This Sunday, as we gather virtually for worshipping online, we are going to re-introduce an alternative celebration of Holy Communion. When we gather to share the sacrament, we recall the “Words of Institution” – the words that tell the story of its origin in four different Scripture accounts.

We believe that God has the power to transcend our “safe distancing” and still forgive sins and grant salvation. This Sunday and  over coming weeks, we will mostly be sharing of the Sacrament of Holy Communion within the home and encourage you to share it in a dignified manner.

If you live alone, know that Christ is still present with you. If you live with others, invite them to partake with you. If you do not wish to receive Communion in this way and would rather wait until we are gathered physically again, we understand. We trust Christ has promised to present with us through the Word, through worship, and the virtual community we find at this time.

For sharing the sacrament, you will need the words below, bread (or another grain-based food), and wine (or grape juice). If you don’t have these items, anything you do have available will suffice.

What to say (The Words of Institution): The presiding pastor will consecrate the elements, reminding us via video that:

“In the night in which he was betrayed, our Lord Jesus took bread, and gave thanks; broke it, and gave it to his disciples saying, ‘Take and eat; this is my body, given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.’ Again, after supper, he took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it for all to drink, saying: ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sin.   Do this for the remembrance of me.”

Taking the bread, you then say to yourself (if alone) or the person you are Communing: The body of Christ, given for you. Then, taking the wine or juice, say to the person you are Communing: The blood of Christ, shed for you. After a pause in the recorded service, the presiding pastor will say the blessing: “The body and blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ bless you and keep you always in God’s grace.”

Remember that one need not partake of both the bread and wine – either one on its own constitutes participation in sharing these gifts of God! We have books and video resources in our library that help explain Holy Communion to young children if you wish to expand their grasp and understanding. Feel free to reach out to your pastors if you’d like to use them!

Your brother in Christ,

Pastor Tim

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Dear Friends,

I’ve been putting my sermon together over the last few days while my thoughts have been flooded with political commercials, debate, and commentaries. I finally came up with a less than original working theme: “politics and living out our faith.” I wish I could say that my words would be provocative enough to do more than make you let out a huge sigh. Jesus spoke directly to the issue of politics and faith almost 2,000 years ago. We are invited, along with all of our sisters and brothers in Christ, to hear once again his answer about God and government. (Gospel of Matthew 22:15-22: "Render unto Caesar ...")

As we look deeper at the question that is delivered by the disciples of the Pharisees and Herodians who, by the way, have been sent to trick or entrap Jesus in vs 15, the question isn’t really about whether or not you should pay your taxes or to whom you should pay your taxes. The question is: Who has the authority

This question about authority immediately makes us tilt our heads a bit and say, "Wait! What about separation of church and state?" To this, we can smile together and say, "Ah! When I say, 'the Lord is my Savior,' I am making my political statement." This does not give us the right to throw out the name of Jesus as an assault or insult to anyone else. Instead, we humbly and faithfully stand with a heart of mercy and compassion for the hungry, naked, mistreated, disrespected, abused, and abuser. We stand as well with all of our sisters and brothers in witness to God’s gift of creation. We do so out of love.

We hear in 1 Thessalonians 1:4-10 this message of hope that, as children of God, we have been inspired by the Holy Spirit to be imitators of the Lord making God known to everyone, serving only God and sharing the Good News that it is Jesus who rescues us from death. May this Good News be our new song in a hurting world for all to hear this day.

Psalm 96

O sing to the Lord a new song;

    sing to the Lord, all the earth.

Sing to the Lord, bless his name;

    tell of his salvation from day to day.

Declare his glory among the nations,

    his marvelous works among all the peoples.

For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;

    he is to be revered above all gods.

For all the gods of the peoples are idols,

    but the Lord made the heavens.

Honor and majesty are before him;

    strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,

    ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.

Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;

    bring an offering, and come into his courts.

Worship the Lord in holy splendor;

    tremble before him, all the earth.

Say among the nations, “The Lord is king!

    The world is firmly established; it shall never be moved.

    He will judge the peoples with equity.”

Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;

    let the sea roar, and all that fills it;

    let the field exult, and everything in it.

Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy

    before the Lord; for he is coming,

    for he is coming to judge the earth.

He will judge the world with righteousness,

    and the peoples with his truth.

Believing it strongly,

Pastor Katie

The Visioning Council and staff have been attempting to make the best decisions we can regarding gathering for worship while at the same time balancing staff responsibilities in multiple ministry areas. After much discussion and deliberation, here is our plan for the month:

  • This Sunday, Oct 11, is predicted to be a beautiful day and will mark our LAST outdoor service of the fall. While our canopies are down, there should be plentiful radiant heat in which to bask. In-vehicle worship is still an option if you’d rather be in the shade. We’ll share Holy Communion and continue our focus on the current “Upside Down” sermon series. We truly hope that you’ll take advantage of the opportunity to join us one way or the other at 9:00 a.m.!

  • Our pre-recorded worship will still be available on-demand via the website on Sunday morning. We’ll still be live-streaming the 9:00 a.m. outdoor service on Facebook Live if you’d feel that is the best way for you to participate this week.

The good news – we’re making major headway on equipping our facility for streaming services in future weeks from indoors. You can once again experience the familiarity of the sanctuary, even if virtually. The bad news – it’s going to take additional willing volunteers to be present each week to make that streaming all that we need it to be – both during Covid restrictions and beyond.

If you are at ALL interested in helping to operate a video camera, learn the production process, staff the sound board, advance worship slides, or simply monitor the Facebook feed, we will be NEEDING you in coming weeks. Watch for a new Sign-up genius link on our website and in future E-blasts. Meanwhile, shoot me an e-mail expressing your interest or curiosity in any of these vital roles. Church looks and feels different right now, but we want to make our worship life together as rich as it can be – both for us and for those well beyond our congregation who are in need of a word of hope and encouragement!

Hope that you can be present with us this weekend in whatever way you can! 

Pastor Tim

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North Liberty, IA