Hymns & Music for Fifth Sunday After Epiphany

🎼🎶”Welcome to this place. You’re invited to come and know God’s grace. All are welcome the love of God to share because all of us are welcome here; all are welcome in this place.🎼🎶 

Worship With Us and Experience the Peace of God Here!

This Communion Sunday, our Virtual Handbell Choir will perform “Bind Us Together and Open Our Eyes, Lord,” arranged by Sharon Rogers. We will also sing the hymns “Welcome” and “We Are One in Christ Jesus” in English and Spanish. These songs relate to our scripture passage Colossians 3:8-17 and correspond to Pastor Jenny Smith Walz’s sermon, “Weave Us Together With Trust.” 

Are you sick, struggling with sin, exhausted, anxious about anything? You will find healing, forgiveness, rest, peace here. If you feel broken, remember, God loves you regardless of how you feel. Let us therefore lift up our voices in praise and glory to God.

 Laurie Zelman and Mark A. Miller wrote the Hymn “Welcome.” The music is by Miller.

“Welcome!

Let’s walk together for a while and ask where we begin;

To build a world where love can grow.

And hope can enter in, to be the hands of healing;

And to plant the seed of peace, singing.”

                       Video We Are One In Christ

The author of “We Are One in Christ/ Somos Uno En Cristo” is anonymous. The translators are Alice Parker and Frank Colon.

“We are one in Christ Jesus, all one body, all one spirit, All together.

 We share one God, One mighty Lord,

 one abiding faith, one binding love, 

one single baptism, one Holy Comforter, the Holy Spirit, uniting all.” 

Click here to join us as we share in songs, prayer, music,  scripture, children’s story time, and listen to Pastor Jenny’s sermon. 

(2 Images Source: Google Images)

Daily Devotional | Saturday, February 6

Saturday, February 6

In Mark 14:7 Jesus says, “For you always have the poor with you, and you can show kindness to them whenever you wish; but you will not always have me.”


In Jesus rebuke of Judas’ patriarchal denigration of the woman anointing Jesus’ head with nard is a chilling indictment of humanity’s toleration of poverty, which we could eradicate the way we did smallpox. As demonstration again in John 9, humans seem primed to see the misfortune of others as earned; “[a]s he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Privilege is born in the misguided belief that “what I have, I earned”. We accept this ignoring the evidence to the contrary that surrounds us. Poverty is criminalized as “we” protect “us” from “them” ignoring our participation in the sin of systemic poverty. We easily accept that “they” are poor because “they” have not done all that “we” have to escape poverty.
In Chapter 12 of How to be an Antiracist, which examines class, Ibram X. Kendi, raises questions that resonate with both the disciples’ question “who sinned?” and Jesus’ “you can show kindness to them whenever you wish”.
“When a policy exploits poor people, it is an elitist policy. When a policy exploits Black people, it is a racist policy. When a policy exploits Black poor people, the policy exploits at the intersection of elitist and racist policies – a policy intersection of class racism. When we racialize classes, support racist policies against those race-classes, and justify them by racist ideas, we are engaging in class racism. To be antiracist is to equalize the race-classes. To be antiracist is to root the economic disparities between the equal race-classes in policies, not people…Pathological people made the pathological ghetto, segregationists say. The pathological ghetto made pathological people, assimilationists say. To be antiracist is to say the political and economic conditions, not the people, in poor Black neighborhoods are pathological.” Jesus’ “you can show kindness to them whenever you wish” sets up an if/then proposition convicting us of the cruelty and evil present in our active and passive participation in criminalizing poverty. In this case the then in the if/then is implied; if we can show kindness to them whenever we wish, then why don’t we?


“Homeless Jesus” Photo Credit: Sculpture Timothy P. Schmalz/Methodist Central Hall

Action step: today, with brutal honesty, identify three prejudiced beliefs you hold about “those poor people”. Identifying ways in which these were formed by art, politics, the press, the church, or your family of origin. Then look for contrary evidence in those same places – art, politics, the press, the church, and your family of origin – where this privileged view of poverty is not supported.


