Welcome to the "Little Church with the Big Heart".
East Valley Presbyterian Church has resumed Sunday services; 9:30 Sunday morning! We are following Washington State guide lines for cleaning, seating and social distancing etc.
East Valley Presbyterian Church has served the communities of Otis Orchards, Newman Lake, Liberty Lake, and Greenacres since 1986. Located on Harvard Road, just 2.5 miles north of Liberty Lake, it is a small church in which people see one another as family. The hallmarks of this congregation are the warm, welcoming, and loving way in which all newcomers are treated; its traditional-style of worship; its deep exploration of scripture; and, its firm belief in the power of prayer.
We see ourselves as “The Little Church with the Big Heart where people help one another feel safe, loved, and spiritually whole.”
Our pastor is the Reverend Marcia Taylor, a native of Spokane Valley, who has served God with us since 2000.
How lovely is the dwelling place of God! May our hearts become a place where God’s Spirit lives. May our words become bold words of love and grace. And may our worship be worthy of the Lord.
Call to Worship
Welcome to this holy space where God’s Spirit dwells among us!
WE COME LONGING TO FEEL THE PRESENCE OF GOD.
Open your hearts, for this is a place of prayer and healing.
THIS IS A PLACE OF JOY AND FAITH.
This is the place for you.
THANKS BE TO GOD!
Hymn PH# 207 How Lovely, Lord
How lovely, Lord, how lovely is your abiding place;
My soul is longing, fainting, to feast upon your grace.
The sparrow finds a shelter, a place to build her nest;
And so your temple calls us within its walls to rest.
In your blest courts to worship, O God, a single day
Is better than a thousand if I from you should stray.
I’d rather keep the entrance and claim you as my Lord
Than revel in the riches the ways of sin afford.
A sun and shield forever are you, O Lord Most High;
You shower us with blessings; no good will you deny.
The saints, your grace receiving, from strength to strength shall go,
And from their life shall rivers of blessing overflow.
Used by permission, CCLI Lic. # 1409910, ©1986 Hope Publishing Company, Arlo D. Duba
* Opening Prayer
Holy One, you have called us to this place, a place where we find your Spirit. We have gathered here to pray ad to be forgiven, to love and be loved, and to hear the word boldly proclaimed as we apply it to our lives. Open our hearts to the mystery of your Word. Remind us that your Word is proclaimed in the life of Jesus, the Christ. Help us believe in you and in your love for us. In the holy name of Christ we pray. Amen
* Hymn PH# 510 Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts
Jesus, thou joy of loving hearts,
Thou fount of life, thou light of all,
From the best bless that earth imparts
We turn, unfilled, to heed thy call.
Thy truth unchanged hath ever stood;
Thou savest those that on thee call;
to them that seek thee thou art good,
to them that find thee, all in all.
We taste thee, O thou living bread,
And long to feast upon thee still;
We drink of thee, the fountainhead,
And thirst our souls from thee to fill.
Our restless spirits yearn for thee,
Where’er our changeful lot is cast,
Glad when thy gracious smile we see,
Blest when our faith can hold thee fast.
- Public Domain
Call to Confession
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
SEE IF THERE IS ANY OFFENSIVE WAY IN ME, AND LEAD ME IN THE WAY EVERLASTING.
Prayer of Confession
GRACIOUS GOD, WE OFTEN FORGET THAT YOU DWELL IN OUR HEARTS. WE FAIL TO NOTICE THAT YOUR HOLY SPIRIT IS PRESENT IN OUR LIVES AT ALL TIMES. IN OUR FORGETFULNESS, WE STUMBLE AND FALL, WE TURN FROM YOU, WE BELIEVE IN WORLDLY GOODS INSTEAD OF YOUR TRUTH. REMIND US AGAIN THAT YOU ARE SPIRIT AND LIFE; YOU ARE ALL WE NEED. HELP US TURN TOWARD YOUR LOVE, YOUR HEALING, AND YOUR TRUTH. IN THE NAME OF THE ONE WHO BRINGS LIFE, WE PRAY. AMEN
Come to us, O Lord, fill us with your Spirit.
Come to us, fill us up, fill us now O Lord.
Cover us, O Lord. Cover us with mercy.
You alone can make us clean. Cover us with mercy, Lord.
Assurance of Pardon
“No good thing does the Lord withhold from those who walk uprightly.” Brothers and Sisters, receive God’s forgiveness and dwell in love and grace.
* Gloria Patri # 805
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.
Amen, Amen - Public Domain
Sharing the Peace of Christ
The dwelling place of God is a place for everyone. In the name of Christ, you are welcome here, so I invite you to offer a hand in peace and love to your neighbor. May the peace of Christ be with you all.
AND ALSO WITH YOU.
Time with the Children
Prayers of Thanksgiving and Intercession
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 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.
* Hymn PH# 370 Just As I Am, Without One Plea
Just as I am, without one plea
But that thy blood was shed for me,
And that thou biddest me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!
Just as I am, though tossed about
with many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
Just as I am, thou wilt receive,
wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because thy promise I believe,
O Lamb or God, I come, I come.
Just as I am, thy love unknown
Has broken every barrier down;
Now to be thine, yes thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
- Public Domain
[Intro] So far in the Gospel of John, Jesus has called his corps of disciples, he’s healed many who were sick, he turned water into wine at a wedding feast, walked on water, fed more than 5,000 people with only five loaves of bread and two fish, yet, people still haven’t figured out the significance of all these things. So he comes right out and tells them that the food that goes in their bellies isn’t what gives them life. It is the true bread from heaven, given to them by God, that brings life to all the world. But, there’s more to it than just that.
