• Fr. Guillermo A. Arboleda

Sunday Worship on July 19, 2020

Updated: Jul 20


The Holy Eucharist: The Liturgy of the Word

7th Sunday After Pentecost (Proper 11, Year A) July 19, 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


LEV #144: Where He Leads Me


1 I can hear my Savior calling,

I can hear my Savior calling,

I can hear my Savior calling,

“Take thy cross and follow, follow me.”


REFRAIN:

Where he leads me I will follow,

Where he leads me I will follow,

Where he leads me I will follow,

I’ll go with him, with him all the way.


2 I’ll go with him through the garden,

I’ll go with him through the garden,

I’ll go with him through the garden,

I’ll go with him, with him all the way. [Refrain]


3 I’ll go with him through the judgement,

I’ll go with him through the judgement,

I’ll go with him through the judgement,

I’ll go with him, with him all the way. [Refrain]


4 He will give me grace and glory,

He will give me grace and glory,

He will give me grace and glory,

And go with me, with me all the way. [Refrain]


Words: E. W. Blandy, Public Domain.

Music: John S. Norris, Public Domain.

Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #95088. All rights reserved.



Opening Sentences

[BCP, p. 355]


Blessed be God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

And blessed be his kingdom, now and forever. Amen.



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.


Hymn S 280: Glory to God in the Highest

[BCP, p. 356]


Glory to God in the highest,

and peace to his people on earth.


Lord God, heavenly King,

Almighty God and Father,

we worship you, we give you thanks,

we praise you for your glory.


Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,

Lord God, Lamb of God,

you take away the sin of the world:

have mercy on us;

you are seated at the right hand of the Father:

receive our prayer.


For you alone are the Holy One,

you alone are the Lord,

you alone are the Most High,

Jesus Christ,

with the Holy Spirit,

in the glory of God the Father. Amen.


Words: Public Domain.

Music: Robert Powell, © 1985 Church Publishing, Inc.

Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #77081. All rights reserved.


The Collect of the Day

[BCP, p. 357, 231]


The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

Let us pray:

Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, you know our necessities before we ask and our ignorance in asking: Have compassion on our weakness, and mercifully give us those things which for our unworthiness we dare not, and for our blindness we cannot ask; through the worthiness of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

A Reading from the Book of Isaiah (44:6-8)


Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god. Who is like me? Let them proclaim it, let them declare and set it forth before me. Who has announced from of old the things to come? Let them tell us what is yet to be. Do not fear, or be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? You are my witnesses! Is there any god besides me? There is no other rock; I know not one.


The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Psalm 86:11-17

[BCP, p. 710]

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

11 Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; * knit my heart to you that I may fear your Name.


12 I will thank you, O Lord my God, with all my heart, * and glorify your Name for evermore.


13 For great is your love toward me; * you have delivered me from the nethermost Pit.


14 The arrogant rise up against me, O God, and a band of violent men seeks my life; * they have not set you before their eyes.


15 But you, O Lord, are gracious and full of compassion, * slow to anger, and full of kindness and truth.


16 Turn to me and have mercy upon me; * give your strength to your servant; and save the child of your handmaid.


17 Show me a sign of your favor, so that those who hate me may see it and be ashamed; * because you, O Lord, have helped me and comforted me.

A Reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans (8:12-25)

Brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh-- for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ-- if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.


I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.


The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

AAHH #166: In His Presence


1 In His presence there is comfort;

In His presence there is peace.

When we seek the Father's heart

we will find such blessed assurance

In the presence of the Lord.


2 In Your presence there is comfort;

In Your presence there is peace.

When we seek to know Your heart

we will find such blessed assurance

In Your holy presence, Lord.


Words: Dick Tunney & Melodie Tunney, © 1988 BMG Songs, Inc., and Dick and Mel Music, and Pamela Kay Music.

Music: Dick Tunney & Melodie Tunney, © 1988 and arr. © 1990 BMG Songs, Inc., and Dick and Mel Music, and Pamela Kay Music.



The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ According to St. Matthew (13:24-30, 36-43)

Glory to you, Lord Christ.

Jesus put before the crowd another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?’ He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The slaves said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he replied, ‘No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”

Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, Lord Christ.

The Sermon

“How Are You... Really?” by the Rev. Guillermo A. Arboleda

“How are you?”


Every time I speak with somebody lately, both people from St. Matthew’s and those from anywhere else, I get the same sorts of answers. 


“I’m fine.” 


“I’m surviving.” 


“We’re okay.”


“We’re making it.” 


But these replies are always accompanied by a sort of frown, a downcast demeanor, a sadness in the eyes. We say we’re okay, but we’re really not. 


“So, how are you... really?”


Most of us at St. Matthew’s are as healthy as ever, not suffering from the deadly coronavirus. And that makes us feel a little guilty to admit that, while we don’t have it as bad as others, while we’re blessed to be safe and well-fed, we just don’t feel okay


And that makes perfect sense because we are all grieving. Some of us are literally grieving the death of loved ones, lost to coronavirus or other causes. I think all of us are grieving over the state of racism and policing and unjustified murders in our nation. And all of us are grieving the ways that normal, everyday life has changed in an instant.


