Worship Service – May 8, 2022

(Mother’s Day)
Scriptures; Isaiah 53:1-6, Acts 9:36-43 and 1 Peter 1:13-2:3
Message: “Remembering the Good Works left Behind”

Isaiah 53:1-6

(1) Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
(2) He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
(3) He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
(4) Surely, he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.
(5) But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
(6) We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Acts 9:36-43
(36) In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcas ), who was always doing good and helping the poor. (37) About that time, she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. (38) Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, “Please come at once!”
(39) Peter went with them, and when he arrived, he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them.
(40) Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes and seeing Peter she sat up. (41) He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called the believers and the widows and presented her to them alive. (42) This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord. (43) Peter stayed in Joppa for some time with a tanner named Simon.
1 Peter 1:13-2:3
(13) Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. (14) As obedient children do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. (15) But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; (16) for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
(17) Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear. (18) For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, (19) but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. (20) He was chosen before the creation of the world but was revealed in these last times for your sake. (21) Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.
(22) Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. (23) For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. (24) For, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, (25) but the word of the Lord stands forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you. (1) Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. (2) Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, (3) now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.
This is the word of God, for the people of God. Thanks be to God.
Let me begin today by saying to all you mothers, Happy Mother’s Day!
Since today is Mother’s Day, I thought I would begin with a list someone has made which they have called “Murphy’s Laws of Parenting.” See if you can identify with any of these:
1. The later you stay up, the earlier your child will wake up the next morning.
2. The gooier the food, the more likely it is to end up on the carpet.
3. The longer it takes you to make a meal, the less your child will like it.
4. A sure way to get something done is to tell a child not to do it.
5. For a child to become clean, something else must become dirty.
6. Toys multiply to fill any space available.
7. Yours is always the only child who doesn’t behave.
8. If the shoe fits . . . it’s expensive.
9. Backing the car out of the driveway causes your child to have to go to the bathroom.
Do any of these strike home?
To all the mothers out there today. I know it isn’t easy being a mom. I chuckled when I read a story by a mom named Mary Jane Kurtz. Mary Jane says that when she was a young, single mom with four children, it was difficult to get them already for church on Sunday. One particular Sunday morning as the children started to complain and squabble, Mary Jane stomped from one room to the other, saying out loud why it was important they go to church as a family and have a good attitude. Suddenly, she noticed all four children huddled together and laughing.
“What’s so funny?” Mary Jane asked.
“Mom,” they said, “every time you slam down your foot, smoke comes out. It must be the wrath of God!”
In reality, it was the powder Mary Jane had sprinkled in her shoes. But it worked. She says they made it to church on time that morning and practically every Sunday thereafter.
I’m not suggesting that any of you busy Mom’s sprinkle powder in your shoes. I’m just reporting on Mary Jane’s experience.
So, what we don’t want to do on this Mother’s Day, is take our moms for granted. While shopping for a Mother’s Day card I found one that might best describe how many really feel about taking their mother’s for granted. It read like this: “Forget the housework, Mom. It’s your day. Besides, you can always do double duty and catch up on Monday!”
I suspect some of you Moms can relate to that. Since this is Mother’s Day, I want to draw your attention to our reading from the Epistle of 1 Peter 1, particularly the twenty-second verse, where we read these words, “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.” Isn’t that the perfect text for a day when we honor our moms. “Love one another deeply, from the heart.”
In our reading from Acts 9 the story of Tabitha could well have been part of the inspiration that led Peter to write these words. Let’s take a moment and dive a little deeper in that story.
It’s a touching scene: the gathering place of mourners. In our culture, that scene is usually played out in a funeral home, a chapel, a sanctuary, or at the graveside. In that day, however, it most often took place in the home of the deceased. And the body was there, similar to our visitations with open caskets; though without some of the cosmetic advantages.
So it is that the grieving friends of Tabitha are gathered together in her home. She must have died rather recently, for she hasn’t been buried yet. Instead, she is upstairs; her corpse laid out on her bed.
As the sad and surprising word spreads through town, more of her many admirers arrive at the house. The initial conversations at the door are all essentially the same. “I just heard the news.” “I can’t believe it!” “How did it happen?” “Was anyone with her?” “She was such a wonderful person!”
The growing crowd of grieving friends and neighbors reminisce together, sharing their favorite stories about Tabitha. Without the benefit of the kind of photographs and videos that we have today, their recollections had to be entirely verbal. And so they talk on for hours, saturating themselves in the happy memories.
