A Gathering in Worship Offered by the People of the Church of Christ, Union
10:30 am Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Meditation “Freedom is won not on the battlefield but in the classroom and the home. Teach your children the history of freedom if you want them never to lose it.” ~Rabbi Shimon Raichik
From There to Here: We Gather
The Call Charles Hoffman, Reader
Throughout the bible, across the centuries and millennia, scripture records an ongoing, ever-unfolding banner of God’s will: release to the captives. Liberation from slavery is the promise God makes to Moses. Liberation from the prisons of our fears, our enmities, our preconceptions and assumptions: this was Jesus’ work in his time. And today the church gathers again–to remember that release is the hope and promise. Love Demands, Love Finds a way, Love is the Strength for liberation.
As we remember old stories today, let us also find through them new stories and new paths. Let’s take one more step toward freedom, toward the release of all who are bound, and into that deeper love of God, flowing through all time right down to this minute with each other.
Come. This is the call: to be free and to free others. Let us worship the God who breaks the chains.
Hymn Stepping In Christopher Grundy
@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 In the Garden Austin Miles Pamela Chabora and Deborah Thompson
Scripture Lesson Exodus 12:1-14
The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: This month shall mark for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you. Tell the whole congregation of Israel that on the tenth of this month they are to take a lamb for each family, a lamb for each household. If a household is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join its closest neighbor in obtaining one; the lamb shall be divided in proportion to the number of people who eat of it. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a year-old male; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats.
You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; then the whole assembled congregation of Israel shall slaughter it at twilight. They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. They shall eat the lamb that same night; they shall eat it roasted over the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted over the fire, with its head, legs, and inner organs. You shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly.
It is the passover of the Lord. For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both human beings and animals; on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live: when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.
This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord; throughout your generations you shall observe it as a perpetual ordinance.
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 18:15-20
“If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one.
But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”
Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”
Sermon Picking at the Locks 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
“Passing Over” or “Passover?” Hebrew scripture describes a night before the great breakout from Egyptian slavery: all the preparation needed to survive the 10th plague and to be ready to flee when Pharaoh relented because of it. In your prayers converse with God about changing things you’ve ignored or passed over, to something that can be a Passover experience: From what do you need liberation?
In whatever break you need to make what preparations will guard your soul and make you ready? Be as still as you can and listen all through the week.
Not Just for You… We learn from all the experience of our faith that true liberation is communal work, communal joy. Our freedom from fear is bound deeply to the well-being of others. Today or in some quiet time this week, look with the eyes of Jesus and see who is wearing chains in your life. Pray for freedom that unites them and yourself.
See if you have in lock picks you can share. What would they be?
As we come forward, our gifts are received for this common work together.
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Silent Prayers & Prayers of the Community Charles Hoffman, Reader
Holy one, holder of our hearts, you know that we are bound up and sometimes twisted in chains. And we confess that to feel more free, we have bound others to feel higher and mightier by comparison. Instead of preparing everyone to make a break for freedom, too often we taint your gifts by trying to get out alone, or worse trying to call a prison a palace, thinking slavery more certain than your unimaginable liberation.
We ask therefore, to help us take in the love you intend for all of us and the freedom it delivers. Help us not to hoard such a gift or rest, until the last lock is picked, and the last chain broken. Lend your strength to us, no matter how weak we might be, so that we can lend our strength to those around us in their weakness and worries, and thus live your word out loud. Your love is stronger than our limitations; our release more precious to you than ransom!
By the love shown in your Christ, show us how to unlock the chains and step in ever closer to your will and your way.
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 #388 Help Us Accept Each Other Aurelia
1. Help us accept each other as Christ accepted us; teach us as sister, brother, each person to embrace. Be present, God, among us, and bring us to believe we are ourselves accepted and meant to love and live.2. Teach us, O God, your lessons, as in our daily life we struggle to be human and search for hope and faith. Teach us to care for people, for all, not just for some, to love them as we find them, or as they may become.
3. Let your acceptance change us, so that we may be moved in living situations to do the truth in love; To practice your acceptance, until we know by heart the table of forgiveness and laughter’s healing art.
4. God, for today’s encounters with all who are in need, who hunger for acceptance, for righteousness and bread, Bring us new eyes for seeing, new hands for holding on: renew us with your Spirit; God! Free us, make us one!
We share opportunities for Beloved Community and ways to serve.
Lighting the Justice Candle to Lead us Forth
On Grandparents’ Day, let us celebrate the Raging Grannies: Out in the streets promoting peace, justice, social and economic equality through song and humor.
The Grannies are totally non-violent; believing in only peaceful protest. Grannies are best equipped to make public, corrupt things that have been hidden (often for profit). Local toxic waste sites that no-one seems prepared to tackle, asbestos sites employing young people desperate for work, nuclear waste products being dumped outside an uninformed small town, laws that affect an entire community, passed quickly with no opportunity for study. The list goes on.
Grannies always check their facts before acting, discarding rumors, conspiracy theories and the agendas of others, and waiting patiently till the whole picture is clear before hitting the street with their pointed, original and devastating songs, written by any old gran who feels inspired.
The delights of grannying include: dressing like innocent little old ladies in order to get close to the ‘target’, writing songs from old favorites that skewer modern wrongs, satirizing evil-doing in public and getting everyone singing about it, watching a wrong back down and turn tail and run, sharing a history with other women who know who they are and what they’re about.
From the most ancient times, the strong, wise, older women were the ones who advised, mediated and fought for what was right. Belief in the Disir or Divine Grandmothers, the Mothers of Time, is ancient and runs through all societies. It is the basis for the activism of the Raging Grannies.
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 Ghana and Nigeria; and our brothers & sisters at Lighthouse 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.
¨ 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
¨ Continuing prayers for the family of Tom Parker, who passed away on Aug 29th. He was the husband of Sara and father of Tina, and beloved family member of the Baileys and Parkers.
¨ 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.
¨ 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. Arrangements pending.
¨ James Stephens, Charlie Hoffman’s brother-in-law, suffering with cancer.
¨ Betty Sarafin asks for prayers for the Sarafin and Cook families, at the loss of Betty’s brother-in-law Thomas Aquinas Cook, Jr., who will be honored in a memorial service Sept. 24 in Mercer, PA. Also, please keep Mary Ellen Sarafin Landry and family in prayer. Mary has a terminal illness.
¨ Edda Keuchel, relative of Diana Hultgren, who broke a hip and is not doing well after surgery.
¨ Members and Friends who need safer housing and income security.
¨ John Stanley & Heather Lundy, former Union Church members & still beloved friends, as John recovers from a stroke.
¨ JoAnn Russell, Reda Hutton’s aunt, facing several medical challenges.
Celebrations with Prayers of Joy!
Birthdays: today, Sept. 10 – Laura Nagle; 11 – Lisa Shroyer, Mary Lou Wiese, Cameron Stites-Stevens; 13 – Steve Connelly; 14 – Debbonnaire Kovacs; 15 – Brandon Bailey; 17 – Joyce Fields, Sunni Walters
If we haven’t got your important dates, let us know. We’ll help you get connected in FellowshipOne Go!