Welcome to the "Little Church with the Big Heart".
EVPC UPDATE July 5, 2020
Sometimes, it may well be a “God-thing” when our best laid plans don’t come to fruition. Larry and his helpers of Mary Ann, Char, Madronna, Marnalynn & Mark, Max & Sheila, and our custodian, Nancy spent their time last Tuesday cleaning and disinfecting the church for our planned reopening. Larry had also scheduled an annual inspection of the heating and air conditioning unit (HVAC) to assure we were getting maximum ventilation (one of the necessary conditions for reopening in this time of COVID-19).
In the midst of that inspection, we learned that our HVAC unit’s refrigerant was nearly gone due to a leak. We’ve had at least two evaluations done by different contractors. When Larry asked about cost to repair, the answer received from the experts was “IF it could be repaired.” Our HVAC is probably around 30 years old (possibly older). The technicians informed us that parts may not be possible to find and could be very expensive. Even if it could be repaired, it would likely continue to have problems with maintenance. We were forewarned of this several years ago when our heating side of the system went out at Christmas time. We went much of that winter with no heat in the sanctuary while we waited for parts.
SO, This morning in our Zoom time for worship, Larry and I let people know what we’re facing. He’s requested bids from three contractors to replace the HVAC. Those bids should be in by the end of this week. Then we’ll be facing some amount of lead time for installation. The session members present today confirmed that we need to delay our reopening. I’ll keep you posted as things progress.
In the meantime—On Sunday, July 19th at 9:00 am there will be an auction at my aunt and uncle’s place near Harrison, ID. If anyone would like to come (whether you want to buy anything or not—though I doubt that there’s much of anything any of you would want--It’s mostly old farm/garden/lumber tools) we could certainly BBQ burgers and hotdogs afterward. If anyone’s interested, let me know and I’ll send you directions for how to get there. We will have Zoom worship, as usual, at 9:30 am that morning.
NEED A FRIEND?
Three tiny kittens need a home. They were born here at the ranch, but their mother was killed. I think they’re about four weeks old, small enough to fit into my hand. I’ve been nurturing them this week and they seem to be doing well and on the road to health. Though born to be “barn cats” they are now too tame to be able to survive in that environment. So, I’m looking for good homes for them where they can grow up to be someone’s lap warmers and loving companions. Their personalities are just beginning to emerge. One loves to talk and explore. He’s the most active and outgoing of the three. The second is very close to the first in personality, but (so far) doesn’t talk as much. The third is more reserved and quiet. All three have been enjoying time exploring outside their carrier during the last two days, and are just getting to the stage where they’ll be running, pouncing, and picking on each other. So, if you think one or more of these sweet kittens might be a good fit for you, please let me (Marcia) know. I’ll probably be contacting Partners for Pets this week to see if they could take them to find them homes if I don’t hear from anyone.
Scripture for the Day Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
Prayer for the Day
We praise you, we worship you, we adore you, O God. You hold the heavens in your hand, all stars rejoice in your glory. You come in the sunrise and the song of morn and bless the splendor of the noonday. The stars in their courses magnify you, day and night tell of your glory. Your peace blows over the earth and the breath of your mouth fills all space. To your name, Lord Jesus, help us to bow the knee and all its worshiping, bow the head and all its thinking, bow the will and all its choosing, bow the heart and all its loving.
God, you alone are to be trusted, for only you can redeem us and set us free from sin. Deliver us from false hopes, from counterfeit claims on us, from wistful allegiance. Gather us again to yourself and bring us to your presence, that we may be renewed and refreshed in body and in soul, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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, this is a small church in which people see one another as family. The hallmarks of this congregation 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.
Annual Congregational Meeting, Sun., July 12 following worship
“Come to me…and I will give you rest,” Jesus promises. Where do we go, and to whom do we turn to discover the truth of these words? Let’s worship God:
Call to Worship
The music is playing and God is calling.
WE HAVE COME TO SING AND DANCE WITH GOD.
