November 22, 2020
9:30 Sunday School on Zoom
10:30 Worship on Zoom
Connecting by phone is still available
Words of Welcome:
Happy Thanksgiving! Welcome to Trinity Mennonite Church as we gather to praise and thank God for all his gifts.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, Lord. What more is there for me to say but this?
Hymns on the Theme for Today:
#94 Come Ye Thankful People Come
#96 We Plow the Fields and Scatter
#17 We Gather Together
IN OUR CHURCH THIS WEEK
Nov 23-29—Norma’s vacation
Nov 26—Happy Thanksgiving!—Enns family gathers here
Devotional books are available at the church for December and January.
Sunday school quarterlies are available and in your church mailbox. Stop by and pick up your mail.
Change the world with one dollar a day challenge. Marion County CORE Community (Circles) is looking for brave and generous people who will pledge $1 a day or $30 a month for one year. $1 a day can solve poverty by inviting families experiencing poverty to a safe place where their voices are heard, they are treated with honor and dignity as they unpack their lives, gain new relationships and build resources, Txt or Call Mark Rogers @ 620-877-0899. All gifts are tax deductible. Mail checks to PO Box 112, Hillsboro, KS 67063.
Giving Tuesday 2020 is Dec. 1. Live out your call to participate in and support the work of God. Here are some suggestions: Trinity, Western District Conference, CORE, Mennonite Colleges, Food 4 Kids, Hillsboro Area Ministerial Association, Salvation Army.
The Hillsboro Community Foundation Giving Tuesday will be a “Drive Thru” event this year! It will be held Tues., Dec. 1st, from 4:00-6:00 at the United Methodist Church entrance (905 East D Street). Your support will impact the Hillsboro, Durham and Lehigh communities for years to come!
Order Christmas goodies and gifts at the Bethel College Women's Association's online market by Dec. 1, and pick up curbside on Dec. 5! Find handmade crafts and one-of-a-kind items, and fresh homemade treats including peppernuts, zwiebach, cinnamon rolls, poppyseed roll, and candies at bcwamarketonline.com. Place your order by Dec 1, and pick up at Bethel College Mennonite Church south entrance from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Dec. 3. This event is part of the annual Five Places of Christmas, sponsored by Newton Chamber of Commerce, and all proceeds will support Bethel College. And, if you're not local, most items can be shipped including peppernuts! Christmas shopping and supporting Bethel at the same time-doesn't get much better than that.
A memorable, meaningful and unique MCC gift to give this Christmas! Grab a piece of MCC history to use in a modern day Mennonite feeding station - your home! Get one for yourself and order more for family and friends. Hang it on the wall in your kitchen or dining room, display it on a shelf or use it as a serving tray! Remember the kitchen at your church, too. Each tray was uniquely handcrafted by an artisan in Siberia using Siberian hardwood. The tray is 16” in diameter and 2” deep. Suggested donation per tray is $150. Full details and pictures are available at https://mcc.org/feeding-station-tray.
Have yourself a honkin’ good holiday at MCC in North Newton! This drive-thru event on Dec. 11 from 4-6 p.m. is a unique way to safely enjoy some delicious Christmas cheer while supporting the worldwide work of Mennonite Central Committee. Each charcuterie box is composed of seasonal artisan meats and cheeses, olives, fruit, mixed nuts and seasonal treats with crackers served on the side. A box serves two generous appetizer portions. RSVP by 5 p.m. on December 4 to reserve yours! Share your Christmas joy by ordering extra boxes to deliver to family and friends. Take a moment and treat yourself this holiday season! Suggested donation per box is $25. Email email@example.com to reserve your charcuterie box today! Find more information and photos at mcc.org/honkin-holiday.
MCC asks for support for Central American hurricane recovery. Not one, but two hurricanes within two weeks have caused extensive flooding in Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua. Hurricanes Eta and Iota have destroyed crops and forced people from their homes. MCC is working with churches and community organization to provide emergency food, hygiene supplies and cleanup support. Join us as we help these communities recover. You can donate online mcc.org/eta-iota-relief, by phone (888) 563-4676 or by mail at MCC, 21 S. 12th St., PO Box 500, Akron PA 17501.
Join MCC for a series of “MCC and me” webinars to hear more about service opportunities. Are you ready to step out and into service? To gain new skills and experiences while working for relief, development and peace in the name of Christ? MCC is working to adapt our programming as the situation with COVID-19 develops. All sessions relate to anticipated service needs, though timing and some other details may be subject to change.
