Bulletin for Sunday, August 22, 2021



223 West College Avenue, Bluffton, OH   45817

August 22, 2021

Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost

 Rev. Katherine Beckett (567-226-1009)  Church (419-358-5641)

E-mail:      blufftonstjohnsucc@gmail.com

Website:    www.blufftonstjohns.com


No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here!

Prelude    “The God of Abraham Praise”             Benton Price


*Call to Worship+

One:   Here in this space, we wear our hearts on our sleeves. Many:       There is no use in filters or walls. This space is an authentic space.

One:   This space is a brave space.

Many: For when it comes to God, we are always invited to bring our full selves into the room.

One:   So, come into this space with your hurt and your joy, your prayers and your dreams.

Many: All of God’s children are welcome here.

Let us worship Holy God.

*Opening Hymn   “O For a Thousand Tongues. . .”                 P. 96

                                                                                                (vs. 1, 3 & 5)

*Call to Confession+

When we gather together we are quick to wave and say hello, to

pass the peace, to comment on the weather, to make small talk and

show hospitality; but how often do we go below the surface? How

often do we sit next to the same people, week after week, oblivious

to the things they might be carrying? Family of faith, I believe God

wants deeper connection for us than that, so listen now to our

prayer of confession and then join me in silent prayer following. Let

us listen. Let us pray:

*Prayer of Confession+

Voice 1:  I’ve been meaning to ask…

Voice 2: How are you? What has your year been like? Did you

                know that I have been thinking of you?

Voice 1:  I have been meaning to ask…

Voice 2: Is your mom okay? Did your sister find a job? Did you

               ever think we’d still be here?

Voice 1:  I’ve been meaning to ask…

Voice 2: Did it get easier? Did the grief subside? Were you

               ever able to sleep at night?

Voice 1:  I’ve been meaning to ask but I haven’t—

Voice 2: Because it’s hard. Because I want to say the right

               thing. Because I’m not sure what you need.

Voice 1:  I’ve been meaning to ask, so I’m sorry for my silence.

Voice 2: Forgive me. Show me where it hurts.

Voice 1:  Let’s start again.

Voice 2: Family of Faith, we could all use some practice in

                asking where it hurts.  Take a moment in silent prayer

    to think of the people in your world, in your lives who

                may need you to reach out and ask.  Give their names

    to God,

Voice 1: Trusting that God hears all things, we say together:

All:         Amen.

*Words of Assurance+

One:   Family of faith, in the journey to love and care for one another, we are bound to make mistakes. Fortunately for us, we worship a God who showed us how to love, and who extends grace to us when we fail to do so for others. So, hear and believe the good news of the gospel:

All:      We are seen. We are heard. We are loved. We are forgiven. Thanks be to God for this endless grace. Amen.

Hymn     “Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart”                    P. 132

                                                                                               (vs. 1, 4 & 5)

Time with the Children

Prayer for Illumination+ (unison)

Holy God, Today we will read stories of those who have known hurt— people who have carried shame, who have lived with grief and chronic illness, who have felt alone and ignored, who have seen the depths of suffering. As we listen, we will be reminded of the hurt we have carried during these fragile days—memories and regrets co-mingling in our chests. And as we listen, we will be reminded that our neighbors, our siblings in faith, also come to this space carrying burdens. So, dust off our ears and stretch open the canvases of our hearts so that in our pain, we might lean into one another as we lean into you. Pull us close. We are listening. Amen.

Hebrew Scripture Reading                                  1 Samuel 1:1-18

Gospel Reading                                                     Mark 5:21-43

One:   Hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church.

Many: Thanks be to God!

Sermon         I’ve been meaning to ask…Where does it hurt?

*Hymn           “Rebuilding Starts with Weeping”             (P. 7 bulletin)

            (sing to the tune of “O sacred head, now wounded”  p. 284)

*Affirmation of Faith+ (unison)

On my best days,

I believe that God is there—standing in the sun with me,

laughing a contagious laugh and cheering me on.

On my hardest days,

I believe that God is there—standing in the rain with me, holding me up and sharing in my grief.

No matter where I go—in joy or in loss, in pain or in love,

in heartache or in gratitude—I believe that God is there, leaning in, noticing where it hurts, and carrying me through it.

And so, I believe we are called to care for each other as God cares for us. On your best days in the sun and on your worst days in the rain, I will do my best to be there for you, too. Amen.

Pastoral Prayer and the Lord’s Prayer

*Closing Hymn  “Lord Dismiss Us with Your Blessing”  P. 748



*Postlude       “Recessional”                     Charles Sergisson

*Please stand if you are able.

+Adapted from a prayer by Rev. Sarah Are | A Sanctified Art LLC | sanctified art.org

Welcome to St. John’s United Church of Christ!  As we worship together, may the Holy Spirit, weave a fabric of justice to cover the world, using us as threads of love and mercy.

The Concert on the Lawn at the Mennonite Home, scheduled for this evening, is cancelled.  As a service to the residents of the Mennonite Home, a small, private concert with the Hallelujah Saints Band and ice cream, will take place.  The difficult decision to cancel this year’s concert was made due to a continued increase in COVID-19 cases in this area.

Attendance for Sunday, August 15 was 30  persons.

The September-October Upper Rooms are available in the racks if you want to pick up a copy.

The Reverend Dan Busch, who is our Northwest Ohio Association Minister, is celebrating 50 years of ordained ministry this year.  A card shower has been planned in honor of his ordination milestone.  There is a card on the hutch if you would like to sign it as you leave today.

The Hosler and Reichenbach families thank their St. John’s church family for sharing with them in the celebration of Tracy’s life.  Your prayers and support are greatly appreciated.  Their thank-you card is posted on the sanctuary bulletin board.

This Week at St. John’s:

            Tuesday, August 24—Ladies meet at Arby’s, 10 a.m.

            Wednes., August 25—Men meet at Arby’s, 8:30 am.

Participants in Worship:

You, the congregation of St. John’s UCC

Dan Fleming—liturgist

Sue Hardwick—organist

Blaine Bauman—sound technician

Jason Cox, Ben Stahl, Bob Stahl—videographers

Christ has no body but yours;
no hands, no feet on earth but yours.
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good.
Yours are the hands with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours.

–St. Teresa of Avila

Rebuilding Starts with Weeping

(sing to tune on page 284, in “Worship and Rejoice”)

Rebuilding starts with weeping, with tears that fall like rain,

With full and honest grieving for years of loss and pain,

For suffering and sorrow that never had to be.

Rebuilding starts with weeping for all who are not free.

Rebuilding starts with praying, with hopes allowed a voice,

With visions for our country, with reason to rejoice.

We offer up our spirits, our hearts and minds and hands.

Rebuilding starts with praying for strength to heal our land.

Rebuilding starts with loving, with care for every soul,

With yearning in compassion that all may yet be whole,

That enemy and neighbor may know a better day.

Rebuilding starts with loving, for love will show the way.

Text:  Amanda Udi-Kessler, copyright 2020

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