From the Pastor:   “Traditions”                  Rev. Marshall Murphy Jr October 15, 2023


October 15, 2023

Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost

Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15)


Processional                                                                                  “Rejoice the Lord is King”


Invocation: Welcome to this Glorious Sunday!

Lord, everywhere we look we see the imprint of your creative love. The wondrous works of nature show your majesty. As we gather today to celebrate your love and creation, keep us mindful that we are part of that created order, meant to be stewards and not destroyers. Prepare us to work for you in ministries of peace and justice. AMEN.


Call to Worship

L: As the rains pour from heaven, soaking the earth that it may produce good things….
P: So God pours love upon us, that we, too, may produce goodness and peace.
L: We have been blessed with many gifts and talents.
P: God desires that we use these gifts and talents for healing, peace, and hope.
L: Come, let us worship and celebrate the mighty love and power of God.
P: Praise be to God who has blessed us in so many ways. AMEN.


Words of Welcome and Parish News


* Gathering Hymn                            “I Want Jesus to Walk with Me”                               UMH 521


Silent meditation and prayer

Prayer Focus: Wisdom


Lord’s Prayer

Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.




Old Testament                                                                                                  Exodus 32: 1-9

The Golden Calf

32 When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered around Aaron and said to him, “Come, make gods for us, who shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” Aaron said to them, “Take off the gold rings that are on the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters and bring them to me.” So all the people took off the gold rings from their ears and brought them to Aaron. He took these from them, formed them in a mold, and cast an image of a calf, and they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it, and Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a festival to the Lord.” They rose early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought sacrifices of well-being, and the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to revel. The Lord said to Moses, “Go down at once! Your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have acted perversely; they have been quick to turn aside from the way that I commanded them; they have cast for themselves an image of a calf and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it and said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’” The Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, how stiff-necked they are.


New Testament                                                                                              Philippians 4: 4-9

Final Exhortations

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.


Choir Anthem                                                                                                          “Sanctuary”


The Message                                        “Traditions”                  Rev. Marshall Murphy Jr

Some traditions can be a starting place to understand your identity.

The United Methodist Book of Discipline states: Tradition is experience and the witness of development and growth of the faith through the past centuries and in many nations and cultures. The story of the church reflects the most basic sense of tradition, the continuing activity of God’s Spirit transforming human life. Tradition is the history of that continuing environment of grace in and by which all Christians live, God’s self-giving love in Jesus Christ. As such, tradition transcends the story of particular traditions. We are now challenged by traditions from around the world that accent dimensions of Christian understanding that grow out of the sufferings and victories of the downtrodden. These traditions help us rediscover the biblical witness to God’s special commitment to the poor, the disabled, the imprisoned, the oppressed, the outcast. In these persons we encounter the living presence of Jesus Christ. From “The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church – 2016.” Copyright 2016 by The United Methodist Publishing House. Used by permission.

Some traditions can be a hindrance to your growth. Who remembers the saying think outside the box! An exercise was to connect dots on a page without crossing a line already drawn. But, in this Old Testament reading, the people were at a place where they thought they were without guidance, direction, and a roadmap. Then in some way, a class action lawsuit is brought before God with the intent to do what they were used to doing in their lives. How many people do things based on their culture, customs, or habits based on family? There are things we call holiday traditions. Now, I’m not saying certain things don’t have merit. But, sometimes, things get in the way of the spirit of specific seasons. For example, I remember many people without families when I think about Christmas. Some people are expecting children without any health or housing resources. Here, the people believe that maybe God or Moses forgot about them. Even Aaron had an emotional turn that led him away from what God had done.

Have you ever experienced a change in life that has made you reject or resist the difference in how things are done? You may have heard the adage, “we never did it like that before” Now in Exodus 32, verse 9: The Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, how stiff-necked they are. Now some say that statement may be harsh, but let’s think about this word for a moment. Some traditions need to be put to rest because they have been harmful. As a side note, there are several references in the Bible regarding the people being stiff-necked. However, we should take a look at what makes some people stiff-necked. Some people have a lack of trust in something new. Some people had bad experiences in changing their routines in life. Now, there are those who just don’t want to change because they don’t want to change, period. There is still resistance to changing things in the church, such as technology, music, and seating. But will those things distract you from God?

Philippians has a prescription for the mind and soul. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Sometimes, we have been in a moment of anxiety. Now, anxiety can lead to stress and tension in your mind. How many people do you think were anxious about following Jesus? Sometimes, we get anxious over situations such as job interviews or meeting someone’s parents when dating. But, Philippians 4 verse 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. What enters our minds when we start having that feeling of resistance to change? This phrase, “stiff-necked,” is in many books of the Bible. Many people struggled with change from God when it meant a change in their living behaviors and customs. When the people followed Moses, they reverted back to what they did in Egypt. This was due to uncertainty and lack of relationship with God. Thus they made idols of gods. Even Aaron became consumed with the way things were in Egypt. Today we have Good News, that Christ is with us. The changes that our lives take can create various emotions in our hearts and minds. We must remember in Isaiah 43: 19 I am about to do a new thing;
now it springs forth; do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.


Offertory Invitation:  Holy God, as we offer our gifts to you this day, we pray that, in our giving, we may be reconnected to the reason why we follow and the reason why we give. You called us to be disciples who make disciples. All-in – knowing who we are, who you are. And why we are following. Help us avoid that which distracts, the desire to hear the things that please us and make the road easier, but that will not bring us to the kingdom of justice, mercy, and compassion you desire for us. In Christ, we pray, our guiding light. Amen.


Offertory Music:                                                                              “Near to the Heart of God”


*Doxology:                                                                                                                 UMH 95

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; praise him, all creatures here below; praise him above, ye heavenly host; praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.                                                                                                                


*Unison Prayer of Dedication:

Help us to keep our focus as you light the pathway you would have us walk. We pray this with gratitude for your love and in the name of your son, our savior. Amen.


Closing Hymn                                                                               “It’s Me, It’s Me, O Lord”


Sending Forth:                                                 

May you go knowing that God invites you today and every day to partake in the abundant life and love God has for you. So may we receive, honor, and celebrate the grace that softens our stubbornness and opens our hearts to share God’s love with one another. Amen.


Recessional                                                                             “Tis So Sweet To Trust in Jesus”                                                                           (Please remain seated to meditate and reflect on the music)





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