A Gathering in Worship Offered by the People of the Church of Christ, Union
May 14, 2023, Sixth Sunday of Easter
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ~ Howard Thurman
From There to Here: We Gather
I am from clothespins, from Clorox and carbon-tetrachloride. I am from the dirt under the back porch. (Black, glistening, it tasted like beets.) I am from the forsythia bush the Dutch elm whose long-gone limbs I remember as if they were my own.
I’m from fudge and eyeglasses, from Imogene and Alafair. I’m from the know-it-allsand the pass-it-ons, from Perk up! and Pipe down!
I’m from He restoreth my soul with a cottonball lamb and ten verses I can say myself.
I’m from Artemus and Billie’s Branch, fried corn and strong coffee. From the finger my grandfather lost to the auger, the eye my father shut to keep his sight.
Under my bed was a dress box spilling old pictures, a sift of lost faces to drift beneath my dreams. I am from those moments–snapped before I budded — leaf-fall from the family tree. ~ George Ella Lyon
¨ Hymn #427 Black God Made from One Blood St. Denio
1. God made from one blood all the families of Earth. The circles of nurture that raised us from birth. Companions who join us to walk through each stage, of childhood and youth, adulthood and age.
2. We turn to you, God, with our thanks and our tears. For all of the families we’ve known through the years. The intimate networks on whom we depend, of parents and partner and roommate and friend.
3. Through families we’ve tasted the value of trust, And felt what it means to be loving and just. Yet, families have also betrayed their best goals, mistreating their members and bruising their souls.
4. Help families in all of their various forms To face with integrity struggles and storms; Grant peace to our homes that will nurtures the bud of peace for the families you made from one blood.
¨ 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
Anthem Risen Just as He Said arr. Marty Parks Union Church Choir
Alleluia! Sing to God a hymn of gladness; sing to God a hymn of praise. He who on the cross as Savior for the world’s salvation bled, Jesus Christ, the King of Glory, now is risen from the dead! Now the iron bars are broken; Christ from death to life is born. Glorious life, and life immortal, on this resurrection morn! Christ has triumphed and we conquer by His mighty enterprise. We with Him to life eternal by His resurrection rise!
Oh, Hallelujah! He is risen up from the grave just as He said! Oh, Hallelujah! He is risen from the dead! Alleluia! Hearts to heaven and voices raise. Sing to God a hymn of gladness; sing to God a hymn of praise. He who on the cross as Savior for the world’s salvation bled, Jesus Christ, the King of Glory, now is risen from the dead!
Scripture Lesson Acts 17:1345
Then Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, “Athenians, I see how extremely spiritual you are in every way. For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription, ‘To an unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. From one ancestor he made all peoples to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps fumble about for him and find him—though indeed he is not far from each one of us. For ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said,
‘For we, too, are his offspring.’
“Since we are God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals. While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”
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 John 15:15-21, p. 1304
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him because he abides with you, and he will be in you. “I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me, and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.”
Sermon In Love with Love 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.
Silent Prayer & Reflection Actions
What are in you in love with? … Sometime what we say we are in love with isn’t where we find ourselves spending our time, our money, our effort.
What first step could you take to bring those things into alignment? In your prayers ask for whatever you need to help take that step.
The World We Bear … Not all bear children or raise families, but all of us birth worlds and tend our portion of it. As you pray, now or at some time of quiet reflection, what kind of world would you like to bring into being.
Take a moment to make a concrete list of all that would make a world you would be proud passing to others. For each item on your list see if you can identify what Love is required. Then, with great gentleness and great humility, open yourself to the holy spirit Jesus spoke of, and see if there is direction on actions you could take. Take whatever love is offered and add it to your own this week.
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Your contribution is love made visible. Thank you!
Prayer by George Ella Lyon Peggy Patrick, Reader
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 #50 Black I Sing the Praise of Love Almighty St. Petersburg
1 I sing the praise of love almighty, which shines revealed in Jesus’ face. I offer up all that delights me, all mean desires, each fond embrace, turn from myself in pure devotion, and eager plunge in love’s vast ocean.
2 How loving-kind you are, how gentle, how your heart reaches ager mine! My heart responds in elemental sympathy, beating perfect time. This mutual love, this strong attraction, I have no other satisfaction.
3 Secure my heart and all my being, in you, my Savior, crucified. You gave your life to work my healing, bleeding for me, you groaned and died. Beloved Jesus, my salvation, you have, through love, restored creation.
4 May my heart bear the deep impression of love that Jesus shares with me, My life become a pure expression of all that Christian love can be: Each word, each act, a bright reflection of joy in Love’s own resurrection.
We share opportunities for Beloved Community and ways to serve.
Lighting the Justice Candle to Lead us Forth
Today we celebrate Mother’s Day and we are celebrating “mothers” of all kinds. Often, those who have not physically birthed have been overlooked. Many suggestions as to how to rebrand the day have not been successful. But in the end, Mother’s Day is not about being a physical mother. Instead it’s about acknowledging the opportunity to care for those we care about and celebrate the love they experience in a “mothering/ nurturing” way which is in no way limited to only females, or to those related by birth.
Today’s Justice Candle is lit in honor of Foster Parent Youth Advocate Program (NYAP) which invites persons to consider becoming a Foster Parent with the guidance and support given as you embark on a journey of welcoming into your home a youth in need of a nurturing, safe and stable home within which traumatized youth are able to heal– and open to both females and males to offer that nurturing presence.
Postlude Pequena Vals de Esquina Francisco Mignone Union Church Orchesta
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 (World Council of Churches Ecumenical Prayer cycle: union-church.org/ministries/prayer) Let us hold the people of Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal; and our brothers & sisters at Gloryland 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.
¨ For the survivors of the earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria and all those in the aftermath of natural, and man-made, disasters.
¨ The Bellnier family and for David’s father, recently diagnosed with aggressive lymphoma.
¨ 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, Tom & Sara Parker, Cheryl Payne, Alva Peloquin, Laura Robie, Betty Wray, Sally Zimmerman
¨ Patsy Boyce, sister-in-law of Bob and Jean Boyce, undergoing chemotherapy.
¨ Rita Barlow, receiving care at St. Joseph Hospital
¨ All those suffering from mental strain, trauma, and disease: may God soothe and heal all who are troubled.
¨ ¨ Angela Anderson, traveling to MD Anderson Hospital in Texas for treatment of her colon.
¨ Mothers who have been blessings to their children, and for all for those who find “mother” a difficult word today.
Celebrations with Prayers of Joy!
Birthdays: Today, May 14 – Andrew Garrett; 15 – Betty Hibler; 16 – Doug Hindman; 19 – Robert Melton; 21 – John Wernegreen, Steve Gowler
Anniversaries: May 18– David & Sarah Vaughn; 21 – Dan Kotlow & Sharona Nelson
If we haven’t got your important dates, let us know. We’ll help you get connected in FellowshipOne Go!