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First Baptist Church of Sharon
Shalom - Many Cultures and Journeys Rooted in Christ

Shalom- Many Cultures and Journeys Rooted in Christ

FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF SHARON

ONLINE SERVICE 3/15/20

Dear First Baptist Family and Friends,

By now we are all aware of the challenges facing us because of the COVID-19 virus.

Our governor has declared a state of emergency and many of us are dealing with

impacts on our schools, workplaces, and families.

In order to protect the most vulnerable among us from becoming infected with viral

illness, the recommendation of health experts is to avoid physical contact, and to

wash hands frequently and thoroughly. Out of love for one another, we are taking

precautions to keep COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) from impacting our extended

community. We have therefore decided to cancel Sunday school and service for the

next two weeks (March 15th and 22nd) then reevaluate the situation.

As stewards in leadership, we have not been anxious about anything, but in this

situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, presented our requests to God

(Phil.4:6). Given that many of our congregation are in the high risk categories

(elderly or have other significant health issues), this short closure is a wise decision.

It is not due to a lack of faith in God’s ability to protect us. It is because of our sure

knowledge that the physical church building at 2 South Main Street is not the temple

of the Holy Spirit, but we ourselves are the temple of God (1 Cor.3:16). Although

we gain strength through fellowship, a two week cessation does not have the ability

to destroy our love of God or each other. If that were possible, then we have more

serious problems than COVID-19!

We have enclosed a short sermon, some YouTube songs, call to worship, a

prayer and a page of COVID-19 websites and a couple of Christian articles

about how others are coping with this health emergency.. I pray that this will

be a brief hiatus for us and that we will use this time to seek the Lord in prayer

and reach out to each other as we can. Please check your email regularly over

the next two weeks for updates regarding our ongoing response to this health

crisis.

As always, let us pray for one another; and take this time to reach out via phone, text

and email to one another. If you should need prayer or have an urgent need. Please

call the pastor, deacons or any other member of the body of Christ you feel lead to

for assistance.

Additional Resources:

One of the Christian Magazines I subscribe to is “Sojourner”, I highly recommend it to those

interested in a Christian perspective to social justice issues across the globe. Below are two

current articles that you might find interesting on COVID-19.

The Time To Act Like Community Is Now -

https://sojo.net/articles/time-act-community-now

The Church’s Role in a Pandemic -

https://sojo.net/articles/churchs-role-pandemic

Below are a few website that can help keep you up to date as the situation remains fluid.

First Baptist Church Facebook Page –

https://www.facebook.com/First-Baptist-Church-of-Sharon-MA-242337359290672/

Town of Sharon Health Department -

https://www.townofsharon.net/sites/sharonma/files/uploads/town_of_sharon_coronavirus_covid-

19_update_-_march_12_2020.pdf

Boston Public Health Commission –

https://www.boston.gov/news/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-boston

Massachusetts Department of Public Health –

http://www.mass.gov/2019coronavirus

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention –

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.htm

Opening Prayer:

Holy Watering One,

Fount of Every Blessing,

We come to you this morning,

Opening our parched places to receive

the springs of living water

You offer to us.

Most of the time,

most of us don’t even know we are thirsty.

We don’t know the deep dehydration

that scours our bones and parches our hearts.

Sometimes, when our thirst pangs emerge,

We draw from the enticing wells

of the world’s offering of power and profit,

which leave us even more empty.

Still us, God,

so we might listen to You speaking to us,

knowing us, seeing us, loving us.

Fill us with your Living Water

that will transform our spirits and souls

into springs that burst forth

with life and love

for your people, for ourselves, and for our world.

~ written by Rev. Karla

Call to Worship

(inspired by Matthew 5:13-20, Mark 12:30-31,

Matthew 22:36-40, Luke 10:27)

We are called to bring a new understanding of God:

that God so loves the world.

We are the salt of the earth.

We are called to bring a new hope in God:

that God gives us new life.

We are the light of the world.

We are called to follow

the commandments and the law.

The Law of God is to love God

and to love one another.

Come, let us be the salt of the earth,

the light of the world.

Come, let us love one another

with the love of God.

Let us join together in our love of God

to worship and follow Jesus.

~ written by Rev Mindi,

Songs of Inspiration

My Soul Is Anchored https://youtu.be/ENv7zIo_j9M

Onward Christian Soldiers https://youtu.be/63yBpl6Oixo

Safe In His Arms https://youtu.be/gUrlbJRnPdg

Holy Spirit Funk https://youtu.be/FfuR39DmgwI

I Give Myself Away https://youtu.be/Ha3JbND1Sqg

Looking Out for Eutychus

Rev. Lois R. Adams

Acts 20:7-12 Eutychus

7 On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and,

because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight. 8 There were many

lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting. 9 Seated in a window was a young man

named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was

sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead. 10 Paul went

down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. “Don’t be alarmed,” he

said. “He’s alive!” 11 Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate. After talking until

daylight, he left. 12 The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted.