Prayer: Litany for Social Justice

We pray for the strength of heart and mind to look beyond ourselves and address the needs of our brothers and sisters throughout the world; for the rural and urban poor; for the rebuilding of our communities; and for an end to the cycles of violence that threaten our future.

God of generosity and compassion, hear our prayer.

We pray for all nations, that they may live in unity, peace, and concord; and that all people may know justice and enjoy the perfect freedom that only God can give.

God of liberty and freedom, hear our prayer.

We pray that the Holy Spirit may embrace the most vulnerable members of our society; we pray also for an end to the growing disparity between the rich and poor; and for the grace and courage to strive for economic justice.

God of all gifts and blessings, hear our prayer.

We pray for an end to prejudice throughout our country and the world; that we will respect all people as precious children of God; and that racism, sexism, and all other forms of discrimination will be forever banished from our hearts, our society, and our laws.

God of fellowship and equality, hear our prayer.

We pray for all immigrants, refugees, and pilgrims from around the world, that they may be welcomed in our midst and be treated with fairness, dignity, and respect.

God of outcasts and wanderers, hear our prayer.

We pray for all prisoners and captives; that a spirit of forgiveness may replace vengeance and retribution; and that we, with all the destitute, lonely, and oppressed, may be restored to the fullness of God’s grace.

God of absolution and mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for all children and families, and particularly for the orphaned, neglected, abused, and those who live in fear of violence or disease; that they may be relieved and protected.

God of children and families, hear our prayer.

We pray for the reconciliation of all people, and for the Church throughout the world, that it may be an instrument of your healing love.

God of outreach and restoration, hear our prayer.

We pray for all who have died as a result of violence, war, disease or famine, especially those who died because of human blindness, neglect, or hardness of heart.

God of eternal life and resurrecting love, hear our prayer.

Almighty God, you have promised to hear what we ask in the name of your Son. Watch over our country now and guide our leaders in all knowledge and truth and make your ways known among all people. In the passion of debate give them a quiet spirit; in the complexities of the issues give them courageous hearts. Accept and fulfill our petitions, we pray, not as we ask in our ignorance, nor as we deserve in our sinfulness, but as you know and love us in your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations, https://episcopalchurch.org/posts/ogr/episcopal-litany-social-justice

Daily Devotional | Friday, February 5

Friday, February 5

Today we look at Leviticus 21, a difficult passage too often abused through literalism. In Bring the War Home: the White Power Movement and Paramilitary America, historian Dr. Kathleen Belew writes: “Ideas about women, sexuality, and birth in this period (the 1970’s) were deeply intertwined with racial ideology, and not just on the fringe. American white supremacy had long depended upon the policing of white women’s bodies. In order to propagate a white race, white women had to bear white children. While white men’s sexual relationships with nonwhite women mattered less to white supremacists, especially if such activity was secretive, profitable, or part of systematic violence against communities of color, for a white woman to bear nonwhite children was tantamount to racial annihilation.”
The place of women is still debated in parts of the church by people employing arguments relying on poorly understood readings of scripture. We must approach scripture free of such prejudicial readings. White supremacists have abused scripture quoting out of context Leviticus 21 in support of fetishizing and suppressing women and as a false biblical foundation of anti-miscegenation laws.
“He shall marry only a woman who is a virgin. A widow, or a divorced woman, or a woman who has been defiled, a prostitute, these he shall not marry. He shall marry a virgin of his own kin, that he may not profane his offspring among his kin…”
To answer this misinformation we go beyond these cherry-picked passages seeking to understand the original context and intent. The challenge in this case is that expanding the passage forces a confrontation with the ableism of the following verses. Leviticus 21 states that the Aaronic priesthood should not include: “…throughout their generations…anyone who is blind or lame, or one who has a mutilated face or a limb too long, or one who has a broken foot or a broken hand, or a hunchback, or a dwarf, or a man with a blemish in his eyes or an itching disease or scabs or crushed testicles.” Racist, misogynistic, homophobic; and ableist interpretations of scripture abound and remain a problem for the church.

