• Fr. Guillermo A. Arboleda

Home Worship for Sunday, May 10 (Corrected)

Updated: Jul 21


The Holy Eucharist: The Liturgy of the Word

5th Sunday of Easter (Year A) May 10, 2020


Watch the Livestream at www.Facebook.com/StMattSav/Live/

Sunday at 9:30 a.m. (or anytime afterward)





Preface


I am posting this worship service online because we at St. Matthew's Church in Savannah are unable to gather together in person this week. Due to the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) outbreak, public health officials recommend avoiding large gatherings of people to avoid spreading the illness to more vulnerable people. Therefore, the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia has ordered all parishes in our diocese to suspend in-person worship until further notice.


At 9:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, I will broadcast the following worship service using Facebook Live at www.Facebook.com/StMattSav. After the service concludes, you can re-watch it at any time.


Today's service is the Liturgy of the Word (or the first part of the Holy Eucharist service we use on normal Sundays). This is for use at home while watching the live stream or reading the prayers when you cannot physically attend worship. Lay people may read the entirety of this service as printed.


May God protect you from this virus and protect the most vulnerable among us. May we be God’s hands and feet of compassion and service to all in need during this time. Amen.


Yours in Christ,

Fr. Guillermo A. Arboleda




The Word of God

AAHH #410: Faith of our Mothers


1 Faith of our mothers, living yet

In cradle song and bedtime prayer,

In nurs'ry love and fireside love,

Thy presence still pervades the air:

Faith of our mothers, living faith,

We will be true to thee till death.

2 Faith of our mothers, lavish faith,

The fount of childhood's trust and grace,

O may thy consecration prove

The wellspring of a nobler race:

Faith of our mothers, lavish faith,

We will be true to thee till death.

3 Faith of our mothers, guiding faith,

For youthful longing -- youthful doubt,

How blurred our vision, blind our way,

Thy providential care without:

Faith of our mothers, guiding faith,

We will be true to thee till death.

4 Faith of our mothers, Christian faith,

In truth beyond our manmade creeds,

Still serve the home and save the church,

And breathe thy spirit through our deeds:

Faith of our mothers, Christian faith,

We will be true to thee till death.


Words: A. B. Patten, Public Domain

Music: ST. CATHERINE, Henri Frederick Hemy, Public Domain

Opening Sentences

[BCP, p. 355]

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

The Collect for Purity

[BCP, p. 355]

Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

LEV #41: Christ Has Arisen

Christ has arisen, Alleluia!

Rejoice and praise Him, Alleluia!

For our Redeemer burst from the tomb,

Even from death dispelling its gloom.


Let us sing praise to Him with endless joy.

Death’s fearful sting He has come to destroy,

Our sin forgiving, Alleluia!

Jesus is living, Alleluia!


Words: Swahili Text; tr. Howard Olson, © 1977, Augsburg Fortress

Music: Haya Tune; Tumshandilie Mungu, Makumira, Tanzania; harm. Carl Haywood, from Songs of Praise, Harm. Copyright © 1992.

Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #84150. All rights reserved.

The Collect of the Day

[BCP, p. 357, 225]

The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

Let us pray:

Almighty God, whom truly to know is everlasting life: Grant us so perfectly to know your Son Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life, that we may steadfastly follow his steps in the way that leads to eternal life; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

A Reading from the Acts of the Apostles (7:55-60)

Filled with the Holy Spirit, Stephen gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” But they covered their ears, and with a loud shout all rushed together against him. Then they dragged him out of the city and began to stone him; and the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he died.

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God

Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16

[BCP, p. 622]

Read responsively by half-verse (at the asterisk).

1 In you, O Lord, have I taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; *

deliver me in your righteousness.

2 Incline your ear to me; *

make haste to deliver me.

3 Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe, for you are my crag and my stronghold; *

for the sake of your Name, lead me and guide me.

4 Take me out of the net that they have secretly set for me, *

for you are my tower of strength.

5 Into your hands I commend my spirit, *

for you have redeemed me, O Lord, O God of truth.

15 My times are in your hand; *

rescue me from the hand of my enemies, and from those who persecute me.

16 Make your face to shine upon your servant, *

and in your loving-kindness save me."

A Reading from the First Letter of St. Peter (2:2-10)

Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in scripture:

“See, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious;

and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

To you then who believe, he is precious; but for those who do not believe,

“The stone that the builders rejected has become the very head of the corner”,

and

“A stone that makes them stumble, and a rock that makes them fall.”

They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people;

once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God

LEV #120: Sweet, Sweet Spirit

1 There's a sweet, sweet Spirit in this place,

And I know that it's the Spirit of the Lord.

