A Gathering in Worship Offered by the People of the Church of Christ, Union
Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost 10:30 am
“We cannot know love if we remain unable to surrender our attachment to power, if any feeling of vulnerability strikes terror in our hearts. Lovelessness torments.” ~ bell hooks, All About Love: New Visions
From There to Here: We Gather
¨ The Call Carol Penner
God of the working world: Thank you for meaningful work that fills us with satisfaction, the way challenges can spur us on to greater effortsthat pay off with a job well done.
But that’s not always the case. Sometimes the work we do isn’t productive, or it isn’t recognized. We spend the whole day working and nothing gets done, the machine breaks down just after we fixed it, the house gets messy just when it was clean, more tasks are assigned to us when we are already overwhelmed.
Some of us hate our work. It’s too hard for us, our bodies can’t take it. The working environment is depressing, or the people we work with drag us down. Sometimes we aren’t making enough money to make ends meet. And some of us can’t find work.
We sit at home, longing to be productive, but there are no jobs. In a world that values financial success, and in a world where bills pile up, not bringing home a paycheck can make us feel like outcasts.
You are the great employer. There are jobs in your kingdom for each one; challenging, meaningful, significant. You provide us with the tools for the job; strength, courage, determination and insight. Open our eyes to your great work, and our place within it. We are your work, the work of your hands; we do the work of your hands. ~ written by Carol Penner, and posted on her Leading in Worship blog. http://carolpenner.typepad.com/
¨ Hymn Jesus, Thou Divine Companion Pleading Savior (#397 Black)
1. Jesus, Thou divine companion, by thy lowly human birth Thou hast come to join the workers, burden bearers of the Earth.Thou the carpenter of Nazareth, toiling for thy daily food,By Thy patience and Thy courage, Thou hast taught us toil is good.
2. They who tread the path of labor follow where thy feet have trod;They who work without complaining do the holy will of God. Never more thou needest seek me, I am with thee ever more; Raise the stone and thou shalt find me, cleave the wood and I am there.
3. Where the many toil together, there am I amongst my own; Where the tired worker sleepeth, there I am when work is done. I, the peace which passeth knowledge, dwell amidst the daily strife; I am the bread of Heaven broken In the sacrament of life.
4. Every task, however simple, sets the soul who does it free; Every deed of love and mercy, done to one, is done to me. Never more do you need to seek me, I am with thee ever more; Raise the stone and thou shalt find me, cleave the wood and I am there.
¨ Prayer of Approach and Confession
One: We are workers, God, just like you.
But we confess that our actions do not always affirm and honor each other.
Our work is not always done in a spirit that is pleasing to you.
We confess that, on some occasions, we have blindly bought goods made by people who are paid too little or work in unsafe conditions.
We admit that we have failed to end an unjust system in which some workers have jobs that provide good wages and benefits while others may have no job, or one that pays little and provides few benefits.
All: Creator God, help us to be your people, working for a world where all workers are valued. A world where those who clean houses are also able to buy houses to live in. A world where those who grow food can also afford to eat their fill.And one where those who serve and care for others – in stores, schools, hotels, restaurants, nursing homes, and many other places – are, themselves, also served and cared for. A world where all workers everywhere share in the abundance that you have given us. By Christ’s power and in his name: Amen.
¨ Words of Assurance
~ written by Edie Rasell, Minister for Economic Justice of the United Church of Christ, and Vice-President of Interfaith Worker Justice. Posted on the UCC website. http://www.ucc.org/justice_worker-justice_labor-sunday_worship-resources#liturgy
¨ Passing the Peace
Announcements, Prayers and Celebrations
Lighting the Justice Candle
Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers and is traditionally observed on the first Monday in September. It was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century and became a federal holiday in 1894.
On this Labor Day Sunday, we light the Justice candle in honor of Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez.
Through self-sacrifice, a commitment to nonviolence, and their spirituality, César Chávez and Dolores Huerta changed a nation. Together they founded the farm worker movement, fought against agribusiness, and organized thousands of laborers so they could earn a living wage and have just working conditions. In 1962, they launched the National Farm Workers Association, which preceded the United Farm Workers of America (UFW) union. They led selfless lives. Both forfeited time with their large and loving families to defend the human rights of farm workers; they lived in voluntary destitution so as not to drain resources from the movement. They also lived in jeopardy; their lives threatened many times.
With their passion and strength, Chávez and Huerta endured the hardships and passed along their values of service and community to their children who continue their legacy..
Word And Worship
Special Music Latin Dance Richard Crosby
Union Church Orchestra
Epistle Lesson Philemon 1:1-21
Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother,To Philemon our dear friend and co-worker, to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow-soldier, and to the church in your house:Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
When I remember you in my prayers, I always thank my God because I hear of your love for all the saints and your faith towards the Lord Jesus. I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective when you perceive all the good that we may do for Christ. I have indeed received much joy and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, my brother.
For this reason, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do your duty, yet I would rather appeal to you on the basis of love—and I, Paul, do this as an old man, and now also as a prisoner of Christ Jesus. I am appealing to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I have become during my imprisonment. Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful both to you and to me. I am sending him, that is, my own heart, back to you. I wanted to keep him with me, so that he might be of service to me in your place during my imprisonment for the gospel; but I preferred to do nothing without your consent, in order that your good deed might be voluntary and not something forced. Perhaps this is the reason he was separated from you for a while, so that you might have him back for ever, no longer as a slave but as more than a slave, a beloved brother—especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.
So if you consider me your partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. If he has wronged you in any way, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand: I will repay it. I say nothing about your owing me even your own self. Yes, brother, let me have this benefit from you in the Lord! Refresh my heart in Christ. Confident of your obedience, I am writing to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say.
