A Gathering in Worship Offered by the People of the Church of Christ, Union
Fifth Sunday of Lent 10:30 am
You are free to be bold, to be brazen, to be exactly who God called you to be.
From There to Here: We Gather
Call to Worship
One: May we find courage here—
All: courage to follow our call, courage to live out our faith.
One: May we find hope here—
All: hope for a better world, hope that refuses to let us go.
One: May we find truth here—
All: truth that lives in sacred community, truth that lives in ancient stories.
One: May we find all that we seek.
All: And in our seeking, may we know God. Amen.
Call to Confession
There are very few things as powerful as a group of people that admits they are not perfect, and asks for grace as they grow. Imagine what our world might be like if every institution had such a weekly rhythm?
Friends, we can light the way. Let us be brave in our truth-telling and honest in our confession. For we will always be met by grace. Let us pray. . .
Prayer of Confession
Jesus of Nazareth, we admit that often we tuck our faith into our pockets, hiding in a place of comfort rather than proudly declaring: yes we are Christian, yes we believe, yes this faith has changed me. We are so afraid of offending others or embarrassing ourselves that we have established rules: no faith at the dinner table, no faith in politics, no faith with strangers. Forgive us for whispering when we could be singing. Forgive us for staying quiet when we could be part of rewriting the narrative. We want to be brave. We want to pour out perfume over your feet. These things we pray, amen.
Words of Forgiveness
One: Family of faith, hear this good news:
Even in our silence, God loves us.
Even in our fear or shame, God chooses us.
Even when we sin, God wraps us in grace.
You are free—to be bold, to be brazen, to be exactly who God called you to be.
All: Thanks be to God, amen.
Singing Together We Are Listening, Lord
Prayer for Illumination
One: Holy God, sometimes my waking is a prayer. Sometimes the song I have stuck in my head, rumbling around on repeat, is a prayer. Sometimes the way I talk to the children and the way I hug the dog is a prayer. Sometimes the way I take my phone out to get a picture of the sunset or of the people I love—that is a prayer.
One: Other times, prayer is moments like this— heads bowed, eyes closed, hearts quiet for just a moment. And in all of it, I trust you to hear me. Help me to hear you in return. Gratefully we pray, amen.
Singing Together We Are Listening, Lord
Passing the Peace
Building the Community: News that Connects Us
Lighting the Justice Candle
Today we light the Justice Candle in honor of Dr. Louise Gilman Hutchins, born February 2, 1911, to Episcopal missionaries in Hunan Province, China. The family lived there until 1926, when they returned to the United States. During her time in China, Louise met Francis Hutchins (who was president of Berea College from1939-67) and the two married in 1934. In Berea, Hutchins served as the only pediatrician in the community from 1939 to 1967; and offered no-cost medical care to the children brought to Woman’s Industrial at Union Church by their moms. Soon after her arrival in the community, Hutchins became the board president and medical director for the Mountain Maternal Health League, est. 1936, and continued in that role for 47 years. Mountain Maternal served rural women in Estill, Harlan, Garrard, Jackson, Lincoln, Madison, Powell, Rockcastle, and Whitley counties, and offered medical services to women in these communities by traveling to reach geographically isolated patients – often on horseback. Most of their work, however, involved providing contraception information in their clinic while providing refills on contraceptive supplies via mail. During this time, Kentucky law prohibited government officials from funding or disseminating birth control information.
In 1944, the Mountain Maternal Health League established a clinic in Berea Hospital and soon after, became affiliated with Planned Parenthood Federation of America. In 1967, Francis Hutchins retired from Berea College and the couple moved to Hong Kong for three years. During this time, Louise Hutchins completed a residency in gynecology while working with the city’s Family Planning Association. The couple returned to Berea in 1970 and, until her death at age 85 in 1996, Dr. Louise Hutchins continued to work to improve the health of women and children in Kentucky.
The Living Word Among Us
Hymn #210 Black Said Judas to Mary Judas and Mary
1. Said Judas to Mary, “Now what will you do with your ointment so rich and so rare?” “I’ll pour it all over the feet of the Lord and I’ll wipe it away with my hair” she said and I’ll wipe it away with my hair”
2. “Oh Mary, Oh Mary, Oh think of the poor—This ointment, it could have been sold and think of the blankets and think of the bread you could buy with the silver and gold,” He said you could buy with the silver and gold,”
3. “Tomorrow, Tomorrow I’ll think of the poor, tomorrow, she said, “not today; for dearer than all of the poor in the world is my love who is going away,” she said is my love who is going away,”
Said Jesus to Mary, “Your love is so deep today you may do as you will. Tomorrow you say I am going away but my body I leave with you still,” He said. But my body I leave with you still,”
4. “The poor of the world are my body,” He said “To the end of the world they shall be. The bread and the blankets You give to the poor you’ll know you have given to me,” He said, “you’ll know you have given to me,”
5. “My body will hang on the cross of the world tomorrow,” He said, “not today, and Martha and Mary will find me again and wash all the sorrow away,” he said “and wash all my sorrows away.”
