July 5th Worship

Order of Service

Part I
PreludeAmerica, the BeautifulChris Johansen, piano
Confession & Forgiveness
Pastor Linda
HymnHappiness Never Depends on Success
#70 in World of Song
Harry Johansen
Chris Johansen, piano
Pastor Linda
Psalm 146Harry Johansen
Chris Johansen, piano
Part II
ReadingIsaiah 42: 5-9
Isaiah 43: 18-21
Mike Miles
SermonPastor Linda
Prayers of IntercessionBarb Kass
CommunionPastor Linda
Pastor Linda
HymnThe Word
#24 in World of Song
Harry Johansen
Chris Johansen, piano
PostludeChris Johansen

Part I

Part II

Note: individual audio pieces are below with the text


Chris Johansen

Confession & Forgiveness

If the repeated storyline of white police killing colored bodies, of the coronavirus infection rate soaring in places where people refuse to abide by guidelines that protect their neighbor because they hold their personal rights above the consideration of others, of animals and ecosystems struggling to survive as climates change and the interrelationship of systems collapse – if this has caught at our hearts and taught us anything, it is that together, we must confess our entanglements with justice, hubris, entitlement, greed – and God’s difficult, blessed vision of a very different way. We seek the face of God, confessing our sin.

Silence for reflection and self-examination

God of heaven and earth,
we name before you the sin that enslaves, the sin that wounds us and others, the sin that scars our world. Forgive us and heal us. Give to us, and to all, the freedom of the glory of the children of God. Recall us to the essential inter-connection of your image residing mysteriously within each and every one. Call us to arise and act in love.   

Come, all who are weary, all who carry heavy burdens. As tender as parent to child, so gentle is God to you. As high as heaven is above the earth, so vast is God’s love for you. As far as east is from west, so sweeping is God’s forgiveness for you, and of all we would confess, renewing our lives in +Jesus Christ, our friend, our Redeemer, our All in all.          

Hymn – Happiness Never Depends on Success

Happiness never depends on success
Won in the struggle for glory or treasure;
Often the humblest of homes may possess
Happiness unknown to seekers of pleasure

Happiness dwells with content in the soul,
Follows the honest and faithful endeavor;
Happiness comes when yourself you control,
Free and unshaken by fear or by favor.

Live not in dreams that are selfish and vain,
Look not with envious thoughts on your brothers.
Pure is our happiness, rich is our gain
When we rejoice in the welfare of others.

Happy is he who has peace in his heart,
Peace with himself, with his God, with his neighbor.
He has of happiness found the best part,
Reaps he but little reward from his labor.

Text: C. Gandrup, Translated by S. D. Rodholm
Music: P. E. Lange-Muller


Prayer of the Day

Divine Spirit, give us grace to set a good example to all among whom we live; to be just and honest and kind in our dealings; to be conscientious in the discharge of every duty; mindful of the consequences of our actions and enjoyments. Lead us to be gracious, forgiving and courteous toward all – so that the mind of Christ may be formed in us, and lead us toward ever closer discipleship, ever truer expression of the image of God we bear.  O Spirit of Peace, be our guide in radical love. 

Psalm 146


Isaiah 42: 5-9

5 Thus says God, the Lord,
   who created the heavens and stretched them out,
   who spread out the earth and what comes from it,
who gives breath to the people upon it
   and spirit to those who walk in it: 

6 I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness,
I have taken you by the hand and kept you;
I have given you as a covenant to the people,
  a light to the nations, 
7to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
   from the prison those who sit in darkness. 

8 I am the Lord, that is my name;
   my glory I give to no other,
   nor my praise to idols. 

9 See, the former things have come to pass,
   and new things I now declare;
before they spring forth,
   I tell you of them. 

Isaiah 43: 18-21

18 Do not remember the former things,
   or consider the things of old. 
19 I am about to do a new thing;
   now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
   and rivers in the desert.

20 The wild animals will honor me,
   the jackals and the ostriches;
for I give water in the wilderness,
   rivers in the desert,
to give drink to my chosen people,
21 the people whom I formed for myself
so that they might declare my praise.  


Rest, realization, restoration. Sabbath.

If you’ve been with us during the past month, you’ll have the idea that Sabbath is more than a day off spent in front of the Telly; more than an occasional Jammy Day to do whatever you feel good about doing. More than the few hours a week carved out for church… (although those things are important for self-care, especially if they sound like a novel concept). 