• December 9 at 7 p.m. EST: Serving and Learning Together (SALT)
• January 13 at 3 p.m. EST: Summer Service leadership program
• February 25 at 10 a.m. EST: Sharing With Appalachian People (SWAP) summer staff
• February 25 at 8 p.m. EST: International service worker
Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) is seeking a part time Administrative Assistant that will provide administrative support to the leadership of MDS Region 3 and its units (Central States – west of the Mississippi). The position is home-based within Region 3. Applicants must be active in an Anabaptist church and committed to the Anabaptist faith and peace position. See the full job description at mds.mennonite.net/about-us/employment. Resumes may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Review of resumes begins immediately. Recruitment continues until the position is filled. Region 3 is comprised of the following states: -Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas
Call To Worship:
Leader: We come into the presence of the Holy God,
People: Who may not be grasped,
Leader: But may be gazed upon;
People: Who is not easily understood,
Leader: But is full of understanding;
People: Who does not come at our beck and call,
Leader: But who is always near.
People: We gather as God's children
Leader: In confident assurance that God is here.
Holy Shepherd, we gather to worship you as grateful members of your flock. We are secure in the knowledge that each one of us is precious in your sight; trusting in the understanding that you will never stop searching for any who are lost. We praise you with unbounding joy, knowing there is truly no God but you. Amen.
HEARING THE WORD
Scripture: Matthew 25:31-46
Message: Recognizing Jesus
A man named Marty Doerschlag has a superpower that you won’t see in the movies: He can remember a face forever. You could call him The Recognizer!
“If I spend about 30 seconds looking at somebody,” he said to NPR, “I will remember their face for years and years and years.”
Doerschlag realized he had this gift after a series of strange encounters and sightings. One year, he sat behind a man at a Michigan vs. Ohio State football game. Three years later, he recognized the guy in the Dallas-Fort Worth airport. Did he remember the score of the game? No. But he recognized the man.
Scripture tells us that even someone as familiar as Jesus can be hard to recognize at times.
So how can we recognize and identify Jesus in the world today? The Presbyterian Church (USA) started an initiative called Matthew 25, which issues the challenge to “actively engage in the world around us, so our faith comes alive.” Across the denomination, Presbyterians are being challenged “to act boldly and compassionately to serve people who are hungry, oppressed, imprisoned or poor.” When they do these things, they are considered to be a Matthew 25 church.
I don’t know about you but I think we are a Matthew 25 church. This initiative is based on the 25th chapter of the gospel of Matthew, which tells the story of the final judgment. At that time, Jesus will look out over all the nations of the world and separate people into good sheep and bad goats. He will say to the sheep, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you … for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me” (Matthew 25:34-36).
Then the people who were good sheep will say to him, “Lord, when did we do this for you? We don’t remember ever serving you in these ways.” They are typical recognizers, and don’t have a recollection of seeing Jesus. And Jesus will say to them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me” (v. 40).
The former group acted righteously not out of any sanctimonious motivation prompted by the hope of heaven, but because they saw someone in need (vv. 37-39).
As Anabaptist Mennonites I think this is at the core of our being. Menno Simons suggested that: “True Evangelical Faith cannot lie dormant. It clothes the naked. It feeds the hungry. It comforts the sorrowful. It shelters the destitute.” It is what prompts us to can meat for people who are hungry. It is what feeds kids during the summer. It is what supplies foster parents with needed clothes and bedding for the new addition to their family. It is what prompts us to give to the rebuilding of a single mom’s bathroom after a crack in the bathtub destroyed the flooring. But when might our helping others turn from generosity to disguised selfishness? Perhaps it is not only what we do, but also the motives, that will finally count for or against us in the judgment. So we cannot simply keep record of all our good deeds. We may need to examine ourselves more closely. We must guard against feeling proud.
The sheep are surprised. Because they had not been aware that they were doing this to Jesus. They were surprised because they had done their good deed in quiet unassuming ways, not looking for recognition or reward. Thus they were surprised by joy. All good works are simply the extension of God in each of us, so there is no reason to boast.
