First Presbyterian Church
Sunday, March 15, 2020
NOTE FROM CHRIS: I know it's challenging for many of us who believe it's important to participate in worship "come heck or high water." In fact, one of the things I admire most about you FPC Spring Hill is how often and regularly you simply show up. However, the situation we find ourselves in today is unprecedented in my lifetime anyway. It is not fear or irrational sense of caution that led Session to cancel worship and practice vigorous social distancing, but in my view is instead fidelity to Christ's charge to love our neighbors and care for the least of these. Local doctors as well as the Center for Disease Control have said the only way we have to limit the disease and prevent a massive overload of our healthcare system is to practice such social distancing. So we choose to limit something as important to us as community worship as a sacrifice for the good of our neighbors, our community and our world. It is precisely because we do not fear that we take such action, knowing that God is faithful and will gather us again. Until then, we will try and provide meaningful worship opportunities for you at home. It's my favorite saying, even tattooed to my arm, "Peace to this house!"
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted,
forgiving one another,
as God in Christ has forgiven you.-Ephesians 4:32
Eternal God, your kingdom has broken into our troubled world through the life, death, and resurrection of your Son. Help us to hear your Word and obey it, that we may become instruments of your saving love; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, Amen.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
God of mercy,
you sent Jesus Christ to seek and save the lost. We confess that we have strayed from you
and turned aside from your way.
We are misled by pride,
for we see ourselves pure when we are stained, and great when we are small.
We have failed in love,
and ignored your truth.
Have mercy, O God, and forgive our sin.
Return us to paths of righteousness through Jesus Christ, our Savior.
DECLARATION OF PARDON
The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting. I declare to you, in the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven.
Prayer for Illumination
Lord, open our hearts and minds by the power of your Holy Spirit, that as the scriptures are read and your Word is proclaimed, we may hear with joy what you say to us today.
Water from the Rock
17 From the wilderness of Sin the whole congregation of the Israelites journeyed by stages, as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. 2 The people quarreled with Moses, and said, “Give us water to drink.” Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” 3 But the people thirsted there for water; and the people complained against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?” 4 So Moses cried out to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” 5 The Lord said to Moses, “Go on ahead of the people, and take some of the elders of Israel with you; take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. 6 I will be standing there in front of you on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so that the people may drink.” Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. 7 He called the place Massah[a] and Meribah,[b] because the Israelites quarreled and tested the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”
7 A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.)[a] 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come back.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you[b] say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I am he,[c] the one who is speaking to you.”
27 Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you want?” or, “Why are you speaking with her?” 28 Then the woman left her water jar and went back to the city. She said to the people, 29 “Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah,[d] can he?” 30 They left the city and were on their way to him.
31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, “Rabbi, eat something.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” 33 So the disciples said to one another, “Surely no one has brought him something to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work. 35 Do you not say, ‘Four months more, then comes the harvest’? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. 36 The reaper is already receiving[e] wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. 37 For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”
39 Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I have ever done.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world.”
Keep the following prayer concerns in mind this week:
Ruth Cantrell (recovering at home)
Sue Moore, Shelby Smith (death of mother-in-law, grandmother Gladys Omick
Nation and world dealing with COVID-19
Jesus, remember us when you come into your kingdom. Hear our intercessions.
For your church around the world,
we ask new life.
For all who carry out ministries in your church,
we ask grace and wisdom.
For people who have accepted spiritual disciplines,
we ask inspired discipleship.
For Christians of every land,
we ask new unity in your name.
For Jews and Muslims and people of other faiths,
we ask your divine blessing.
For those who cannot believe,
we ask your faithful love.
For governors and rulers in every land,
we ask your guidance.
For people who suffer and sorrow,
we ask your healing peace.
Holy God, your Word, Jesus Christ, spoke peace to a sinful world and brought humanity the gift of reconciliation by the suffering and death he endured. Teach those who bear his name to follow the example he gave us. May our faith, hope, and charity turn hatred to love, conflict to peace, and death to eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
AFFIRMATION OF FAITH
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.
The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord alway look upon you with favor and give you peace”