A Gathering in Worship Offered by the People of the Church of Christ, Union
10:30 am The Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost World Communion Sunday
“If we could but recognize our common humanity, that we do belong together, that our destinies are bound up in one another’s, that we can be free only together, that we can be human only together, then a glorious world would come into being where all of us lived harmoniously together as members of one family, the human family.” ~Desmond Tutu
From There to Here: We Gather
One: As we remember the wide table we are invited to help set, we know we haven’t always been welcomed or welcoming. So to call us from “there” to “here,” join me as we hold space and prayer with these words from the church in the Philippines:
All: Lord, forgive us,
For we are fragmented persons.
We go many directions at once.
We seek opposite goals;
We serve contradictory causes.
We mouth liberation; we live oppression.
We shout peace; and we practice violence and anarchy.
We shout justice; we walk in injustice.
We preach love; we practice hate.
Through your compassion, have mercy on us and make us whole. Enable us to discern your voice among the dissonant voices. Amen.
— Unknown writer, the Philippines, Prayers Encircling the World.
One: To you, God of creation, we rise this morning to sing a new song of praise; to live a new life in your wider Love.
Bell side: A song of trees planted by streams of living water,
Tavern Side: A song of mountains clapping their hands for joy,
Bell Side: A song of cities delighting in heavenly harmony,
Tavern Side: A song of people that were lost and have been found.
All: For the earth is the Lord’s and we shall be glad in it. Hallelujah! Let us worship the God of creation!
— The people of Pitt Street Uniting Church, Sidney, Australia, Prayers Encircling the World
¨ Hymn #45 Cristo es la peña de Horeb Cristo es la peña
Try the first verse in Spanish with us! Then we’ll sing verse 1 and 2 in English!
- Cristo es la peña de Horeb que está brotando agua de vida saludable para ti. Cristo es la peña de Horeb que está brotando, agua de vida saludable para ti. Ven a tomarla que es más dulce que la miel; Refresca el alma, refresca todo tu ser. Cristo es la peña de Horeb que está brotando agua de vida saludable para ti.
- Cristo es el lirio del valle de las flores; él es la rosa blanca y pure de Sarón. Cristo es la vida y amor de los amores; él es la eterna fuente de la salvación. Ven a buscarla en tu triste condición,Refresca el alma, refresca todo tu ser. Cristo es el lirio del valle de las flores; él es el la rosa blanca y pura de Sarón.
- Christ is the Mountain of Horeb which is flowing: water of life pour forth to heal, to make us whole. Christ is the Mountain of Horeb which is flowing: water of life pour forth to heal, to make us whole. Sweeter than honey is the stream, come taste and see – Refresh your being, refresh your heart and mind. Christ is the Mountain of Horeb which is flowing: water of life pour forth to heal, to make us whole.
- Flower of flowers, the Lily of the Valley, the Rose of Sharon, blooming pure and free for you. O Christ, the pathway of love above all loves, Eternal Fountain of salvation flowing free. Come seek the One who understands your grief and pain, Refresh your being, refresh your heart and mind. Flower of flowers, the Lily of the Vall ey, the Rose of Sharon, blooming pure and free for you.
¨ 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 in every language: Salam (Arabic), Shalom (Hebrew), Mir (Ukrainian and Russian), Fred (Danish), Shanti (Bengali), Ngêmba (Kikongo), Pau (Catalan), Nvwatohiyadv (Cherokee), Heiwa (Japanese), Bariş (Turkish), Alaafia (Yoruba), Paz (Portuguese and Spanish). For more visit: http://www.columbia.edu/~fdc/pace/
Word and Worship
Special Music Amazing Grace arr. Staton Union Church Choir
Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see. ‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved; how precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed! Through many dangers, toil, and snares, I have already come, ‘tis grace has brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home. The Lord has promised good to me, God’s word my hope secures; God will my shield and portion be as long as life endures. Amazing grace!