The prayers are flowing and the Spirit is moving.
BREATHE ON US, BREATH OF GOD.
Christ promises rest and renewal when we come to him.
WE ARE HERE, TRUSTING THIS SACRED PROMISE.
Creator God, you have created us to walk with you. Help us walk with you in this time of worship that we may be strengthened to walk with you all the days of our lives. As we come to you this day, bless us with your grace and your rest, that we may find renewal and the strength to serve with confidence and joy. Amen.
Hymn I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74kyfROS4q8
Call to Confession
Come to Christ with the confidence of children, for Christ will carry our burdens, renew our souls, and give us rest through his mercy and grace. Let us pray:
Prayer of Confession
HAVE MERCY ON ME, O GOD, ACCORDING TO YOUR STEADFAST LOVE. ACCORDING TO YOUR ABUNDANT MERCY BLOT OUT MY TRANSGRESSTIONS. WASH ME THOROUGHLY FROM MY INIQUITY AND CLEANSE ME FROM SIN.
FOR I KNOW MY TRANSGRESSIONS, AND MY SIN IS EVER BEFORE ME. I HAVE SINNED AND DONE WHAT IS EVIL IN YOUR SIGHT, SO YOU ARE JUSTIFIED IN YOUR SENTENCE AND JUDGMENT.
YOU DESIRE TRUTH IN MY INWARD BEING, SO TEACH ME WISDOM. PURGE ME AND I SHALL BE CLEAN; WASH ME, AND I SHALL BE WHITER THAN SNOW.
CREATE IN ME A CLEAN HEART, O GOD, AND PUT A NEW AND RIGHT SPIRIT WITHIN ME. RESTORE TO ME THE JOY OF YOUR SALVATION, AND SUSTAIN IN ME A WILLING SPIRIT. AMEN
Assurance of Pardon
Rejoice and give thanks. With grace, Christ is already carrying our burdens to renew our souls. With mercy, Christ is already shouldering our load to strengthen our lives. So rest assured, in Christ our sins are forgiven. Thanks be to God.
Passing the Peace of Christ
Let us share the joy, the freedom, and the rest we find in God’s love, as we greet one another in the grace and peace of Christ.
AND ALSO WITH YOU.
Please greet one another with the peace of Christ.
Prayers of Thanksgiving and Intercession
Scripture Reading Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
“To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others: “‘We played the pipe for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”
At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do. “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Rest. Does that thought sound good to any of you? I’m not just speaking of the kind of rest that can come with a good nap or a vacation in which you can just kick back and separate yourself from all the demands of the world. I’m talking about rest for our spirits—rest that enables us to almost be able to envision ourselves sitting in some peaceful place with Christ; rest in which all of the cares of this life are gone and forgotten, at least for a time.
Through the years, some people have learned ways through which they can catch at least small glimpses of this kind of rest, through meditation, focused prayer, or even through more seemingly mundane practices like gardening, walking, ironing. Some find their spiritual freedom in serving others, or teaching, or caring for those who can’t care for themselves. But for them, the difference is that they’ve learned a way through which they can do such things while being thoroughly and restfully aware of being in God’s presence. In those times, we find ourselves so focused on the divine within and around us that time loses all sense of meaning, the cares of this world are temporarily erased from our awareness, and we come away with our spiritual batteries fully charged….
Whether we envision ourselves gazing across a hillside of wildflowers with high mountains in the distance…
Or sitting in a forest watching the waters of a stream dancing happily down one of nature’s staircases, we can lose ourselves for a time and gratefully just be one with God’s creation.
Sometimes, we might experience a sense of gazing into the face of God as we sit in awe at the wonder of a new baby, understanding for a moment the miracle of life, and resting in the presence of God’s creative imagination and power. Whatever our need, Christ beckons us to come to him. Let him take our burdens away, at least for a time, so we can rest completely in his loving care.
If we do so, even when our burdens are laid upon our shoulders again, we find them to be lighter, less foreboding, less worrisome. Somehow, we know we’ll get through another day and keep moving on.
