A Gathering in Worship Offered by the People of the Church of Christ, Union
Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany 10:30 am
It’s not about what’s happening, it’s about how we are with what’s happening. ~Sharon Salzberg, “A Guided Practice for Cultivating Attention”
From There to Here: We Gather
One: One: Divine Gardener, you give growth to our seeds and to the towering forest trees; you raise to abundant life that which seems dead.
All: Teach us to choose blessing and life rather than death, so that we may walk blamelessly, seeking you through right relationship with all of your children.
One: We enter this time to worship you.
¨ Hymn #603 Black Giver of Life. Where’er They Be Gelobt Sei Gott
1 Giver of life, where’er they be,
safe in Your own eternity,
now live your children gloriously.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
2 All souls you call, both here and there,
do rest within your sheltering care;
one providence alike they share:
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
3 Your word is true, your ways are just;
above the chanted, “Dust to dust,”
shall rise our song of grateful trust:
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
4 Happy are they in God who rest,
no more by fear and doubt oppressed,
living or dying, they are blest:
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
¨ Prayer of Approach & Confession (unison)
O God, you are always true to us in love
and we are left wanting to say sorry
for our faithlessness to you and to one another,
for our forgetting of the poorest among us
and the broken hearts around us, for our failure to cherish what you have created.
Give us life, O God, to change and enable us to change, that we may live. Amen.
. ~Adapted from the Iona Community Prayer Book
¨ Words of Assurance
¨ 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 Sirach 15:15-20
The Book of Sirach is a second-century BCE collection of ethical teachings written in poetic verse, much like the book of Proverb and belongs to the genre of Wisdom literature. Since Sirach is in ancient Greek Bibles that would have been used by early Christians, but is not part of the Hebrew Bible (and as such is noncanonical for the Jewish tradition), it is understood as apocryphal in the Protestant tradition. When it appears in Protestant Bibles, it is usually placed in a separate “Apocrypha” section.
If you choose, you can keep the commandments, and to act faithfully is a matter of your choice. He has placed before you fire and water; stretch out your hand for whichever you choose. Before each person are life and death, and whichever one chooses will be given. For great is the wisdom of the Lord; he is mighty in power and sees everything; his eyes are on those who fear him, and he knows every human action. He has not commanded anyone to be ungodly, and he has not given anyone permission to sin.
~ New Revised Standard Version: Updated Edition (Friendship Press, 2021), Sir 15:15–20.
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 Matthew 5:21-37
“You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder,’ and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment, and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council, and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire. So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to go into hell.
“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, causes her to commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
“Again, you have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but carry out the vows you have made to the Lord.’ But I say to you: Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one.
~ New Revised Standard Version: Updated Edition (Friendship Press, 2021), Mt 5:21–37.
Sermon The Webs We Weave … Rev. Kent Gilbert
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.
A Chance for Generosity: www.easytithe.com/union
Our gifts help sustain this particular community of caring by sustaining the building, pastor 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 ministries.
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. Baskets are placed at the head and foot of each aisle for those who wish to make an in-person donation. Electronic donations can be made very simply and easily at: https//: www.easy tithe.com/union
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!
Silent Prayers and Prayers of the Community
Community Prayer Gail Wolford
Lord of ties and binds, you weave us into your intricate webs of relation and care. We are bound to each other and to you by a thousand threads, supported by a thousand lines of grace, taught and challenged by a thousand draw strings on our lives. With you, we weave our own lives by the choices we make: the threads we tie and the ones we cut. Help us choose well,so the beauty and strength in the lace of your grace is never concealed. Help us weave with you for the well-being of all your creation. When we are tripped up, in trouble, tied too tightly to the wrong things, in your mercy help us unknot the tangles we make of our choices, and re-tie our hearts to your greater pattern of Love. Help us love what you love. Help us be connected rightly to healing and helping others and the deep places within ourselves. We ask so that the fabric of this life might be woven through with the care, the vision, the service and the hope you sent your son Jesus to proclaim. We pray this in his name and as he taught we reach to you as…
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
We share opportunities for Beloved Community and ways to serve.
Lighting the Justice Candle to Lead us Forth
Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Heroes The last week of January was the half-year anniversary of the historic flooding and destruction in eastern Kentucky. Dozens were killed, over 1600 homes were destroyed, 10,000 or more homes damaged, plus roads, bridges and other critical infrastructure. The cost to rebuild will take years and cost many millions of dollars.
Today we want to honor the very many organizations and individuals who provided immediate relief and support, and to remind ourselves that though the news cycle has moved on, the need is still great. A short list of the various organizations providing early relief is here:
https://www.fema.gov/fact-sheet/how-help-eastern-kentucky. Government agencies, churches and other religious organizations, civic organizations and countless individuals have provided money and in-kind support. Union Church has been a part of that effort, through individual donations and grants from the Mission and Service Board, but all of our efforts and those of others to date are only part of what will be needed to completely recover. We want to honor the significant work and generosity accomplished so far, but also remember that the work is not yet done.
Hymn Now inthe Days of Youth Diademata
1 Now in the days of youth when life is filled with choice, when hope and doubt touch every hour, when all thoughts find a voice, we turn, O god, to you for guidance and for grace, in all out days, in all our ways, help us to seek your face.
2 Teach us to use our lives with purpose and with power for visions of a better world and for decision’s hour; to choose the way of life, reject the way of death, until the radiant force of God fills mind and strength and breath.
3 Teach us to love in truth, to give and to receive with joyful and with open hearts, with all that we believe; to seek another’s good, to honor what is right, to let our will and our desire be held in holy light.
4 Teacher, Creator, God, enfold us in your arms; be with us as we try our wings, and keep up safe from harm. All good and perfect gifts come to us from your hand. O help us use them carefully and live by love’s command.
You are welcome to be seated to appreciate the music following service, and to show appreciation at the end with applause.
Our Prayers for Others
¨ 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 (Link to World Council of Churches Ecumenical Prayer cycle. (union-church.org/ministries/prayer/). Let us hold the people of Austria, Liechtenstein & Switzerland; and our brothers & sisters at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints 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. 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.
¨ For the survivors of the earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria that help will arrive and that lives may be spared. Hold them in their grief and empower all those who can help to lift their hearts to the aid needed.
¨ Hazel Morris’ niece-in-law, diag-nosed with cancer
¨ Ally Nurre’s sister hospitalized in Scotland.
¨ Sharona Nelson, recovering at home from shoulder and arm surgery. She asks that you send her good thoughts and prayers while she recovers. This is (she hopes) the final installment regarding the bones she broke in January 2022.
¨ Those recovering from recent Covid Infections
¨ Rita Barlow
¨ JoAnn Russell, Reda Hutton’s aunt, facing several medical challenges.
¨ Our church family members in nursing homes or who are homebound: Jan Hamilton, Doug Hindman, Betsy Hoefer, Dorie Hubbard, Loyal Jones, Lois Morgan, Cheryl Payne, Alva Peloquin, Laura Robie, Betty Wray, Sally Zimmerman
¨ Patsy Boyce, sister-in-law of Bob and Jean Boyce, undergoing chemotherapy.
¨ Celebrations with Prayers of Joy! Birthdays: Today—Feb. 12 – Ashley Cochrane; 13 – Ben Livingston; 14 – Greg Lakes; 16 – Abby Embry; 17 – Grace McKenzie; 18 – Lorilyn Howie-Kipphut
Anniversaries: Feb. 19 – Lauri Eiselt & Susan Scmied
If we haven’t got your important dates, let us know. We’ll help you get connected in FellowshipOne Go!
Leave a Reply