Butler, Shelly Campbell, Patti Craig, Susan Davies, Carol French, Bob Ireland, Eleanor Jones, Kim MacDonald, Marj Notenboom, Fern Gibbard (sciatica), Shannon Oliver, Gwen Owen, Charlotte P., John Roberts, Ray Sommer and Shirley.

In our Pacific Mountain Region we pray for Northwood United Church, Surrey, BC

Lockdown                                                                                                                                                Yes there is fear.                                                                                                                                        Yes there is isolation.                                                                                                                                Yes there is panic buying.                                                                                                                        Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.
But,
They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.
They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.
They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighbourhood
So that the elders may have someone to call on.
Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
are preparing to welcome
and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary
All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality
To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
To Love.
So we pray and we remember that
Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying.
But there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul
Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Today, breathe.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,
Sing.

Fr. Richard Hendrick, OFM
March 13th 2020

Fifth Sunday in Lent, March 29, 2020

Scripture Sentences
For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell. (Colossians 1:19)

Opening Prayer
One:   God who is our rock and our stronghold, 
All:     gathers us to worship today.
One:   Jesus, who is our teacher and guide,
All:     calls us to pay attention and pray.
One:   The Holy Spirit, who is our comforter,
All:     calls us to be in loving community with each other.
One:   Come, let us worship! (Phyllis Flemming, Gathering)

Gathering Prayer
One:   In the beauty of our world,
All:     we come to pray, to worship, and to receive healing and hope.
One:   We come from the struggles and triumphs of the week,
All:     needing to feel the soothing presence of God.
One:   Holy One, be with us today.
All:      Calm and soothe our souls.
One:   We rejoice in our time together,
All:      where we gather to talk
            of your presence and your love,
            to sing your praises and to be empowered
            to go forth to serve our community. Amen. (Heather Tober, Gathering(adapted))

Scripture: John 11:17-27 Jesus the Resurrection and the Life

When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.”

Reading: The Source by Meister Eckhart
Just as the sun illumines the air and shines through it,
but keeps its source for itself, so You pour all pleasure
and every delight into every one of your creatures –
and into me – and yet You keep the root of pleasure
and guard delight’s essence in Yourself so that
I might seek You as the ever-giving source of
what gives true pleasure and lasting delight.

A New Creed 
We are not alone,
    we live in God’s world.

 We believe in God:
    who has created and is creating,
    who has come in Jesus,
       the Word made flesh,
       to reconcile and make new,
    who works in us and others
       by the Spirit.

We trust in God. 

We are called to be the Church:
    to celebrate God’s presence,
    to live with respect in Creation,
    to love and serve others,
    to seek justice and resist evil,
    to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen,
       our judge and our hope.

In life, in death, in life beyond death,
    God is with us.
We are not alone.

    Thanks be to God.

Pastoral Prayers
A prayer from the Indigenous Ministries and Justice Circle:
Creator, God,
We ask you to be with us.
We pray for those who are ill, and for those we cannot be with as closely as we wish.
When we are afraid, help us to remember and be grateful for:
Water, which gives life.
The land, which sustains us and restores us to health.
The wisdom of Elders, who guide us.
Our young people, who deserve a bright future.
Our strength and resilience, which will bring us to a new day.
Help our leaders respond appropriately to the specific needs of Indigenous
communities.
Help us to walk compassionately with all who are ill or afraid.
Help us to understand that we are all relatives.

And now we pray for those who we name in words and in the silence of our hearts 
and we hold them in the light of your love…

Help us to remember that 
you called us by name and 
hold us in unconditional love.  Amen.

Lord’s Prayer (Paraphrased by Sarah Dylan Breuer)
(Each Sunday in Lent we are reciting a different version of the Lord’s Prayer)

Loving Creator
we honor you, 
and we honor all that you have made. 
Renew the world 
in the image of your love. 
Give us what we need for today, 
and a hunger to see the whole world fed. 
Strengthen us for what lies ahead; 
heal us from the hurts of the past; 
give us courage to follow your call in this moment. 
For your love is the only power, 
the only home, the only honor we need,
in this world and in the world to come.    Amen. 

Sending Forth and Benediction:
May the Christ who walks with wounded feet
walk with you on the road.
May the Christ who serves with wounded hands
stretch out your hands to serve.
May the Christ who loves with a wounded heart 
open your hearts to love.
May you see the face of Christ in everyone you meet,
and may everyone you meet see the face of Christ in you. (VU 349)

Going Forth: MV #215
Peace be with you, peace forever, 
peace be with you my friends.  
Till we meet again, 
may God be with you. 
Peace, peace, peace. (Words and music Alison L Wesley (Slaats) 2000. Words and Music copyright Alison L. Wesley (Slaats). Used by Permission (©LicenSing #605256))

Prayer for Community in a Time of Pandemic

From Corrymeela Community, Ireland

God of the good news that spreads faster than fear,
God of the courage that comes from the heart:
Be with us as anxieties rise and with us as uncertainty grows.
Be with us when children ask difficult questions,
and with us when parents seem farther away.
Remind us that to be a community does not always mean
to be physically present beside those we know well.
It also can mean being spiritually present
with those who feel very alone;
and that you as our God, the God made flesh, 
are also the God who calls us from the tumult
and tells us to be still
and to know that you are God
with us. 
Amen. (Corrymeela Community, Ireland)

Congregational Letter ~ March 17

March 17, 2020

Dear PUC Congregation,

In consultation with Patti Skinner, Chair and Church Council, I want to update you on Penticton United Church’s plan in response to what is happening with the coronavirus (COVID-19). As you know, things are changing rapidly. We have been watching closely recommendations from federal and provincial public health and from the national and regional offices of the United Church of Canada. We want to ensure that we respond in a way that will help minimize risk for our congregation and wider community and, as they say, ‘flatten the curve.’

