Worship to premiere on Sunday, August 23, 2020 at 10am.

Order of Worship
Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost

August 23,  2020                                                            10:00 a.m.

Organ Prelude
Call to Worship
One:  Hidden in the quiet of our morning there is a blessing for us today.
All:      Sheltered amidst the reeds of a busy world there is new life awaiting our care and attention.
One:  Floating above the currents of trial and tribulation, a peaceful possibility approaches.
All:      Swaddled in the love and compassion of God’s grace, a new beginning is preserved.
One:   People of God, the embracing and affirming arms of God are reaching toward us with joy.
All:      For we are God’s children, holy and beloved.
One:   Come, let us welcome God’s embrace as we begin a new journey.
All:      Let us worship with the confidence of God’s abiding presence and rescuing love.

Opening Prayer
Mothering God, midwife of all our experiences and dreams, we thank you for the ways you have brought us into new life over and over again. We praise you for your protection of us when the threats of life ensue. We honour you for the cunning and ingenuity with which you have crafted our opportunities to grow and thrive. In humble devotion, we remember your rescuing intervention when the way has been difficult, and the light has grown dim. Gathered as your people, wonderful and diverse, we join as one body in worship – remembering your saving Spirit and embodying your creative purpose. Make yourself known to us as we worship, we pray. Amen
Storytelling –  “Some Brave Women and a Baby”

Message in Music          “Salut d’Amour” by Edward Elgar

Reading of Scripture                                                               Exodus 1:8-2:10

Message      “Cunning, Compassion, and Courage”                        Rev. Laura McLeod

Preparation for Prayer
Silent Prayer
Pastoral Prayer and Lord’s Prayer
O God, there are ways in which we have felt pressed down and hopeless, threatened by the realities of our times. We are in the midst of a global pandemic that has upset our lives, kept us apart, and left us frustrated and afraid.
Protecting God, be with us as we drift amidst the waters of injustice, struggle, and pain.
Abiding Presence, there are times when our futures seem dim, and the possibilities feel limited.
Protecting God, deliver us to a new shore.
Sustaining Life, there are places in our world in need of your transforming grace. Even here in our own church family we long for your presence and desire to serve you in the places and to the people you need us to serve most.
Protecting God, give us the compassion and courage to share our blessings with others.
Providing Parent, people are suffering and striving for new life.
Protecting God, help us to reach out with swaddling love as the agents of healing you have created us to be. Bring us to new life; bring us to healing shores; bring us to courage and compassion, we pray in the name of Jesus the Christ, the one whose power was embodied in love, who taught us to pray saying, Our Father…Amen.

People of God, go now with courage! Use your cunning and creativity to forge a way in this world. Allow compassion to flow, as God’s compassion flows over you. Go in peace. Amen


Scripture Reading                                                      Exodus 1:8-2:10 NRSV
Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. He said to his people, “Look, the Israelite people are more numerous and more powerful than we. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, or they will increase and, in the event of war, join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.” Therefore they set taskmasters over them to oppress them with forced labor. They built supply cities, Pithom and Rameses, for Pharaoh. But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread, so that the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites. The Egyptians became ruthless in imposing tasks on the Israelites, and made their lives bitter with hard service in mortar and brick and in every kind of field labor. They were ruthless in all the tasks that they imposed on them.
The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, “When you act as midwives to the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, she shall live.” But the midwives feared God; they did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but they let the boys live. So the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this, and allowed the boys to live?” The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women; for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them.” So God dealt well with the midwives; and the people multiplied and became very strong. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families. Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, “Every boy that is born to the Hebrews you shall throw into the Nile, but you shall let every girl live.”
Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was a fine baby, she hid him three months. When she could hide him no longer she got a papyrus basket for him, and plastered it with bitumen and pitch; she put the child in it and placed it among the reeds on the bank of the river. His sister stood at a distance, to see what would happen to him.
The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her attendants walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to bring it. When she opened it, she saw the child. He was crying, and she took pity on him. “This must be one of the Hebrews’ children,” she said. Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?” Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Yes.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed it. When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and she took him as her son. She named him Moses, “because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.”