But what are we to make of Sabbath?  We’ve spent four weeks talking about it from various angles. We’ve heard the original context in Genesis and the Ten Commandments. We remember stories from the Gospel about Jesus getting in quite a bit of trouble for breaking the law code of his day of proper Sabbath observance. He healed a crippled woman and a man born blind. He allowed his disciples to glean, shuck and eat wheat as they walked through a field. I mean, that’s not much to get excited about. We might remember references to Sabbath lack of activity from books like Laura Ingles Wilder’s ‘Little House on the Prairie’. If Sabbath is sitting on a hard-backed chair reading the Bible all day, no play allowed, and eating left-overs because you can’t cook, it’s not going to gain many adherents. 

What is Sabbath today?

George Robinson, on the webpage, My Jewish Learning, teaches about Sabbath.

“The rabbis who began to codify Jewish law during the time of the Second Temple, [this is what Jesus would know] specified  39 categories of prohibited activities– based on the activities that were involved in the building of the Tabernacle as described in the Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible. One should not handle a hammer or money. One should not rearrange the books on a shelf.” [They were detailed oriented people!] He goes on…

“We are commanded in the Torah, ‘Six days shall you labor and do all your work.’ As Abraham Joshua Heschel says in his magnificent little book, The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man [modern as of 1951], to abstain from labor on the seventh day is “not a depreciation but an affirmation of labor, a divine exaltation of its dignity.” We are suddenly lifted out of the process of time, removed from the world of natural and social change. Instead of creating the world anew, we are at one with the world created.

“We are not beasts of burden. We should not live to work. We should not be chained to routine. Shabbat unchains us.

“Shabbat is meant to be a day of peace. It offers us a chance for peace with nature, with society, and with ourselves. The prohibitions on work are designed to make us stop – if only for one day of the week – to stop our relentless efforts to tame, to conquer, to subdue the earth and everything on it. The prohibition against making fire is also said by the rabbis to mean that one should not kindle the fires of controversy against one’s fellow humans. And, finally, the Sabbath offers us a moment of quiet, of serenity, of self-transcendence, a moment that allows us to seek and perhaps achieve some kind of internal peace.

“Shabbat is also a time of joy, of good food and wine (even if the food preparation must be done beforehand).  The Sabbath was designed to be “a delight,” as our liturgy tells us. 

“But what about rest, menuchah? Rest means many things to different people and the crush of the modern world buffeting us has changed its definition for many… Perhaps we should be guided by a relatively simple principle, one derived from the quotation from Genesis with which we opened. We rest in a Sabbath sense when we no longer interfere with the world. In this way, we emulate God’s rest on the Sabbath, when the Creator ceased working on the world. During the six days of Creation, God asserted mastery over the universe by actively changing it. Then came a day in which the Creator relinquished that mastery. We emulate God when we relinquish our mastery over the world on the Sabbath, by refraining from altering nature. For one day, we declare a truce between ourselves and the rest of God’s creations.”

Rest, realization, restoration. For ourselves and the creatures whose habitats we share.

These are the words of sabbath. 
They are also the words of mental health. 

I’m still slowly reading Rob Hopkin’s book, From What Is to What If – Unleashing the Power of Imagination to Create the Future We Want. Here are some statistics he reports: 83% of the people surveyed by the World Health Organization in 2018 report that they spend no time whatsoever “relaxing or thinking.” As many as 30% of adults in America seek medical help for insomnia. Depression and anxiety – especially among the 18 to 26 year olds – are considered an epidemic with physical, social, educational and economic consequences. In 2018, the average total electronic media consumption for US adults was 11 hours and 6 minutes per day. The average. 11 hours and 6 minutes looking at a screen or plugged into a device.  

And these are not statistics of personal failing. We are being played. Tech companies, and advertising giants use aggressive strategies and have clear objectives for how you spend your time. “A handful of people at a handful of technology companies…will steer what a billion people are thinking today,”  says Tristan Harris, a former design ethicist at Google. And this Information Age is only 20 years old.

I’m reading from Rob Hopkin’s: pg 67,68.      (I can’t copy it w/o permission and haven’t heard back yet!)

Our lives can be better: Calmer. Focused. Intentional. 
Our communal life can be better: Calmer. Thinking. Empathetic.

