Melmore United Methodist Church
Amy Vittorio, Pastor
March 15th, 2020
3rd Sunday in Lent
Back to the Garden
Thirst for Water
A TIME FOR PRAISING GOD
Video-Reflections on Lent II-Second Sunday of Lent-Skitguys
O Lord, our God, teach us temperance and self-control, that we may live in the Spirit and be mindful of all that Jesus suffered and sacrificed for our sakes, and how he was made perfect through sufferings. Help us so to keep the fast that you have chosen, that we may loose the bonds of wickedness, undo the heavy burdens, and let the oppressed go free; through the grace of Christ Jesus our crucified and risen Savior. Amen.
*Hymn-O How He Loves You and Me!
Scripture Exodus 17: 1-7
Water From the Rock
17 The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of
Sin, traveling from place to place as the LORD commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink.
2 So they quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the LORD to the test?”
3 But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?”
4 Then Moses cried out to the LORD, “What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.”
5 The LORD answered Moses, “Go out in front of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go.
6 I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.” So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel.
7 And he called the place Massah[a] and Meribah[b] because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the LORD saying, “Is the LORD among us or not?”
A TIME TO LIFT OUR HEARTS TO GOD
Joys and Concerns
Adam Distel and his family—Adam will be deployed again shortly to Afghanistan and Greg & Ruth have traveled to Georgia to see him before he goes.
The folks at all of our local nursing homes who are now under quarantine and who miss visiting with their loved ones.
All of our school teachers, students, and other school staff who are grappling to figure out what learning will look like in the coming days.
Jen Loudenslager’s mother-in-law who suffered a severe allergic reaction to medication and who had to be hospitalized for several days.
Music through which to Silently Pray-Lord, Who Throughout These Forty Days
Heavenly Father, we come to you this day, overwhelmed and afraid. Remind us of the words we listened to last week so that we are ever mindful that you are here in this storm with us. Help us in the days and weeks to come to feel your calming presence with us. Be
with those who must be alone in this time and help them to feel your Holy Presence throughout this time. Let them feel with conviction that there is a community of people praying for them and loving them from a distance. Keep those who must travel safe in their journeys and help them to see your always Grace-Filled Presence wherever they go. Help our communities find creative ways to continue in the midst of this crisis. Be with those who are sick and help them to know that your healing presence is surrounding them. In your precious name of your son who taught us to pray: 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 and we forgive those who 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.
A TIME FOR RESPONDING TO HIS GRACIOUS GIFTS
Special note: While the church still needs giving to operate, even under these extraordinary circumstances, we understand that it may be a bit more challenging for folks to continue to give as usual. For those of you wanting to continue to make your contributions, please know that you can utilize the e-giving tab on the website at melmoreumc.org or send a check to Melmore United Methodist Church, c/o Sandy Cooper, treasurer, 6817 S OH-67, Tiffin, OH 44883.
Prayer of Dedication:
God of Boundless Goodness: We have come to this place this day to worship you with our songs, with our words, with our gifts, and with our whole hearts. Our reading and heeding of the psalms reconnect us to worship that springs from a heart full of gratitude. Use these gifts as part of our praise and use them in mission in this world so that even those who feel lost and unloved will know they have a God who loves each of them dearly. With praise and thanksgiving, we lift these prayers! Amen.
*Hymn -Rock of Ages
A TIME FOR LISTENING TO GOD-Click here to watch the video of the scripture and the sermon, or you can read the entire text below.
Scripture-John 4: 5-42
5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph.
6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.
7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?”
8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.[a])
10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?
12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”
13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,
14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
17 “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband.
18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet.
20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.
23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the
24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.” The Disciples Rejoin Jesus
27 Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?”
28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people,
29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?”
30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him.
31 Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.”
32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”
33 Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?”
34 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.
35 Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.
36 Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together.
37 Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true.
38 I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.” Many Samaritans Believe
39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.”
40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days.
41 And because of his words many more became believers.
42 They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”
Sermon-Sharing the Cup
What if we got up in the morning to put water in our coffee pot and turned around and saw Jesus sitting at our kitchen table waiting for us to serve him a fresh cup of joe? Would we know how to respond or what to do? I imagine it would be a little challenging to think of what to say to Him or even do for Him. What could we do?
The woman at the well finds herself in this very position. She’s trying to do her every day ordinary chore of gathering water for her household and finds herself face to face with the Messiah.
