A Gathering in Worship Offered by the People of the Church of Christ, Union
Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 25) 10:30 am
Meditation “When Christ was in pain we were in pain. All creatures of God’s creation that can suffer pain suffered with him. The sky and the earth failed at the time of Christ’s dying because he too was part of nature.” ~ Julian of Norwich
The First Path: Recognizing the Inherent Goodness of Creation
¨ Sung Response Gathered Here In the Mystery of This Hour
¨ Prayer in 360°
We take this time to know the places we inhabit and our place within them. Please join as we find both edges and center in this work. As we pray, you are invited to sing the last line of our song when indicated.
¨ Sung Response Gathered Here In the Mystery of This Hour
¨ Lighting the Christ Candle
All: Creating God, You who spun the galaxies and breathed into us the breath of life,
Open us to an awareness of the life coursing through us that is connected to all creation so that we might become more tuned in to your life force, feeling more vitality in our lives, and more loving towards all.
We praise you as the One in whom we have life and being. And all God’s people say, Amen.
¨ Hymn #28 Black For the Beauty of the Earth Dix
- For the beauty of the earth, for the splendor of the skies, for the love which from our birth over and around us lies: God of all, to you we raise this, our hymn of grateful praise.
2 For the wonder of each hour of the day and of the night, Hill and vale and tree and flower, sun and moon, and stars of light, God of all, to you we raise
this, our hymn of grateful praise.
3. For the joy of human love, sister, brother, parent, child, friends on earth and friends above for all gentle thoughts and mild, God of all, to you we raise this, our hymn of grateful praise.
4. For the good that love inspires, for a world where none exclude, For a faith that never tires, and for every heart renewed, God of all, to you we raise this, our hymn of grateful praise.
¨ Passing the Peace
The Second Path: Befriending the Dark Places
On this second path, we recognize with open hearts the pain that coexists with goodness and gratitude. We listen to the groans of the world and the Spirit helps us to grieve and to intercede on behalf of all those who suffer, letting go of fear, and bringing light.
Silence and sound mingle to bring us to mindfulness. We ring the Peace Bell to call us to holy work.
Letting Go and Holding on with Love
We hold communities in need and loved one’s known and unknown in our hearts during our prayers. We bring the light of God’s to our own needs as well, as we pray. Please join in singing the refrain when indicated. You are invited to hum, add harmony or participate with movement as we unite through word and song.
Please join in singing “Breathe” Michael Stillwater
Aramaic Lord’s Prayer
Each week we will explore a version of the prayer Jesus taught. This first week we encounter a translation directly from the Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke. Please join in this translation from Aramaic of the Lord’s Prayer by Douglas-Klotz.
O Birther! Father-Mother of the Cosmos, Focus your light within us – make it useful: Create your reign of unity now Your one desire then acts with ours, As in all light, So in all forms. Grant us what we need each day in bread and insight: Loose the cords of mistakes binding us, As we release the strands we hold of other’s guilt. Don’t let surface things delude us, But free us from what holds us back. From you is born all ruling will, The power and the life to do, The song that beautifies all, From age to age it renews. I affirm this with my whole being. Truly power to these statements – may they be the ground from which all my actions grow. Amen.
Special Music Chanson Triste by Saint Saens, Henry Heydinger, singer
The Third Path: Exclaiming the Divine Creative
This third path creates space to explore how God is working in and through us and all of the universe to renew each day every direction. Each moment offers opportunity to express our God-gifted creativity. We hear messages–ancient and new–that express and affirm the Divine at work and encourage us in our creative collaboration with the Divine.
Reading Genesis 1-2:4, ad. from The Message
First this: God created the Heavens and Earth – all you see, all you don’t see. Earth was a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, an inky blackness. God’s Spirit brooded like a bird above the watery abyss. God spoke: “Light!” And light appeared. God saw that light was good and separated light from dark. God named the light Day, he named the dark Night. It was evening, it was morning – Day One.
God spoke: “Sky! In the middle of the waters; separate water from water!” God made sky. He separated the water under sky from the water above sky. And there it was: he named sky the Heavens; it was evening, it was morning – Day Two.
God spoke: “Separate! Water-beneath-Heaven, gather into one place; Land, appear!” And there it was. God named the land Earth. He named the pooled water Ocean. God saw that it was good. God spoke: “Earth, green up! Grow all varieties of seed-bearing plants, every sort of fruit-bearing tree.” And there it was. Earth produced green seed-bearing plants, all varieties, and fruit-bearing trees of all sorts. God saw that it was good. It was evening, it was morning – Day Three.
God spoke: “Lights! Come out! Shine in Heaven’s sky! Separate Day from Night. Mark seasons and days and years, lights in Heaven’s sky to give light to Earth.” And there it was. God made two big lights, the larger to take charge of Day, The smaller to be in charge of Night; and he made the stars. God placed them in the heavenly sky to light up Earth And oversee Day and Night, to separate light and dark. God saw that it was good. It was evening, it was morning – Day Four.
God spoke: “Swarm, Ocean, with fish and all sea life! Birds, fly through the sky over Earth!” God created the huge whales, all the swarm of life in the waters, and every kind and species of flying birds. God saw that it was good. God blessed them: “Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Ocean! Birds, reproduce on Earth!” It was evening, it was morning – Day Five.
