A Gathering in Worship Offered by the People of the Church of Christ, Union
10:30 am The Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost
True profession of faith and love for God should not be in the way you speak, but in the way you live. ~author unknown
From There to Here: We Gather
One: O sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord; bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!
All: For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised; God is to be revered above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the Lord made the heavens.
Honor and majesty are before the Lord; strength and beauty are in God’s sanctuary.
One: So let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar and all that fills it; let the field exult and everything in it. Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord!
~ New Revised Standard Version: Updated Edition (Friendship Press, 2021), Ps 96:1–13
¨ Hymn Stepping In Christopher Grundy
Chorus: There is a prayer like a wide river. It never ends, does not begin. Around the world, it’s always flowing and I am stepping in, we are stepping in.
1. We are praying with those in diff’rent places, diff’rent languages and faces, every hour of the day. And we are praying, with enemies and strangers, in gratitude and danger, calling God ten thousand names!
2. We are praying with those who’ve gone before us, that great ancestral chorus we are joining as we sing. And we are praying with heroines and heroes, Moses, Mary and Romero, and Martin Luther King!
@2004 Hand and Soil Music. CCL#5845619 Used by permission
¨ 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
Special Music Sonata in C Scarlatti Union Church Orchestra
Scripture Lesson Exodus 33:12-23
Moses said to the Lord, “See, you have said to me, ‘Bring up this people’; but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.’ Now if I have found favor in your sight, show me your ways, so that I may know you and find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.” He said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” And he said to him, “If your presence will not go, do not carry us up from here. For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people, unless you go with us? In this way, we shall be distinct, I and your people, from every people on the face of the earth.”
The Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing that you have asked; for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.” Moses said, “Show me your glory, I pray.” And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you the name, ‘The Lord’; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face; for no one shall see me and live.”
And the Lord continued, “See, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock; and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by; then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back; but my face shall not be seen.”
~New Revised Standard Version: Updated Edition (Friendship Press, 2021)
Children’s Moment as the children return to their seats we sing:
May God’s blessings 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 22:15-22
Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap him in what he said. So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?”
But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin used for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?” They answered, “The emperor’s.” Then he said to them, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.
~ New Revised Standard Version: Updated Edition (Friendship Press, 2021)
Sermon The Unseen Empire 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
God Going With: The stories of Moses invite us to a similar intimate–and maybe even gently contentious–relationship with God. Moses asks for God to go with the people and God promises. God goes with us: into meetings, into school, into the car, into surgery, into distress and tragedy, into celebrations and successes. In your prayers, hold that reality in focus. Where do you need God’s company right now? Open yourself and allow the goodness of God to pass in and through you.
Empire of your Heart:
In your meditations today, consider what elements of your life and living are ruled by “empires” not worthy of your heart. These might be where and how you spend your money, or the things you have no control over that wound you. God promises “release to the captives.” What would that look like for you? What will help you be one step closer to being out from under the thumb of the wrong empire?
Offertory On Eagle’s Wings arr. Mark Hayes Union Church Choir
Refrain: And He will raise you up on eagles’ wings, bear you on the breath of dawn, make you to shine like the sun, and hold you in the palm of His hand
You who dwell in the shelter of the Lord, who abide in His shadow for life, say to the Lord, “My refuge, my rock in whom I trust!” Refrain
The snare of the fowler will never capture you, and famine will bring you no fear: Under His wings your refuge, His faithfulness your shield. Refrain
You need not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day; though thousands fall about you, near you it shall not come. Refrain
For to His angels He’s given a command to guard you in all of your ways; upon their hands they will bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone. Refrain.
As we come forward, our gifts are received for this common work together.
A Chance for Generosity: www.easytithe.com/union
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Your contribution is love made visible. Thank you!
Silent Prayer and Prayers of the Community Pamela Chabora, Reader
Lord of all, we give you thanks for the presence and power of your grace and the kin-dom of your call and challenge. Living in hope, we pray for the courage to resist the powers of worldly empires. Help us disentangle our hearts from the snares of systemic injustice that impoverishes all, and help all those who have been short-changed by our blindness and loyalty to the wrong sovereign.
May the suffering of this broken world be healed, Lord, and may we be healed as we enter this work with you. In your mercy bring about a different kingdom, one where all your children can be held and whole. In the arms of your love we find our hearts again. For this love, for this mercy, for this day, we give you our gratitude and ask for your help. We ask all of this in the name of Jesus our brother, who taught us to 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
¨ Hymn #565 God, Whose Giving Knows No Ending Austrian Hymn
1 God, whose giving knows no ending, from your rich and endless store: nature’s wonder, Jesus’ wisdom, costly cross, grave’s shattered door: gifted by you, we turn to you, offering up ourselves in praise; thankful song shall rise forever, gracious donor of our days.
