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  • Writer's pictureFr. Guillermo A. Arboleda

Sunday Worship on June 28, 2020

Updated: Jul 14, 2020

The Holy Eucharist: The Liturgy of the Word

4th Sunday After Pentecost (Proper 8, Year A) June 28, 2020

Watch the Livestream at

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


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 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 #119: Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart

1 Spirit of God, descend upon my heart; Draw it from earth; through all its pulses move; Stoop to my weakness, mighty as thou are, And make me love thee as I ought to love.

2 I ask no dream, no prophet ecstasies, No sudden rending of the veil of clay, No angel visitant, no op’ning skies; But take the dimness of my soul away.

3 Teach me to feel that thou art always nigh; Teach me the struggles of the soul to bear, To check the rising doubt, the rebel sigh; Teach me the patience of unanswered prayer.

4 Teach me to love thee as thine angels love. One holy passion filling all my frame; The kindling of the heav’n descended dove, My heart an altar, and thy love the flame.

Words: George Croly, Public Domain.

Music: Frederick C. Atkinson, Public Domain.

Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #94903. 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, 230]

The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

Let us pray:

Almighty God, you have built your Church upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone: Grant us so to be joined together in unity of spirit by their teaching, that we may be made a holy temple acceptable to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

A Reading from the Book of Jeremiah (28:5-9)

The prophet Jeremiah spoke to the prophet Hananiah in the presence of the priests and all the people who were standing in the house of the Lord; and the prophet Jeremiah said, “Amen! May the Lord do so; may the Lord fulfill the words that you have prophesied, and bring back to this place from Babylon the vessels of the house of the Lord, and all the exiles. But listen now to this word that I speak in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people. The prophets who preceded you and me from ancient times prophesied war, famine, and pestilence against many countries and great kingdoms. As for the prophet who prophesies peace, when the word of that prophet comes true, then it will be known that the Lord has truly sent the prophet.”

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Psalm 89:1-4, 15-18

[BCP, p. 713]

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

1 Your love, O Lord, for ever will I sing; * from age to age my mouth will proclaim your faithfulness.

2 For I am persuaded that your love is established for ever; * you have set your faithfulness firmly in the heavens.

3 "I have made a covenant with my chosen one; * I have sworn an oath to David my servant:

4 'I will establish your line for ever, * and preserve your throne for all generations.'"

15 Happy are the people who know the festal shout! * they walk, O Lord, in the light of your presence.

16 They rejoice daily in your Name; * they are jubilant in your righteousness.

17 For you are the glory of their strength, * and by your favor our might is exalted.

18 Truly, the Lord is our ruler; * the Holy One of Israel is our King.

A Reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans (6:12-23)

Do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. No longer present your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted, and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness for sanctification.

When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. So what advantage did you then get from the things of which you now are ashamed? The end of those things is death. But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

LEV #115: Spirit of the Living God

Spirit of the Living God,

Fall afresh on me.

Spirit of the Living God,

Fall afresh on me.

Melt me, mold me,

Fill me, use me.

Spirit of the Living God,

Fall afresh on me.

Words & Music: Daniel Iverson, © 1935, 1963, Birdwing Music (a Division of the Sparrow Corp.) and BMG Songs, Inc. All Rights on Behalf of Birdwing Music Administered by BMG Songs, Inc.

Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #FBC-A003716. All rights reserved.

The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ According to St. Matthew (10:40-42)

Glory to you, Lord Christ.

Jesus said, “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet's reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple-- truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, Lord Christ.

The Sermon

“Who is My Neighbor?” by the Rev. Guillermo A. Arboleda

Last week, the Diocese of Georgia hosted a Digital Vacation Bible School for the children and youth of our Diocese and beyond. A group of clergy and lay leaders recorded videos of interactive stories based on the Bible, fun godly music, and arts and crafts instructional guides. We melded these together with live Zoom calls where as many as 80 children from around Georgia logged on to dance and sing, to jump around and play, and to talk in small groups about what God was teaching them in these biblical stories. I participated on these calls each day as an adult “chaperone” and discussion leader for the 4th and 5th grade students in attendance.

It was honestly a technological and creative marvel. I give a ton of credit to the Rev. Canon Joshua Varner and the many other church leaders he worked with for adapting the VBS format to a digital medium. 

Our theme for the week was a timely one: “Who is My Neighbor?” Our theme verses were Luke 10:25-37. In this passage, we hear Jesus’ summary of the Old Testament Law: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself” (10:27). But a lawyer questions Jesus by asking “And who is my neighbor?” (10:29). 

This is a common impulse. We hear a commandment or a rule and we immediately look for a loophole. I’m cool with loving my neighbors, but who are my neighbors? Who are the people who I am obligated to “love” and how can I meet this requirement with the least effort possible?

Jesus responds with the story of the “Good Samaritan” (10:29-37). A Jewish man is robbed, beaten up, and left for dead on the side of the road. Two prominent religious leaders, a priest and a Levite, pass him by and cross to the other side of the road to avoid helping him. But another man stops and offers generous compassion. He bandages his wounds, loads him on his own donkey, and pays for his care at a local inn (there weren’t a lot of hospitals in the 1st century). The catch is that this man is from Samaria, and Samaritans and Jews were bitter enemies. 