On the other hand, while they don’t have scrapbooks to hold in their hands and picture albums to show one another, they do have something else that’s physical. Something perhaps even more personal than photographs. They have the things that Tabitha herself had made.
Evidently this saintly woman was skillful at making clothes. Not just skillful, but generous, as well. It seems there wasn’t a friend or a neighbor who hadn’t received something from her hand. So, the reminiscing turns into a sort of show-and-tell as the townspeople bring out the tokens of Tabitha’s kindness.
Can’t you almost hear someone saying, “She gave this to me for my last birthday,” then with tears holds up a beautiful shawl. Saying, “She was so thoughtful! She never forgot a birthday, you know. She was always thinking of other people, “or another chimes in. “This robe,” another woman says, drawing attention to the one she’s wearing, “I’m sure she was making this robe for herself. But when I visited one day and commented about how pretty it was, she held it up against me and said, “A perfect fit! It’s yours!” On and on the stories went.
 You and I don’t get to hear those stories. And the fact is that we don’t really know Tabitha. Scripture doesn’t follow the story of her life or even any portion of her life. Indeed, the only part of her biography that is preserved for us at all is the story of this one particular day; and she was dead for most of it. We have no record of any words that she ever spoke.
And yet, for all of that, we feel like we know her, don’t we? We feel like we know Tabitha because we all have been blessed to know someone like her somewhere along the way. Perhaps it was our grandmother, an aunt, or a neighbor lady. Perhaps it was an older gentleman from church, or a former teacher. Some saintly soul whose skillful hands and generous spirit combined to leave behind a legacy of good works.
So, it was with Tabitha. The family members, friends, and neighbors gathered together in her home, clothed and armed with the good works that she had left behind. Together they admired her loving handiwork. Together they fondly remembered her. Together they showed the symbols of her goodness to the apostle Peter.
Now we learn that Peter, the well-known disciple of Jesus and pillar of the early church, had been staying in the nearby town of Lydda. He was just a few miles from Joppa where Tabitha had lived. And so the Christians there sent word to Peter, urging him to come to Joppa right away.
Peter did. When he arrived, he was taken immediately up to the room where the body of Tabitha lay. There he was surrounded by the grieving friends, each one with an article of clothing to show him, each one with a story to tell him. Surely the apostle’s heart was blessed by the stories of this saint who had died and by the good works she had left behind.
Then he did something unusual. Peter sent them all out of the room.
I wonder if that seemed abrupt or rude to the people gathered there. I wonder what they whispered to one another as they walked down the stairs, leaving the apostle alone in the viewing room.
As a pastor, I have seen a number of occasions when a loved one has wanted to be alone with the body of the deceased. They wanted an opportunity to say a personal and a private good-bye. They wanted an opportunity to say some things that ought not have an audience.
But this was not Peter’s circumstance. He personally had probably not even met her before and didn’t feel the need, that he should want to be alone with the corpse. He didn’t know Tabitha; and he hadn’t known anything about her until the past fifteen minutes. Why, then, would he send everyone away? Why would he seek to clear the room and be alone with the body? Why? Probably because that’s what he had seen Jesus do.
Years before, when Peter and the rest of the twelve had accompanied Jesus all along the dusty roads of Galilee, Peter had been in a similar bedroom. The twelve-year-old daughter of Jairus had died, and the house was full of mourners. But Jesus sent them away. Or at least out of the room. And then, accompanied only by a select few disciples and the grieving parents themselves, Jesus spoke to the little girl. And in speaking to her, he raised her to life.
So, now, Peter followed the example that he had seen set by Jesus. He sent the mourners out of the room, got down on his knees and prayed, and then he spoke to the corpse. “Tabitha, get up,” Peter said, and the dead woman opened her eyes. Then she sat up. And then, next thing you know, Peter is leading her out to present her to her astonished friends and loved ones.
Can we even imagine or fathom what happened? All of the warmth of the people’s grief now combined with their joy and surprise at the sight of Tabitha alive. Tears of sadness turned into tears of joy. The gathered mourners, who not so long before had cried over her corpse, could now hug her. The friends who had whispered their affection and appreciation in her ear where she had laid could now say it to her face.
And then, in the midst of it all, watch as Peter heads for the door. I’m sure the grateful people resisted to letting him go. They hug and thank him repeatedly. They cling to him in their appreciation.
We human beings are accustomed to saying thank you for routine things: a door held open, a compliment, a gift. But how do we adequately thank a person who has brought a loved one back from the dead?
Peter goes on his way, on to the next place where he will stay, where he will preach, where he will heal. He leaves Tabitha, alive and well, behind in Joppa. She is among the good works that Peter leaves behind.
Earlier, we caught a glimpse of the good works that Tabitha had left behind. Tunics, cloaks, robes, shawls, and such. But Peter has his own profound collection. Healed bodies, saved souls, and a living Tabitha — these are among the good works that the apostle leaves behind.
Peter’s example and Tabitha’s example challenge us. We see what each left behind, and we ask, “What is it that I leave in my wake? What is the impact and effect of you or I having been in a community, a church, a school, a workplace, a family?”
Our reading in Isaiah reminds us of the good works Jesus left behind.
“He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:5-6)
So, what we don’t want to do on this Mother’s Day, is take our moms for granted. Take Gods word for granted. Take the good works of Christ for granted.

