Statue of Liberty
America, the Beautiful
Recognition of Veterans
Robert Kline, US Army
Mac McKinley, US Air Force
Arthur Shields, US Army
Lenny Vavruska, US Marines
Bob Workinger, US Army
Lloyd Hannigan, US Army
Thank you, gentlemen for your faith and service to our country.
Gracious God, giver of life, you are a holy and mighty God. Thank you for the privileges we have as citizens of the United States. Remind us often that we are sojourners here, and that our true and eternal home is your Kingdom. Equip us to serve you, until Christ comes again, so others may hear of salvation in his name. All this we pray in His name. Amen.
Canticle of Remembrance
The righteous live forever, their reward is with the Lord.
With my song I give thanks and praise, for the Lord is my strength and shield.
The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God
and no torment will ever touch them.
In the eyes of the foolish they seem to have died,
and their departure was seen as an affliction.
And their going from us, to be their destruction;
But they are at peace.
For though in our sight they were punished,
Their hope is full of immortality.
Having been disciplined a little, they will receive great good,
Because God tested them and found them worthy.
Like gold in the furnace God tried them,
And like a sacrificial burnt offering God accepted them.
In the time of their visitation they will shine forth,
And will run like sparks through the stubble.
They will govern nations and rule over peoples,
And the Lord will reign over them forever.
Those who trust in God will understand truth,
And the faithful will abide in love,
Because grace and mercy are upon the elect,
And God watches over the holy ones.
Since we met here one year ago, the following loved ones have entered into rest in the Bethel cemetery. They are:
- Dennis Bacon, July 12, 2019
- Tammy (Schroll) Montiel, September 12, 2019
- Stanistawa Krakes, November 20, 2019
- Lloyd Hannigan, November 25, 2019
- Howard Lewis, Jr., November 29, 2019
- Charles Franklin Leroy Stokes, January 18, 2020
- Ethel Hannigan, April 25, 2020
Gospel Lesson John 17
Morning Message Old Glory, Christ’s Glory, Our Glory
As United States citizens, there are many reminders of the privileges we have living in the land of the brave. There are many reminders of the countless lives sacrificed so that we can keep living in the home of the free.
There are songs, many of which you are hearing today. There are holidays: Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day, and 4th of July. Even at Bethel Church we have our own traditions that serve as reminders: A Memorial Day service that goes back generations, and just yesterday our friend, Gary put out the flags and plaques that he puts out every year to honor our country and all branches of the military.
And we have symbols: the statues, the monuments, and all kinds of things in red, white and blue. Did you know that you can buy red, white, and blue M & M’s?
Perhaps our most deeply cherished symbol is the American flag. So cherished and honored that calling it a symbol doesn’t seem to cut it.
The colors and shapes on the flag have deep meaning. RED symbolizes strength and valor. WHITE symbolizes purity and innocence. BLUE symbolizes vigilance, perseverance and justice. These colors were carefully chosen because the characteristics they represent are closely aligned with the values of America.
Even the shapes and structure have meaning and purpose. The 13 alternating red and white stripes represent the 13 original colonies. The stars represent each of our states.
And according to the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs, here is the story behind the flag’s nickname, Old Glory:
The name “Old Glory” was first applied to the U.S. flag by a young sea captain who lived in Salem, Mass. On his twenty-first birthday, March 17, 1824, Capt. William Driver was presented a beautiful flag by his mother and a group of local young ladies. Driver was delighted with the gift. He exclaimed, “I name her ‘Old Glory.’” Then Old Glory accompanied the captain on his many voyages.
Captain Driver quit the sea in 1837 and settled in Nashville, Tenn. On patriotic days, he displayed Old Glory proudly from a rope extending from his house to a tree across the street. After Tennessee seceded from the Union in 1861, Captain Driver hid Old Glory by sewing the flag inside a comforter. When Union soldiers entered Nashville on February 25, 1862, Driver removed Old Glory from its hiding place, carried the flag to the state capitol building, and proudly raised it for all to see. Shortly before his death, the old sea captain placed a small bundle into the arms of his daughter. He said to her, “Mary Jane, this is my ship flag, Old Glory. It has been my constant companion. I love it as a mother loves her child. Cherish it as I have cherished it.” The flag remained as a precious heirloom in the Driver family until 1922. Then it was sent to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., where it is carefully preserved under glass today.
Driver has been quoted as saying this about his flag, “It has ever been my staunch companion and protection. Savages and heathens, lowly and oppressed, hailed and welcomed it at the far end of the wide world. Then, why should it not be called Old Glory?”
As a noun, the word “glory” is defined as “high renown or honor won by notable achievements; and magnificence or great beauty. As a verb, it means to take great pride or pleasure in.”
In John 17, prior to going to the cross, Jesus prays. He prays for himself, for his disciples, and finally for all future believers. Scripture teaches that he continues to pray for us through the intercession of the Holy Spirit.
The theme of his prayer is ‘glory.” He uses the words eight times throughout the prayer in one form or another. And I want to take a few moments and walk through it with you. Then I will wrap things up with how this applies to our own lives. Because the Gospel of Christ is not just about knowing what we believe, but about living out our faith in tangible ways.
First, in verses 1 through 5, Jesus prays for himself:
- In verse 3, Jesus says, “This is eternal life: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you sent.” How do we get eternal life? Jesus explains it clearly here: by knowing God the Father Himself, through his Son, Jesus Christ. Eternal life requires entering a personal relationship with God in Jesus. When we admit our sin, and turn away from it, Christ’s love lives in us by his Holy Spirit.
- In verses 3 and 4, Jesus says that by coming to earth, he brought glory to God the Father. In other words, he brought honor to God and proclaimed his magnificence, in all things, but especially in his obedience and sacrifice on the cross.