In sharp contrast, those at the king's left hand "will go away into eternal punishment." This group chose not to render aid because as they went through life, they never saw Jesus in need. If they had only seen him, no doubt their conduct would have been exemplary -- as they would have undoubtedly claimed. However, the king rejects their disingenuous reply and says to them, "Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me" (v. 45). This latter group, however, neglected others (v. 44). Simply put, they would have cared for Jesus, but not for anyone else.
Those at the left hand of the Son of Man seek an excuse and almost put the blame on the Son of Man himself as if to say, “You didn’t reveal yourself; how could we see you?”
When looking at the least of these, we can say not just once but forever, “I do not know the man.” We can say he is worthless, that he has no one to blame for his troubles but himself, that his problems aren’t our business, that he is an enemy, that he deserves to die.
If I cannot find the face of Jesus in the face of those who are my enemies, if I cannot find him in the unbeautiful, if I cannot find Jesus in those who have the “wrong ideas,” if I cannot find him in the poor and the defeated, how will I find him in bread and wine, or in the life after death? If I do not reach out in this world to those with whom he has identified himself, why do I imagine that I will want to be with him, and them, in heaven? Why would I want to be, for all eternity, in the company of those whom I avoided every day of my life?
This, then, is the key to the Matthew 25 initiative: To serve the neediest members of the family of Jesus. And when any of us do this, we are able to recognize Jesus.
So, how can we see Jesus today? He may not be clear at every moment. He comes to us in people who are strangers, who are hungry and who are sick. When we serve vulnerable people, we become recognizers of Jesus in the world today.
Here are a few practical things you can do to serve Jesus today:
First, welcome a stranger. You don’t have to go far to find a stranger, since there are people unfamiliar to you within your own congregation. Go to your church directory and find a person you don’t know. Give them a call, tell them you are a fellow church member, and ask how they are doing. You won’t be asking them to volunteer, or make a contribution or do anything at all. You’ll just find out how they are doing and get to know them a bit. Beyond the church, the world is full of strangers—friends you haven’t met yet. When you greet a stranger, you are really greeting Jesus.
Second, feed the hungry. You don’t have to go far to feed the hungry. You may work at canning meat. You can support MCC who is committed to help villages dig wells for fresh water. You can volunteer during our summer feeding program for Hillsboro’s hungry kids. Bring food for the Food Bank. When you feed the hungry, you are really feeding Jesus.
Third, care for the sick. In this year of the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve had opportunities to care for the sick and for their caregivers. But diseases will always be with us, and those struggling with various illnesses appreciate help with shopping, hot meals, or rides to the doctor’s office. At the very least, a card or a phone call is a tangible way to show your concern. Remember, when you care for the sick, you are really caring for Jesus.
Fourth, care for the prisoner. Prisons are filled with loneliness, hate, rejection, and fear. Very little love permeates the walls. Nobody trusts anyone. Living is surviving. Hope dwindles each day, and isolation separates families, friends, and opportunities for a good life after prison. One prisoner writes: “I am experiencing how little the church does for those in prison. Yet, even as a prisoner, I know that Christ never stops loving me, and even in my tribulation many blessings have been given. I believe that if our churches would minister more to prisoners, we would have fewer people returning to prison. A letter from a Christian to an inmate does much to help him or her find the Lord. A visit will do even more. I have seen it happen. These persons are God’s children too. If we ever want prisoners to change, we must introduce them to Jesus Christ. Let us share the Christ we know, who has come to save the world, not to condemn it.”
Then Benedict of Nursia developed a rule for monastic life that stressed hospitality to strangers, a practice grounded in Christ’s identification with the stranger in Matthew 25. Benedict called for the monk in charge of provisions for the community and its guests to be wise and mature, with special concern for children, guests and the poor (Rule of Benedict 31:1, 9).
When we serve children, guests, and the poor, we are really serving Jesus. When we welcome strangers, feed the hungry and care for the sick, we are really helping Jesus. The good news for today is that vulnerable people give us a chance to identify Jesus, alive and well in the world today.
I met Jesus under the hood of a car this week. She was working away at the battery post of her car. Tightening the cable connection. I was there to give her a tank of gas. While it filled, I found out she was a very capable person able to fix vehicles. She was down and out after a difficult divorce leaving her with 2 children to fend for on her own. She moved back to Hillsboro where she had a few friends. She lowered the hood. Turned the key. It started and we cheered. Welcome, stranger! Welcome, Jesus!
We can recognize Jesus, whenever we reach out to people in need.