                                     Photo courtesy of LA Johnson/NPR


Action Step: today, with brutal honesty ask if your study of scripture has become lax. Where might you improve in ways that challenge basic assumptions about race. Are you frozen in any one decade or century’s biblical interpretation? How can you allow scripture to breathe more and challenge you in new and fresh ways?  Think about the women in your church and in your community.  How has the misinterpretation of scripture over time aided to the continuing policing of white women bodies and the criminalization of bodies of black women and women of color?


Prayer:

God of liberty and justice, who hears the silent tears of those wearied by continued inequality and violence: open the ears of everyone in our society to hear the truth of continued racism in this stony land, so that we may return to the places where we will meet you, places of love and respect for all your children;

in the name of the One who was slaughtered for us, your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.

Drawing from “Lift Every Voice and Sing”

Sr. Heather Josselyn-Cranson, OSL

     Source: Google Images

Daily Devotional | Thursday, February 4

Thursday, February 4

Genesis 1:26 “God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness…’”

The four letters of the genetic code —A, C, G, and T—are projected onto Ryan Lingarmillar, a Ugandan. DNA reveals what skin color obscures: We all have African ancestors.
Photo courtesy Robin Hammond, National Geographic

What if we believe what were taught at the expense of what we actual observe? In Race, Monogamy, and Other Lies They Told You: Busting Myths about Human Nature, Princeton primatologist and biological anthropologist Agustín Fuentes, eviscerates the myth of biological races. “[W]e find more genetic variation between a population of deer from northern North Carolina compared with one from Florida than we do between human populations from Central America, central Asia, and central Africa. Even more to the point, if you compare any two people from anywhere on the planet and then any two chimpanzees, the chimpanzees would have 75 percent more differences with each other than would the people. None of the examined variations map onto the traditional race categories. There were no genetic patterns that identify and lump whites versus blacks versus Asians; these patterns were looked for extensively and found not to be present.”

Fuentes is not ignorant of the power race plays in American life, on the contrary he argues that the myth that race describes genetically separate, mappable, groups distinguishable from one another results from erroneous assumptions, historic forces, and pseudoscience, which hinder our examinations of the real causes of disparities in health and wealth in America.


Action step: today, with brutal honesty observe your internalized understandings of “race markers” identifying how you are programmed to identify both race and gender through the interpretation of visual cues. Choose to see beyond these pretextual and subtextual assumptions in search of our shared divinity. Then bravely apply that to someone from whom you feel isolated or estranged, begin to see our sameness one person at a time.


Prayer: I Need Courage by Howard Thurman

The concern I lay bare before God today is my need for courage:

I need courage to be honest:

honest in my use of words;

honest in accepting responsibility;

honest in dealing with myself;

honest in dealing with (others);

honest in my relations with God.

I need courage to face the problems of my own life

the problems of personal values:

they are confused; they are often unreal;

they are too exacting for comfort.

 

I need courage to face the problems of my work.

Sometimes it seems I am working at cross-purposes with my own desires and ambitions…

Sometimes I am arrogant instead of simply taking pride in doing my work well.

Sometimes I’m doing what I’m doing just to prove a point that is not worth proving after all.

Here in the quietness I lay before God my need for courage, for the strength to be honest, for the guidance to deal effectively with the problems of my own life.

From For The Inward Journey; The Writings of Howard Thurman

 

 

Daily Devotional | Wednesday, February 3

  Image courtesy of Kenneth Fowler

Wednesday, February 3

Luke 9:52b-56 “On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; but they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But he turned and rebuked them. Then they went on to another village.”

Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Le Jour ni l’Heure, detail, 1988. 
Courtesy of Renaud Camus.