She is initially unaware that this stranger is Jesus; but he is still a stranger to her—and a Jew—someone a Samaritan woman like herself would not normally associate with. Still, she is not tongue-tied. And when he tells her about the living water, she asks for some for herself. When asked to get her husband, she speaks the truth to Him. She is not even stymied by Jesus’s ability to tell her all about her life. In fact, she uses that as a means to further question Jesus and presses him about where people should worship. She discusses with him her faith in the coming Messiah and when Jesus tells her that he is that very Messiah, she goes back to the village and tells everyone about Him. EVERYONE.
Now, some would say that this just goes to show the talkative nature of women in general: talking to people they don’t know; asking how things work at uncomfortable times; requesting things they don’t deserve; sharing too much personal information; inquiring for advice from a perfect stranger; and blabbing to everyone about what happened. Certainly, we can all think of somebody we know that’s like this in one way or another.
But really, shouldn’t we ALL be a little more like this?
First of all, the woman at the well didn’t really see any barriers between herself and Jesus. Sure, she acknowledges they existed in society: this “rule” about Samaritans and Jews not associating. But if she’d really cared about that rule, wouldn’t she have walked away or refused to speak to Him? She doesn’t do either. She accepts Jesus as a person regardless of the social rules. Couldn’t we all accept more people who are not just like us? Couldn’t we all be a little more inclusive to those people that society tells us to avoid?
Secondly, she questions Him as to how this whole “living water” thing works. She’s not really just being challenging. She wants to understand how she can receive this living water: this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. She seeks to understand this gift from God, not just accept it. Couldn’t we all seek to understand God a little more?
In addition, she’s not afraid to ask for God’s grace. Even though she isn’t perfect, even though she doesn’t fully understand what Jesus is trying to tell her, she jumps at this opportunity for living water. She is ready and willing to accept God’s grace. Couldn’t we all open our hearts just a little more to God’s amazing offer of grace?
She is also honest and willing to learn from her mistakes. She doesn’t attempt to lie or to color the truth of her situation. She fully and freely admits her sins to Jesus. She understands the depth of God’s knowledge of her life. She knows she cannot hide from God. When she sees that
knowledgeable, she asks him about the right way to worship. She desires to learn what is right and what is wrong. Couldn’t we all be more open to finding the right path in our lives?
Moreover, she shares her faith and hope in the Messiah with Jesus. She is not afraid or ashamed to believe in something that others cannot and to share it with a perfect stranger. She is fearless in her faith. Couldn’t we all just be a little more fearless ourselves?
Finally, when Jesus tells her that He is the Messiah, she immediately goes and tells EVERYONE in the village. EVERYONE. She is invitational and shares her experience with Jesus with everyone. She does not keep it a secret and she does not wait to share it. And couldn’t we all just share our faith a little more?
Now, if you were counting, that was six things. Six things that the Samaritan woman does in her brief encounter at the well with Jesus.
1. She accepts others for who they are.
2. She seeks to understand that which is confusing.
3. She willingly accepts God’s grace.
4. She is honest and open about her faults.
5. She is fearless in her faith.
6. She shares her faith with others.
That is a lot for one morning trip to the well. I doubt that most people accomplish all of that in the time it takes to make their morning coffee, but if Jesus really did show up at our kitchen table one morning, I hope we could.
And in this crazy mixed up world where so much is cancelled and so much more is on hold, I invite you to go to the well with Jesus and see how much you can be like the woman at the well this week.
And you can rest easy. I am NOT going to require you to fit all six characteristics into the span of time it takes you to brew a cup of coffee. However, I do want you to think of this idea of grace and how you can extend it to others in this tumultuous and uncertain time. It may require a bit of creativity, but I am certain that if anyone can accomplish it, it will be the little church with a BIG heart.
Because when we really think about it, when we do find ways to extend grace to others, we are combining many of those characteristics of the woman at the well together: fearlessness; a willingness to share your faith; accepting people for who they are. Depending on how we are extending that grace, we could easily be combining three or four or maybe even all six.
So, find ways this week to extend some grace to someone (whether you leave the confines of your home is entirely up to you). Let the stressed-out stranger who couldn’t find half the items they needed in front of you in line at the grocery store. Pray for the person who has underlying health conditions and is staying at home for the safety of their health. Look the person at the drive through who is still working and providing food for customers right in the eye and tell them how much you appreciate what they do. Contact those you know who are quarantined in nursing homes by sending them cards and letters of encouragement. Check on the school teachers you know and find out what if anything you can do to help them continue to help our kids. When that person driving in front of you
does something ridiculous, realize that they are probably trying to figure out their own crazy mixed up life, and count to ten and pray for them to receive a blessing in their life. When someone at work is “short” with you, don’t be “short” back, ask them what is wrong, and then listen and offer to pray for them. Sit down and have a cup of coffee with someone you know needs a listening ear even if they are someone who you do not normally interact with and even if you are sharing that cup of coffee remotely.
