A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Worship Service (Combined) - January 24 at Athens First UMC

[Thank you, Lee Family for this Photo of Our Church Today!]

Due to the Level 2 snow emergency, we only had one worship service at 10:30 am. Pastor Robert's brother, Rev. David McDowell blessed us with special music. Instead of a sermon, the congregation shared "thin place" (Closest to Christ) moments. The joy of the Lord was in this place!

Athens First UMC
Sunday, January 24, 2016
10:30 am

Prelude Music

Call to Worship
Snow, rain, sleet, or ice, it is always good to worship together in this holy place. As we prepare to worship, we are invited to think of a “Thin Place” moment to share later in our worship.

A Thin Place moment is a phrase that Celtic Christians used to describe those times in our everyday lives when we experienced the presence of God in a very real way.  A “thin place” is when heaven and earth overlap during our everyday lives.

It could have been when you saw a brightly covered rainbow just when you needed an extra dose of hope in your life. Maybe it was when God answered a prayer just when you didn’t know which way to turn. Or maybe it was when you were holding a newborn baby in your arms and as this little one looked into your eyes, you were overwhelmed with joy and you will cherish that moment forever.

Thin place moments. They happen all around us. Sometimes we notice, sometimes we don’t notice, but they happen. We might not even notice we experienced a thin place moment until long after it actually happened! Today, on this snowy Sunday, let’s celebrate God’s many Thin Place moments and share them with each other! As you are able, let’s stand and sing hymn No. 365, which actually has a reference to snow in verse 3!

*Hymn No. 365                           Grace Greater than Our Sin


Opening Prayer
Dear God, thank you for the blanket of snow that reminds us of the beauty of your creation and how you are always present with us. Thank you that heaven is closer than we think, and often overlaps into our everyday lives. As we become aware of these “Thin Place” moments, may they always lead us into a closer relationship with you. May they warm our hearts on cold winter days, and may they lead us to share the good news of our faith with others. We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ who promises to always be with us. Amen.

Old Testament Lesson                                                                            Psalm 139:1-18

*Gospel Lesson                                                                                         John 11:17-27
L: The Word of God for the people of God.
P: Thanks be to God!
Special Music                                        Rise Again              Rev. David McDowell

Sharing of Thin Place (Closest to Christ) Moments                                                             Congregation

Hymn No. 454                                  Open My Eyes, That I May See

Prayers of Joys & Concerns
The Lord’s Prayer




*Prayer of Dedication

*Closing Hymn 369                             Blessed Assurance

*A Celtic Benediction
Circle us Lord, keep love within, keep hatred out.  Keep joy within, keep fear out.  Keep peace within, keep worry out.  Keep light within, keep darkness out.  May you stand in the circle with us, today and always.


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