Epistle Lesson Isaiah 43:16-21, p. 857 Paul Jacobs, Reader
Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea, a path in the mighty waters, who brings out chariot and horse, army and warrior; they lie down, they cannot rise, they are extinguished, quenched like a wick: Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. The wild animals will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches; for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself so that they might declare my praise.
Children’s Moment Please join in singing as we bless children everywhere:
May God’s blessing guard, protect and guide you. God bless you, God bless you. Our savior’s loving arms be ever ’round you. God bless you, God bless you.
Sung Psalm 126 Debbonnaire Kovacs, Cantor
The psalms were originally musical compositions. During Lent we will pray the psalms in musical form with congregational responses. Please sing the response when invited, indicated by R
May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy.
When God restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then it was said among the nations, “God has done great things for them.” God has done great things for us, and we rejoiced. R
Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like the watercourses in the Negeb. May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy. Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves. R
Gospel Lesson John 12:1-8
Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, ‘Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?’ (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.’ ’
Sermon Brazen Acts of Beauty Rev. Kent Gilbert
Kyrie Ukrainian Orthodox Monondy of the XVth Century
Responding to God’s Love in Communion
Invitation to Communion
One: The Lord be with you!
All: And also with you.
One: Lift up your hearts
All: We lift them unto the Lord.
One: Let us give thanks to the Lord Our God
All: It is always right to give God thanks and praise.
One: Jesus has always been one to invite.
He said, “Drop your nets and follow me.”
He said, “Let the little children come.”
He said, “Stand up from your mat, you are healed.”
Jesus has always been one to invite, and that has not changed.
So friends, you are invited to this Table. Each and every one of us—with our doubts, our fears, our scars, our joy, our dreams, our hopes, our questions—we are invited to God’s table.
And here we will be met. Here we will be fed. Here we are given a taste of an expansive life that is full to the brim with love, overflowing with joy.
So come. Not because you must, but because you can.
Come. You are invited. This Table is for you.
Call to Prayer and Offering
Ringing of the Peace Bell
The Union Church Peace Bell was created by Jeff Enge in honor of Union Church member Carl Eschbach (1904-1998). A twin bell hangs in Berea’s sister province in Japan and is also rung in the hope of peace for all nations.
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God most Mighty Heaven and Earth are full of your Glory. Full to the brim, your blessings over flow: Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is the one who comes in your name, Lord Blessed is the one bearing messages of peace. We join with all creation, singing praise forever: Hosanna in the Highest.
Words of Institution
One: Holy one, you who fill us to the brim with spirit and with purpose, you overflow in the midst of our deep yearning. We remember the bread of journeys and the wine of new discoveries that has sustained our lives brought to us in the life and ministry of your son. Later in his life, on the precipice of new beginnings and dangerous dealings, we remember that Jesus took bread and, when he had given thanks, he broke it among those gathered and said,
All: “This is my body which is broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
One: Not just the daily bread, but also the cup of celebration is passed to us: new life, flowing like joy, and looking like company. Amongst those same friends, he took a cup, and giving thanks, said,
All: “This cup is a new covenant of my life and blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
One: For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord until he comes.
Gracious God, by this meal we recall Jesus’ birth, his ministry to all on the margins, and his promise of eternal life and light. Send your Holy Spirit upon us and upon this bread and cup, that we who eat and drink at this holy table may share the life of Christ, our Lord. Pour out your Spirit upon the whole earth and bring in your new year, and your creation. Gather us together from the ends of the earth and the limits of our understanding; gather us into your kingdom where peace and justice are revealed in all; gather us that we, with all your people of every language, race, and nation, may share the banquet you intend for all. Amen.
Serving One Another
All who seek the love of God are welcome at this meal and are invited to freely receive from it. When invited please come to one of the stations by exiting your pew to the left and returning by the right. If it is not convenient to come forward, the elements can be brought to your seat by signaling to the usher. All the bread is gluten-free, and the chalices are filled with non-alcoholic grape juice. If it is not your tradition to receive, you are invited to join in prayers for the unity of the Spirit and all people, within your tradition.
Offering Music Sharing the Paschal Bread and Wine Union Church Orchestra
A Chance for Generosity: www.easytithe.com/union Our gifts help sustain this particular community of caring by sustaining the building, pastors and staff, and all the materials that make our ministry of healing, justice, and teaching available to all in need. In addition, a portion of our contributions flows out to aid those in need via many external agencies.