These people loved the Lord. They were believers, clearly hungry for the word of

God and had been with Paul for days, and now on this last evening as Paul was

talking to them; a young man falls out of the window in a room with many lamps- a

well-lit room full of people who knew and loved Eutychus…and he dies. Why didn’t

anyone notice that Eutychus was fast asleep in the window?

Who is sitting in the window and about to fall out (so to speak) at church; or on

your street; or at your job; in your family; among the neighbors who we are to

love as ourselves?

Right now we are experiencing a national health crisis and we don’t really know

how many people will suffer and die, we just know that “some” will, and we pray

that that “some” won’t include anyone we love. However, as we take prudent

measure to minimize possible exposure, we also cause unintended negative

consequences for so many other people and families. Sometimes we can get so

caught up in our own life that we may not notice that someone is about to experience

avoidable devastation (and fall out of the window just like Eutychus did).

Scripture says in 1John 4: 7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes

from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever

does not love does not know God, because God is love…. God is love. Whoever

lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made

complete among us.

 

It is the operation of the Spirit of God’s love within us that causes us to care to notice

others around us, and then act upon that caring.

We have the word of God that is replete with scripture that makes loving one another

the prime directive of God and then gives us specific examples of what God’s love

really represents by the way we respond to others, especially those in need. We all

want to be loving and we want to please God. However, we have often limited who

we are truly looking out for because of the people, environment and events of our

lifetime. Sometimes our self-imposed blinders become an obstacle to our ability to

tap into, understand, embrace and actualize Gods love in our life and reach out to

those around us.

Why did Eutychus fall out of the window? The new Christians were just beginning

to understand God’s love and how to look out for each other in community. They

were so focused on Paul that they completely lost sight of Eutychus asleep in the

window. And in some way missed the whole point of Christ’ message.

It takes energy, practice and a desire to yield to the Spirit of God within you to get

to where God wants us to be concerning the care of each other and our neighbors.

Caring for anyone takes an investment of time as well as mental, emotional and

physical energy…just to start. It would be safe to say that each of us cares for

someone. There is a very intentional element to caring. And for some of us,

intentional caring doesn’t come naturally, but that’s OK because we all have access

to the same Holy Spirit, which is the ultimate source for instruction of the heart. As

we yield to the Holy Spirit (Gods loving life force and well of living water within

us), we will always be directed to act out of love and compassion. So maybe you

aren’t as thoughtful, kind and caring as you should be, but God is kind, caring and

loving. And you can be as kind and caring and loving as you should be through

him…through yielding to his Spirit within you.

Sometimes it’s hard to even think about caring because we have been hurt from past

experiences and we have never been healed from them. It keeps us from earnestly

asking God to change our heart. You know there is a saying that “hurt people” will

hurt people, and so the opposite is true too. Healed people will heal people. God

wants all of us to be healed, set free from our burdens and delivered from the prisons

of our heart, soul and mind so that we can experience the true source of love, caring

and sharing within us.

We don’t know how long this health crisis will last, but we really need to stretch and

show our love for each other through picking up the phone to make a call or text

someone; email someone; or even send snail mail. Also, if you know someone is

struggling because they are losing wages due to these shutdowns and you can help,

please do so. I know that some of you have already raised concerns about how the

church can help those in need at this time. We are addressing those needs as they

arise and as God leads us.

So let’s move into a time of confession, asking God to search our hearts and know

our anxious thoughts and if there is anything broken within us we ask that by his

Spirit, we are made whole and free in him. Only then will we be able to notice the

folks “sitting in the windows” around us; those who might need to be uplifted and

encouraged; and reach out to them while we can.

We are going to practice being long distance runners and not sprinters in Gods race;

for the race is not given to the swift or the victory to the sure, but to those who ensure

to the end. We need and can have a deep and sustaining investment in caring for our

sisters, brothers and neighbors because we can’t afford to let anyone fall out of the

window anymore.

God bless you today and may our Father keep you. Amen

 

CHURCH COVENANT

We desire to worship and serve God. We believe it is our duty to walk together as one body of

Christ. Therefore, we freely and solemnly covenant with God and with one another.

We bind ourselves in the presence of the Holy Spirit, to acknowledge God as God and ourselves

as children of God. We cling to Jesus Christ as our Lord; he is the only head of this Church.

We pledge to walk together in Christian love, observing God’s ordinances as they have been

made known to us in the scriptures. We promise to be a people of prayer, asking that the God of

peace who raised our Lord Jesus from the dead, may prepare and strengthen us for every good

work. We commit ourselves to that which is pleasing in God’s sight,

through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.