Regular worship services are each Sunday
at 10:30 a.m.
Presented in full by the Children of the Congregational Church of Belmont
October 23, 2016
Hailey and Katie light the altar candles.
Cassie & Carolina are our Greeters welcoming folks in the narthex.
Michael & Kaitlyn hand out bulletins as people enter the sanctuary.
Choral Introit ‘I Am One Voice’ Youth Choir and All
Kendall: WELCOME to all of you... Today is the day we celebrate Children's Sabbath which is sponsored by the Children’s Defense Fund. The founder, Marion Wright Edelman, asks us always to ‘Remember the Children!’ And today too many children are struggling to keep their homes. Those that are fortunate to have a home sometimes struggle too just be heard! We are told that “Home is where the heart is!” We want there to be a home And a voice for every child and that is why we are here to talk to you today!
And now I invite you all to turn and greet your neighbor.
Do we have any visitors today?
Do we have any birthdays to celebrate?
Do we have any announcements this morning?
Response: God, be with us as we do the work of the church.
*Call to Worship
Kendall:Would all who are able please stand and join me in the Call to worship?
One: May the door of this house be wide enough
to receive all who hunger for love;
all who are lonely for friendship.
Many: We know that home is where the heart is.
One: May it welcome all who have cares to unburden,
thanks to express, hopes to nurture.
Many: For home is where the heart is.
One: May the door of this house be narrow enough
to shut out pettiness and pride, envy and meanness.
Many: For home is where the heart is.
One: May its threshold be low enough for young or old feet.
And may it be too high to admit selfishness or harshness.
Many: May this house be for all who enter,
the doorway to richness and a more meaningful life.
*Hymn of Praise I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry #351
TIME WITH ADULTS
Emily – Define home, house, sanctuary. What is needed? What do we provide others who have a house but not a home?
Silent Prayer for Centering
Robin: I invite you now to take a few minutes to relax fully in your seat, notice that you take up space and simply breathe in the gift of this day. We call it a time of Silent Prayer for Centering. Let us pray…(maybe count to 100)
Prayer of Confession
Robin: Sometimes in the silence we notice something we wish we had done differently, some friend or family member we have hurt, something we wish we could change. We may feel sad or far from God, which is not good. So we take a bit time more in the silence to simply name and let go of anything that might make us feel bad or sad or far from God's love. It is our time of Prayer of Confession. Once more, let us pray…(maybe count to 50)
Assurance of Grace
Robin: There is no where you can go and nothing you can do that can separate you from God. God's love is unconditional and always with us to fill our lives with peace and faith and love. Please let yourself know and trust in this Assurance of God's grace!
Joys and Concerns
Robin: Now, continuing in an attitude of prayer, I invite us to share our joys and concerns with one another.
Robin: Loving God, we offer all that we have shared this morning into your care. We ask to be stronger when we need to be. We ask today not only for what we need but for you to help us help the hungry and the homeless in our community and around the world. Help us to know what we can do to help and then give us the courage to do what we can to bring your love and justice into our world. We pray for our world's leaders too. Make them more determined to find ways toward peace. We ask you to inspire us with your words and with the songs we sing. Help us to remember that we are never alone and together we can do so many good things. We pray together now the prayer that Jesus taught us:
The Prayer Jesus Taught Us to Pray
Our Father, Our Mother, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy names. 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 debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Anthem ‘Joyful, Joyful’ Youth Choir
Scripture Lessons Emma & Jacob
Emma: Our Scripture Lessons today are taken from both the Hebrew Scriptures and our New Testament. First, we hear from the Prophet Samuel give a vision of hope for the future when everyone will have a place to live! A reading from Second Samuel, Chapter 7, verse 10:
2 Samuel 7:10
And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning.
Emma: Then we hear from Paul’s Letter to the Church at Corinth that we are each of us a home for God’s Spirit! First Corinthians 3, verse 16:
1 Corinthians 3:16
Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in your midst?
Jacob: Now we hear from the Letter to the Ephesians about how Christ lives in our hearts. We are a home to God’s love! Ephesians, Chapter 3, verse 17:
Christ dwells in your hearts through faith. You are being rooted and grounded in love.
Jacob: And finally we hear a reminder that when we care for others, we may discover that they are really giving gifts to us. Listen to Hebrews, Chapter 13, verse 2:
Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.
Sermon Home is Where the Heart Is Alyce Thornhill
When most people think of San Francisco, they picture fog, the golden gate bridge, and Ghiradelli Chocolate (especially after our ChocolateFest)! But San Francisco is more than that- it’s a city with 6,500 homeless people. That’s twice the number of homeless people in San Jose, and triple the people in Oakland. In fact, in the entire nation, San Francisco comes in second. And it is only getting worse.
Last year, my family had cousins visiting from Iowa, so we decided to show them around the city. After getting some pizza for lunch, we handed one man, who was laying on the street, our leftovers. My mom tried to explain that he was homeless, but my cousins couldn’t understand. They had never seen anyone living on the streets before- and couldn’t fathom how hundreds of people could walk by and do or say nothing. They couldn’t understand how someone could sleep on the dirty sidewalk every night.
It struck me that I, like so many others, had learned how to ignore homelessness. It didn’t effect me, so I didn’t care. Giving someone my leftovers that I probably would have thrown away anyway did not make me feel like a good person, it made me feel ashamed.
I chose to talk about homelessness because it is something that exists in the Bible, and still exists now. It is a theme repeated and repeated again. John said, "Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same."
But even those who have nothing still find a way to help others. One of my favorite stories is about a woman named Dominique Harrison-Bentzen. It was 3:00 in the morning and dark, and she was trying to get home from a party. Her phone battery was dead, and she had no money.
A homeless man approached her and asked her if she was alright. He then pulled $4 out of his pocket, all the money he had, and offered it to her. He was giving everything he had to a stranger because he wanted to make sure that she got home safely. She didn’t take the money, even though he insisted, but got home another way. This man’s selflessness changed her life- and she raised over $50,000 for this man and the homeless community. Like Jacob said, when we care for others, we may discover that they are really giving gifts to us.
And maybe “Home is where the heart is” isn’t true. Could it be that “home”- this feeling of family, safety, and acceptance is a feeling that we all carry, and share with each other? The homeless man had no home, but he was still able to give a piece of it, a small gesture of assurance and safety, to a woman that was hopeless.
There’s a lot of things that put people out on the streets: relationships, unemployment, high rent. We can blame this on big tech companies or landlords or the economy. Or we can take action. We can volunteer at home and hope, give a hungry man our leftovers, or spare some change for someone trying to get home.
You can’t change the whole world, but you can change someone’s world. Because in the end, we are equal people, and the only way to bring change and end homelessness is through human kindness.
The Offering of our Gifts
Emma: Our gifts to the church allow us to help others! We learn about what we can do and we learn about how we can grow into the best people we can be. Will the ushers come forward to receive the morning offering?
Offertory - Sarah & Andrew/Jacob come forward to collect the offering.
*Prayer of Dedication
Emma: Loving God, Thank you for these gifts of money. Thank you for the gifts of friends and thank you for the gift of family. Thank you for teaching us to care about other people, not just our friends and families. Help us to see all people as a part of our family and help us to do the best we can to care for them too. Amen.
Emily: I’d like to invite all the children to come forward to join us as we sing and dance our closing hymn…
*Closing Hymn ‘In the Midst of New Dimensions’ #391
Emily: And now, will all please join me in our Benediction!
*Benediction - ALL
May God bless you and keep you.
May God's face shine upon you and give you peace.
May you walk in the sunshine of God's love today and every day. Amen.