2 Skills and time are ours for serving that your will on earth be done: all at peace in health and freedom, races joined, the church made one. Now direct our daily labor, lest we strive for self alone; born with talents, make us servants fit to answer at your throne.
3 Treasure, too, you have entrusted, gain through powers your grace conferred; ours to use for home and kindred, and to spread the gospel Word. Open wide our hands in sharing as we heed Christ’s ageless call, healing, teaching, and reclaiming, hororing you by loving all.
4 Lend your joy to all our giving, let it light our pilgrim way, from the night of anxious keeping, loose us into generous day. Then when years on earth are over, and we’ve lived our human span, God fulfill beyond our dreaming, all our stewardship began.
We share opportunities for Beloved Community and ways to serve. Please see the listing of church and community events, prayers, and notices in the pages following the service.
Lighting the Justice Candle to Lead us Forth
Save the Children and Sarah Belanger The Children’s Defense Fund (www.childrensdefense.org/) designates the third weekend in October as the Children’s Sabbaths, a multi-faith weekend in support of our nation’s children. As we celebrate our children, specifically those in the Appalachian region, we also honor the Save the Children organization (www.savethechildren.org/).
Save the Children in Kentucky provided early learning programs and resources to more than 31,500 Kentucky children last year, reaching 71 schools in 14 of the state’s most high need counties. They serve children pre-natal through elementary with early childhood development, afterschool and summer programs.
And even closer to home, we honor fellow Kentuckian, Berean and Union Church member Sarah Belanger, who worked tirelessly at Save the Children in support of early childhood education in Kentucky. Sarah has recently retired, and we honor her years of effort on behalf of Kentucky’s children.
Partnership and Purpose
Today presents an opportunity to covenant together! All who would like to are welcome to join the church family – you will be received in joy!
Questions of the Congregation and New Members
¨ Covenant of Welcome
And we, the members and faithful friends of this church, renewing our own covenant to God and to each other, do now heartily welcome you to our fellowship, promising to watch over you in love, and praying that you, and we, may be true witnesses for Christ, a light in the world, and continue to increase in usefulness and joy in his service.
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 The Caribbean: Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin/Sint Maarten, St Kitts-Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Montserrat, Saba, St. Eustatia, Cayman Islands, St Barts, Martinque, Guadeloupe, US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Anguilla, Turks & Caicos, Puerto Rico; and our brothers & sisters at Berea Baptist Church in our hearts, and pray for them today and throughout the week.
¨ 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 affected by the devastating losses in the current conflict in the Middle East.
¨ Those suffering due to recent earthquakes in Afghanistan; and in natural disasters everywhere.
¨ Our church family members in nursing homes or who are homebound: Jan Hamilton, Betsy Hoefer, Dorie Hubbard, Lois Morgan, Sara Parker, Cheryl Payne, Alva Peloquin, Laura Robie, Betty Wray, Sally Zimmerman
¨ Loyal Jones’ family and many friends, at his passing. Arrangements will be shared when known.
¨ Rita Barlow, receiving care at home.
¨ All those suffering from mental strain, trauma, and disease: may God soothe and heal all who are troubled.
¨ James Stephens, Charlie Hoffman’s brother-in-law, suffering with cancer.
¨ Members and Friends who need safer housing and income security.
¨ JoAnn Russell, Reda Hutton’s aunt, facing several medical challenges.
¨ Russ Neil, family of Peggy Patrick, critically ill and soon moving to hospice
¨ The family of Sharon Sheriff, Barbara Wade’s sister, at her passing, in San Antonio, TX, after a long battle with cancer.
¨ Teresa Dixon, recovering from surgery on her jaw, performed this past Wednesday.
¨ Diane Gammon’s family and friends, at her passing last week.
¨ Susan Henthorn, now living in North Carolina, undergoing cancer treatment.
¨ Jeannette Davidson, having health problems.
¨ Susan Kramer, recovering at Central Baptist, Lexington, after suffering a seizure on Friday.
¨ Celebrations with Prayers of Joy!
Birthdays: Oct. 22 – John Payne, Sarah Broomfield, Ellen Suters, Thomas Brownrobie; 27 – Reda Hutton, Susan Schmied; 28 – Josh English
Anniversaries: Oct. 22 – Howard & Shirley Carlberg; 25 – Tony & Katie Basham
If we haven’t got your important dates, let us know. We’ll help you get connected in FellowshipOne Go!