Prelude Mary Heller
Welcome and Greeting
Preparation of Our Hearts
Call to Worship
Hymn # 253 Praise to the Lord, the Almighty (Gray Psalter Hymnal)
Confession of Sin and Assurance of Pardon
Psalm 133 (NRSVUE) Bert Chapman
1How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!
2It is like the precious oil on the head, running down upon the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down over the collar of his robes.
3It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion. For there the LORD ordained his blessing, life forevermore.
Prayer for Illumination
New Testament Reading Matthew 23:1-12
23 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 2“The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’s seat; 3therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it, but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. 4They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others, but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. 5They do all their deeds to be seen by others, for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. 6They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues 7and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to have people call them rabbi. 8But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers and sisters. 9And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father, the one in heaven. 10Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. 11The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.
Lector: This is the Word of the Lord.
Congregation: Thanks be to God for His Word.
Special Music O Wondrous Love Emily Newman & Erin Ward
Hymn # 4 Be Still My Soul (Supplemental Hymnal)
Old Testament Reading Daniel 4:18-37
18“This is the dream that I, King Nebuchadnezzar, saw. Now you, Belteshazzar, declare the interpretation, since all the wise men of my kingdom are unable to tell me the interpretation. You are able, however, for you are endowed with a spirit of the holy gods.”
19Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was severely distressed for a while. His thoughts terrified him. The king said, “Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or the interpretation terrify you.” Belteshazzar answered, “My lord, may the dream be for those who hate you and its interpretation for your enemies! 20The tree that you saw, which grew great and strong so that its top reached to heaven and was visible to the whole earth, 21whose foliage was beautiful and its fruit abundant, and which provided food for all, under which animals of the field lived and in whose branches the birds of the air had nests—22it is you, O king! You have grown great and strong. Your greatness has increased and reaches to heaven, and your sovereignty to the ends of the earth. 23And whereas the king saw a holy watcher coming down from heaven and saying, ‘Cut down the tree and destroy it, but leave its stump and roots in the ground, with a band of iron and bronze, in the grass of the field, and let him be bathed with the dew of heaven, and let his lot be with the animals of the field, until seven times pass over him’—24this is the interpretation, O king, and it is a decree of the Most High that has come upon my lord the king: 25You shall be driven away from human society, and your dwelling shall be with the wild animals. You shall be made to eat grass like oxen, you shall be bathed with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over you, until you have learned that the Most High has sovereignty over the kingdom of mortals and gives it to whom he will. 26As it was commanded to leave the stump and roots of the tree, your kingdom shall be reestablished for you from the time that you learn that Heaven is sovereign. 27Therefore, O king, may my counsel be acceptable to you: atone for your sins with righteousness and your iniquities with mercy to the oppressed, so that your prosperity may be prolonged.”
28All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. 29At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, 30and the king said, “Is this not magnificent Babylon, which I have built as a royal capital by my mighty power and for my glorious majesty?” 31While the words were still in the king’s mouth, a voice came down from heaven: “O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared: The kingdom is taken from you! 32You shall be driven away from human society, and your dwelling shall be with the animals of the field. You shall be made to eat grass like oxen, and seven times shall pass over you, until you have learned that the Most High has sovereignty over the kingdom of mortals and gives it to whom he will.” 33Immediately the sentence was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven away from human society, he ate grass like oxen, and his body was bathed with the dew of heaven, until his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers and his nails became like birds’ claws.
34When that period was over, I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me.
I blessed the Most High and praised and honored the one who lives forever. For his sovereignty is an everlasting sovereignty, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation. 35All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does what he wills with the host of heaven and the inhabitants of the earth. There is no one who can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”
36At that time my reason returned to me, and my majesty and splendor were restored to me for the glory of my kingdom. My counselors and my lords sought me out, I was reestablished over my kingdom, and still more greatness was added to me. 37Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are truth, and his ways are justice; he is able to bring low those who walk in pride.
Sermon Pastor Andrew Winter