Now you may wonder, how can this be a sermon for Thanksgiving Sunday. We can be thankful that God loves us so much that he allows us the freedom to choose how we live. We can be thankful that we have a chance to serve Jesus. We can be thankful that we have a God who cares about the least of these--the poor, imprisoned, hungry, thirsty, naked, and sick. We can be thankful that we have the opportunity to help others because we ourselves have been given enough. We can be thankful for the invitation to come, inherit the kingdom of heaven.
Perhaps there have been church people who occasionally have admitted to disappointment over Jesus’ teaching on the Last Judgment. Could he not have said something about the advantages of having been baptized and belonging to the right church? Wouldn’t this have been the right place for Jesus to have said, “If you want to inherit eternal life, confess me as Lord and Savior and be saved”?
Jesus’ kingdom opens itself to us not because we deserve it or belong to the right church (or any church), or have remarkable intelligence, or are theologically astute, or write religious books, or achieve recognition, or because we know bishops, or even know saints.
The kingdom receives us, Jesus says, because we are willing to care for the hungry, the thirsty, the homeless, the naked, the sick, and the imprisoned. We are saved because we care for unattractive strangers, annoying relatives, even those who threaten us. We are saved because we allow the mercy of God not just to enter our lives, but pass through our lives to others. We are saved because we respond to others as if they were Jesus.
May our eyes and heart be open to recognize Jesus.
Mail your offering to the church at Trinity, 211 Elm, Hillsboro, KS 67063
For budget to continue to pay the bills…
for Christmas Silver Tree & Giving Tree (Christmas gifts for low-income seniors and children)…
Don’t forget the Food Bank During the month of November we are bringing cookies and cake mixes.
Thanks be to thee, O God, for all good gifts, and especially for thy inexpressible gift of the Lord Jesus. Help us, O Lord, to see wherein we have been blessed, and to be a blessing to others. Amen.
Time of Sharing Joys and Concerns
Make a list of 5 things you are thankful for.
--Kenton Kaufman’s knee replacement rehabilitation
--Arlene Hett’s knee replacement rehabilitation
Thank you for…
--Gerald Funk’s cancer-free report
Mighty and merciful God, in our minds, we believe we are attentive to those who are hungry or thirsty, welcoming to strangers we encounter, caregivers for those who are ill and friend to those who are imprisoned. But in our hearts, we know that we more often avert our eyes, pretending not to see the homeless person, avoiding anyone who is different, and staying away from those who are suffering because we don't know what to say. Forgive us for when we did not recognize you in the face of a stranger and failed to care for those in need. Open our hearts so that we might see the stranger with your eyes and strive to be your hands and feet in the world. Amen.
And now, run with patience the race that is before you, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith. May God give you his sustaining power and grant you the strengthening presence of his Spirit in whatever challenges await you. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Thank you to those involved in the service this morning:
Worship Leading & Preaching—Norma Duerksen
Zoom—Phil Duerksen Drama—Randy & Lindy Wiens
NUMBERS FROM LAST WEEK
Worship: 34 on Zoom
Sunday School: 22 on Zoom Budget: $4,422.58
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Nov 29—First Sunday of Advent on Zoom
Fifth Sunday Speaker: Karen Andres
Fifth Sunday Offering: CORE
Dec 1—Worship Committee meets on Zoom
--Barb Unruh’s birthday
Dec 3—Lyle & Elaine Funk’s anniversary
Dec 6—Education Committee meets on Zoom
Dec 7—Trustees meet
--Doris Kohlenberg’s birthday
Dec 11—Marlin & Sharolyn Funk’s Anniversary
Dec 13—Shepherd Group Check in
Dec 14—Deacons meet on Zoom
Dec 17—Letty Enns’ birthday
Dec 18—Velma Funk’s birtrhday
Dec 21—Council meets on Zoom
Dec 23—Gerald Funk’s birthday
Dec 24—6:15--Christmas Eve Service on Zoom
Dec 25—Merry Christmas!
Dec 29—Mark Unruh’s birthday
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Trinity Mennonite Church
211 S. Elm, Hillsboro, KS 67063
Office hours: 10:00 am-5:00 p.m. M-F
web page: www.TrinityMennoniteHillsboroKs.com
Norma Duerksen, Pastor: 620-381-0949
Deacons: Kenton Kaufman 620-877-7263
Randy Wiens 620-947-1707; Roger Hofer 620-877-0167