October 2-8, 2022

For the week of October 2-8, 2022 – 17th week after Pentecost

Morning prayer: Holy God, we greet You this morning with our acts of worship; song, prayer, praise and our attention. May it be pleasing unto You and glorify Your name. Welcome us to Your table and remind us of Your mighty acts of salvation and link the hearts of all believers together for the coming of Your kingdom. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Hymn: #87 What Gift Can We Bring

  1. What gift can we bring, what present, what token?

What words can convey it, the joy of this day?

When grateful we come, remembering, rejoicing, what song can we offer in honor and praise?

  1. Give thanks for the past, for those who had vision,

who planted and watered so dreams could come true.

Give thanks for the now, for study, for worship, for mission that bids us turn prayer into deed.

  1. Give thanks for tomorrow, full of surprises, for knowing whatever tomorrow may bring,

The Word is our promise always, forever, we rest in God’s keeping and live in God’s love.

  1. This gift we now bring, this present, this token, these words can convey it, the joy of this day.

When grateful we come, remembering, rejoicing, this song we now offer in honor and praise!

Psalm 8

O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.

Out of the mouths of babes and infants you have founded a bulwark because of your foes, to silence the enemy and the avenger.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established;

what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?

Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor.

You have given them dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under their feet,

all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field,

the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Children’s message Mark 10:13-16

People were bringing little children to Him in order that He might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.

Children’s Message

Jesus always called for the children to be the model of the Kingdom of God. They are still imbued with imagination and curiosity without limit, they haven’t yet conformed to the “acceptable” way to view God’s creation. This is evidenced by the treasures they bring with them every Sunday. Their treasures give us as the adults in their lives a peek into the vastness of their worlds. Nothing is impossible, everything and anything can be built with their imaginations and they have learned how to soothe themselves when things don’t work out as planned or expected. They aren’t entrenched in their ideologies and want to know more and different ways to navigate their world, which is very different from the world many of us grew up in. What a lesson for us! I have repeatedly referred to them as our prophets, speaking to us about how they see God and how God works in their lives. I pray you continue to encourage them and learn from them as Isaiah promised us, “a little child shall lead them” (Isaiah 11:6) Praise be to God.

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 spotlightToday’s bulletin includes an offering envelope.  World Communion offering supports scholarships for graduate students pursuing ministry.  You can give through the UMCOR website:  World Communion Sunday (umc.org)

Offering prayer: God of the beginning, God of now, and God of what will be; in Your claiming us as Your own, You have given us the most gracious and powerful invitation – to pray to lift all that weighs on our hearts, with the confidence that You will hear. As we offer gifts to You this morning, we pray that You will dedicate them so that they might bring love, compassion, joy, and mercy to people who are in need. Then remind us that we are not done until we have offered to You the prayers of our hearts. In the name of Jesus, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen. (Discipleship Ministries)

Hymn #568 Christ For the World We Sing

  1. Christ for the world we sing, the world to Christ we bring, with loving zeal;
    the poor, and them that mourn, the faint and overborne,
    sinsick and sorrow-worn, whom Christ doth heal.
  2. Christ for the world we sing, the world to Christ we bring, with fervent prayer;
    the wayward and the lost, by restless passions tossed,
    redeemed at countless cost, from dark despair.
  3. Christ for the world we sing, the world to Christ we bring, with one accord;
    with us the work to share, with us reproach to dare,
    with us the cross to bear, for Christ our Lord.
  4. Christ for the world we sing, the world to Christ we bring, with joyful song;
    the newborn souls, whose days, reclaimed from error's ways,
    inspired with hope and praise, to Christ belong.

Scripture Lesson James 5:13-20

Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise. Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being like us, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain and the earth yielded its harvest. My brothers and sisters, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and is brought back by another, you should know that whoever brings back a sinner from wandering will save the sinner’s soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

Message: Revisiting Our Call to Be the Church to the World           Pastor Becky Cuddeback

About this time last year, I lifted up this scripture from James and we took his three questions one by one.

Are any among you suffering?

Are any cheerful?

Are any among you sick?

I ask you to covenant with me to pray over these questions for the month of October and let’s see where God is leading us. Let me know what God has revealed to you or what you may have come to through prayer and reflection. I don’t know where we landed on those questions as a congregation, yet I come back to them because they are important. James lays out for us what it means to live in Christian community together and how to expand that community out into the world.

These questions, in a thumbnail, sum up what it means to be human. We have times in our lives that are spent in the valley and we also experience mountaintop living. It brings to mind Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted;

a time to kill and a time to heal; a time to break down and a time to build up;

a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance;

a time to throw away stones and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;

a time to seek and a time to lose; a time to keep and a time to throw away;

a time to tear and a time to sew; a time to keep silent and a time to speak;

a time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace.

Is this really the sum of our existence? Does it have to be? It seems rather cold, blunt, direct: you live - you die.

There is an answer, a response to James’ questions and the summary of Ecclesiastes – the Table of the Lord, Holy Communion, the Lord’s Supper, the Eucharist. It is here at the table we come to be reminded of our worth to God, reminded that we belong to God. We are reminded of God’s great love for us and the lengths God goes to reconnect with us through the gift of forgiveness. It is by embracing God’s forgiveness we can forgive ourselves and each other, offering to the world what we are given in Communion. It is something we can only do together, to be fed and nourished by physical bread and the vine so that we would become like Christ. Becoming like Christ we would be a living, breathing, moving extension of this offering of Jesus; bringing mercy, forgiveness and love to all the world.

Throughout the Church today, we are celebrating over time and location how the entire Church meets at Jesus’ table to join and bind us together in the Good News of Jesus Christ. This meal covers our differences and disagreements and enables us to proclaim the goodness of God.

It is the healer of relationships, healing our relationship with God and our relationships with each other.

And while it is a good thing to be reminded that God is present at all of these tables today and every day – what if instead of it only reminding us, it enlivens us to live into a vision of us being Communion to the whole world by offering what Jesus offers us? That our lives become living communion that welcomes the entirety of our communities to the feast of the Lord, where there is always a seat at the table? Our actions become the works of feeding, forgiving, and forging relationships.

We can find ourselves grasping for words or formulas for what makes for a life of discipleship, yet it is being the heart of communion – living lives offering Jesus wherever we go, through words of encouragement, works of mercy and loving recklessly the entirety of the world, because all are welcome to taste and see that the Lord is good. Amen

Closing Hymn: #558 We Are the Church

Refrain:  I am the church!  You are the church!  We are the church together!

All who follow Jesus all around the world! Yes, we’re the church together!

  1. The church is not a building, the church is not a steeple,
    the church is not a resting place, the church is a people.
  2. We’re many kinds of people, with many kinds of faces,
    all colors and all ages, too, from all times and places.
  3. Sometimes the church is marching, sometimes it’s bravely burning,
    sometimes it’s riding, sometimes hiding, always it’s learning.
  4. And when the people gather, there’s singing and there’s praying,
    There’s laughing and there’s crying sometimes, all of it saying:
  5. At Pentecost some people received the Holy Spirit

And told the Good News through the world to all who would hear it.

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

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