October 16-22, 2022

For the week of October 16-22, 2022 – 19th week after Pentecost

Morning prayer: From the least of us, to the greatest, Lord, we want to know You; we yearn to follow where You lead us; we need Your guidance. But even as we listen for Your direction, other voices compete for our attention with teachings that suit our desires. Our thoughts drift so far from Your truth, that fables and fancies begin to seem real. Holy One, open our hearts and minds. By Your Spirit, convince, rebuke, and encourage us as only You can; teach, correct, and inspire us in the ways of Your salvation. Amen.  (Discipleship Ministries)

Hymn: #77 How Great Thou Art

  1. O Lord my God!

When I in awesome wonder consider all the worlds Thy hands have made,

I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,

Thy power throughout the universe displayed.


Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee; How great Thou art, how great Thou art!

Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee; How great Thou art, how great Thou art!

  1. When through the woods and forest glades I wander,

and hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;

When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur and hear the brook,

and feel the gentle breeze;


  1. And when I think that God, His Son nor sparing, sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;

That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing, He bled and died to take away my sin;


  1. When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation and take me home,

what joy shall fill my heart.

Then I shall bow in humble adoration, and there proclaim, my God, how great Thou art!

Psalm 121

I lift up my eyes to the hills— from where will my help come?

My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber.

He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade at your right hand.

The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil; He will keep your life.

The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and forevermore.

Children’s Message

I have waited through the entire lectionary for this Psalm to be the reading on a Sunday morning. It is one of my favorites. I am certain if I asked, you could name a certain Psalm or verses from a Psalm that bring you comfort or encouragement. We use the Psalms in our worship because they link us back to those who came before us and we use their words to express our feelings to God. There is nothing we can not say to God and the Psalms are proof of that. They give us a way to talk to God honestly and for God to honestly speak with us.

In times of grief and trouble, we lean heavily on the 23rd Psalm and in times of joys, we may speak out that this is the day that the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24). We have come to rely on the Psalms as trusted friends to us and I want you to think of the Psalms as friends – someone you can speak to and through to gain strength, support and encouragement and yes, sometimes even to express our disappointments and our anger. We will be looking at the Psalms in the coming weeks and seeing how they can lead us into a greater relationship with God for our faith journey.

Father God, thank You for the wonderful words that lead us into life with You. Support our learning and understanding of the Psalms. Amen.

Prayers of Intercession:  Thank You, Lord, for hearing our prayers for those dear to our hearts.  We now pray as You have taught us: 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. Lead us, not into temptation but deliver us from evil.  For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Amen. 

Offering spotlightYour designated Missions benevolent giving supports EOS Therapeutic Riding Center, a nonprofit organization providing therapeutic horseback riding to children and adults with special needs. Sarah Wolfe and Joan Powell are EOS volunteers. 

Offering prayer: Holy God, as we offer our gifts to You this day, we pray that, in our giving, we may be reconnected to the reason why we follow and the reason why we give. You called us to be disciples who make disciples. All-in – knowing who we are, who You are. And why we are following. Help us avoid that which distracts, the desire to hear the things that please us and make the road easier, but that will not bring us to the kingdom of justice, mercy, and compassion You desire for us. In Christ, we pray, our guiding light. Amen.  (Discipleship Ministries)

Hymn #496 Sweet Hour of Prayer

  1. Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer! that calls me from a world of care,
    and bids me at my Father's throne make all my wants and wishes known.
    In seasons of distress and grief, my soul has often found relief,
    and oft escaped the tempter's snare by thy return, sweet hour of prayer!
  2. Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer! the joys I feel, the bliss I share
    of those whose anxious spirits burn with strong desires for thy return!
    With such I hasten to the place where God my Savior shows His face,
    and gladly take my station there, and wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!
  3. Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer! thy wings shall my petition bear
    to Him whose truth and faithfulness engage the waiting soul to bless.
    And since He bids me seek His face, believe His word, and trust His grace,
    I'll cast on Him my every care, and wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!

Scripture Lesson Luke 18:1-8

Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’ For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.’” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to His chosen ones who cry to Him day and night? Will He delay long in helping them? I tell you, He will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?”

