A Gathering in Worship Offered by the People of the Church of Christ, Union
Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost 10:30 am
Meditation “In diversity there is beauty and there is strength” ~Maya Angelou
From There to Here: We Gather
The Call Pamela Chabora, Reader
Masons, when they start upon a building,
Are careful to test out the scaffolding;
Make sure that planks won’t slip at busy points,
Secure all ladders, tighten bolted joints.
And yet all this comes down when the job’s done
Showing off walls of sure and solid stone.
So if, my dear, there sometimes seem to be
Old bridges breaking between you and me
Never fear. We may let the scaffolds fall
Confident that we have built our wall.
“Scaffolding” from Opened Ground: Selected Poems 1966–1996 by Seamus Heaney. Copyright © 1998 by Seamus Heaney.
¨ Hymn # 270 Like the Murmur of the Dove’s Song Bridegroom
1 Like the murmur of the dove’s song, like the challenge of her flight, like the vigor of the wind’s rush, like the new flame’s eager might: Come, Holy Spirit, come.
2 To the members of Christ’s body,to the branches of the Vine, to the Church in faith assembled, to her midst as gift and sign: Come, Holy Spirit, come.
3 With the healing of division, with the ceaseless voice of prayer, with the power to love and witness, with the peace beyond compare: Come, Holy Spirit, come.
¨ Passing the Peace of Christ
All who come to this sanctuary are welcome companions on the journey of faith. Please turn to those nearest you and greet them with words of peace.
Word and Worship
Scripture Lesson Exodus 1:8-2:10 Pamela Chabora, Reader
Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. He said to his people, “Look, the Israelite people are more numerous and more powerful than we. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, or they will increase and, in the event of war, join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.” Therefore they set taskmasters over them to oppress them with forced labor. They built supply cities, Pithom and Rameses, for Pharaoh. But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread, so that the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites. The Egyptians became ruthless in imposing tasks on the Israelites, and made their lives bitter with hard service in mortar and brick and in every kind of field labor. They were ruthless in all the tasks that they imposed on them.
The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, “When you act as midwives to the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, she shall live.” But the midwives feared God; they did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but they let the boys live. So the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this, and allowed the boys to live?” The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women; for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them.”
So God dealt well with the midwives; and the people multiplied and became very strong. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families. Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, “Every boy that is born to the Hebrews you shall throw into the Nile, but you shall let every girl live. Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was a fine baby, she hid him three months. When she could hide him no longer she got a papyrus basket for him, and plastered it with bitumen and pitch; she put the child in it and placed it among the reeds on the bank of the river. His sister stood at a distance, to see what would happen to him.
The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her attendants walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to bring it. When she opened it, she saw the child. He was crying, and she took pity on him. “This must be one of the Hebrews’ children,” she said. Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?” Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Yes.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed it. When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and she took him as her son. She named him Moses, “because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.”
Children’s Moment as the children return to their seats we sing:
May God’s presence 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.
Scripture Lesson Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32
I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. Just as you were once disobedient to God but have now received mercy because of their disobedience, so they have now been disobedient in order that, by the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy. For God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may be merciful to all.
Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.
Sermon Gifts Differing Rev. Kent Gilbert
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.
Prayer Reflection Questions
All the Parts: Consider the parts of your own body. Many of them you may not even be aware of until they are injured or not working. Then we can become especially aware of how we thrive when all parts are working well. Extend this metaphor to your family, work, and social worlds. Try to examine deeply the people and gifts that make thriving possible. How will you live gratefully in the light of this knowledge?
Gift and Guile: The Hebrew scripture today recounts the shrewd actions of resourceful women who not only save the life of Moses, but plant the seed of liberation in midst of the Egyptian empire. Where do you see this use of this kind of gift in your own life? In what ways could you apply as much acumen to managing your compassion and contribution to the world as your stock portfolio, your work projects, or your degree program? In prayers, open yourself to whatever help might be needed.
As we come forward, our gifts are received for this common work together.
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Silent Prayers & Prayers of the Community Pamela Chabora, Reader
Hear us, Lord of difference and delight: we labor too much for what satisfies too little. We ask for help to discern the gifts we carry and the good ways to offer them. Grant that we may be midwives of your coming kin-dom; that with sharp minds and open hearts we can subvert all that is harmful and heal all that is broken.