Martin Luther, who kept a rigorous daily schedule of work, once said, “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” Reportedly, when asked how he could waste so much time in his busy day, he responded, “I don’t have time NOT to pray.” For him, his solitary time with the divine each day gave him the focus, energy, wisdom, strength, and courage to carry on through every other challenge. And, his life was filled with challenges. The pope put out an edict that he be killed as a heretic. He lived in exile for several years, hiding from those who would gladly fulfill the pope’s wishes. He was also considered a prophet and living saint by others who clambered to try to spend time with him to learn from him; others, to use him for their own purposes.
Even Christ, during his life on earth experienced the press of people wanting something from him. Some wanted healing; some comfort; some power; some wanted to use him for their gain, others wanted to abuse him or kill him. As our text reminded us, others followed him because they felt the presence of God within him, while still others decided that he was following Satan because he didn’t meet their definition of one sent by God.
It seems that life, for all of us, comes down to a long series of challenges through which we have to make choices about who we will follow—the world, which offers short-term pleasures, chaos, constant struggles for power and influence and accumulation of material wealth; or, Christ, who offers to carry our load for a time so we can fully experience being in his loving, healing presence.
My hope is, that for all of us, we’ll choose the path of Christ so that we may begin, even now, to enjoy living in God’s kingdom here and now.
Dedication of Our Offerings
RECEIVE THESE GIFTS WE BRING, O LORD, AND BLESS THEM TO BE GIFTS FOR YOUR WORLD. THROUGH OUR GIVING, RENEW OTHERS THAT THEY TOO MAY KNOW THE COMFORT AND REST OF LIVING IN THE ARMS OF YOUR COMPASSION AND YOUR LOVE. AMEN
Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper
Jesus said: “I AM the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” So, come to the table of love. At this table, we will find strength for our journeys and rest for our souls. Let us pray:
God of all might and power, we praise you that you forged your church in the fire of the Spirit, and breathed life into your people that we might be the body of Christ. We rejoice that our Lord came to rescue us from sin and to deliver us beyond the grave to a rebirth and newness of life.
By your Spirit, baptize us again with your flame of faith, fill us with the breath of zeal, inspire us with the witness of martyrs and saints, and send us forth into your world to live Christ’s life in power and compassion.
REMEMBERING YOUR GRACIOUS ACTS IN JESUS CHRIST, WE TAKE FROM YOUR CREATION THIS BREAD AND THIS FRUIT OF THE VINE AND JOYFULLY CELEBRATE HIS DYING AND RISING, AS WE AWAIT THE DAY OF HIS COMING. WITH THANKSGIVING WE OFFER OUR VERY SELVES TO YOU TO BE A LIVING AND HOLY SACRIFICE DEDICATED TO YOUR SERVICE.
GRACIOUS GOD, POUR OUT YOUR HOLY SPIRIT UPON US AND UPON THESE YOUR GIFTS OF BREAD AND THE VINE, THAT THE BREAD WE BREAK AND THE CUP WE BLESS MAY BE THE COMMUNION OF THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST. AMEN.
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.
Words of Institution
On the night of his arrest, our Lord Jesus took the bread. After giving thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples saying, “Take and eat, this is my body broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same manner, after dinner he took the cup and said, “This cup is the new covenant poured out for you in my blood for the forgiveness of sins. Drink of it, all of you, in remembrance of me.”
The apostle Paul reminds us that each time we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim again the saving death of our Lord Jesus Christ until he comes again in all of his glory. These are the gifts of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God.
Partaking of the Elements
Please feel free to have a bite of bread and a sip of grape juice as we remember Christ’s gift to us. If you have someone with you, I invite you to share the elements with each other, saying, “The body of Christ, broken for you,” and “The blood of Christ, cup of salvation.”
Gracious God, may we who have received this sacrament live in the unity of your Holy Spirit, that we may show forth your gifts to all the world. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Sending and Benediction
Seek Ye First