Service of Holy Communion, August 23, 2020

Worship for the Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost at Messiah Evangelical Lutheran Church in New Berlin, PA.

Give to Messiah:
Give to the ELCA COVID-19 Response Fund:
Give to the Upper Susquehanna Synod COVID-19 Grants: and specify “COVID-19 Grants” in the notes.

Copyright licenses provided by Augsburg Fortress Annual Liturgies License SBT002156 and A-715196.

Evening Prayer for May 27, 2020

Evening Prayer for May 27, 2020 with Messiah Evangelical Lutheran Church and Emmanuel United Church of Christ, both of New Berlin Pennsylvania. Music from Audrey Bingaman and Donna Sauers and Messiah’s Virtual Quartet (Tom Milbrand, Deb Wetzel, Gaye Wetzel, Nate Williard, Kate Williard).

Copyright licenses provided by Augsburg Fortress Annual Liturgies License SBT002156 and A-715196

Virtual Choir for Pentecost 2020

To celebrate the birthday of the church, we are trying another virtual choir! This time singing “God of Tempest, God of Whirlwind.”

Steps for recording:

  1. Download the music and accompaniment below.
    If needed, also download the rehearsal track for your part.
    1. Full Accompaniment – Use this when you record your audio.
      This has a brief intro and an interlude between the 3rd and 4th verses.
    2. Music
    3. Rehearsal tracks. These are only one verse long so you can hear your part.
      1. Soprano
      2. Alto
      3. Tenor
      4. Bass
  2. Have headphones or earbuds available for doing the recording. – this is really important.
  3. Find somewhere quiet, especially important is to not have TV or radio noise.
  4. Find a way to play the accompaniment through your headphones/earbuds while you are also recording. Some examples, have your partner record on their phone while you listen on yours or use a computer that can play the audio and record your video at the same time.
  5. Record yourself singing all verses while listening to the full accompaniment recording. This ensures that you are singing in the same tempo as the accompaniment, and as everyone else is singing.
    1. Say aloud “3, 4” when you hear “1,2,3,4” on the accompaniment recording.
    2. Be sure that the playback of the accompaniment is going through the earbuds/headphones.
    3. If you and a family member often sing together, please record separately if you can to make the final audio mix easier to do.
  6. Name the recording GodOfTempest.Jane.Doe.Soprano, replacing Jane.Doe with your name and Soprano with your part.
  7. Submit the file with your recording:

Deadline – 9 am, Tuesday May 26, 2020

Holy Week @ Home

This year we are unable to gather in person as God’s people for Holy Week. Just because we are apart from our beloved community physically does not mean that these days are not happening. God’s action in our world as Jesus Christ—dining with us, dying with us and for us, and rising to new life—are just as real now as they ever were. When we gather again in person, we will celebrate the Paschal Triduum in a way that is more like that to which we are accustomed, but while we are apart, I invite you to celebrate these days at home with your family. I invite you to lament the separation, to feel the loss, and to rejoice in the resurrection. The resurrection is not just for Easter and not just when we feel like it. Resurrection is for every day, and especially for when we don’t feel like it.

Maundy Thursday – April 9

You are invited into an Agape Meal, a meal of love, at home with your family. Prepare a simple meal, including bread and wine [or other festive beverage], and gather as a family to worship over dinner this evening. The worship guide has specific prayers and readings to say during this meal. If you live alone or in a couple, consider joining with others through a telephone or video chat. We will share a video later in the week with a few hymns to accompany this meal gathering.

Good Friday – April 10

We worship with the Stations of the Cross, an ancient pattern of following the way of Jesus through Jerusalem to Golgotha and to the Tomb. You are invited to worship with the stations in your home and online throughout the day.

Holy Saturday – April 11

At dusk, set a candle and a bowl of water on your table and shout for joy at the risen Christ whose light overcomes the darkness and join in a simplified variation of the Easter Vigil.

Easter – April 12

Give thanks for the risen Lord in the dawning of the new day. Shout Alleluia, sing for joy, and marvel at the Christ who was and is and will be again. Christ is risen indeed.