Scripture Lesson Exodus 17:1-7
From the wilderness of Sin the whole congregation of the Israelites journeyed by stages, as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. The people quarreled with Moses, and said, “Give us water to drink.” Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” But the people thirsted there for water; and the people complained against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?” So Moses cried out to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.”
The Lord said to Moses, “Go on ahead of the people, and take some of the elders of Israel with you; take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will be standing there in front of you on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so that the people may drink.” Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. He called the place Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarreled and tested the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”
~New Revised Standard Version: Updated Edition (Friendship Press, 2021)
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 21:23-32
When he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” Jesus said to them, “I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?”
And they argued with one another, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet.” So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.”
And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things. “What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ He answered, ‘I will not’; but later he changed his mind and went. The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir’; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.
~ New Revised Standard Version: Updated Edition (Friendship Press, 2021)
Sermon The Open Table Rev. Kent Gilbert
Responding to God’s Love in Communion
Invitation to Communion
One: The Lord be with you!
All: And also with you!
One: Lift up your hearts!
All: We lift them up to God!
One: Let us give thanks to the Lord.
All: It is right to give God thanks and praise.
[Please be seated]
One: Today we gladly join with Christians of every nation, denomination, and background to affirm both the freedom of our particular customs and the spiritual kinship that we share with all who love and follow in the way of Christ.
One: This is the table of plenty, and it is set for all who hunger. You do not need to be a member of Union Church or ANY church to receive. We follow in the tradition of Jesus who freely fed all with daily bread and grace.
One: In prayer, in song, in silence and in actions we remember God’s saving actions through Jesus in this meal.
One: The hymn, found on page 341, will be part of our prayer. Please sing with us when indicated, remaining seated and prayerful, as we connect past with present, connect church with church, connect country with country, and all of us with God.
Let us begin with silence to prepare.
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.
Communion Prayer Great Spirit God #341 Lacquiparle
Dakota Hymn was written by Joseph R. Reville. It was translated by Sidney H. Byrd, who recalls “This hymn was sung by thirty-eight Dakota [Native] Indian prisoners of war as they went to the gallows at Mankato, Minnesota, on December 26, 1862” following sham trials of the Dakota War.
Great Spirit God: verses 1 and 2
Great Spirit God, the things which are yours are numerous and great. The heavens above you set in their place, and earth received its form by your hands. The ocean depths respond to your will, for you can do all things.
Your will, mysterious and so strong, brings growth to all the earth. Food for our souls and clothing to wear, are like your cup that blesses and fills. Provide for us each day of our lives sufficient for our needs.
One: For your care of all creation everywhere, and for your provision to us and to all peoples of the earth:
All: We give you thanks.
Great Spirit God: verses 3 and 4
You gave your law to Adam and Eve, forebears of humankind. That law I disobeyed with my sin, and now I suffer pain and disgrace. Jesus, express your mercy to me, and pay for all my sins.
That day you came to dwell on the earth, bringing us all great joy! The nations scattered over the world, to them you gave the light of all life. O Jesus, O Compassionate One, we offer praise to you.
One: You sent us prophets, apostles, teachers, and mentors who have changed us, and taught us your ways.
All: And you sent us Jesus to challenge and change us, to comfort and call.
Great Spirit God: verses 5 and 6
Your sacrament entrusted to us, Jesus, now share with me. Your bread of life and drink for our soul, which you have offered, purify now. Sanctify minds and bodies to you; restore us by your love.
“Take now my flesh as food for your soul,” these are your words, O Christ. “Take my shed blood and drink from my cup, that it may serve to strengthen your faith.” Entrance into your door I desire; Jesus, now my plea.
One: Jesus we receive this bread and this cup from your hands.
All: This we do in remembrance of you.
Great Spirit God: verse 7
Your plan for our salvation, O God, grant to my sinful soul. Beyond the heavens is your great abode; all goodness is secure in your hands. This life divine which you gave to me is one that has no end.