Many friends give online, and you can use your smart phone or computer and go to www.easytithe.com/union. You don’t have to register to make a contribution, but if you do, it can make future generosity that much easier.
You can even give by text! Text to 859-448-3403 (Example: Text “$50.00 Offering”)
You can also use US mail! Mail to: 200 Prospect St., Berea, KY 40403
Your contribution is love made visible. Thank you!
Community Prayer Mary Lou Wiese, Reader
Holy One, maker of us all, your grace to us is a brazen act of beauty, an overflowing embrace of love and hope. We pray that we might rise to such extravagance, that we might pay forward such a flood as to give glory and show our true heritage as children of a loving God. For this meal and every meal we are grateful. Strengthen every hand and heart, Lord. Pour out a blessing on every table that every child may have enough and the tears of every parent are dried. With power lead your people to extravagant generosity to bring about your kin-dom, and may you be known in the beauty of our actions, offered in thanks for all you have done. Here us as we pray to you as…
Our Lord’s Prayer
Our Maker, Our Mother and Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
From Here to There
¨ Hymn #292 Breath on Me, Breath of God Trentham
1. Breathe on me, breath of God, fill me with life anew, that as you love, so I may love, and do what you would do.
2. Breathe on me, breath of God, until my heart is pure, until my will is one with yours to do and to endure.
3. Breathe on me, breath of God, fulfill my heart’s desire, until this earthly part of me glows with your heavenly fire.
4. Breathe on me, breath of God, so shall I never die, but live with you the perfect life of your eternity.
Artist’s Statement Brazen Beauty by Lisle Gwynn Garrity
In the chapter just before this, Lazarus dies and Jesus weeps. But after being laid in the tomb, Lazarus is raised and made well. This act solidifies for the chief priests and Pharisees that Jesus is a dangerous threat. In response, they order for his arrest and plot how they will kill him. Jesus retreats from public ministry, hiding out in the wilderness in Ephraim. As the Passover nears, people begin to wonder: “Will Jesus be here?”
Despite the threats mounting, Jesus does return. On his way to Jerusalem, he stops in Bethany, seeking refuge and comfort in the home of his friends. Martha cooks a feast, and Lazarus—healthy and alive—joins him at the table. In resistance to death, as an act of extravagant love, Mary anoints Jesus with a fragrance that fills the whole room. Her actions could appear impulsive, but if you were saying your last goodbye to someone you loved, how would you act?
This image began as a painting on raw canvas. With fluid strokes of paint, I allowed the colors to run and bleed into each other. As I drew Mary kneeling, I omitted the other details in the scene, removing Jesus’ feet, the other guests, the table full of food. I wanted to focus on Mary’s brazen act of pouring out the expensive perfume, a commodity valued at a year’s worth of wages. The luxurious liquid is expansive, flowing out toward us as the viewer. It bleeds into the red, foreshadowing the blood Jesus will soon shed. The vessel she holds is lined with gold, a reference to the ancient Japanese practice of Kintsugi, of repairing broken pottery with gold lacquer. The art of Kintsugi embellishes the cracks and transforms a shattered vessel into a new object of beauty. In this embodied act of worship, Mary is practicing Kintsugi—boldly celebrating the beauty of life even as death approaches.
Words for this service were Adapted from a prayers and poetry by Rev. Sarah (Are) Speed | A Sanctified Art LLC | sanctifiedart.org. Used by Permission.
Especially in Our Prayers
¨ Each week we join millions of Christians who pray for one another through the ecumenical prayer cycle and, locally, the Berea Ministerial Association’s prayer cycle. Let us hold the people of the Balkans -Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia; and our brothers & sisters at First Faith Independent Church in our hearts, and pray for them. Please hold these concerns in your prayers, today and throughout the week.
¨ Prayers for all the people of Ukraine for their safety and sovereignty, and especially those in the city of Nikolaev where the family of former Berea International student daughter of Kevin and Carla, Yulia live. Prayers also that the government of Russia will turn to reason and respect for their own people’s lives as well as for Ukrainian families.
¨ All those feeling the oppression of depression and isolation. May God strengthen us all and build bridges to grace.
¨ All those seeking a new and just society and those fearful that they will be supplanted, may God open their hearts and include them in grace.
¨ Our church family members in nursing homes or who are homebound: Alva Peloquin, Loyal Jones, Lois Morgan, Jan Hamilton, Laura Robie, Dorie Hubbard, Betty Wray, Sally Zimmerman
¨ Families and Friends in Crises…may God be present to every need and heal every rift and wound and those who care for them.
¨ JoAnn Russell, Reda Hutton’s aunt, facing several medical challenges.
¨ Ed Waters, friend of JoAnn Russell, who is recovering well from triple bypass heart bypass surgery.