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.
Sermon Attachment Issues
Gospel Lesson Luke 14:25-33
Now large crowds were travelling with him; and he turned and said to them, ‘Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, saying, “This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.” Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.
Responding to God’s Love in Communion
Invitation to Communion
One: Creator of the harvest- We lift our voices in praise!
All: Creator of the table – In you we find our peace.
One: In gratitude we gather to share this meal.
All: With thanksgiving, we gather to share our love for neighbor.
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.
One: As the sun sets earlier, the days become cooler, and the crops near harvest, we celebrate the plenitude of fruits available to us. We acknowledge the ways that we can use our gifts to care for our siblings in need. We extend this table through the work of our hands and the missions of this church.
As we celebrate this sacrament, we remember the work of so many centuries, the agency of grace passed from hand to hand, heart to heart.
We remember the creation that sustains us, made by you, O God, and the many people who have labored for our good.
We remember the sojourners and the prophets, and we may we remember the laborers in the fields:
The harvesters of the wheat and grapes.
The transporters of the their yields.
Those who transform wheat into bread and grapes into juice.
Bless their hands and feet as they labor at farms and gardens, in trucks and warehouses. We give thanks for the ones who prepare the table here today. May their gifts of preparation and hospitality inspire us to extend hospitality to the strangers among us. With them, with all creation we sing our hymns of never-ending praise:
Words of Institution
One: We remember, that in the fullness of time you sent our Brother Jesus to love and care for us, and to heal our detached heart.
After laboring on the streets of Jerusalem-
Doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with You-
Jesus clutched bread in his hands. He blessed the food, gave thanks, and heartfully expressed to his friends that this was the bread of life.
All: “As you eat this bread, remember me.”
One: After supper, Jesus grasped the cup filled with the gifts of the vine. In his blessing, he reminded them
All: “whenever you drink of this cup, remember me.”
One: Spirit of wisdom and of wonder, wind around these elements today. May they stir us from stagnation into actively loving God, our neighbors, and ourselves. May our participation at this table transform us into the people God is calling us to be, detaching from all that would harm, relinquishing the grip of greed, and attaching ever to your way and will.
~ (Adapted) from Michelle L. Torrigan: A Labor Day Communion Liturgy, August 30, 2018:
Serving One Another
All who seek the love of God are welcome at this meal and are invited to freely receive from it. You do not need to be a member of this church or any other, and persons of every age and understanding are welcome at this table.
When invited please come to one of the stations by exiting your pew to the left and returning by the right. At the head of the aisle, please take a piece of bread and a small cup. Eat and drink both and place your empty cup in the appropriate tray as you return to your seat.
If it is not convenient to come forward, the elements can be brought to your seat by signaling to the ushers at the head of the aisles. All the bread is gluten-free, and the cups are filled with non-alcoholic grape juice. If it is not your tradition or preference to receive, we hope you feel welcome to simply “participate by presence,” and are invited to join in prayers for the unity of the Spirit and the strengthening of all people in ways that fit your tradition.
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!
Prayer of Thanksgiving
One: Lord, by this meal we remember that we are so deeply attached to you. Your loving-kindness and Shalom are embedded in our best lives and finest hours. We hope you will make possible the feeding of all who are starving both for love and for food, and we pray that our gratitudes may transform into actions to see your will done. With this daily bread, with those who have labored for our benefit, and for the day when none shall have want or need, we offer ourselves to the work. Help us and heal us all, holy one. All this we ask in the name of the one who taught us to pray…
Our Lord’s Prayer
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
¨ Hymn #89 Black Awake, Awake, to Love and Work Morning Song
1 Awake, awake to love and work!
The lark is in the sky;
The fields are wet with diamond dew;
The worlds awake to cry
Their blessings on the Lord of life,
As He goes meekly by.
2 Come, let thy voice be one with theirs,
Shout with their shout of praise;
See how the giant sun soars up,
Great lord of years and days!
So let the love of Jesus come
And set thy soul ablaze.
3 To give and give, and give again,
What God hath given thee;
To spend thyself nor count the cost;
To serve right gloriously
The God who gave all worlds that are,
And all that are to be.
¨ Benediction for Work, Rest, and Celebration inspired by Colossians 3:17
~ from one used in worship at Sojourn Community Church, Louisville, KY. Posted on The Open Sourcebook website. http://theopensourcebook.org/
Postlude Andante ma non troppo Union Church Orchestra
(you are welcome to be seated and enjoy the Postlude)
In Our Prayers
¨ 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 Benin, Côte d’Ivoire and Togo; and our brothers & sisters at Bethel Baptist 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 16,600 Kentucky residents, and 289 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.
¨ Patty and Steve Boyce, both with Covid.
¨ Iris Brandenburg, recovering from surgery, thanks that all went well.
¨ The Stolte family, grieving Bill’s death. Annriette’s address is 579 Alexian Way #417 South; Signal Mountain; TN; 37377.
¨ Punkie McKinney, struggling with long-Covid symptoms.
¨ Cherie Valeithian, Debbonnaire Kovacs’ sister, suffering health issues in Seattle.
¨ Doug Hindman, with Covid.
¨ Susan Kramer recovering from an infection, and for Stanley caring for her.
¨ JoAnn Russell, Reda Hutton’s aunt, facing several medical challenges.
¨ Hazel Morris, at the death of her brother-in-law.
¨ Raymond Binkley, Betty Wray’s brother, aged 94, and in ill health.
¨ 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!
Birthdays: September 5 – Brian Madden; 6 – Chris Green; 7 – Noah Broomfield; 9 – Hailey Biggs
Anniversaries: September 9—Jim & Dana Wangsgard