Things like cups of coffee may seem small, but they can have a large impact. And although you may think that a cup of coffee with someone who needs a person to listen to them isn’t as big as serving Jesus a cup of coffee, remember what Jesus says about the Final Judgment in Matthew 25:
“But when the Son of Man comes in his glory and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate them as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left. Then the King will say to those on the right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.”
Then these righteous ones will reply, “Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you? And the King will tell them, “I assure you, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!”
It’s a pretty powerful thought when we realize that our actions carry meaning far beyond the day in which we commit them and that our willingness to touch the hearts and lives of others no matter what is happening in the world shows our willingness to be close to God. Jesus says that if we serve the least of these that it is the same as serving Him. The woman at the well understood that the grace that God extends to us isn’t meant to be hidden away and kept as a gift only for ourselves. It is meant to be shared with everyone we encounter.
Let us pray: Lord, we ask you to show us those around us in a different light. Help us to see our neighbors, our coworkers, our fellow human beings not just as others, but as others with whom we might share the grace and love of Jesus Christ. Give us the fearlessness to share our beliefs and the fortitude to help others even when it may be difficult. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
A TIME TO RESPOND TO GOD’S WORD
*Hymn -In Christ Alone
Benediction: As we head forward into the uncertainty of this week, help us stop each day and spend time with you knowing that it is your grace and your presence that will help see us through. Amen.
Postlude-I Know-Big Daddy Weave
(Make sure you listen to this one—it could be our anthem of hope for awhile.)
Remember when we used to have a calendar with plans??? Below is a list of events, many of which are already cancelled and information about when they might be rescheduled…
3/14-Worship Committee Meeting-Cancelled-New Date TBA (We may try meeting online-stay tuned for details) 3/15-Elmwood Residents Visiting-Cancelled 3/18-KFC/Teen Talk-Cancelled 3/18-Five Fruitful Practices Book Study-Cancelled (Will discuss meeting online soon.)
3/21-District Meeting/Leadership Training-Rescheduled to April 26th 3/25-KFC/Teen Talk End of Year Party-Cancelled 3/25 Five Fruitful Practices Book Study-Cancelled (Will discuss meeting online soon.)
3/28-Lay Servant Training-Norwalk 1st-8:00 am 3/29-Pastor Amy Preaching at Republic-Cancelled 3/30-Better Together-Republic Trinity-Cancelled (Stay tuned for new date)
4/5-School of Opportunity Palm Sunday Dinner
4/6-Trustees -6:45 pm
4/6-Administrative Council-7:30 pm
4/9-Seder Dinner @ Faith UMC-6:00 pm
4/10-Twenty-Four Hour Prayer Vigil-12:00 am
4/10 -Combined Good Friday Service -7:00 pm
4/12-Easter Sonrise Service-7:00 am
4/14-VBS Meeting-Republic UCC-6:00 pm
4/19-Pastor Charlene Preaching-10:30 am
4/26-District Conference Meeting-Business Session Only-2:30 pm
5/3-Cinco de Moo-la Celebration-10:30 am
5/17-Cow Appreciation Celebration -2:00 pm
5/26-Administrative Council-7:30 pm
6/12-6/14-Youth Annual Conference-TBA
6/15-6/18 -Annual Conference
6/22-6/24-Pastor Amy in Dayton for School
7/6-7-10-Combined VBS at the Republic UCC
March 16-Wendie Stillberger, Harrison Burks
March 20-Amy Watson, Kevin Benfer, Austen Henney
March 21-Misty O’Keefe, Brantley McDannell
Pastor Howard and Marilyn Huston, Wyatt Vicek-Amory, Kathy Streng, David and Jane- Ann Clarke, Melvin Hall, Jeff and Laurie Frost, Wanda Druckenmiller, Shirley (Hepler) Thompson, Timothy Cornett, Martina Cornett, Ken and Linda Hetzel, David Weisenauer, Ila Gabel and family, Mike Noggle and unspoken requests. Home Care: Margie Siegle. Nursing Homes: Mary Ellen Williams, Blanche Hurley. Active Military: Adam Distel, Jared Vargo, Jacob Gill, Bryce Loudenslager. Our military personnel and their families, all caregivers, our church, our country and its leaders and the world and its leaders.
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