We need to spend some time: “Remembering The Good Works left Behind” and “Love one another deeply in the heart”.

In His Service,
Pastor Joe
Listen To Audio: Sermon 20220508
Listen To Audio: Service 05082022

*Call to Worship:

L:  See what love has been given to us, that we should be called children of God.

P:  By this we know love, that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, and lived and died, that God’s love might be made plain among us.

L:  Therefore, beloved, let us know love in word or in speech but in deed and in truth.

P:  Because we love one another, we know that we have passed from death into life.


Prayer of Confession:   Heavenly Father, it is our desire to do Your perfect will and submit our lives to serving you in spirit and in truth.  Forgive us for the times when we have tried to work the works of God in our own strength instead of trusting Your Word and allowing ourselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.




Pastor Joe will be available at the church on Thursday Mornings from 10:30 to 12:30.  If you need to speak to him, contact Pastor Joe at 570-267-4570 (cell) or Email: joe.s.travis@gmail.com

Loose change goes to Local Mission.

CareNet (Baby Bottle) goes two more weeks until May 22nd.

Sunday School starts at 8:30am

Choir practice will be on Thursday at 9:00 A.M. 

Franklin Hill Cemetery Association annual meeting on May 10th at 6:00 P.M. in the Community Building

Presbyterian Women will meet on Thursday, May 12th at 10:30 A.M.  There will be a covered dish banquet.  All women are invited.

Primary Election Day is May 17th.

Montrose Adult School presents:  The History of the Franklin Hill Presbyterian Church May 17th at 7:00 P.M.  Registration $5.00.

Men’s Breakfast Wednesday May 18th at 8:00 A.M.

Session will meet on Saturday, May 21st, at 9 A.M.

Newsletter Deadline – Tuesday, May 31st, 2022.

Please mark your envelope if you are contributing to the piano repair fund.


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