We need this for the world, but also for our own divided spirits. We pray comfort for those who are ill and those whose hearts are heavy. We pray for healing, and we pray to have wisdom to love and courage to reconceive old ways into new life. Build in us and on us your greater vision, however small or humble our part may be.
We offer our gifts as we pray the way Jesus, our brother taught us to reach to you…
Our Lord’s Prayer
All: 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: We Depart
¨ Hymn #576 For the Healing of the Nations Westminster Abbey
1 For the healing of the nations,God, we pray with one accord; for a just and equal sharing of the things that earth affords; to a life of love in action help us rise and pledge our word.
2 Lead us forward into into freedom; from despair your world release, that, redeemed from war and hatred, all may come and go in peace. Show us how, through care and goodness, fear will die and hope increase.
3 All that kills abundant living, let it from the earth be banned: pride of status, race or schooling, dogmas that obscure your plan.In our common quest for justice may we hallow life’s brief span.
4 You, Creator-God, have written your great name on humankind; for our growing in your likeness, bring the life of Christ to mind; that by our response and service earth its destiny may find.
We share opportunities for Beloved Community and ways to serve.
Lighting the Justice Candle to Lead us Forth
Casa Alitas: A Catholic Community Service Project for Travelers in Need
Casa Alitas is a humanitarian aid project committed to helping asylum-seekers in Tucson, Arizona. Migrants arrive at the shelter after recent release from ICE and Border Patrol detention. Volunteers offer hospitality along with temporary housing, food, clothing, toiletries, advocacy, and travel assistance. Comfort and safety are provided in a welcoming environment while start their adjustment to being here and prepare to reunite with loved ones across the country.
Recently, Casa Alitas has been overwhelmed with the numbers of asylum-seekers who are processed by Border Patrol and then simply released literally on a street corner. Many do not speak English and do not have a clue about how to proceed in order to make their way safely in the US to family and friends who will sponsor them. These dedicated volunteers are truly “welcoming the stranger.”
¨ Benediction Response Woyaya (We Will Get There)
Please sing as you form our larger circle. We will sing it twice so that we may fully see each other and sing at the same time.
Reprinted with permission using OneLicense #A-723786
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 (World Council of Churches Ecumenical Prayer cycle: union-church.org/ministries/prayer) Let us hold the people of the Cape Verde, The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal; and our brothers & sisters at Wallaceton Baptist Church in our hearts, and pray for them today and throughout the week.
¨ Prayers for all the people of Ukraine for their safety and sovereignty. Prayers also that the government of Russia will turn to reason & respect for their own peoples’ lives as well as for Ukrainian families.
¨ 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: Jan Hamilton, Doug Hindman, Betsy Hoefer, Dorie Hubbard, Lois Morgan, Tom & Sara Parker, Cheryl Payne, Alva Peloquin, Laura Robie, Betty Wray, Sally Zimmerman
¨ Tom Parker, Tina’s father and Iris & Opal’s grandfather, has transitioned to hospice care. He will remain at Morning Pointe.
¨ Loyal Jones, in hospice care. His daughter, Susan, reports he’d love to hear from friends. His address is 200 Tabernacle Rd. L-205; Black Mountain; NC; 28711.
¨ Rita Barlow, receiving care at home.
¨ All those suffering from mental strain, trauma, and disease: may God soothe and heal all who are troubled.
¨ Annriette Stolte, who has had a fall and broken several ribs. She’d love cards and calls from Union friends: 579 Alexian Way #417, South Signal Mountain, TN, 37377; 859-200-6954
¨ Doug Hindman, at The Terrace, under hospice care.
¨ James Stephens, Charlie Hoffman’s brother-in-law, suffering with cancer.
¨ Members and Friends who need safer housing and income security.
¨ John Stanley & Heather Lundy former Union Church members & still beloved friends, as John recovers from a stroke.
¨ JoAnn Russell, Reda Hutton’s aunt, facing several medical challenges.
Celebrations with Prayers of Joy!
Birthdays: August 28 – Mary Ann Zeis; 29 – Jen Eich, Sofia Saderholm, Diego Haynes; Sept. 1 – Sara Parker; 2 – Dodie Murphy
Anniversaries: Sept. 1 – Gene & Dorothy Chao; 3 – Greg & Adria Sutherland
If we haven’t got your important dates, let us know. We’ll help you get connected in FellowshipOne Go!