Update Regarding COVID-19

Update Regarding COVID-19

Grace and peace to you in the name of God our creator and Christ our redeemer. Amen.

I was on the crew team in college. A racing boat for crew is pretty narrow and the oars are 12 feet long. There is a lot more of the oar outside the boat than inside the boat, so any slight change in where you hold your hands will have a huge impact on the balance of the boat. The first thing coach did with new rowers was to put us in the boat at the dock and have us raise our hands as high as we could and lower them as low as we could. He showed us just how hard it would be to actually flip the boat. Nevertheless, we still freaked out when we got a little off balance. We would pause and reset; take some deep breaths; check our balance; and row again.

Right now, everything feels a little off balance. Every day it feels like we are grasping more and more for balance, and we don’t know what to do, so we are pausing and taking a few deep breaths and checking our levels. This evening the Executive Committee met and decided that, following the guidance of state and federal government and public health officials, Messiah will not have in person worship or any non-essential gatherings of any sort at least until Palm Sunday. The Food Pantry will always distribute food and the pickup for subs from the Sub Sale is still scheduled for 2 pm Wednesday. Tina and I will still be working in the office and messages and mail will be checked. The building is closed to outside organizations that use our space for the time being, and the Preschool is closed. The Preschool follows the Mifflinburg Area School District calendar and will reopen when they do. Follow us on Facebook and check the website ( for updates.

Over this week, we will figure out ways that we can worship together while not together. We will figure out a way to have a Lenten meditation, though we will not gather for soup and fellowship in person. We will figure out ways for ministry teams and committees to meet remotely. We will pray and study together. We will still be the Body of Christ, though perhaps not in the same place at the same time for a while.

As we navigate these days, I give thanks for you. I give thanks for your witness to God’s Word in our world and the love of God whose name is Jesus in our community. I give thanks for our worship together yesterday. When we gathered, we proclaimed together the mystery of faith: “Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.” We all, as one voice, as one body pronounced that love is stronger than death and Christ is truly here, and will come again, even if we may not feel it right now. I cannot wait until we are able to gather for worship once again.

And in the meantime, know that, as St. Paul wrote, “I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

Peace be with you.

The Rev. D. Lowell Chilton, Pastor
570-884-4386 | [email protected]

Regarding COVID-19 and Public Health

Regarding COVID-19 and Public Health

Grace and peace to you in the name of God our Creator and Christ our Redeemer. Amen.

The global pandemic of COVID-19 is causing great anxiety in the world, including in our communities and congregation. It seems like every hour I receive another alert of how this pandemic is changing life as we are used to it being.

[Jesus] was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm.

Mark 4:38-39 (NRSV)

“Peace! Be still!” God speaks peace to us over and over again, calming our anxieties. Today is no different. Into our world, God still speaks peace and calm. Peace and calm do not mean inaction. The very next scene in the Gospel of Mark, as soon as the boat reaches the shore, shows Jesus healing a man and healing a community. Jesus Christ is God’s love active in the world and we as Christians are called to live out our faith active in love.

In “The Freedom of a Christian,” Martin Luther wrote:

The Christian individual is a completely free lord of all, subject to none.
The Christian individual is a completely dutiful servant of all, subject to all.

While many of us may never contract the virus, and while the symptoms will be mild for many of us, this disease is very serious and life-threatening for many in our community. As Christians living together, we have a responsibility to take seriously the risk this pandemic has toward the health and life of many in our community. We do this by taking sensible precautionary measures when we gather for worship and fellowship, continuing to feed the hungry through the New Berlin Food Pantry, and preparing to meet the needs of those in our community who are impacted by school closures and being asked to stay home from work. Last night the Messiah Church Council met and decided upon some steps that we are taking at this time. These are listed below. We will continue to assess the public health situation as the weeks progress.

We remain calm. We take heart. We prepare, hoping it is unnecessary.

As the President and General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation wrote Wednesday:

We take courage in the knowledge that God never abandons us,
even if it means going through the experience of the cross.
We see the cross of Christ as the sign of our strength and hope.