Storytelling – Some Brave Women and a Baby
Based on Exodus 1:1—2:10

The sons of Jacob settled in the land of Egypt and had children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Generation after generation, the family grew. They came to be known as Hebrews. As long as the story of Joseph was told, the Hebrews were welcome and respected.
But after many years, a new pharaoh rose to power in Egypt. He did not remember Joseph. When he looked at the Hebrews, he did not see people like the Egyptians. He saw foreigners. Strangers. Outsiders. And he was afraid.
“We have to do something about these people,” he said. “What if there is a war and they all leave our country and join our enemies?”
So Pharaoh made the Hebrew people slaves. He forced them to make bricks and to work in the quarries cutting stones for his building projects. But even that was not enough.
“There are too many of these people,” said Pharaoh. “And they have so many children there are more of them all the time.”
So Pharaoh called for the midwives, women who helped the Hebrew women when they were having babies. Their names were Shiphrah and Puah.
“When you go to help a Hebrew woman give birth,” he said, “and the baby is a boy, kill it in secret. Don’t let anyone see what you are doing or the Hebrews will be angry and rise up against me.”
When they were alone, Shiphrah and Puah wondered what to do.
“Pharaoh is the most powerful man in Egypt,” said Shiphrah. “Whatever he commands must be done. If we say no, he will kill us. But how can we do this evil thing?”
“Then we will not say no,” replied Puah. “We will tell Pharaoh that Hebrew women give birth so quickly and easily that by the time we arrive the babies are already born.”
This plan worked – but only for a while. Eventually, Pharaoh gave the order to his soldiers. Unlike the midwives, the soldiers obeyed the command.
Fear and grief took hold of the Hebrew people.
Among them was a young woman called Jochebed. She was pregnant. Every day she prayed that her child would be a girl, like her older daughter, Miriam. But when the baby was born, it was little boy. Jochebed held her son close and wept over him. How could she keep him safe from Pharaoh? Sooner or later, the soldiers would hear him crying.
One day her daughter Miriam said, “I wish we could build him an ark, like Noah did for the animals. Then he would be safe.” Jochebed looked at her daughter in amazement.
“Quickly,” she said. “Go down to the river and gather some reeds. We will build our own ark.”
Miriam and Jochebed wove a basket out of papyrus reeds and made it watertight. Then they put the baby inside. It was hard for them to let him go. But it was his only chance for a new life.
The little ark with the baby inside floated away down the Nile. Miriam followed it. After a while, it got caught in some bulrushes. Miriam wondered if she should sneak out and push it free. But at that moment, she heard voices. A group of women had come down to the river to bathe.
“What is that basket caught in the bulrushes?” asked one of them. “Go get it for me!” Miriam froze. What would the woman do when she saw what was in the basket?
“It’s a baby!” cried the woman. “It must be one of the Hebrew babies. Someone has set it afloat on the river to hide it from my father.”
Her father? Miriam peered through the reeds. Had her brother fallen into the hands of Pharaoh’s daughter? What a disaster!
But then the princess said, “What a beautiful child. He must be kept safe. I will keep him. My father will not dare touch him if I say he is mine.”
Miriam’s thoughts whirled in her head. She had an idea, but it was risky. She stood up.
“Your highness,” she called. “You will need a woman who is able to feed the baby. I know someone who could help you.”
The princess looked at Miriam. She looked thoughtful.
“I’m sure you do,” she said. “Perhaps you could give her a message for me. Tell her that the baby is safe. If she will nurse him, I will pay her well.”
Overjoyed, Miriam turned to leave.
“One more thing,” added the princess. “Tell her she has a very brave and clever daughter.”
Then the princess and the other women walked away, back to the palace. Filled with wonder, Miriam ran to tell her mother the good news.

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