ST. JOHN’S UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST
223 West College Avenue, Bluffton, OH 45817
August 29, 2021
Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Rev. Katherine Beckett (567-226-1009) Church (419-358-5641)
No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here!
Prelude “Day By Day” arr. Robert. J. Hughes
*Call to Worship+
One: Family of faith, this must be the place. This is the place for connection and growth, for community and hope.
Many: This must be the place for questions like, “Where are you from?” and, “What do you need?”
One: For whispers of: “I’ve been thinking of you,” and, “I’ve been meaning to ask. . .”
Many: This must be the place, because all belong here. All are welcome here. All hurt and joy, needs and prayers, dreams and love, are welcome here.
One: So, for our call to worship today, we are going to lean into invitation for connection. I want to invite you to take two minutes to introduce yourself to someone around you and to share one thing that has brought you deep joy this week so that we might begin our service with joy, gratitude, and connection. God is near.
Many: Let us worship Holy God.
Take a few minutes for conversation. The organ will call us back.
*Opening Hymn “All Creatures of Our God and King” P. 23
(vs. 1, 4, 5)
*Call to Confession+
How many of you have ever had a bad day and found someone
offering you unsolicited advice? How many of you have ever had a
bad week and had someone rush in with dozens of suggestions for
how you might fix things, as if you hadn’t thought of that before?
We have all been there, and we have all done that. It is part of our
humanity. Our scripture reminds us today that often in the face of
hurt, what people really need is not a list of advice or solutions, but
the simple presence of love. So let us pray to God today,
acknowledging that we are works in progress, and that
relationships always come with mistakes and confession.
Let us pray:
*Prayer of Confession+
Gracious God, sometimes life feels like cooking with flour—it
looks like it should be easy, but we always make a mess. This
is particularly true when it comes to our relationships. We so
desperately long to say the right thing, to be the right thing, to
find the right solution, that we overstep the line. Forgive us for
assuming the place you fill. Forgive us for imagining that we,
in all our humanity, could possibly fix all the hurt in this world.
Instead, give us the grace and the strength to stand by our
loved ones in their moments of need to witness their hurt
without trying to fix it. You are God. We are not. Teach us how
to be a friend. Teach us how to ask, “What do you need?”
Teach us how to point to you. Gratefully, we pray. Amen.
*Words of Assurance+
One: Family of faith, no matter how many times you have spoken without listening, assumed without knowing, offered without asking, or rushed without waiting—you are forgiven. God knows your desire and your intent. God knows when we try and miss the mark, and God surrounds us in grace. So, hear and believe the good news of the gospel:
All: Every day is a new day for love. We are claimed. We are forgiven. We are invited into relationship. Thanks be to God for growth and grace that know no end. Amen.
Hymn “Will You Let Me Be Your Servant” P. 391
(vs. 1, 2, 4)
Prayer for Illumination+ (unison)
God of long winters and longer summers, in the words of Paul, do your best to come to us quickly. Come to us with loud praise and joy, or appear to us in a still, small voice. Come to us through friends, or come to us through strangers. I’ve been meaning to ask. . . what do you need? Come to us in this text and in this hour of worship, and come to us quickly if you can. We are seeking you. We are always seeking you. With grateful hearts cracked open by love, we pray. Amen.
Hebrew Scripture Reading Job 2:11-13
The Book of Job is a basic prose tale that describes a man who
falls victim to heavenly competitions, refuses to curse God and is
ultimately restored to greater fortune. This section is a didactic tale
about the proper way to respond to undeserved suffering.
Epistle Reading 2 Timothy 4:9-18
The Apostle Paul charges Timothy to remain faithful to the gospel and explains his need for a visit from Timothy.
One: Hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church.
Many: Thanks be to God!
Sermon I’ve been meaning to ask…What do you need?
*Hymn “Here I Am, Lord” P. 559
*Affirmation of Faith+ (unison)
We believe in relationships. We believe in asking hard questions, in showing up for one another, and in sitting together through the pain. We believe in listening with grace, learning with curiosity, and apologizing with sincerity. We believe in asking for help, saying what we need, and trusting that no degree of vulnerability could strip us of God’s love. We believe in trying our best and offering grace when our best is not enough. And we believe that God is in all relationships—modeling for us the value of community through the relationships of the Trinity. So, we love today, and we strive to love even more tomorrow. Let it be so. Amen.
Pastoral Prayer and the Lord’s Prayer
*Closing Hymn “Come, Christians Join to Sing” P. 87
*Postlude “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise” M. Burkhardt
*Please stand if you are able.
+Adapted from a prayer by Rev. Sarah Are | A Sanctified Art
LLC | sanctified art.org
Good morning and welcome to worship as we gather to praise the God of all creation, our Savior Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit who guides us in love.
“Thank you for the card recognizing my completion of the UCC Lay School of Religion program. Rev. Dan Busch presented the official certificate last Sunday during the morning service at Emmanuel. St. John’s, through two pastors and the congregation, has been most supportive. In particular, Pastor Carol provided me much research material and the opportunity to speak several Sundays. She also gave me the pick of several books when she retired. You, of course, have listened to several messages resulting from research papers for class. If there is anything I can do during your transition period, let me know.
Yours in Christ, Ron Geiser”
Holy Communion will be celebrated on the second Sunday in September which is September 12. This is due to the Labor Day holiday weekend which will take place the first weekend in September.
Time Change for Services: Sunday, September 12 (the second Sunday) worship begins at 10:30 a.m., with Sunday School beginning at 9:30 a.m.
Attendance for Sunday, August 22, was 36 persons.
This Week at St. John’s:
Tuesday, August 31—Ladies meet at Arby’s, 10 a.m.
TOPS, 6:30 p.m.
Wednes., Sept. 1—Men meet at Arby’s, 8:30 a.m.
Participants in Worship:
You, the congregation of St. John’s UCC
Blaine Bauman—sound technician
Jason Cox, Ben Stahl, Bob Stahl—videographers
Summer fruit basket
Taste some fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) — perfect for summer, and all year round!
• Love: “There is always an ‘again’ with love.” —Unknown
• Joy: “I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.” —Anne Frank
• Peace: “Peace begins with a smile.” —Mother Teresa
• Patience: “The purposes of God may sometimes seem delayed, but they are never abandoned.” —H.C. Mears
• Kindness: “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” —Mark Twain
• Goodness: “Goodness means to do things for the glory of God.” —Martyn Lloyd-Jones
• Faithfulness: “Do small things as if they were great because of the majesty of Christ, who does them in us.” —Blaise Pascal
• Gentleness: “There is nothing stronger in the world than gentleness.” —Han Suyin
• Self-control: “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” —2 Tim. 1:7 (ESV)