I mean, technically, they were neighbors. Their lands bordered each other. But they didn’t get along. They had fought small battles against each other, taken opposite sides in wars, and had ongoing religious disputes that sometimes spilled out into violence. It wasn’t a peaceful relationship by any means. 

Jesus’ final question to the lawyer is: “which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” (10:36). The obvious answer is the Samaritan man, “the one who showed him mercy.” But the man from a group who was considered “foreigner” and “enemy” showed the most love and compassion in the story. And Jesus says to “Go and do likewise” (10:37).

The point is that God’s love extends to all and our love should too. In order to truly obey the command to love God and love our neighbors, we need a wider definition of “neighbor.” We need to build a bigger “we.”

That’s what Jesus is trying to point to in today’s shorter, less familiar passage (Matthew 10:40-42): 

Jesus said, “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet's reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple-- truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.”

After sending out the apostles to do ministry in his name (see last week’s Gospel), Jesus reminds them that they won’t be able to do it without receiving hospitality. As they travel from town to town, they will need to meet some new neighbors. The apostles, empowered to lead by Jesus, will need to humble themselves enough to seek out and accept help from others.

On the flip side, that means that God is preparing people ahead of them. God has given grace and mercy to people before they ever hear Jesus’ Good News from the mouths of the apostles. They are already ready to offer kindness and hospitality. They are already open to making new friends and receiving new neighbors. 

When we are holding conversations with the VBS children, we often use some simple questions. Children have a remarkable sense of imagination and wonder. So we often try to leverage that creativity in how we talk about God and the Bible. One of our go-to questions is “I wonder where you are in the story?” In other words, which character do you identify with?

“Jesus said, ‘Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.’” Are we the ones who are welcoming Jesus’ messengers? Or are we the ones receiving the welcome? Sometimes it’s both. 

In the age of Coronavirus, we may find ourselves hearing Jesus’ words differently than before. We are facing our helplessness a little more clearly than before. We are seeing the limits of science and technology to combat a deadly disease. We are recognizing more than ever that if we want to survive and even thrive, we cannot go alone. We must stay together. We need community. We need our neighbors. 

Maybe we have to depend on our neighbors a little more now than we used to. I’ve had to depend on a lot of people’s generosity over the last three weeks since I got sick. I have needed others to do grocery shopping and cooking for me. I have needed others to call me and check in on my health. And I have needed to be open to receiving that generosity instead of being too prideful, stubborn, and independent (which is how I usually am). And I expect that when someone else I know becomes sick with COVID-19 (or anything else), God will ask me to switch roles and offer kindness and mercy and love to my neighbor in need.

For all the dangers of this time in our lives, we can and should continue looking for blessings. I think that our blessings right now might come in the form of giving and receiving hospitality. I pray that we keep our hearts and minds open to who God is leading into our lives, even seeking out opportunities to offer hospitality. And I pray that whether we are giving or receiving, we will be ready to make new neighbors. Amen.

We’ll close with a song from VBS called “Love the Lord your God.” It is performed by some friends of St. Matthew’s: the Rev. Helen White from Christ Church, Savannah, and her sons Ethan and Jay White.

Love the Lord your God

With all your heart and all your soul

And all your mind and

Love all humankind

As you would love yourself, and …


The Lord your God

With all your heart,

And all your soul and mind and love all humankind.

We’ve got Christian lives to live,

We’ve got Jesus’ love to give, 

We’ve got nothing to hide,

Because in God we all find ...


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, 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, 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 Crystal Watts (6/21), Jeanette Outing (6/21), Frieda McDew Shorter (6/24), King Ahmad Scott (6/24), Marva Harris (6/26), Jonathan Newton (6/26), Theon Groover (6/27), Willie Robinson (6/27), Gwendolyn Smith (6/27), Jessie Stevenson (6/28), Mackenzie Jones (6/28), Shirley Bonaparte (6/29), Daniel Harris (7/3), and Rachael Blue-Jones (7/4) 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, especially 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.


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

  2. Tuesdays - 5:00 Evening Prayer

  3. Wednesdays - 6:00 Evening Prayer with the Diocese (on Facebook or YouTube)

  4. Thursdays - 5:00 Evening Prayer

C. We will hold a virtual "Coffee Hour" over Zoom next Sunday, July 7, at 10:30 AM, 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.

D. The Diocese of Georgia hosted a Digital Vacation Bible School on Monday, June 22 - Friday, June 26 at 9:30 AM. Our theme for the week was "Who is My Neighbor?" Several children from St. Matthew's participated throughout the week and I co-led the small group for rising 4th and 5th graders. The video resources we used for the program are available online at

E. 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

F. Thank you to Mrs. Idella Jones and Mr. and Mrs. General and Lazola Cope who donated money to purchase the ring light for future worship filming! We hope you notice a difference in the video quality!

G. 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:; 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)

Hymn #711: Seek Ye First

1 Seek ye first the kingdom of God

And its righteousness,

And all these things shall be added unto you

Allelu, Alleluia!


Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

Allelu, Alleluia!

2 Ask, and it shall be given unto you,

Seek, and ye shall find,

Knock, and the door shall be opened unto you

Allelu, Alleluia!

Words: St. 1, Matthew 6:33; Adapt. Karen Lafferty, © 1972 Maranatha! Music; St. 2, Matthew 7:7, Public Domain.

Music: Karen Lafferty, © 1972 Maranatha! Music.

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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