Gathering in Worship Offered by the People of the Church of Christ, Union
Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost
October 11, 2020 10:30 am
“Surely God does not exist so that we can think correctly about Him— or Her. Amazingly and wonderfully, like all good parents, God desires instead the flourishing of what God created and what God loves— us ourselves. Ironically, we flourish more by learning from our mistakes and changing than by a straight course that teaches us nothing.” — Richard Rohr, The Naked Now
From There to Here: We Gather
As the Berea community responds to the governor’s suggestion to avoid gathering in large groups, we worship online to limit the risk of exposure to Covid-19. We’re delighted to welcome you into this virtual circle of God’s healing love and light.
The Call The Uses of Sorrow by Mary Oliver Steve Boyce, Reader
Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift.
Passing the Peace at Home
Building the Community: News that Connects Us
Today we light the Justice Candle for Samuel’s Kids Ministries International in Mukono, Uganda, better known to us at Union Church as simply “Samuel’s Kids.” Samuel Mugabi is the founder and moving force behind this non-profit, non-governmental and non-political ministry that provides shelter, food, medical care, clothing, education and spiritual nourishment for homeless kids. The non-profit was formed in 2003 and grew into an orphanage serving 30 children in 2006. Union Church was first introduced to Samuel’s Kids by Deborah Payne, following her return from the Peace Corps where she served in Uganda. If you follow the “chats” during Sunday worship, you may see that Samuel has joined and is greeting us. Today we give thanks and we honor Samuel and all the children whose lives are transformed through this ministry.
The Living Word Among Us
Hebrew Scripture Lesson Exodus 32:1-14 Donna Abner, Reader
When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered around Aaron and said to him, ‘Come, make gods for us, who shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ Aaron said to them, ‘Take off the gold rings that are on the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.’ So all the people took off the gold rings from their ears, and brought them to Aaron. He took the gold from them, formed it in a mold, and cast an image of a calf; and they said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’ When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation and said, ‘Tomorrow shall be a festival to the Lord.’ They rose early the next day, and offered burnt-offerings and brought sacrifices of well-being; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to revel.
The Lord said to Moses, ‘Go down at once! Your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have acted perversely; they have been quick to turn aside from the way that I commanded them; they have cast for themselves an image of a calf, and have worshipped it and sacrificed to it, and said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” ’ The Lord said to Moses, ‘I have seen this people, how stiff-necked they are. Now let me alone, so that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them; and of you I will make a great nation.’
But Moses implored the Lord his God, and said, ‘O Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, “It was with evil intent that he brought them out to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth”? Turn from your fierce wrath; change your mind and do not bring disaster on your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, how you swore to them by your own self, saying to them, “I will multiply your descendants like the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it for ever.” ’ And the Lord changed his mind about the disaster that he planned to bring on his people.
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.
Gospel Lesson Matthew 22:1-14 E.J. Stokes, Reader
Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying: ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. Again he sent other slaves, saying, “Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.” But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his slaves, maltreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his slaves, “The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.” Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.
‘But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, and he said to him, “Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?” And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, “Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” For many are called, but few are chosen.’
Sermon Problems! Problems! Always with the Problems! 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.
Special Music Kindle A Flame
A Chance for Generosity: www.easytithe.com/union
Our gifts help sustain this particular community of caring by sustaining the building, pastors 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 agencies.
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. You can even give by text! Text to 859-448-3403 (Example: Text “$50.00 Offering”)
Your contribution is love made visible. Thank you!
Silent Reflection and Prayer
As we pray, allow yourself to distance just a little from any worries or hectic schedule you might have. Just for a moment connect to your breathing and try to be present right where you are. Focus on one thing in your life you might have made more important that it deserves. Is it your schedule, the money you wish you had, a relationship? In your prayers, see if you can move the order of that one thing to a more appropriate place. Now focus on something that is truly lifegiving, which maybe hasn’t gotten your attention in the right way. As you breathe see if you can move it to a place where it comes into focus more and more. This is how we prepare for joy. This is how we move toward justice. Breathe in the peace. Breathe out the love. Let that be our prayer all week.
Our Prayers for Others
You are very welcome to email or phone prayer requests to the office for the bulletin. Please do so by 10 am Thursdays, and be sure you have permission to share the information.
¨ 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. Let us hold the people of Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico; and our brothers and sisters at Berea Church of Christ in our hearts, and pray for them. Please hold these concerns in your prayers, today and throughout the week.
¨ 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.
¨ Families and Friends in Crises…may God be present to every need and heal every rift and wound and those who care for them.
¨ The Hoag/Campbell family, and many friends of Lynda Campbell, grieving her loss.
¨ Gabe Barlow, under hospice care at home, and Dale, Rita and Morgan.
¨ Jeff From and all the family, at his mom’s cancer diagnosis.
¨ Many thanks to our friends at First Christian Church, for last week’s mutual service.
¨ Congratulations to Reid and Mandy Connelly, at the birth of their son, Landon Lamar Connelly on October 8, and to grandparents Steve and Thana Connelly!
¨ Congratulations to Jess Burton, on the birth of her daughter!
¨ Our church family members in nursing homes or who are homebound: Alva Peloquin, Loyal Jones, Jennie Kiteck, Mary Miller, Lois Morgan, Barb Smith, Jan Hamilton.
¨ Children in detention centers, that they may be reunited with their families soon.
¨ 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 over 1000 Kentucky residents, and nine Madison County residents, who have died to date from Covid-19.
Prayers of the People Patty Boyce, Reader
Our prayer this morning, God, is just to be ready: Ready to jump into the work of loving others. Ready to join the celebration of your many graces. Ready to set aside our fears and ready to take up both the cost and joy of discipleship. Help us be able with our whole heart. Help us be bringers of light, not hate. Help us preach good news with more than just words. We are ready for your healing, Lord. We are ready for something better. Help us be ready to be transforming and transformed. This we ask in the name of our brother Jesus, who reached to you as…
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 Oh God, in Whom All Life Begins Noel
O God in whom all life begins, who births the seed to fruit, bestow your blessing on our lives; here let your love find root. Bring forth in us the Spirit’s gifts of patience, joy, and peace; deliver us from numbing fear, and grant our faith increase.
Unite in mutual ministry our minds and hands and hearts that we might have the grace to seek the power your peace imparts. So let our varied gifts combine to glorify your Name that in all things by word and deed we may your love proclaim.
Through tears and laughter, grief and joy, enlarge our trust and care; so bind us in community that we may risk and dare. Be with us when we gather here to worship, sing and pray, then send us forth in power and faith to live the words we say.
The Sending and Blessing
In Worship Today…
Each week many elements come together to make our worship together rich and deep.
This week we are grateful for those reading, playing and singing; and Marty Hensley, Jeff Hutton, Sayer Kobersmith, Sean Mack and Rina Tanaka, our gifted AV crew.
Many thanks to the Worship Team who crafted this service: Debbonnaire Kovacs, Jennifer Melton and Sharona Nelson.