Are You There God?

The Joys of Summer

Link to Sermon

   Order of Worship

    Let us be as open vessels that God’s spirit may enter.

The Community Gathers:  Experience God’s presence in the assembly. Please greet one another with joy and welcome new friends into our community of love.

      You are welcome here…come and worship!

Focus: “I call upon you, O Lord; come quickly to me; give ear to my voice when I call to you.”                                               Psalm 141:1

Gathering Music:   The Prayer (by Carole Bayer Sager/David Foster) 

                                                       -Jen Comeau & Michelle Currie

Welcome:   Rev. Paula Norbert

Responsive Call to Worship:  

Leader:   Come, out of your busy lives to a quiet time and place
All:         Our souls thirst for some peace and quiet.
Leader:   Come, and rest in the Lord who will restore your souls.
All:         Our lives need moments of rest.
Leader:   Come and find the quiet center. Come, be at peace.
All:        Praise God who offers to us a shelter and resting place. AMEN.

Opening Hymn:  God of the Sparrow    #22  vs. vs. 1-5                       


Creator God who breathed this world into being,
who is discernible within the harmony of nature,
the perfection of a butterfly’s wing,
the grandeur of a mountain range,the soaring eagle and 

humming bird, thank you for this world 

which you have created. Thank you for summer sun, 

which reminds us that your creative breath is still alive and active.
Thank you for the warmth of your love, sustaining this world,

your garden. Be with us this day as we gather to be in the 

company of one another and You this wonderful summer day.  Amen.

Lord’s Prayer:    

AwakeningSummertime (by George Gershwin)               -Michelle Currie                   

Scripture:   A Summer Prayer by Joyce Rupp & Macrina Wiederkehr,

Mark 1:32-37                                                         -Maureen White

Sermon:  Are You There God?                                Rev. Paula Norbert

Sermon Response:  Summertime (by George Gershwin)       -Michelle Currie

Musical call to Prayer:  (two times)  Hush now in quiet peace, be still your mind at ease. The Spirit brings release, so wait upon the Lord.

                                  Prayers of the People

            Silent Prayers         Pastoral Prayer

Offertory: We Are an Offering (by Chris Christian)              -Michelle Currie

Doxology:  Praise God from whom all blessings flow, Praise God all creatures here below. Praise God above ye heavenly host, Creator, Christ and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Closing Hymn: For the Beauty of the Earth     #14  vs. 1-4                         

Benediction                         Rev. Paula Norbert

Our prayer is finished. Let us leave this holy place renewed in mind and refreshed in spirit. Take some time this week to enjoy the warmth of the sun, the songs of the birds, the fragrance and beauty of the flowers, and the colors of nature all around us.  

Sending Forth:  Go forth in peace into the loveliness of a summer day.

Response: Amen

Recessional:   Go In Peace

Go in Peace and the peace of God be with you this day

Go in peace and the peace of God be with you this day

Celebrate and share the joy. Celebrate new life. Go in peace and the peace of God be with you always. 

With thanks to our Music Director, Michelle Currie, our guest vocalist, Jen Comeau, our Reader and Deacons this day.

Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner:  We have a date!  The dinners will take place on Saturday night, September 16th at 6pm.  Sign Ups on table at Church Entry.  

Outdoor Service:  We are awaiting approval from the city to hold an Outdoor Service in September at a downtown park.  More details to follow.

Master Calendar:  We are putting together a master church calendar for the church with the hope that we may better plan events in the year ahead.  

 Union Church

       Biddeford Pool

 …a place of peace and Presence by the sea

                                                   Photo by Emma Westley

             August 13, 2023

    The Joys of Summer

The Summer Day 

Who made the world?

Who made the swan, and the black bear?

Who made the grasshopper?

This grasshopper, I mean-

the one who has flung herself out of the grass,

the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,

who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-

who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.

Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.

Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.

I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down

into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,

how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,

which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should I have done?

Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?

                                    —Mary Oliver

Prayer for Presence

Let us be present to the now.

It’s all we have and it’s where God will always speak to us.

The now holds everything, rejects nothing and, therefore, can receive God too.

Help us, God, to be present to the place we most fear, because it always feels empty, it always feels boring, it always feels like it’s not enough.

Help us find some space within that we don’t try to fill with ideas or opinions.

Help us find space so you, loving God, can show yourself in that place where we are hungry and empty.

Keep us out of the way, so there is always room enough for you.

Good God, we believe that you are here and your presence gives us hope.

We thank you for each day of our lives.

We thank you for so many further chances to understand, to forgive again, to trust again, and to love.

We thank you that we live now, that our problems are soul-sized.

We ask that you teach us and lead us, that you put the thoughts into our mind that you want us to think, the feelings in our hearts that you want us to feel.

Reconstruct us. Put us together because we don’t know how to do it ourselves.

We trust that you are hearing this prayer, and that you care for the answer more than we do.

We pray therefore not alone, but with the whole body of Christ in Jesus’s name.  Amen.

                                  -Richard Rohr (The Wisdom Pattern)