Zis-N-Zat From Pastor Asher

God is my conscience, Jesus lives in my heart… this blog is about what I see, what I think, what I do and how I serve God

Dramatic Reading of Ezekiel 37:1-14 and Matthew 9:35-38; written for joint service with Christ, First and Worton UMCs on August 31, 2014

Reader # 1

We are living in days and times that call all of us, the sisters and brothers in Christ, to be filled with integrity and to stand shoulder to shoulder.

Reader # 2

We live in a culture where we are isolated and it is easy to feel alone. We live in a culture that squelches the voice of God. Our challenge, as part of the Church and as individual churches, is to find the strength and the courage to discern the voice of God amid all the noise and tumult of life and to follow that voice.

Reader # 4

We are living in days and times that call all of us, the sisters and brothers in Christ, to live lives that are holy and just, and to stand up for God. We need to stand shoulder to shoulder just like Moses, Aaron, Miriam and Joshua did. Righteousness and integrity are important in all of our attitudes and in everything that we do. In one of his sermons the Prophet Micah asked, “…what does the Lord require of you?” And the reply was, “To act justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).

Reader # 3

Righteousness that comes by our shared Christian faith always points to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, a relationship with Jesus and the recognition of God’s presence in our lives.

Reader # 2

Indeed, we live in days of great trial. Look at all the problems that we face as the human race: climate change, disease, starvation, epidemics, drugs addiction, violence, parents sending their children across the border in Texas in hopes that these children find a better life as orphans.

Indeed, we live in days of darkness and sword. Look at all the wars brewing around the globe: Israel, Syria, ISIS in Iraq and Syria, Central America, Ukraine.

Reader # 1

Indeed, we live in days when thousands of people die every day from starvation, malnutrition and war. That does not only happen in faraway places. Less than two months ago, our neighbor and brother, a citizen of Kent County, died in Fountain Square. That man could have been any one of us if things turned out just a little differently in our lives.

Reader # 4

Nothing is impossible with God. God is with us, God is among us, we can feel God’s Spirit move in our midst. “The joy of the Lord is our strength!” (Psalm 28:7, Nehemiah 8:10) If and when we fail to find the joy of the Lord in our midst, we cannot find any strength to walk the Christian walk.

Ezekiel 37 NIV2010 The Valley of Dry Bones – Scripture Reader from FUMC

1 The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”

4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5 This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.

9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.

11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’”

Days Of Elijah  – Song

Performed by singers from Christ and First UMCs

Reader # 4

As the people whose identity is rooted in their relationship with Jesus, as sisters and brothers united by the Love of Jesus and united by his precious blood spilled on the Cross, we are called to make a declaration of what and who we believe in. It does not matter what denomination we are, it does not matter whether some of us are white or black, it does not matter whether some of us have hair or not, it does not matter whether some of us have grits or croissants for breakfast, it does not matter what differences divide us BECAUSE what divides and separates us from each other is not as MEANINGFUL or even as powerful as what unites us.

All of us have experienced the love of Jesus at one time or another in our lives; that love and that presence changed us and challenged us to be the best of what God created us to be.

Reader # 5

In Matthew 9, we hear,

35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’”

Reader # 4

“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few” (Matthew 9:37).

We are called to go outside the walls of our church buildings declaring righteousness, demonstrating unity, worshiping God and to live holy lives. Jesus sends us to preach the word and to be God’s hands and feet in our communities. Jesus calls us to carry God’s love not only to each other BUT ALSO/ ESPECIALLY to the last, the lost and the least. That is what our churches have done in the past. That is how the Church is called to serve God – by serving the world in which we live.

Melody “Will The Circle Be Unbroken” – Song

Performed by singers from Christ and First UMCs

Verse 1

Will the circle be unbroken

By and by, Lord, by and by

There’s a better way to live now,

We can have it if we try.

Verse 2

I was singing with my sisters,

I was singing with my friends

And we all can sing together,

’cause the circle never ends.

Verse 3

We all share same great story

And relationship with God

Let us find then strength and courage

Tell our neighbors ‘bout that love

Verse 4

I was born down in the valley

Where the sun refused to shine

But I’m climbing up to the highland,

Gonna make that mountain mine!

Verse 5

Will we find the strength and courage

To break the walls that separate

To come together in Christian mission

Sharing love and grace of God

\\\\\\\\\\ PAUSE ///////////

Verse 6

I was singing with my brothers,

I was singing with my friends

And we all can sing together,

’cause the circle never ends.

Tag

Will the circle be unbroken

By and by, Lord, by and by

There’s a better way to live now,

We can have it if we try.

 

Reader # 5

Do we have the courage to organize a joint mission, something that we can do together, something that will make a statement that our differences pale next to our common mission, our common identity in Christ and our common understanding of God’s Grace. We already gather for worship together. Can we get some dirt under our nails together?

We are called to make a declaration of what and who we believe in because if we do nothing, we will watch the world that we know and love turn into “a valley of dry bones” (Ezekiel 37:1-14). If we find the courage to set our differences aside and work together, if we dare to become a united church rising up in unity and purpose, we can make a difference.

Reader # 4

The truth is that no matter how hard we try we will not resolve all the problems. We will not be able to eradicate hunger. We will not be able to stop all the wars and broker peace in all the areas of armed conflict. We will not be able to eradicate drugs and alcohol addiction and we will not be able to completely reverse or fix the effects of climate change. We CAN however do something. We can work together to make our corner of the world a better place.

Jesus calls us to be the “light of the world” (Matthew 5:14).

Do we dare to work towards making the Greater Chestertown area a “City on a hill that cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14) again? My hope and prayer is that by working together, we will be able to prepare the way (Mark 1:8) for the Holy Spirit to swoop into Chestertown, and Fairlee, and Worton and Rock Hall and every other nook and cranny of our county.

This is our corner of the Garden of Eden, the spot where God planted us. It is here that God trusted us to “till the soil,” (KJV) to “work it and take care of it” (Genesis 2:15 NIV2010).

When we are with God, all things are possible! The joy of the Lord is our strength!

My Lord And I – Song

Performed by singers from Christ and First UMCs

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