Serving One Another
All who seek the love of God are welcome at this table and are invited to freely receive from it. By tradition, unfermented grape juice is used in the cup on Sunday mornings. If it is not convenient to come forward, the elements can be brought to your seat by signaling to the usher.
If it is not your tradition to receive, you are invited to join in prayers for the unity of the Spirit within your tradition. You may remain in your seat, or you may come forward for a blessing, as you wish.
Offertory Deep River Union Church Orchestra
As we come forward, our gifts are received for this common work together.
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Prayer of Thanksgiving Sue Peterson Blyth, Reader
One: Eternal and Gracious one, though we live in a world of need,
All: Here we have tasted your goodness and hungered for a world more just.
One: Though afflicted by brokenness and division,
All: Here we have heard your call to be a people of healing community.
One: Though daily we touch our limits,
All: Here we have received the fullness of your grace.
One: Send us forth, O God,
All: In faith, in hope, and in love. Amen.
— from the United Church of Canada
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 For Everyone Born Shirley Erena Murray
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
More children than ever are suffering in today’s world, their lives disrupted and endangered by conflict and political instability; by historic floods and droughts and other impacts of climate change; by disease outbreaks and the fallout from COVID-19.
Through it all, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) continues to provide the services and support children need to withstand devastating events — and help families, communities and countries build resilience against future crises. In 2022, UNICEF:
· vaccinated 23.8 million children against measles
· admitted 2.6 million children from 6-59 months with severe wasting for treatment
· reached 28 million children with education support, including early learning
· provided 13 million children, adolescents and caregivers with community-based mental health and psychosocial support
· ensured that 25.9 million people had enough safe water for drinking and domestic needs
· reached 4.2 million women, girls and boys with gender-based violence risk mitigation, prevention and/or response interventions
¨ Benediction Song and Blessing
Stepping In (Sung)
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!
One: And the table will be wide. And the welcome will be wide. And the arms will open wide to gather us in. And our hearts will open wide to receive.
Bell: And we will come as children who trust there is enough. And we will come unhindered and free. And our aching will be met with bread. And our sorrow will be met with wine.
Tavern: And we will open our hands to the feast without shame. And we will turn toward each other without fear. And we will give up our appetite for despair. And we will taste and know of delight.
One: And we will become bread for a hungering world. And we will become drink for those who thirst. And the blessed will become the blessing. And everywhere will be the feast.
~ by United States writer Jan Richardson
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 Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela, and Peru; and our brothers & sisters at the Living Waters Sanctuary 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, Betsy Hoefer, Dorie Hubbard, Lois Morgan, Sara Parker, Cheryl Payne, Alva Peloquin, Laura Robie, Betty Wray, Sally Zimmerman
¨ 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.
¨ For Nora Ruth Jenkins recovering at UK Hospital after a fall.
¨ For Cheryl Stone recovering from back surgery.
¨ For Eddie Kennedy being treated for blood clots.
¨ Rita Barlow, receiving care at home.
¨ All those suffering from mental strain, trauma, and disease: may God soothe and heal all who are troubled.
¨ Doug Hindman’s family, church family and many friends, at his passing. His life will be celebrated at a memorial on Oct. 7, 1 pm.
¨ 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
¨ David Bellnier and family at the unexpected death of his father late this week.
Celebrations with Prayers of Joy!
Birthdays: Oct. 2 – Jeff Melton; 3 – Dorie Hubbard, Ellen Mink, Dana Carlberg; 6 – Scott Smith, Paige Garrett; 7 – Laurinda Pool, John McWilliams; 8 – Eric Dodson, Landon Connelly
Anniversaries: Oct. 2 – Josh & Jessie English; 3 – J.R. & Kelly Anderson; Brice & Meaghan Catlett
If we haven’t got your important dates, let us know. We’ll help you get connected in FellowshipOne Go!