Guide for Worship
August 2, 2020

Welcome

“To come to the table is to learn to be our real selves—not some construct conceived by someone else, but who God made us to be.” (Leonard Sweet)

As you come to worship today read these words from Matthew 14:13-21 and, in silence, listen for the Holy Spirit’s prompting for your worship:

14:13 Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. 15 When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.”

16 Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.”

17 They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.”

18 And he said, “Bring them here to me.”

19 Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 20 And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. 21 And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Psalm 145:8-9, 14-21

Hymn of Approach

Come to the Altar – Anna Moxley and Danny Steis

Click here to view the lyrics and sing along.

Are you hurting and broken within
Overwhelmed by the weight of your sin
Jesus is calling
Have you come to the end of yourself
Do you thirst for a drink from the well
Jesus is calling

O come to the altar
The Father’s arms are open wide
Forgiveness was bought with
The precious blood of Jesus Christ

Leave behind your regrets and mistakes
Come today there’s no reason to wait
Jesus is calling
Bring your sorrows and trade them for joy
From the ashes a new life is born
Jesus is calling

O come to the altar
The Father’s arms are open wide
Forgiveness was bought with
The precious blood of Jesus Christ

Oh what a Savior
Isn’t he wonderful
Sing alleluia Christ is risen
Bow down before him
For he is Lord of all
Sing alleluia Christ is risen

O come to the altar
The Father’s arms are open wide
Forgiveness was bought with
The precious blood of Jesus Christ
O come to the altar
The Father’s arms are open wide
Forgiveness was bought with
The precious blood of Jesus Christ

Isaiah 55:1-5

55:1 “Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.

2 Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare.

3 Give ear and come to me;
listen, that you may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
my faithful love promised to David.

4 See, I have made him a witness to the peoples,
a ruler and commander of the peoples.

5 Surely you will summon nations you know not,
and nations you do not know will come running to you,
because of the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel,
for he has endowed you with splendor.”

Sermon

“Come Hungry” – Jessamine Gaul

Watch the sermon using the player above, or click this summary to read the complete text. An archive of this and other sermons is found on the Yates sermon page.

 

Most of us can look back on an experience that we have had in the past where we felt inadequate or that we simply had nothing to offer. It takes me back to one of my first classes in college when I was sitting in a small group of students who seemed to know absolutely everything there was to know about foreign policy and I just felt useless. Maybe for you it was in a new job where you suspected the hiring committee had made a mistake, or when you begin a new chapter in life like marriage or parenthood or caring for a loved one.

Those experiences seem to easily show us what we lack rather than what we bring to the table and it can be really unsettling. Perhaps even right now you’re in one of these seasons where physically, spiritually or emotionally, you don’t have a lot left to give. We all experience those moments at one time or another and I think that there is a word here for you today. I think that Isaiah offers a curious invitation in our reading today. Let’s see who it is addressed to.

Back in verse one he said, “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters” and “You who have no money, come buy and eat.” He’s asking people who are in need, people who lack, who have no money, to come and to take part and to receive. The people of Israel who first heard these words may very well have recognized this as an invitation to come drink from the waters of God’s law and wisdom in the Torah. Also, the invitation from lady Wisdom in Proverbs, like you might remember, it echoes here. Who is to come are those who know they lack, those who know that they have nothing to offer in the presence of a holy God. Apparently, these folks have been looking for bread and wine in all the wrong places.

Verse two says, “Why spend money on what is not bread and your labor on what does not satisfy?” When we’re looking for what we’re searching for in the wrong places, it can be incredibly exhausting. We feel like we reach a dead end. These things that Isaiah speaks of are cheap substitutions for the goodness of God and they don’t satisfy, but it seems like the major mistake isn’t that the people are giving of their money and toil in the wrong places. It’s not their spending or working for anything at all. The invitation that God gives here is to come empty, come hungry, let me lavish my love and care upon you because this is who I am. This is grace.

The rest of the passage opens our eyes to this grace we hear familiar language of an everlasting covenant, one that was promised to David long ago. But God still won’t be outdone in his love. This covenant is for God’s chosen people, Israel, who first heard these words, but it is also much bigger than that. “Surely you will summon nations you know not and nations you do not know will come running to you,” verse five says. Here again, we see God’s familiar call for all nations and all peoples to enter into his covenant love. Not only does God speak through Isaiah here to prophesy that all nations and peoples will come into this love, but this message is for us as well. We don’t have to bring anything to the table.