Go in peace. Serve the Lord.

The Rev. D. Lowell Chilton, Pastor
570-884-4386 | [email protected]

The Messiah Church Council, meeting on March 12, 2020, has the following guidance for our congregation:

  • All currently planned activities are continuing. This includes worship, fellowship, committee meetings, and Sunday School.
  • If you are ill, please stay home. We stream the Gospel reading and homily on our Facebook page every week, join us there.
  • When we gather for worship:
    • During the Peace, extend a greeting with a bow, a firm wave, a foot bump or some other gesture that does not involve a physical touch of hands and arms.
      • The pastor, greeters, and head usher will not shake hands but will extend other postures of greeting before and after worship.
    • The pastor, acolytes, and communion servers will wash hands with soap and water before worship (for the pastor and acolytes, after vesting) and then sanitize with Germ-X in front of the congregation immediately prior to serving communion.
    • The offering plates will not be passed, they will be placed on tables by the front pews and available when coming forward for Prayer around the Cross, during the Peace, during the Offering time, and during communion. If you are unable to join us for worship, please consider giving electronically, or bringing your envelope to the church during the week.
    • We will suspend the use of the common cup and only use the pouring chalices for the time being. The communion elements will be placed on the table in the chancel instead of in the narthex.
  • During Fellowship
    • Snacks are to be served by someone wearing gloves, not self-served. Gloves are being procured and will be made available.
    • We will only use disposable flatware, cups, and plates for the time being.

If you or someone in your household contract COVID-19, please contact Pr. Chilton (570-884-4386) or any member of the Executive Committee as soon as possible. The Executive Committee (Pastor Chilton, President Sauers, Vice-President Showers, Secretary Trick, and Treasurer Foss) will meet weekly on Wednesdays to assess the current state of the pandemic and our community and discuss any modifications to this protocol.

Lord’s Prayer Petition 5

Lord’s Prayer Petition 5

Forgive us our sins as we forgive those that sin against us.

Is this how you see forgiveness:

(You don’t have to pay to preview this video.)


Or is it more like this:

Notice that our forgiveness is intimately linked to the forgiveness that we pass on to others.

The forgiveness that God already is prepared to issue for us is the same attitude we should have for others who anger, frustrate or hurt us. Our first inclination might be to call them names, hurt them, or stop communications, but Jesus shows us a more difficult and better way.

Surely, Jesus is the King of the Hill in the forgiveness department and no one is close to topping him, but there are many fine examples of Christians choosing forgiveness when the wisdom of the world cries out for vengeance and retribution.

How many can you think of? When were times that you were able to forgive? Are there people that you still need to forgive? If you use the other translation of debts and debtors: who do you owe or who owes you?

Colossians 3:13; Matthew 6:14-15; Luke 17:3-4; Ephesians 4:31-32; 1 John 1:9; Isaiah 43:25-26

Note of loving protection: accountability is still necessary and God requires us to be honest and transparent about our wrongs and those of others that are serious violations of God’s good and loving Way. Abuse is all forms requires treatment and separation from the innocent. Forgiveness should also not be requested so that harmful behaviors can just be repeated. Recognizing how costly it is for grace and forgiveness to be given is essential and we make it cheap and almost worthless when we just keep going on a willfully disobedient path.


Pastor Fitch

Lord’s Prayer Petition 4

Lord’s Prayer Petition 4

“Give us this day our daily bread.”

Read Luther’s explanation of this petition (a little more there than I touch upon in the video).


Come Lord Jesus be our guest.

Let this food (or these gifts) to us be blessed.

Come Lord Jesus you are our bread.

May all the world be clothed and fed. Amen.

This is an old German Table prayer with an extra verse that I received a number of years ago from Lutheran World Relief. I went to their site to check the wording and was blessed with this video.  See how our sharing, our generosity makes God’s good changes happen!


Psalm 136:1  “O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good: For His steadfast love endures forever.”



Pastor Fitch