There is something incredibly discouraging about the ways the pandemic has affected our everyday lives. The pandemic has robbed us of our time together in church. It has robbed our children of in-person schooling. It has robbed some of us of our jobs. It has robbed many of us of simple joys like going out to eat in a restaurant, watching a basketball game, or traveling without fearing every cough or sniffle you hear around you.. Perhaps most importantly, the pandemic has robbed us of our sense of security. It has robbed us of the base level safety we need to feel in order to interact with other people, especially strangers. We’re all living with elevated levels of anxiety and fear.


The things we’ve lost are human experiences that can be approximated through modern technology. But they can’t be duplicated. They can’t be replaced. Video calls with family and loved ones aren’t the same as sitting in the same room with somebody and experiencing them with all five senses. Watching a church service on your TV, tablet, or phone isn’t the same as stepping into this building -- the feel of the pews, the warmth of a smile and hug, the sound of a live organ and speaking voices, the smell of the wood and even incense. We can’t replace these things and we’re all sad. It’s okay to not feel okay. 


As I consider this week’s Bible passages, I’m struck by how the pandemic has robbed us of something we never really had: certainty about what the future holds. The pandemic has forced us to recognize that any sense we might have had that we were in control of our own lives is an illusion. It was never real. We never had that much power; we just didn’t always see it. 


Most of the Bible is written by people who understand this feeling of powerlessness that we share. As St. Paul considers the church’s persecutions, he writes: “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; ... We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8:18-19, 21-22).


Every generation of people lives through suffering. Our specific type of suffering might be unique, but the human experience of pain isn’t. And Paul writes to us understanding something of what we’re going through. But he doesn’t write a depressing treatise about how everything is terrible.


Instead, St. Paul shows us how to acknowledge our pain and suffering without losing hope. We can be powerless in the face of great natural evils and disasters without giving up. The whole creation waits with eager longing for the glorious revealing of the children of God. Like labor pains, it’s not easy and it’s not fun. But there is something greater that is coming on the other side of our suffering. We groan inwardly in our spirits, souls, and bodies, while we wait for God to redeem us.


This doesn’t mean we have to sit back passively and do nothing while we wait. Hope isn’t an excuse to cower in fear. Hope in God’s glorious future is the strength we need to keep marching forward. Hope in Jesus helps us keep our heads held high. Hope in the fruits of the Spirit will help us come together and persevere in spite of our grief. 


We don’t have to hide those emotions; the Bible rarely does. We have the freedom to be honest with one another and with God about how we are really doing. We can acknowledge the grief while also looking toward God and our church community for the hope we need to carry on. We can pray with the psalmist: [O Lord], “Turn to me and have mercy upon me; * give your strength to your servant; and save the child of your handmaid. 17 Show me a sign of your favor, so that those who hate me may see it and be ashamed; * because you, O Lord, have helped me and comforted me” (Psalm 86:16-17).


When I ask people how they are doing lately, I usually see that twinge of sadness. But there is something else I see in your faces and hear in your voices. It’s a glimmer of resilience. It’s that hope that persists despite the pain. It’s the endurance that you’ve earned through years of vulnerability, hope, and trust in God. And if we keep our eyes together on Jesus, trusting in his great hope for us, then we will survive. We may suffer loss. We may mourn together all that hurts. But we will not lose hope. We will not give up, in Jesus’ Name. Amen.


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 & Confession of Sin

[Adapted from Form VI, BCP, p. 392]

In peace, we pray to you, Lord God.

Silence, about 5 seconds.

For all people in their daily life and work;

For our families, friends, and neighbors, and for those who are alone.

For Donald, our president; Brian, our governor; Van, our mayor; Al, the chair of our County Commission; Ann, the Superintendent of our Public Schools, and all other civic officials; For this community, the nation, and the world;

For all who work for justice, freedom, and peace.

For the just and proper use of your creation;

For the victims of hunger, fear, injustice, and oppression.

For all who are in danger, sorrow, or any kind of trouble;

For those who minister to the sick, the friendless, and the needy.

For all the churches in Savannah, that we may be one as you are one with the Son, and the Holy Spirit; For the peace and unity of the Church of God;

For all who proclaim the Gospel, and all who seek the Truth.

For Justin, Archbishop of Canterbury; Michael, our Presiding Bishop; Frank, our Bishop; Guillermo our Priest; and for all bishops and other ministers;

For all who serve God in his Church.