There are sweet expressions on each face,

And I know they feel the presence of the Lord.

REFRAIN:

Sweet Holy Spirit, Sweet Heavenly Dove,

Stay right here with us, filling us with your love.

And for these blessings we lift our hearts in praise;

Without a doubt, we'll know

That we have been revived

When we shall leave this place

2 There are blessings you cannot receive,

Till you know Him in His fullness and believe.

You're the one to profit when you say,

"I am going to walk with Jesus all the way."

3 If you say He saved you from your sin,

Now you're weak, you're bound, and cannot enter in,

You can make it right if you will yield;

You'll enjoy the Holy Spirit that we feel.


Words & Music: Doris Akers, Copyright © 1962, 1990 Manna Music, Inc.

Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #21305. All rights reserved.

The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ According to St. John (14:1-14)

Glory to you, Lord Christ.

Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, Lord Christ.

The Sermon

“1 Peter: We’re In This Together” by Fr. Guillermo A. Arboleda

1 Peter is a letter written to “aliens and exiles” (2:11). Peter addressed it to people who were on the fringes of their society, who were struggling to survive. They were people suffering due to factors outside their own control. They had been forced away from their homes. They had to piece their lives back together by God’s power and with their church community’s support.

The original audience’s exile is similar to our experience of the COVID-19 pandemic. We also find ourselves alienated and isolated from one another. We are not out of our homes, but, if we follow the advice of health experts, we are keeping our distance from one another, avoiding unnecessary excursions, canceling travel plans, and staying home from church. And many of our sisters and brothers are dealing directly with this virus that ravages and kills people at an extraordinary rate. Our whole society is reeling from the novel coronavirus’ devastation.

That’s why we turn to 1 Peter today. It is a letter of encouragement and wisdom written to exiles like us. How do we survive the hard times? 1 Peter has some answers. The main point this week is that God has brought us together for a purpose. We are united through Jesus Christ and made into God’s people. God is doing something miraculous and remarkable among us, despite our afflictions.

Peter is trying to help this church to persevere by reminding them of who they are and whose they are in Christ. Peter is reminding them that God loves them beyond all that they can ask for or imagine. Without God acting first, we would never have been transformed into new creations. We would never even be together.

The New Testament often comes back to the theme that the church is made up of people who don’t really belong together. Think of the Twelve Apostles, the ones who were closest to Jesus himself. Some, like Peter, were fishers (poor blue-collar workers), some were tax collectors (wealthy Roman government bureaucrats), and some were zealots (political revolutionaries who hated Rome). They didn’t have any social or political or economic reason to come together. There was no earthly incentive for these people from all rungs of society and all parts of the world to follow a rabbi around the countryside. The Church has always been a motley group of people who don’t fit in with the world around them and hardly fit with each other. The only thing that they and we truly have in common is that Jesus saved us. Jesus is the nucleus that we all orbit around.

At its core, the church is a place where everyone can find love and acceptance through Jesus Christ. You don’t have to be classy enough or wealthy enough or cool enough or good enough or do anything to earn God’s love and acceptance. The church is a community of people who know that God loves them in spite of their sinfulness. God has brought us together even though we don’t deserve it. But God loves every single one of us. God created us. Christ died for us. And the Holy Spirit is reconciling us to one another.

Peter reminds us to come together around Jesus, who is a living stone, … rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight,” (2:4). Humanity rejected Jesus, so if we are Jesus’ People, we should expect to face hardship too. But we face that hardship knowing that we, like Jesus, are “chosen and precious in God’s sight.”

Peter then says, “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (2:9). Jesus assembled this strange community, the church for a purpose. We are to “proclaim the mighty acts of [God] who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (2:9).

Even when we are persecuted, even when we are sick, even when we are physically apart, God calls us to proclaim that God has been good to us. God has transformed our lives for the better. God has given us the gift of love and acceptance. God has given us unity and community. God has healed differences that seemed like impossible chasms. God has done these things and God is still doing them.

During this season of pandemic-induced exile, it’s easy to lose hope. It’s easy to lose sight of our purpose and calling. It’s easy to forget why we even need a church. But we have a purpose. God brought us together for a reason. This church exists “to restore all people to unity God and each other in Christ” (BCP, p. 855). Despite our social distance from each other right now, we can still share the love of Jesus that heals our differences. We can still show love to our neighbors. We can still come together in harmony. No matter what happens, you are not alone. God brought us together for a purpose and God isn’t leaving us.

