A Gathering in Worship Offered by the People of the Church of Christ, Union
Baptism of the Lord 10:30 am
“In baptism, we die. In baptism, we are invited to renounce and resist the evils of the world, to love our neighbors as ourselves, to respect the dignity of every human being. In baptism, we give our bodies and all that we do to God’s struggle for justice and peace for all people.” — Kelly Ryan
From There to Here: We Gather
The Call Water Wendell Berry Steve and Teresa Gowler, Readers
I was born in a drouth year. That summer
my mother waited in the house, enclosed
in the sun and the dry ceaseless wind,
for the men to come back in the evenings,
bringing water from a distant spring.
veins of leaves ran dry, roots shrank.
And all my life I have dreaded the return
of that year, sure that it still is
somewhere, like a dead enemy’s soul.
Fear of dust in my mouth is always with me,
and I am the faithful husband of the rain,
I love the water of wells and springs
and the taste of roofs in the water of cisterns.
I am a dry man whose thirst is praise
of clouds, and whose mind is something of a cup.
My sweetness is to wake in the night
after days of dry heat, hearing the rain.
Passing of the Peace
Building the Community: News that Connects Us
Lighting the Justice Candle
The Justice Candle is lit today for Appalachia-Science in the Public Interest. ASPI’s focus is to find solutions to increasing environmental problems through research and advocacy for public policies which favor the environment. ASPI’s philosophy involves living simply in ways that are healthy for the earth and for ourselves. While litter clean-up has been the main service component of this site in the past, students have also been involved in organic gardening, maintenance of the cordwood house and other buildings, and the promotion of a local recycling campaign. Students can anticipate getting down and dirty (literally) while engaging in their clean-up projects. Learning is emphasized, with students exploring the roots of environmental problems and thinking critically about current and possible solutions.
The Living Word Among Us
Hymn How Firm a Foundation
1. How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in His excellent Word. What more can He say than to you He has said to you who for refuge to Jesus have fled.
2. Fear not I am with thee, oh be not dismayed.; for I am your God and will still give thee aid. I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.
3. When through the deep waters I call thee to go; the rivers of sorrow shall not overflow. For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless and sanctify to you your deepest distress.
4. When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie; my grace all-sufficient shall be your supply. The flame shall not hurt thee, I only design thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.
5. The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose; I will not, I will not desert to its foes. That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake; I’ll never no never, no never forsake.
Hebrew Scripture Lesson Isaiah 43:1-7 Teresa Gowler, Reader
But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you. Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you, I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life. Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you; I will say to the north, “Give them up,” and to the south, “Do not withhold; bring my sons from far away and my daughters from the end of the earth— everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”
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.
Gospel Lesson Luke 3:15-17, 21-22
As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, ‘I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing-fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing-floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.’ Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’
Sermon The Water, The Sweetness 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: Renewal of Baptismal Vows
Today, with many other Christians, we celebrate a renewal of our Baptismal Vows, using both words and water. During the readings and music, a branch from a Christmas tree will be used to sprinkle water over the congregation. Like the rain, the grace of God falls on all people, whether baptized or not. We invite all who will to join in prayers for grace and wholeness, and all who will to recommit to service in the way of Jesus. All God’s children are beloved.
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!
Waters of Blessing Litany
Hymn I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry
1. I was there to hear your borning cry, I’ll be there when you are old. I rejoiced the day you were baptized, to see your life unfold. I was there when you were but a child, with a faith to suit you well; In a blaze of light you wandered off to find where demons dwell.”
2. “When you heard the wonder of the Word I was there to cheer you on; You were raised to praise the living Lord, to whom you now belong. If you find someone to share your time and you join your hearts as one, I’ll be there to make your verses rhyme from dusk ’till rising sun.
3. In the middle ages of your life, not too old, no longer young, I’ll be there to guide you through the night, complete what I’ve begun. When the evening gently closes in, and you shut your weary eyes, I’ll be there as I have always been with just one more surprise. I was there to hear your borning cry, I’ll be there when you are old. I rejoiced the day you were baptized, to see your life unfold.
Community Prayer Steve Gowler, Reader
Sweet source and reservoir of love, pour into your people again today. Flow through the hurt and pains of our living, bending the channel of our lives to grace. Fill our cups to overflowing that all sin and sorrow might be washed away. With such grace may we never become greed-ridden or pride-full, but help us water the garden of compassion and care, healing and restoration for all of creation. Help us care for our sick and for our inflamed. Help us mend and not tear. Help us right all that we have put wrong. Lord of Spirit and Dove, help us love what you love, with better resolve and greater skill than ever before, just as your love demands. This we pray in the way Jesus taught us…
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
Postlude Wade in the Water
Come to Virtual Coffee Hour!! Zoom link — Join https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87387600761
OUR FELLOWSHIP PRINCIPLES:
“Union Church welcomes all followers of Christ and works with all who work with Him; respecting each person’s conscience; working by love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.”
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 Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and our brothers and sisters at Berea United Methodist Church in our hearts, and pray for them. Please hold these concerns in your prayers, today and throughout the week.
¨ 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, Jennie Kiteck, Lois Morgan, Jan Hamilton, Laura Robie, Tom & Dorie Hubbard, 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.
¨ 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 over 12,300 Kentucky residents, and 216 Madison County residents, who have died to date from Covid-19.
¨ Betty Hibler and all the family, at the passing of her sister, Grace Behrendes, after a long illness.
¨ Important dates—if we haven’t got yours, let us know. We’ll help you get connected in FellowshipOne Go!
Birthdays: today, Jan. 9 – Karen Edwards; 10 – Mac Lakes, Julia Whaley-Jones; 14 – Gaige Biggs, Levi Broadbridge; 15 – Hattie Parks