I don’t have the fortunate memory yet of being at Yates during a time that it hasn’t been clouded by a pandemic, so I haven’t been able to take part in what I have heard our glorious feast that you often share. But I was raised in a similar context where we often gathered around the table and we brought different foods and desserts and drinks and we all gathered after a Sunday service or on a Wednesday night together. If you have a similar experience, whether it’s here at this church or with your family at a Sunday dinner, you know that nothing is worse than when you accidentally (or maybe purposefully and you think that you can get away with it) spoil that dinner when you come to the table not having prepared yourself to receive all of the goodness that is about to be lavished upon you. You can’t really enjoy it to its fullest extent.

I think that’s the beautiful part of God’s invitation here spoken through Isaiah. God doesn’t expect us to fill ourselves with all that we can muster, to work to some level of adequacy, to reach a certain point of holiness or intelligence in order to be filled by God’s love. God says, “Come, all you who are thirsty, who have no money – and receive, no questions asked.”

In our gospel passage today, Jesus took the bread and the fish he blessed it and broke it, and out of nowhere, it multiplied. It became abundant sustenance for those who sat in the grassy fields and there was no explanation for it. But the people came hungry and they were satisfied. Whatever emptiness that you bear today, whatever hunger that you carry deep within your soul, I hope that you can rest in that knowledge that God welcomes that posture and that Jesus came not just to give us life but to give us abundant life to the full.

May we approach God in the full knowledge of his grace and accept that grace he so freely gives. Amen.

Response Through Prayer

(based on Matthew 14:13-21 and Psalm 145:15-16)

Click here for the complete text to pray along.

Loving God,
You are our Creator and Sustainer.
When You open Your hand,
You satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing.
And so we look to You whenever we are in need,
trusting in Your love and Your abundant goodness.

As You once fed the hungry crowds with five loaves and two small fish,
we ask that You would again fill those who are empty this day.
Pour out Your Spirit on all who hunger and thirst.
We pray for those who are physically hungry—whose stomachs are empty.

Lord, in Your mercy, open Your hand.
Pour out Your Spirit, so that they may be filled.

We pray for those who are empty emotionally—
who are lonely and long for companionship and love,
who are caught in the grip of depression,
or overwhelmed with grief.

Lord, in Your mercy, open Your hand.
Pour out Your Spirit, so that they may be filled.

We pray for those who are spiritually empty—
who are troubled, but don’t know where to turn;
who long for purpose and meaning, but don’t know where to look;
who need You, but do not yet know You.

Lord, in Your mercy, open Your hand.
Pour out Your Spirit, so that they may be filled.

God, we praise You for Your abundant gifts in our lives.
Pour out Your Spirit on us as well.
Fill us with Your compassion and love,
so that we would willingly share some of our abundance
with those who have need.

Lord, in Your mercy, open Your hand.
Pour out Your Spirit, so that we may be filled.

We pray in the name of Jesus Christ,
who came so that all of humanity might come to know
the abundant life that comes from You.

Amen.

Response Through Giving

O Worship the King – Nyssa Collins

We encourage you to give your offerings online through Pushpay here, through the Yates app, or by mail (2819 Chapel Hill Road, Durham, NC, 27707). We are growing into new ways to be the church together and your giving allows us to keep being the church, even in the absence of our physical presence.

Response Through Song

I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say – Anna Moxley and Danny Steis

Click here to view the lyrics and sing along.

I heard the voice of Jesus say
Come unto Me and rest
Lay down thou weary one
Lay down thy head upon My breast
I came to Jesus as I was
Weary and worn and sad
I found in Him a resting place
And He has made me glad

I heard the voice of Jesus say
Behold I freely give
The living water thirsty one
Stoop down and drink and live
I came to Jesus and I drank
Of that life giving stream
My thirst was quenched my soul revived
And now I live in Him

I heard the voice of Jesus say
I am this dark worlds Light
Look unto Me thy morn shall rise
And all thy day be bright
I looked to Jesus and I found
In Him my Star my Sun
And in that light of life I’ll walk
Till traveling days are done

Benediction

Receive and share this blessing:

Go forth in the truth that God is ready to welcome you to the table. It’s not a potluck meal—you’re not required to bring a thing. Just bring yourself. God is ready to offer you all that you need. Amen.

 

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