Before we close, I want to invite you again to read 1 Peter this week. The whole letter is only 5 chapters long and it took me less than half an hour to read it in its entirety a couple weeks ago. Pay attention to all the encouragement that Peter offers. Pay attention to the ways he points us to our true calling, purpose, and identity. Next Sunday’s reading is 1 Peter 3:13-22, and we’ll speak more about that identity as God’s baptized people.

For now, remember: “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (1 Peter 2:9-10). Amen.

Bibliography

· Perkins, Pheme. First and Second Peter, James, and Jude. A Volume in Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching. Edited by James L. Mays, et al. Louisville: John Knox Press, 1995.

The Nicene Creed (BCP, p. 358)

We believe in one God,     

the Father, the Almighty,     

maker of heaven and earth,     

of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,     

the only Son of God,     

eternally begotten of the Father,     

God from God, Light from Light,     

true God from true God,     

begotten, not made,     

of one Being with the Father.     

Through him all things were made.     

For us and for our salvation         

he came down from heaven:     

by the power of the Holy Spirit         

he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,         

and was made man.     

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;         

he suffered death and was buried.         

On the third day he rose again             

in accordance with the Scriptures;         

he ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.     

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,         

and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,     

who proceeds from the Father and the Son.     

With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.     

He has spoken through the Prophets.     

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.     

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.     

We look for the resurrection of the dead,         

and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The Prayers of the People

[Adapted from Prayers provided by the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia and those written by St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Ewing, NJ: http://www.stlukesewing.org/prayers-of-the-people-easter]

Rejoicing in the mighty acts of God who has delivered the people of God from sin and death through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, let us lift our voices and pray,

Risen Lord,

Hear our Prayer.

Let us give thanks to God for the multitude of blessings that God showers upon us: For our lives and for those whom we love, For the beauty of this home God has created for us, For our families and our friendships. Remember especially Idella Jones (5/10), Ahmad Taylor (5/14), and Ronnie Taylor (5/15) on their birthdays. Let us give thanks to the God of Life.

Risen Lord,

Hear our Prayer. 

Let us pray for the Church, that it may carry forward the redemptive works of God: Gather all the baptized around your presence in the Word. Strengthen the body of your people even when we cannot assemble for worship. Grant Bishop Scott, Bishop-elect Frank and all our deacons and priests faithfulness and creativity for their ministry in this time.

Risen Lord,

Hear our Prayer. 

Let us pray for the whole creation, for this good earth and for the flowering of springtime. Save dry lands from destructive droughts. Protect the waters from pollution. Allow in this time the planting of fields for food. Make us into care-givers of your plants and animals.

Risen Lord,

Hear our Prayer.

Let us pray for the nations, leaders, and peoples of the world. Inspire all people to live in peace and concord. Grant wisdom and courage to heads of state and to legislators as they face the coronavirus. Lead our elected officials to champion the cause of the needy.

Risen Lord,

Hear our Prayer.

Let us pray for those who are sick, those who suffer, those who struggle, for you accompany suffering humanity with love. Abide wherever the coronavirus has struck. Visit all who mourn their dead; all who have contracted the virus; those who are quarantined or stranded away from home; those who have lost their employment; those who fear the present and the future. Support physicians, nurses, and home health aides; medical researchers; and the World Health Organization.

Risen Lord,

Hear our Prayer.

Let us pray for all the needy, especially those who have asked this parish for prayers: Martha Avery, Cheryl Bennett, Zavier Bradley, Raleigh Bryant, Christine Brown, Mark Case, Genella Chamberlain, Annie Colbert, Lazola Cope, Alice Dailey, Brittany Dawson, Ruby Fernandez, Harry Frazier, Earl Golden, Gary Gordon, Loretta Harmond, Marva Harris, Enoch Henderson, Charles E. Hines, Kenneth Howard, Terri Howard, Dale Hundley, Jared Hundley, Tracy Hundley, Milinda James, Alvin Jenkins, Dana Jenkins, Frances T. Jones, Lori Jones, Robert L. Jones, Sr., Ronald Jones, Tonya Jones, Whitney Kennedy, Leonard Law, Jr., Ryan Lovett, Tammie Lovett, Craig Maxwell, Sada Maxwell, Carmelita Maynard, Viola Maynard, Bette Milledge, Hollie Moultrie, Patricia Murry, Russell Nails, Dorothy Neal, Glenzy Payne, Robert Payne, James Small, Gwendolyn Smith, Willie Stephens, Gisele Walton, Lori Ward, Gertrude Washington, Noel Wheeler, and Dean Williams. We beg you to feed the hungry, protect the refugee, embrace the distressed, house the homeless, nurse the sick, and comfort the dying.