Today’s Message:                    Pastor Becky Cuddeback

I could just end with verse 1 and I think it would resonate with us and be useful for us. Jesus says we need to pray without ceasing and not to lose heart. Seems easy enough. We have spent the last months picking the gospel of Luke apart, piece by piece and chapter by chapter looking to find the path of discipleship. We have been looking for what is needed to follow Jesus faithfully and fully. I know I have been looking for something easy to hang on to, because discipleship is hard. We have to be on constant alert. So when we have a directive to pray always and not lose heart, I can hang on to that.

Prayer is simple; we find the time to do it, we can pray anywhere and at any time. We get requests and we pray alone and we come together and pray. We hear of those situations and circumstances that need prayer and we pray. Yet, why does Jesus give us the encouragement to not lose heart? Jesus uses this parable to explain why we can lose heart, so we have to go further.

We need to pray because of some of the folks we are going to encounter and continue to encounter in our lives. For example, the unjust judge. He is a man who has no regard for God or care for people; he is only interested in his own best interest. Everything he does is for his benefit or to protect his interest. He sees folks and settles their disputes for his gain. His decisions are not necessarily based in legality or morality, but he has the final say in all matters. He collects favors and names, all to his betterment. He is merely tolerating the petitions coming from the widow. She has nothing to offer him in order to get a favorable ruling or decision, there is no benefit from hearing her petitions at all. She is of no value to him and neither is her cause.

Let’s talk about her cause because that is what brings her to the judge to begin with. She comes asking the judge to grant her justice against her opponent. The widow has an opponent, someone or something working against her, oppressing her. Now as soon as we heard she was referred to as a widow, a myriad of things should have come flooding to our minds. First, she is property that belongs to no one, she has nothing of her own. If she has no male child, there is no one to take her in and see to her needs. Due to the precariousness of her survival, God appointed her care to the community of faith – every prophet has proclaimed this – the care for the widow, the orphan and the alien living in your own land. This is how God will judge based on the treatment of the least of these.

She is coming to the judge because the community has forgotten their role in her life. The judge nor the community will acknowledge her plight and she is throwing herself at the judge who has all power and authority and he is denying her. She is praying for justice, because of the oppression she is facing and she can’t be alone. If the judge and the community are neglecting this widow, they are neglecting the others. If they are neglecting the widows, then most certainly they are neglecting the orphans and if they are neglecting the orphans, we can only imagine what they are doing or not doing for the aliens in their own land. It isn’t that one widow is oppressed, it is that all of the marginalized are oppressed. We see it today with those who are marginalized. The physically disabled are still fighting for parking spaces. The blind are hoping for clear pathways. The sick and terminally ill are still fighting for healthcare. Those who are neglected and abused merely because of their skin color, gender, orientation, marital status, or desire or lack of desire to have children. Whoever doesn’t fit our norms, as the ideal, the preferred, the acceptable, doesn’t have access to the justice the widow is petitioning for in the parable today. Yet, she doesn’t give up, she shows up day after day, over and over, and again and again demanding her justice from the judge.

The judge only relents when he realizes the damage that could come to him and to his reputation, only when his power and authority is at risk, then and only then does he give her justice. When the threat becomes too great to him, does he give her what God ordained from the very beginning. His denial of justice would lead to his destruction and that is the only thing that swayed his conviction to ignore her.

Now, when we look at the parables, we are always looking to see who represents God. I think we can agree that the unjust judge isn’t God. I lean heavily to the widow being the model of God. The one who is the weakest and lowest in status, the one persistent in prayers and in action for justice. God exemplified this in sending Jesus, who was also sent to us as a helpless baby to work justice for us. Redeeming us, ransoming us, performing works of intercession to this day for us. Jesus is persistently coming to us today, we who have the tendencies of the unjust judge – disregarding God and disregarding people. Jesus persistently prayers for those of us who hold the power and authority to bring justice and remove opponents and oppressors, all for the bringing about the Kingdom of God.

Closing Hymn: #526 What a Friend We Have in Jesus

1   What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! 

What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!

O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,

     All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

2   Have we trials and temptations?  Is there trouble anywhere?

We should never be discouraged: take it to the Lord in prayer.

     Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?

Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.

3   Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care? 

Precious Savior, still our refuge; take it to the Lord in prayer.

     Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?  Take it to the Lord in prayer! 

In His arms He’ll take and shield thee; thou wilt find a solace there.

Go into your week with the blessings of The Father, The Son, The Holy Spirit.

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