¨ Children in detention centers, that they may be reunited with their families soon.
¨ Those affected by the Covid-19 virus, their families and friends living with fear, anxiety, and feelings of isolation, may God bring peace to all who love them; and our wider community as we cope with the new realities of living, including the now nearly 15,000 Kentucky residents, and 267 Madison County residents, who have died to date from Covid-19.
¨ Sharona Nelson, facing a long recovery after surgery to repair a broken shoulder.
¨ Sharona’s husband, and a faithful bridge club member, Dan Kotlow, at the ER early Friday with abdominal symptoms and severe pain.
¨ Tom Frazier, who had a fall at home and is in Richmond Baptist hospital with a broken nose and upper femur.
¨ Raymond Binkley, Betty Wray’s brother, aged 94, and in ill health.
¨ Meg Suters, recovering from a broken writs.
¨ Mary Lou Wiese’s niece, Catie and her husband Jacob, a the loss of their son, Lukas, at 16 months.
¨ David & Laura Bellnier, at the death of David’s mother, Devy. David & Laura’s address is 116 McDowell Rd. Apt. 3, Lexington, KY 40502
¨ Barb Taylor’s daughter & son-in-law, Heather & Glenn Chapman, currently unable to leave Moldova.
¨ Important dates—if we haven’t got yours, let us know. We’ll help you get connected in FellowshipOne Go!
Birthdays: April 7 – Greg Sutherland; 8 – Ashley Hammond; 10 – Carol Shaffer
Children are welcome in the service, or you can stay with them in the Nursery
· there will be a nursery assistant available in the nursery space to provide support for families who are supervising their own children there,
· the nursery and playground will be open for families to use if you supervise your own children,
· there will be a device for listening/watching the service in the nursery,
· we anticipate adding full nursery services once under 5s can be vaccinated,
· the children’s Worship Center in the back of the sanctuary will have activities for our youngest members!
Bel Canto Concert April 9
Please join us in-person next Saturday, April 9, 2022 at 3:00PM in Gray Auditorium for the Berea College Bel Canto Treble Singers Spring Choir Concert. The performers will be unmasked for your listening pleasure. In keeping with Berea College regulations audience members are still required to wear masks. This concert will also be livestreamed. https://livestream.com/bereacollege
Learn + Pray + Act
Please join the Mission & Service Board on Wednesday, April 20th, 7 pm via Zoom to find out about a planned Mission & Service Board Trip in May to the border with Mexico here in Arizona. The “Mission & Service 3rd Wednesday” program will introduce you to the southwest immigration crisis. Find out about immigration history, the problems that migrants and refugees face when coming to this border, and what some local groups are doing in order to alleviate some of the suffering. Even if you are unable to join us for the trip planned for May 11th through May 19th, attending the Zoom program will give you an idea of what the Mission & Service Board, and the “outlier” member who lives and works in Arizona, are up to!! Meet some of the activists who have been involved on the ground with this issue for many years. Watch for the Zoom link in the Monday announcements as the date approaches (it’s also on the website calendar)!
Creating Hope for a Better World
Grace Todd McKenzie and Heather Dent have spent the last 5 years working on a picture book biography on Michelle Tooley, a beloved Berea College professor in Religion and Social Justice who passed away in 2015, and a faithful Union Church member and passionate Mission & Service Board member. The picture book is complete and available for purchase on Amazon! If you’d like a signed copy feel free to reach out to Heather or Grace and they’d be happy to arrange that.
Many of us knew and loved Michelle, and many of us supported Heather and Grace in their efforts to share her story, so we are delighted to share this good news!
Tour of The Cincinnati Observatory April 23
Join members of the Pinnacles Astronomy Club for a trip to Cincinnati for a tour the oldest observatory in continuous use in America. Founded in 1845 with the installation of a telescope that was, for its time, the second largest in the world, The Cincinnati Observatory was decreed to be a municipal observatory, not associated with a research institution. This commitment to public education continues today with regular public viewings through the two large telescopes, including the original 1845 Merz und Mahler refractor.
The Cincinnati Observatory is associated with the establishment of standard time zones and its founder, Civil War General Ormsby Macknight Mitchell, invented the first global positioning system without satellites! A later director of the facility founded the National Weather Service.
This will be a daytime visit, beginning at 2:30. The cost is $100 for a group of 15. I’m capping the limit at 15 to get the best price ($7.00 per person if we have that many). We will meet at 11:45 in the church parking lot and carpool for the trip. If you’d like to register to go, please contact Jeff Hutton at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message at 859-237-4014
Our calendar is still under (re)construction.
As Covid numbers have dramatically decreased, you’re invited to call the church office to schedule your group meetings. 859-986-3725.
Below is the graphic that Church Council has been using to determine occupancy in the building. Madison County is in the Green!