Risen Lord,

Hear our Prayer.

Let us pray for those who have died in the peace of Christ, and those whose faith is known to you alone; bring them by your resurrecting power into the place of eternal joy and light

Risen Lord,

Hear our Prayer.

Lord Jesus, who wishes to gather your people as a mother hen gathers together her brood, we offer our prayers to you. Accept our gratitude for all who mother, bless all who mother, and give all mothers your comfort and strength. And help all of us, brothers and sisters, to be your family on earth, as we shall be in Heaven. Amen.

The Peace

The peace of the Lord be always with you.

And also with you.

Announcements

A. We continue under shelter-at-home orders and do not yet know when we can safely return to in-person worship at church. The Right Rev. Scott Benhase, the Bishop of Georgia, has provided guidelines for a return to in-person worship in our diocese, specifically: (1) a steady reduction in new cases of COVID-19 for at least fourteen consecutive days and (2) the widespread availability of COVID-19 tests throughout the Diocese of Georgia.

B. Our worship schedule during this time of social distancing and quarantine is as follows. All services may be read on the blog and/or viewed as a video on Facebook Live.

1. 9:30 am Sunday Worship

2. 5:00 pm Tues./Wed./Thurs. Evening Prayer

C. The Episcopal Diocese of Georgia is also offering worship services online through its Facebook andYouTube pages. Fr. Arboleda and Rev. Steele have recorded musical pieces for these services.

1. 10:00 am Sunday Morning Prayer

2. 6:00 pm Wednesday Evening Prayer (with sermon and hymns)

D. Join us at 10:30 AM for a Virtual Coffee Hour over Zoom. We will honor the mothers of St. Matthew's and spend some time catching up with our church family! Check out the Facebook event! Below is the Zoom call information:

· St. Matthew's Mother's Day "Coffee Hour"

· Time: May 10, 2020 10:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

· Join Zoom Meeting: https://zoom.us/j/98604156464?pwd=cStwdHpETVBlWkRnK3NuNnB6MGVWQT09

· Meeting ID: 986 0415 6464

· Password: mother

E. Thank you so much for your continued generous support of St. Matthew's! We know that many people are already feeling the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis, including the church. We do still need your support to pay our staff, pay our bills, and provide for these online live streams. If you pledged a donation in 2020 and are able, please continue making those contributions. If you have not pledged, please consider donating to St. Matthew’s now and in the future. There are several ways to give, but the simplest are these:

1. Mail us a check or money order at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, 1401 Martin Luther King, Jr., Blvd, Savannah, GA 31415; OR

2. Make a secure online gift to St. Matthew’s and/or automate future gifts at: https://onrealm.org/StMattSav/-/give/now; OR

3. Text “stmattsav” to 73256 to make a secure online donation through your phone.

The Offertory

“O Lord our God, you are worthy to receive glory and honor and power; because you have created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” (Revelation 4:11)

Give online at: https://onrealm.org/StMattSav/-/give/now

LEV #76: Jesus in the Morning

1 Jesus, Jesus, Jesus in the morning, Jesus in the noontime;

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus when the sun goes down!

2 Praise Him, Praise Him, Praise Him in the morning, Praise Him in the noontime;

Praise Him, Praise Him, Praise Him when the sun goes down!

3 Love Him, Love Him, Love Him in the morning, Love Him in the noontime;

Love Him, Love Him, Love Him when the sun goes down!

4 Serve Him, Serve Him, Serve Him in the morning, Serve Him in the noontime;

Serve Him, Serve Him, Serve Him when the sun goes down!

5 Jesus, Jesus, Jesus in the morning, Jesus in the noontime;

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus when the sun goes down!

6 Praise Him, Praise Him, Praise Him in the morning, Praise Him in the noontime;

Praise Him, Praise Him, Praise Him when the sun goes down!


Words: Traditional, Public Domain.

Music: Negro Spiritual, Public Domain.

Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #83429. All rights reserved.

The Lord’s Prayer

And now, as our Savior Christ has taught us, we are bold to say,

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, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Blessing & Dismissal

“Live without fear: your Creator has made you holy, has always protected you, and loves you as a mother. Go in peace to follow the good road and” the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be with you now and always. Amen.

Let us bless the Lord. Alleluia! Alleluia!

Thanks be to God. Alleluia! Alleluia!



Note: This service is reproduced from The Book of Common Prayer 1979 (BCP), The Hymnal 1982 (Hymn), Lift Every Voice and Sing II: An African American Hymnal (LEV), and other sources cited. The Scripture readings are from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible unless otherwise noted.

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