Let’s listen for a word from God spoken to us today as we read from the Gospel of John, chapter 6, verses 53-71. May the Spirit bless the reading and the hearing of God’s holy word, and may we be changed in the encounter.
Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”
From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
“You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.
Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”
Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.)
All this talk about Jesus’ body being bread and his blood being drink has been a stumbling point for a lot of people through the years. Even in the early years of Christianity one of the charges called out against them was that they were cannibals and that they sacrificed children and ate their bodies as part of their religious rituals. That was all because of people who couldn’t wrap their heads around the metaphors of Jesus as the Bread of Life, and eating his body and blood as the way to salvation. A lot of folks today still have trouble getting past the awful imagery of eating flesh and blood. Yet Jesus gave us a clue to help with our insight. He brought up Moses and the manna in the desert.
You probably all remember the story of the Exodus and the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. After the Hebrew slaves were led out of captivity in Egypt—led by Moses with a lot of help from God—the people started on a journey that would eventually last for 40 years. They needed all that extra time in order to learn HOW to be God’s people and HOW to live according to God’s will in a world that put human will first. As they wandered, before long they ran out of the food they had brought out of Egypt with them. So, when the people started accusing God of leading them to their deaths, God gave them the food they needed. Scripture describes that each morning, six days a week, the people awoke to something white covering the ground like dew. There was enough substance to it that it could be picked up and carried in baskets. The people could eat it straight off the ground and it was described as tasting a bit like coriander. They could also grind it into a flour to make bread or cakes. The manna, as they called it, became known to them as Bread from Heaven. It didn’t just fill their bellies each day, but it nourished their bodies so that they could flourish in all the rigors of traveling through and living in a wilderness. God had only one rule for them about the manna. They could only gather as much as they needed to feed each person for that day. Any who tried to hoard more or who attempted to eat more than any one person needed, would find that the manna rotted and became filled with maggots before they could consume it. The only exception was on the day before the Sabbath. God himself wouldn’t work by providing manna on the Sabbath for people to pick up off the ground. So, the day before, God sent more manna—enough to feed the people for two days, and it wouldn’t spoil. Without the God-provided manna, the people would have starved to death and the history of Israel would have come to a screeching halt thousands of years sooner.
So, Jesus mentioned the manna and Moses to create the memory of God’s life-saving provision in people’s heads. Then he pointed out, “All of those people died.” Then, most certainly after a pregnant pause, Jesus went on, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
See, the big hurdle we all need to get over before we can begin to grasp what Jesus is telling us is that THIS LIFE on earth isn’t the life that matters most. This life is temporary. This life is kind of a practice field or an open house demonstration for the true life that God has prepared for us—a life in the spirit that will be eternal, filled with blessed peace, and with the immeasurable love of God. THAT spiritual life is the life that matters. The food that feeds our spirits in preparation for and sustenance of our spiritual lives isn’t food that we put into our mouths and dump into our body’s digestive system only to be expelled later. The food that feeds our spirits is a person. It is Jesus--the Christ, the Son of God and the Son of Man, our God in human flesh. And we “eat” this spiritual bread by believingthat Jesus is all those things, and that each word he uttered came originally from God. And it all works because God’s word has power beyond our understanding: power to create, power to make order from chaos, power to heal, power to give life, even life eternal.
Sadly, there are some people who still can’t accept that, still think that there has to be much more involved, things that they can control. And they are the one’s who lose because they could not accept that such an important and invaluable gift could be free….
I want to ask you a question. How many of you play the Publishers’ Clearinghouse lottery? What’s the enticement in that? It’s the idea of financial security for the rest of our lives, right? It’s the means through which our hopes and dreams of being able to leave a large financial legacy for our children and grandchildren, even though we’ve had to scrimp and save for whatever we’ve had in our lives. It doesn’t hurt that it doesn’t cost us anything to enter, right? Well, what God is offering to us through Christ doesn’t cost us anything either. It’s free. We enter the lottery simply by believing in Jesus Christ. Yet, in God’s way everyone who enters wins the grand prize.
Dedication of our Tithes and Offerings
[Invitation] In this holy place, you are invited to bring your prayers and your offerings before God—the one who calls us to faith and who calls us to life. In gratitude to God for this opportunity, let’s return to Him ourselves, our tithes and our offerings.
GRACIOUS GOD, THANK YOU FOR THESE GIFTS. WE OFFER THEM TO YOU, SEEKING YOUR BLESSING, THAT THEY MIGHT BE USED TO WELCOME ALL AND TO INSPIRE FAITH IN OUR COMMUNITY. WE OFFER OUR VERY SELVES, ASKING THAT WE MIGHT BECOME YOUR FAITHFUL FOLLOWERS. IN THE NAME OF CHRIST, WE PRAY. AMEN
Doxology # 809
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him, all creatures here below;
praise him above, ye heavenly host:
praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen
- Public Domain
* Hymn PH# 345 Dear Lord and Father of Mankind
Dear Lord and Father of mankind, forgive our foolish ways;
Reclothe us in our rightful mind, in purer lives thy service find,
in deeper reverence, praise.
In simple trust like theirs who heard, beside the Syrian sea,
the gracious calling of the Lord, let us, like them, without a word
rise up and follow thee.
O Sabbath rest by Galilee, O calm of hills above,
where Jesus knelt to share with thee the silence of eternity,
interpreted by love!
Drop thy still dews of quietness, till all our strivings cease;
take from our souls the strain and stress, and let our ordered lives confess
the beauty of thy peace.
Breathe through the heats of our desire thy coolness and thy balm;
let sense be dumb, let flesh retire; speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire,
O still, small voice of calm!
- Public Domain
Sending and Benediction
Seek Ye First
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