God spoke: “Earth, generate life! Every sort and kind: cattle and reptiles and wild animals – all kinds.” And there it was: wild animals of every kind, cattle of all kinds, every sort of reptile and bug. God saw that it was good. God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature so they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle, and, yes, Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.” God created human beings; he created them godlike, reflecting God’s nature. He created them male and female. God blessed them: “Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge! Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air, for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth.” Then God said, “I’ve given you every sort of seed-bearing plant on Earth and every kind of fruit-bearing tree, given them to you for food. To all animals and all birds, everything that moves and breathes, I give whatever grows out of the ground for food.” And there it was. God looked over everything he had made; it was so good, so very good! It was evening, it was morning – Day Six.
Heaven and Earth were finished, down to the last detail. By the seventh day God had finished his work. On the seventh day he rested from all his work. God blessed the seventh day. He made it a Holy Day because on that day he rested from his work, all the creating God had done. This is the story of how it all started, of Heaven and Earth when they were created.
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.
Please note that Union Church services are livestreamed, including the Children’s Moment. A “no camera zone” is at the back of the balcony, behind the AV booth.
Reading Luke 18:9-14
The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector
He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other, for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.”
~ New Revised Standard Version: Updated Edition (Friendship Press, 2021)
Sermon Made for a Blessing Rev. Kent Gilbert
Reflecting Together Making Something New
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.
Making Something New
During this first week of the series, we are celebrating the inherent goodness of God’s creation in its many forms. According to our scriptures, human beings are all created in God’s image. God gave us the power to use creativity and imagination too.
As you mold and make, allow your reflection to be folded into your creating. What intents are you shaping? What intents are shaping you? How have you been molded by your experience with compassion? With anger? With desire? With community?
God is never finished making something new of our lives, of our hearts, even of our mistakes.
During this time you are welcome to visit any of the prayer or reflection stations as an aid to what you are called to do and be.
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.easytithe.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!
Sung Response Amen, Amen!
The Fourth Path: Embodying Compassion and Power
The fourth path leads us out. We pray for movement within our own hearts to embody peace and passion–compassion and power–on behalf of spreading goodness throughout the week. We are not at the mercy of “the way it is,” we can claim our agency to be fully present and fully active in the world into which we now go.
We are strengthened and renewed by so much of what we hear, see, experience. With that blessing we prepare for the service about to begin in our daily lives after worship. What will you take with you for your sacred work?
Everywhere, all around, behind us and under our feet, your blessing immerses, envelops, sustains and provokes your people to love and serve. God of swirling planets, and ageless geology; Lord of mustard seeds and great whales and diatoms and sparrows: take us once more under your wing. With your blessing, wrestle our fears. With your creation heal our hearts. In your Mercy wake your people to new love. We were created as a blessing, and we pray now for the strength and grace to co-create with you the joy-in-balance and the justice-with-lovingkindness you know we need. Your Christ is lord of all creation, and we try to walk in the way he taught. Help take the next step as we praise you for all you have wrought, Great lord of everything everywhere all together in love. Amen.
We hold fast to what is good and will strengthen our ability to bless.
We share opportunities for Beloved Community and ways to serve.
Lighting the Justice Candle to Lead us Forth
The St. John Center in Louisville, KY, is on a mission to help people experiencing homelessness address the barriers to housing and self-sufficiency so they can leave homelessness for good. With the support of the community, they’ve been providing resources and services for those experiencing homelessness in the Louisville area since 1986. St. John Center is located in a former Catholic church built in the 1850s as a safe haven for immigrants. Today, the staff and volunteers carry on that welcoming spirit to provide refuge to some of our community’s most vulnerable people. Their vision is a city where all people experiencing homelessness have the resources and support they need to leave homelessness for good.
Hymn You Shall Go Out with Joy
Reprinted with permission using OneLicense #A-723786
You are welcome to be seated to appreciate the music following service, and to show appreciation at the end with applause.
Cover art and needlepoint altar decoration by Reda Hutton
¨ 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. https://union-church.org/ministries/prayer/). Let us hold the people of The Caribbean: Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominica, Dominican Rep, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Sint Maarten, St Kitts-Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago; and our brothers & sisters at Whites Memorial Presbyterian Church in our hearts, and pray for them. Please hold these concerns in your prayers, today and throughout the week.
¨ 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 17,100 Kentucky residents, and 300 Madison County residents, who have died to date from Covid-19.
¨ The families and friends and for all the emergency responders to the floods in our Eastern counties: that safety return, that homes be rebuilt, that all needed help will come.
¨ 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, Loyal Jones, Lois Morgan, Cheryl Payne, Alva Peloquin, Laura Robie, Betty Wray, 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.
¨ Jeff From’s family, at the death of his mother, Darla.
¨ Doris Mosely, sister of Deb Beishline, with Covid and heart issues.
¨ Cecelia McKinney, whose Florida home was flooded in the Hurricane.
¨ Doug Hindman in hospital and recovering from surgery.
¨ Lois Morgan, at the death of her sister.
¨ Dottie Lovell, recovering from surgery on her broken back.
¨ Patsy Boyce, sister-in-law of Bob and Jean Boyce, undergoing chemotherapy.
¨ Betty Hibler, in her move to Black Mountain, NC. New address: 200 Tabernacle Rd., Apt. D-54, Black Mountain, NC 28711.
¨ Truman & Joyce Fields in their recent move. New address (corrected, sry): 300 Stocker Dr. #202, Richmond, KY, 40475.
¨ JoAnn Russell, Reda Hutton’s aunt, facing several medical challenges.
¨ Michelle, beloved nurse at Morning Pointe, undergoing treatment for cancer.
¨ Jess Burton & Jake Graber and their little girl, Lila, who has serious gastric issues.
¨ Important dates—if we haven’t got yours, let us know. We’ll help you get connected in FellowshipOne Go!