Like James and John, we too are programmed to respond competitively to those we consider “them” to our “us”. In Working Toward Whiteness: How America’s Immigrants Became White, noted historian David Roediger writes: “Even as the world of work mercilessly taught the importance of being “not black,” it also exposed new immigrants to frequent comparisons to African Americans and at times to close competition with them. Management created an economics of racial inbetweenness that instructed new immigrants on the importance of racial hierarchy while leaving their places in that hierarchy open to judgment. The ways in which capital structured workplaces and labor markets contributed to the ideas that competition would be cutthroat and should be racialized. In the early twentieth century, employers preferred a labor force divided by race and national origins.” He goes on: “The shifting, contested, and often incomprehensible opinions of experts had posited that forty-five or more different “races” had migrated to the United States.” We often divide America on paper into two races black and white but in praxis we continue to divide along multiple racialized groupings either explicitly or implicitly. Teddy Roosevelt’s “American Race” remains an ideal though no such “race” exists. The “melting pot” remains a tool for oppression with race its most potent weapon.


Action step: Today, with brutal honesty, ask yourself how many races you believe exist in your church, community, and nation. How do you define “race” when applying it to these communities? How aware are you that you see persons as members of races? What concrete steps might you take to dispel these imposed categories in your life and ministry?


Prayer:

God of grace and mercy, hear our prayer.

We need grace to acknowledge our complicity and shame for the systemic

discrimination and pervasive institutional racism we have accepted and fostered.

We need mercy to forgive and the humility to ask for forgiveness for our sinful actions and beliefs.

God of grace and mercy, hear our prayer.

We need grace to open our eyes and minds to see the steps forward we must take. We need mercy to learn what we do not yet know.

God of grace and mercy, hear our prayer.

We need grace to move into a future of respect, equality and partnership

with each other.

We need mercy to make the changes required to live in peace together.

God of grace and mercy, hear our prayer.

We need the grace that calls us to align our actions with your vision

for relational harmony.

We need mercy to seek the wholeness of shalom.

God of grace and mercy, hear our prayer.

George R. Crisp – this prayer was shared on July 8, 2020  by UMC Discipleship’s Praying for Change: Daily Prayers for Anti-Racism E-mail

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“Even though we are all distinguished from each other, together, we are the Body of Christ. We each have a particular role that we play, but we all affect one another in significant and powerful ways. Our commitment to diversity, to justice, to truth-telling – these are the things that hold us together.”

We invite you to reflect on this Quote from Pastor Jenny’s Sermon of Sunday, January 31, 2021  and receive the comfort that God offers you at this time of uncertainty.  At Princeton United Methodist Church, you can experience God in a real way while being part of a beloved community. Click here to watch the PUMC worship service and listen to the sermon.

 

Daily Devotional | Monday, February 1

Dear Beloved PUMC Community,

For Black History Month (February), the Capital District Antiracism Team, of which I am a part, has created an Antiracist Daily Devotional. Each day there will be scripture, images, readings, a prayer, and action steps meant to encourage and challenge us as we continue to address structural racism and the ever-present stain of white supremacy. You are receiving the first of 28 devotionals today, but we won’t send more unless you tell us you want us to. If you are interested in receiving these every day, please email Tyler@princetonumc.org.

Peace and Love,
Jenny

                                                      Source: Google Images

Monday, February 1

In Matthew 5:33-37 Jesus says “[Y]ou have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but carry out the vows you have made to the Lord.’ But I say to you, do not swear at all…Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one.”


