Welcome to Safe Harbor Presbyterian Church
Where the love of Christ builds a harbor of acceptance, inspiration,
Fellowship, service and joy.
You enrich our worship with your presence.
"When we say welcome we mean it!"
It is not possible to pass the collection plate at our live home church.
Safe Harbor Presbyterian Church
c/o Monty Rice
1298 Warren Rd.
Cambria, CA 93428
If this is your first time here, WELCOME.
Safe Harbor Presbyterian Church-PCUSA
2700 Eton Rd. • Cambria, CA 93428
Call or text 805.395.1521
Prelude Deborah Farrand
At the tolling of the bell, please quietly prepare your heart for worship.
Meditation Music Deborah Farrand
Welcome and Announcements
† Call to Worship: Advent Begins Lana Cochrun
Today is the beginning of Advent—the preparation time for celebrating Christ’s birth. We are here because God’s promises to our ancestors came true when Jesus was born. God’s promise is kept each Sunday when we worship because Christ is in our midst. God will keep the promise to come again in glory.
Isaiah 60:2 Pastor Eugenia
For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you.
The Lighting of the 1st Advent Candle: Hope Pastor Eugenia
We light this candle to proclaim the coming of the light of God into the world.
With the coming of this light there is hope. Because of Christ we not only have
hope, but we believe that good is stronger than evil. God wants us to work for good in the world. (Light the candle of hope.)
Prayer of Hope and Thanksgiving (In unison )
O God, we thank you that Jesus brought hope into our world. By the good news of the Bible you are still bringing hope to the people. Help us to be ready to welcome Jesus Christ so that we may think good thoughts and do good deeds and so that we may be a people of hope in our world. Amen.
†Hymn of Praise # 39 Great is Thy Faithfulness
Prayer of Confession (In unison; Inspired by 1 Corinthians 1, 3,9) Led by Lana Cochrun
Generous and giving God we come to you now in this season of the watch giving thanks because of the grace given us in Christ Jesus. We lack no spiritual gift as we await our Lord to be revealed. But we confess there are moments when we would rather put ourselves and our needs first. We bristle at your call to look for the Christ in the faces of our world, on the news and on our block. It is so hard to give over the issues of our heart to make room for you. We can feel too hurt, be too busy, or too involved to bow down before the manger and behold the face of love. Forgive us our pride and our resentments.
Hear these silent confessions of how we have not loved, or forgiven, or served selflessly… (In unison ) God, You have called us to a fellowship with your Son. Help us to live into your promise so we may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.
Assurance of Pardon New Creations in Christ
†The Sharing of the Peace
Hymn of Preparation #452 Open the Eyes of My Heart
Leader: Listen for the Word of God.
People: Our ears are open and our hearts are ready to receive.
Scripture: Isaiah 64:1-9
Leader: The Word of the Lord.
People: Thanks be to God.
Sermon: In God’s Hands Rev. Eugenia Gamble
Hymn of Response #177 I Will Come to You (You Are Mine)
Call to Prayer: Hymn #466 Come and Fill Our Hearts with Your Peace
Prayers of the People
The Lord’s Prayer
Response to Prayer Hymn # 710 We are an Offering
Prayer of Dedication
† Hymn of Parting # 92 While We Are Waiting, Come
† Charge and Benediction
†=If able, please stand
CURRENT PRAYER LIST
Members of our community that are lonely, hungry and sick.
If you would like to support the work of Safe Harbor Church financially:
Tax deductible checks may be made to Safe Harbor Presbyterian Church.
During our period of isolation, please mail checks to:
Monty Rice 1298 Warren Road Cambria CA 93428
WHEN WE SAY “ WELCOME! ”, WE MEAN IT!
The Rev. Eugenia A. Gamble
Tom and Lana Cochrun
Monty and Julia Rice
We are the clay, and you are our potter…..Isaiah 64:1-9…..Nov. 29, 2020
Isaiah 64:1) O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at your presence—2) as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil—to make your name known to your adversaries, so that the nations might tremble at your presence! 3) When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect, you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence. 4) From ages past no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who works for those who wait for him. 5) You meet those who gladly do right, those who remember you in your ways. But you were angry, and we sinned; because you hid yourself, we transgressed. 6) We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. 7) There is no one who calls on your name, or attempts to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity. 8) Yet, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. 9) Do not be exceedingly angry, O LORD, and do not remember iniquity forever. Now consider, we are all your people.
Background: Many, though not all, scholars believe that the later chapters of Isaiah were written by a prophet (or prophets) other than Isaiah of Jerusalem who wrote the earlier chapters of the book. These last chapters seem to come from a different time and circumstance, probably from the time of Israel’s exile into Babylon. If that is the case, as I believe that it is, the people are wrestling with a great sense of being abandoned by God. Jerusalem has been devastated. The Temple is in ruins. Their adversaries continue to triumph, and they are left to wonder why. Why does God seem silent, absent? Why does God permit their destruction? What does it mean to be God’s people in a strange land, a land that is not their promised land? The prophet who wrote these verses attempts to address those questions in a long poem of lament that stretches from chapter 63:7 through 64:12. The prophet recognizes that the people of Israel are on the verge of losing their religious and spiritual footing and identity. Why? Because they have begun to blame God for their troubles, rather than look at their own sinfulness and faithlessness. The prophet sees that God and God’s people are at odds. There is a terrible breach in the relationship, and he wants desperately to bring the two parties together again. Repentance is the avenue for restored relationship. In this section, probably a community service of lamentation, the prophet appeals to the people’s memory of God’s steadfastness in the past. These memories create a deep tension between past and present experience. That tension must be resolved. Something has got to change! It is time for God to act decisively!
Vs. 1 – tear open the heavens and come down – the imagery here is stark and violent. It is the image of the divine warrior who splits open reality to reclaim God’s land and people.
Mountains would quake—these images are similar to those that surrounded God’s self-revelation on Sinai.
Vs. 2 – nations might tremble – one of the ways that Israel dealt with her defeat was by blaming God. Her adversaries taunted her that God’s arms were too short to reach her or that God was too deaf to hear her. Here Israel pleads with God to make God’s presence known and to silence these taunts.
Vs. 3-5a – In this verse the prophet reminds God that God has done this kind of thing before.
Vs. 5b – There is a formal change in the structure of the poem at this point. The people begin to acknowledge their role in the fractured relationship.
Because you hid yourself, we transgressed – very difficult to translate. It almost sounds like the people are blaming God for their transgression. Clearly that is not the case as is evident in the following verses.
Vs. 6 – unclean – God’s people understood that to live as God’s own demanded a special holiness. There were many laws to help them live that holiness out. Many of them had to do with contact with substances (blood, dead bodies, certain foods, etc) that would render them unfit for relationship with God. They are saying here that they know that their relationship with God is broken.
Filthy cloth – literally unclean menstrual cloths
Vs. 7 – There is no one who calls on your name – difficult to translate. It may refer to the fact that the people are so broken that they can no longer call out to God or it may refer to a heavenly chorus that has stopped interceding for them.
Vs. 8 – Father – the people remind God that God has made them, and all humanity
Questions for Personal Reflection
1. Israel understood that God’s protection was not to be taken for granted. It was a result of relationship and granted as a gift to those who lived in obedience. In what ways do you take your relationship with God for granted? Do you think that we take our relationship with God for granted as a nation sometimes? How? In what circumstances?
2. Do you ever feel that God is silent or absent? What might be some of the reasons for those feelings? Might there be things in your life that are making your relationship with God more difficult?
3. How might you open yourself to renewed relationship with God?