For the special needs and concerns of this congregation, especially for our Day Care’s staff, students, and families, and for those on our Parish Prayer List: Martha Avery, Zavier Bradley, Raleigh Bryant, Christine Brown, Mark Case, Genella Chamberlain, Annie Colbert, Lazola Cope, Alice Dailey, Brittany Dawson, Imani Ferguson, Ruby Fernandez, Harry Frazier, 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, Joan Maty, Craig Maxwell, Sada Maxwell, Carmelita Maynard, Viola Maynard, Bette Milledge, Hollie Moultrie, Patricia Murry, Russell Nails, Dorothy Neal, Glenzy Payne, Robert Payne, Dison Washington Slaughter, James Small, Gwendolyn Smith, Willie Stephens, Gisele Walton, Lori Ward, Gertrude Washington, Noel Wheeler, and Dean Williams; and those we remember now…

Silence. The People may add their own petitions.

Hear us, Lord;

For your mercy is great.

We thank you, Lord, for all the blessings of this life, especially for Marva Johnson (7/19), Evalena Hoskins (7/20), Ahsareia Moon (7/23), and Dena Pippen (7/25) on their birthdays, and other blessings we remember now.

Silence. The People may add their own thanksgivings.

We will exalt you, O God our King;

And praise your Name for ever and ever.

We pray for all who have died, that they may have a place in your eternal kingdom, and those we remember now.

Silence. The People may add their own petitions.

Lord, let your loving-kindness be upon them;

Who put their trust in you.


We pray to you also for the forgiveness of our sins.

Silence may be kept.

Leader and People:

Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; in your compassion forgive us our sins, known and unknown, things done and left undone; and so uphold us by your Spirit that we may live and serve you in newness of life, to the honor and glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Celebrant concludes with an absolution or a suitable Collect.


Almighty God have mercy on you, forgive you all your sins through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen you in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep you in eternal life. Amen.



The Peace

[BCP, p. 360]


The peace of the Lord be always with you.

And also with you.

Announcements

A. We do not yet know when we can safely return to in-person worship in our church building. The Right Rev. Frank Logue, the new Bishop of Georgia, has authorized some parishes in our Diocese to begin re-opening their buildings as early as July 1. Given the recent increase in new COVID-19 cases in Chatham County, the Vestry has decided not to proceed with Phase 1 Re-opening at this time. The church building will remain closed to all in-person gatherings. We will continue to monitor data provided by our local health experts and present a re-opening plan to the parish when we believe that it is safe to do so. Thank you for your patience and flexibility during this uncertain time.


B. Our updated weekly worship schedule during this time of social distancing and quarantine is as follows. Unless otherwise noted, all services may be read on the blog and/or viewed as a video on Facebook Live. If you know of church members who have trouble accessing these services, please reach out and show them or direct them to Fr. Arboleda for support.

  1. Sundays - 9:30 Worship (You can find all of the upcoming Sunday and Holiday readings at http://www.lectionarypage.net.)

  2. Tuesdays - 5:00 Evening Prayer

  3. Wednesdays - 5:00 Evening Prayer

  4. Thursdays - 5:00 Evening Prayer


C. We will hold a virtual "Coffee Hour" over Zoom today, and again on every other Sunday. Thank you to Mrs. Rachael Blue-Jones who is donating a professional Zoom login to the church for our use.


Topic: St. Matthew's Virtual Coffee Hour

Time: Jul 19, 2020 10:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83987631416?pwd=Szc1MW5qZWV2T25LYnVsa3drcWhsZz09


Meeting ID: 839 8763 1416

Password: stmattsav


One tap mobile

+19292056099,,83987631416#,,,,0#,,873853606# US (New York)

Dial by your location

+1 929 205 6099 US (New York)

Meeting ID: 839 8763 1416

Password: 873853606


D. St. Matthew's is planning to pre-record Sunday services to ensure higher quality video and audio for our worshippers at home. This provides a new opportunity for church members to be a part of the service! Mrs. Pearson and I will reach out to parishioners about recording themselves reading Scripture lessons and/or the Prayers of the People for use in these Sunday videos. If you want to get involved, please email me about your interest at FrGAA@StMattSav.org.


E. Many people are feeling the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis, including the church. We 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

[BCP, p. 377]


Walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself for us, an offering and sacrifice to God.(Ephesians 5:2)


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



Hymn #344: Lord, Dismiss Us With Thy Blessing

1 Lord, dismiss us with thy blessing; fill our hearts with joy and peace; let us each, thy love possessing, triumph in redeeming grace: O refresh us, O refresh us, traveling through this wilderness.

2 Thanks we give and adoration for thy Gospel's joyful sound: may the fruits of thy salvation in our hearts and lives abound: ever faithful, ever faithful to thy truth may we be found;

3 So that when thy love shall call us, Savior, from the world away, fear of death shall not appall us, glad thy summons to obey. May we ever, may we ever reign with thee in endless day.


Words: Attr. John Fawcett (1740-1817), Public Domain.

Music: Sicilian melody, 18th c., Public Domain.

Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #98002. All rights reserved.


The Lord’s Prayer

[BCP, p. 364]


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

[Enriching Our Worship 1, p. 71; BCP, p 366]


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 may God’s blessing be with you always. Amen.


Let us bless the Lord!

Thanks be to God!




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. Unless otherwise noted, the Scripture readings and quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible

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