- In verse 5, Jesus says, “Now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I shared with you before the world was created.” Before Jesus came to earth, he was one with God. At this point, when his mission on earth was almost finished, Jesus was asking his Father to restore him to his original place of honor and authority. As he had brought honor to the Father, he now asked that the Father honor him by returning him to his former status of privilege in heaven. Both Jesus’s resurrection and ascension attest that Jesus did return to his exalted position at the right hand of God. It is further attested to in Stephen’s dying exclamation in Acts 7:56, “Look! I can see heaven on display and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”
- He prays for their joy, their unity, and their protection.
- Notice that Jesus doesn’t ask the Father to take his disciples out of the world, but to protect them while in the world from the evil one.
- The disciples are citizens of the Kingdom of God, but they are to stay and accomplish the job to go into the world and make disciples.
- In verse 10, Jesus says, “Everything that is mine is yours and everything that is yours is mine; I have been glorified in them.”
- What did Jesus mean? God’s glory is the revelation of his character and presence. The lives of Jesus’ disciples reveal his character, and he is present to the world through them.
- Do you ever wonder if your life brings glory to God?
- Ask yourself this: Does my life reveal Christ’s character and presence to those around me?
- If you know Jesus as Lord and Savior, then this includes you.
- Verses 21-23, “I pray they will be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. I pray that they also will be in us, so that the world will believe that you sent me. 22 I’ve given them the glory that you gave me so that they can be one just as we are one. 23 I’m in them and you are in me so that they will be made perfectly one. Then the world will know that you sent me and that you have loved them just as you loved me.”
- Jesus’ greatest desire for his disciples was that they would become one.
- Unified as a powerful witness to the reality of God’s love.
- Jesus’ prayer for unity among believers is based on the believer’s unity with him and the Father.
- Christians can know unity with each other when they are living in union with God.
- Jesus is the vine; we are the branches.
- Each branch living in union with the Vine is united with all other branches doing the same.
- How do we bring glory to God? How do we honor his name and declare his magnificence?
- The same way the disciples in Jesus day did: by living in joyful and sacrificial obedience to God’s commands. By being the revelation of Christ himself to the world around us.
Because the thing is, the Christian life is meant to be a purpose-filled life. And a purpose-filled life is always a life of action. The glory of God is revealed in the incarnate Christ, and now Christ is glorified in the lives of believers.
I’ve suggested you bring a cross to worship today.
Take it in your hands, touch it with your fingers if you’re wearing it around your neck. Feel the material it is made of.
Now consider what it means to you, to your life, to the lives of those you love.
Think about why it is a symbol of our faith. About what happened on the cross. About what happened to Jesus on the cross.
His death. His sacrifice. His shed blood. The salvation we have in Him because of his obedience to the Father.
The privileges we are afforded as children of God.
The hope we have of a sure and certain future with God.
A future with no sickness, no pain no tears.
A present with freedom from sin and death, and the constant presence of God through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Fully wrapped in God’s love and protection.
Now consider the words of James, Jesus’ brother, in James, 2:14, “What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?”
Friends, the truth is, you can carry a cross with you all day long as a symbol of your faith. Wear it around your neck. Keep it in your pocket. But if you don’t apply the message of the cross to your life, carrying it becomes meaningless. Just like a “honk if you love Jesus bumper sticker” on your car becomes a joke if you are cutting people off in traffic and displaying road rage. Just like waving an American flag becomes meaningless if we refuse to live out the values upon which our country stands.
And what is the message of the cross? How do we bring glory to Jesus Christ?
I believe it goes back to the two greatest commandments, the commandments Jesus gave us in Matthew 22:37-39, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.”
How we live, how we treat people, the words we say, the attitudes we carry, the generosity and hospitality we share, all matter because these things reflect our deep love for God, and they reflect the loving character of God himself.
We are going to the Lord in prayer in a moment. But first, a brief time of reflection with a few simple questions:
- First, if you are a Christian, how does your life bring glory to Jesus Christ? How does your life reveal God’s character and presence?
- Second, do you know reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ? Do you share the privileges of a life in Jesus Christ?
- Time of silent reflection.
Pastoral Prayer based on John 17, adapted from a prayer from the World Council of Churches
God of grace, together we turn to you in prayer, for it is you who unites us: you are the one God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – in whom we believe, you alone empower us for good, and you send us out across the earth in mission and service in the name of Christ.
We confess we have been unworthy servants. We have fallen short as disciples of Jesus Christ who in his incarnation came to save us and teach us how to love. Forgive us, God, and teach us to forgive one another.
God, hear the cries of all creation, the cries of all who are exploited, marginalized, abused and victimized, all who are dispossessed and silenced, their humanity ignored, all who suffer from any form of disease, and from war. God, guide all in seats of authority towards decisions of moral integrity.
We give thanks for your blessings and signs of hope that are already present in the world. We give thanks for people of all times and places who have live faithful lives and glorified you. We give thanks for those who have gone before us in faith.
We thank you for the good news of Jesus Christ, and the assurance of resurrection. By the power and guidance of your Holy Spirit, may our prayers never be empty words but an urgent response to your living Word – readily sharing the good news of Jesus Christ.
Open our hearts to love and to see that all people are made in your image. Transform us in the offering of ourselves so that we may be your partners in transformation, to become neighbors to all, as we await with eager anticipation of the full revelation of your reign in the coming of a new heaven and a new earth.
God, in your grace, transform the world. We pray this in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
The Lord’s Prayer
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 that 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, forever. Amen.
Dismissal with Blessing Prayer of St. Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
In Christ name. Amen.
Go in peace and may the God of peace go with you.