It is not an accident that I chose  Sabbath as a theme for our COVID-19 lives. But it’s serendipity that the Black Lives Matter movement has taken hold of our imagination at the same time. (You may have noticed that the Marketing mind-meld caught up very quickly and is taking full advantage of our new awareness of Black lives.)

In COVID time, we are living in two time warps – fast and slow. Much of our lives seem to be on pause – progressing in slow motion. We can’t look forward to our accustomed schedules – everything future is hypothetical. Of course, it always has been, but we are easily lulled into thinking that we are in control, that the status quo is static as we bustle along, too busy to give it much thought. What is, will always be, and can be relied upon. Ah, ooops!

In our enforced Pause, the cultural, social world picked up speed. Maybe it’s because we have time to focus on one thing at a time, to rest our brains, to get enough sleep, to eat better food. Our increased brain health allows the hippocampus to imagine. And so we notice and care about injustice, we have time to think, to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, time to imagine new ways – perhaps, to perceive the new things of God. While we are paused, even nature seems to be enjoying a Sabbath from human interference.

Jesus’ parable comes to mind: “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head.”    Mark 4:26-28

Our busyness, multitasking myth believing, tightly packed calendar lifestyle diminishes our experience of life. Physiologically. Fitting more in than fits, doing more than being, accepting stress as a necessary daily companion, chronically increases the stress hormone cortisol. It alters immune system responses and suppresses the digestive system, the reproductive system and growth processes. It communicates with the brain regions that control mood, motivation and fear. Remember that epidemic of anxiety and depression? Our bodies, our minds, our souls need Sabbath. Rest, realization, restoration. 

And not only for self-help, but for the sake of community – to be able to empathize imaginatively with others, to recognize the chronic stress we mindlessly put on the earth’s vital resources – clean air, clean water, clean soil.  

I was surprised at how quickly the environment reacted to the shut-down of industry and transportation. The earth heals itself given the chance. But that healing creates changes. It doesn’t go back to the way it was. We have had time to look at our lives and the lives of others that our action or inaction impact for harm. How much of the new life you have practiced in COVID-time would you like to continue? What among the things you had to set aside have you realized don’t add value to your life, there’s no need to pick them back up?  What new awareness of your neighbors, of the racism you have accepted or denied as status quo are you inspired to act on, out of love? What good are you prepared to bring forward?  

If we practice Sabbath – rest, realization, restoration – we can change our individual lives and our communities. 

 I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness,
I have taken you by the hand and kept you; 
I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations,
to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
from the prison those who sit in darkness. 

 Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. 
 I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?

I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
The wild animals will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches, for I give water in the wilderness; rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself so that they might declare my praise.

Make it so.

Creed – Prayer of Julian of Norwich

In you, Father all-mighty, we have our preservation and our bliss.
In you, Christ, we have our restoring and our saving. You are our mother, brother, and Savior. 
In you, our Lord the Holy Spirit, is marvelous and plenteous grace.
You are our clothing; for love you wrap us and embrace us.
You are our maker, our lover, our keeper.
Teach us to believe that by your grace all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.     Amen

Prayers of Intercession


In the coming week, please seek reconciliation with any you have wronged, any bruised relationship you have the power to heal, unless to do so would inflict upon them further pain. The Peace of Christ be with you always –


Great Thanksgiving

Lord’s Prayer


Hymn – The Word

With the Word all things began,
Life in ocean, life on land;
With the Word was man and woman
Raised from dust, created human,
Prince of earth and Child of God.

When the soul of man was stirred
By a breath divine, the Word
Was in heart of man created;
This on earth inaugurated
Human life and history.

Not the clever hand or brain
Can humanity explain.
For its secret is the spirit;
Only in the Word we hear it,
Self-revealing, heaven born

Only in the Word ascends
Man beyond the life that ends;
In the Word he breaks his prisons,
Soars aloft to higher visions,
Comprehends eternity.

Text: N.F.S. Grundtvig; Adapted by S. D. Rodholm
Music: Aage Sorensen


Chris Johansen

Instructions for listening via phone:

Call this number: (312) 626-6799
It will be long distance, if that applies (on a landline, for example).

Then, you will be asked to enter the meeting ID and password. You can find that in Linda’s email about the Zoom worship.

We will keep you muted, but you can participate in the discussion if you’d like – press *6 to unmute – and it helps to say your name before you talk, since we won’t know otherwise!