PUC is implementing the following changes:

Church gatherings:

We have decided to suspend all church gatherings including:

  • Worship
  • All small group gatherings
  • All non-essential meetings
  • Pastoral care volunteer visits, including healing touch visits

Alternative/Online Worship

We recognize that worship is an important part of many people’s spiritual practice. Here are some ways to continue to worship during this time:


Office:

  • The office will be closed. Staff will be working from home. We will be checking messages regularly. 
  • Joanne can be reached at joannescofield@telus.net or on her cell phone at 250-328-3800.

Shared space:

  • The building will be closed to all non-essential outside organizations who share space within the building as of Weds, March 18. NA/AA may continue to meet as required. 

Ways of keeping in touch:

  • We will keep in touch through updates on:
            – PUC website (https://pentictonunitedchurch.com/blog/)
            – PUC Facebook page
            – PUC e-mail list
            – Phone tree – members of Council will have a list of names of members      
              congregation and will check-in weekly.
  • Sunday morning prayers and check-in, Sundays at 9:30 – 10 am via Zoom. A link will be on the website for you to connect. (https://pentictonunitedchurch.com/worship/)

Our response is based on our commitment to honour and respect everyone who is part of our community.  This will be in effect until a new position by government is introduced. We will continue to monitor the situation and update you on procedures and practices as necessary. 

This can be an anxious time. We want to be cautious but also stay connected. This is a time when we can support each other as a church community. A reminder that we can all check in on friends and neighbours, by phone, email, Skype etc. If you, or anyone you know needs access to basic supplies and is unable to leave their home, please call the church office or let me know. 

If you have any questions or concerns or if you require pastoral support, please contact Joanne Scofield, Minister, at joannescofield@telus.net or on her cell phone at 250-328-3800. And as we move through this, let us remember, we are not alone, we live in the love of the Holy. 

Blessings,

Joanne Scofield
Minister

Congregational Letter ~ March 10, 2020

March 10, 2020    

Dear Penticton United Church Community,

I wanted to update you on Penticton United Church’s plan regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the steps we’re taking to make sure we minimize risk at the Church. 

You may be aware of the recent statement issued by the Health Minister of BC and the federal health minister in which they made the recommendation: “There has been a notable transmission of COVID-19 at events, such as religious gatherings. As a result, we recommend social distancing and forgoing usual greetings. As an alternative, we recommend considering virtual online gatherings.”

The measures we’re adopting have been developed following best practices advice from health officials, the Pacific Mountain Region, and The United Church of Canada.

Penticton United is implementing the following changes, on an interim basis, to some of our practices and rituals in response.

Most important:

  • If you are not well, please stay home. 

Changes to Sunday Service:

  • Greeters and ushers will be instructed to welcome people with a warm greeting, yet will not be shaking hands or giving hugs. 
  • One of the popular rituals in our service is the closing circle. We will continue to do the circle, but will refrain from holding hands.
  • Pastoral care volunteer visits will be put on hold for the time being. 
  • We will be making changes to how we host fellowship, as needed.
  • A reminder: if you are using the dishwasher in the church kitchen, it needs to be run through once before loading, in order to bring the water to the correct temperature.
  • Hand sanitizers will be available throughout the building.
  • Signs have been installed in the washrooms with instructions on proper hand washing. 

Our response is based on our commitment to honor and respect everyone who is part of our community. You may need to make a judgement for yourself, based on your personal health needs, as to whether you come to activities at the church. We will continue to monitor the situation and update procedures and practices as necessary. 

If you have any questions or concerns or if you require pastoral support, please contact Joanne Scofield, Minister, at 250-492-2684.

With blessings,

Joanne Scofield

Resources

Shared Service ~ March 8, 2020

On March 8, 2020 Penticton United Church participated in a Shared Service at St. Saviour’s Anglican Church.

Keri Wehlander, Oasis United Church, Rev. Dr. Jason Byassee, Vancouver School of Theology, Joanne Scofield, Penticton United Church, Rev. Nick Pang, St. Saviour’s Anglican Church. Missing: Colin Cross, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church

Continue reading “Shared Service ~ March 8, 2020”

Lent Book Study: “Return of the Prodigal Son” by Henri Nouwen

Our Lent book study begins Tuesday, March 10. We will be discussing the book, “The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming” by Henri Nouwen. The group will meet for four Tuesdays, 1:30 – 3 pm ~ March 10, 17, 24, 31. You can choose to come to all sessions or drop in as you are able. Please sign up in the office or speak to Joanne. Please let Joanne know if you would like to order a book.