Sunday, August 23, 2020
Using the same old materials of earth, air, fire, and water, every twenty-four hours God creates something new out of them. If you think you're seeing the same show all over again seven times a week, you're crazy. Every morning you wake up to something that in all eternity never was before and never will be again. And the you that wakes up was never the same before and will never be the same either. Frederich Buechner
Call to Worship from Psalm 104:31-34

May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
may the Lord in rejoice in his works--
who looks on the earth and it trembles,
who touches the mountains and they smoke.

I will sing to Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praise to God while I have being.

May my meditation be pleasing to God,
for I rejoice in the Lord.
Hymn God the Sculptor of the Mountains

Assurance Of Forgiveness from the prayer of Jonah 2:2,6
I called to the Lord out of my distress, and God answered me;
out of the belly of Sheol I cried and you heard my voice.
I went down to the land whose bars closed upon me forever;
yet you brought my life from the Pit, O Lord my God.
Encountering God's Word
Prayer for Illumination
Creator of the universe, infinite and glorious, you give us laws to save us from our folly, give us eyes to see your plan unfolding, your purpose emerging as the world is made; give us courage to follow the truth, courage to go where you lead; then we shall know blessings beyond our dreams; then your will be done.
Speak to us now through your living Word. Amen.

Jonah 3:10-4:11

God saw what they were doing—that they had ceased their evil behavior. So God stopped planning to destroy them, and he didn’t do it.
But Jonah thought this was utterly wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord, “Come on, Lord! Wasn’t this precisely my point when I was back in my own land? This is why I fled to Tarshish earlier! I know that you are a merciful and compassionate God, very patient, full of faithful love, and willing not to destroy. At this point, Lord, you may as well take my life from me, because it would be better for me to die than to live.”
 The Lord responded, “Is your anger a good thing?” But Jonah went out from the city and sat down east of the city. There he made himself a hut and sat under it, in the shade, to see what would happen to the city.
Then the Lord God provided a shrub, and it grew up over Jonah, providing shade for his head and saving him from his misery. Jonah was very happy about the shrub. But God provided a worm the next day at dawn, and it attacked the shrub so that it died. Then as the sun rose God provided a dry east wind, and the sun beat down on Jonah’s head so that he became faint. He begged that he might die, saying, “It’s better for me to die than to live.”
God said to Jonah, “Is your anger about the shrub a good thing?”
Jonah said, “Yes, my anger is good—even to the point of death!”
But the Lord said, “You ‘pitied’ the shrub, for which you didn’t work and which you didn’t raise; it grew in a night and perished in a night. Yet for my part, can’t I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than one hundred twenty thousand people who can’t tell their right hand from their left, and also many animals?”

The sermon for week three is from Rev. Ann Gibbs, Associate for Ministry Vitality for the Milwaukee Presbytery. “Jonah is small book that offers deep insight into the character of God and calls us to question the vagaries in our own. It is a story of mercy and compassion and more. It is a tale with power to work at us and in us.”
Prayers of the People
The hymn below speaks to God's creative presence in the world and in our lives. It asks the very real, human questions of we, the created, can respond not only to God but also the limited circumstances of our lives. After praying through the hymn, take a few minutes for your own silent prayer and contemplation.
The Lord's Prayer
What a Wonderful World
Sent Into the World
Blessed are you God of growth and discovery; yours is the inspiration that has altered and changed our lives; yours is the power that has brought us new dangers and opportunities. Set us, your new creation, to walk in this new world, watching and learning, loving and trusting, until your kingdom comes. Amen.

The liturgy for this service was put together by Ann Gibbs. The Prayer for Illumination and Sending Prayer were sourced from Imaging the Word, volume 2. With special thanks to Michelle Henrichs from whom I adapted the Prayer of Confession.