Ibram X. Kendi, the son of, not one, but two Methodist pastors, puts it differently but calls us to the same ferocious honesty in How to be an Antiracist: “What’s the problem with being ‘not racist”? It is a claim that signifies neutrality: “I am not a racist, but neither am I aggressively against racism.” But there is no neutrality in the racism struggle. The opposite of “racist” isn’t “not racist.” It is “antiracist.” What’s the difference? One endorses either the idea of a racial hierarchy, as a racist, or racial equality, as an antiracist. One either believes problems are rooted in groups of people, as a racist, or locates the roots of problems in power and policies, as an antiracist. One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an antiracist. There is no in-between safe space of “not racist.” The claim of “not racist” neutrality is a mask for racism.”
As leaders we must have a firm positionality on race and racism. Too often we answer “no” to the question “am I racist?”, without examining our deepest truth. Am I a racist? The answer is “yes” when I do racism or when I ignore the Biblical call to oppose racism and to dismantle it no matter the cost to me personally or the church corporately. There are few places in 21st c church life where the command to let our word be yes when it is yes and no where it is no is more urgent.


Action step: Today, with brutal honesty, identify an instance of either active or passive racism in your living. Look at the media you consume, your approach Christianity, and the art you consume and do so without guilt or shame. Then let your mind and heart sit with the observation. Give the Holy Spirit of God an opportunity to convict your heart.


Prayer: A Prayer for Guidance from “The Book  Of Common Prayer”

God, by whom the meek are guided in judgment, and light rises up in darkness for the godly: Grant us, in all our doubts and uncertainties, the grace to ask what you would have us to do, that the Spirit of wisdom may save us from all false choices, and that in your light we may see light, and in your straight path may not stumble; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

 

 

Hymns & Music for Fourth Sunday After Epiphany

🎼🎶“Help us accept each other as Christ accepted us; teach us as sister, brother, each person to embrace. Be present, Lord, among us and Bring us to believe: we are ourselves accepted and meant to love and live.”🎼🎶

ENJOYING FELLOWSHIP THROUGH WORSHIP

Experience the Peace of God!

During worship, we at PUMC play or sing:

  • Classical music 
  • Sacred music. 
  • New and well-known hymns 
  • Gospel and Folk songs

Our music ministry includes: 

  • Handbell choir
  • Children’s choir
  • Youth choir  
  • Adult choir 

We use our music to spread the Gospel, praise God, give Him thanks, proclaim the truth, encourage and impact one another. When we praise God,  we get rid of worry, concern, and fear. We receive His peace. Thanking God opens the doors of blessings.  We pray that singing and performing will inspire us and help us find faith and hope.

Our hymns today relate to our scripture passages “Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-16, 25-32, 5:1.” They also correspond to Pastor Jenny Smith Walz’s sermon, “Weave Us Together In Promise.” Pastor Jenny’s message is about the promise or covenant – the agreed-upon guidelines for our behavior in our community. Let us therefore listen to Pastor Jenny explain how God is inviting us to become a more beloved community. And let us sing together these two hymns among others:

                            Video “Help Us Accept Each Other”

The writer of the hymn “Help Us Accept Each Other” (1994) is Fred Kaan, born in Haarlem, Netherlands, who sought to address peace and justice issues. This hymn addresses reconciliation, forgiveness, and the healing power of laughter. It also asks God to give us grace to accept all people unconditionally. This song, which is also a prayer, reflects on Romans 15:7 and Ephesians 4:15. We, therefore, implore everyone to care for all God’s people as they are. Philippians 2:12-13 admonishes us to use Christ’s love to work out our salvation. We can do this by replacing the hate in the world with unconditional love.

                       Video “Blest Be the Tie That Binds”

British-born Baptist theologian, pastor, and hymn writer, John Fawcett, wrote the hymn “Blest Be the Tie That Binds” in 1782 to the tune DENNIS (Nägeli). It became a favorite hymn for Christians facing separation, affirming that friendship and community are real wealth assets. This song states that love binds the body of Christ together and that we love and suffer together. It refers to the unity and diversity of the Body of Christ in 1 Corinthians 12:26-27 and love in 1 Corinthians 13. Pastor Fawcett was always full of praise for the beauty of the beloved community in the church.

If you want to share in a more beloved community, invite someone to church this Sunday. Click here to watch the PUMC worship service, listen to the beautiful music, the children’s story time, the scripture readings, the sermon, the prayers, and the story sharing.