ST. JOHN’S UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST
223 West College Avenue, Bluffton, OH 45817
September 5, 2021
Fifteenth 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 “Worthy Is the Lamb” Don Wyrtzen
(Piano/organ duet by Mary Plaugher and Barbara Plaugher)
*Call to Worship+
One: If you come into this place with the hope of growing deeper, with the hope of connecting, with the hope of glimpsing God, and if all of those things take place, and your spirit is moved, and you swear God is near, and you feel more than lucky for the gift of faith, and then the service comes to an end, and it’s time for you to leave, and you ask yourself, “Where do we go from here?” Then I would say to you, “Go out into the world to love and to share and to learn, but come back soon, because this is the beginning. This is only the beginning. So come on in. Fill your cup here. Be present here. God is here.” Let us worship Holy God.
*Opening Hymn “Come, Thou Fount. . .” P. 68 (vs 1, 3)
*Call to Confession+
One of the things I love about the prayer of confession is it
allows us to claim that we are works in progress, and there is
beauty in that. You don’t have to be perfect here. You don’t
have to have it all figured out here. You don’t have to have a
five-step plan for what’s next here. You just have to show up
with your messy, beautiful self, and be honest. So, friends, let
us be honest. Let us pray the prayer of confession together. . .
*Prayer of Confession+
Holy God, We are naturals when it comes to stalling out. We
reach a certain point in the relationship, in the conversation, in
our faith, and then we stall. We buy property on the top of the
plateau and build a house there, destined to never dig deeper
or climb higher. Forgive us for giving up on the things that
matter. Forgive us for confusing the plateau with the mountain
top. Forgive us for taking the easy way out instead of doing
the hard work of curiosity, relationship-building, vulnerability,
and connection. Inspire us to see new paths for where we can
go from here. With hope and honesty we pray, Amen.
*Words of Assurance+
One: Family of faith, We are works in progress, but we are works in progress designed, created, and claimed by God. No matter what you have done or left undone this week, today is a fresh start. Hear and believe the good news of the gospel:
All: God is with me on the mountain top, and God is with me on the plateau. I am loved, claimed, and forgiven. Thanks be to God! Amen.
Special Music “For God So Loved the World” Paul Mickelson
Time with the Children
Prayer for Illumination+ (unison)
Holy God, we know that you are always speaking—through strangers and friends, through sunrise and sunset, through random acts of kindness and feelings that stir hope awake in us. We know that you speak through dreams and prayer, through a still, small voice and bursts of overwhelming joy. I’ve been meaning to ask. . . where do we go from here? We know that you are always speaking, but we also know that we are inclined to miss it. Settle our spirits now to hear your word fully. We want to be part of the conversation. Gratefully we pray, Amen.
Hebrew Scripture Reading Ruth1:1-22
Reading from Church History Acts 10
One: Hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church
Many: Thanks be to God
Sermon I’ve been meaning to ask…Where do we go from here?
*Hymn “Be Thou My Vision” P. 502 (All verses)
Affirmation of Faith+ (unison)
We believe that God is a conversationalist, drawing close to us and asking, “What do you need? Where does it hurt? Who do you long to be?” We see this conversational God in Jesus Christ, God’s own flesh, who walked the earth speaking with the poor, the hungry, the lonely, and the outcast. Therefore, we believe that our call as people of faith is to continue this holy conversation with those who look and think like us, as well as with those who share little in common with us. We believe that through these conversations, we are able to catch a glimpse of the Kin-dom of God, so we continue the conversation in hope. Amen.
Pastoral Prayer and the Lord’s Prayer
*Closing Hymn “Blest Be the Tie That Binds” P. 393 (vs. 1 & 3)
*Postlude “The Lord Is My Light” Frances Allitsen
*Please stand if you are able.
+Adapted from a prayer by Rev. Sarah Are | A Sanctified Art
LLC | sanctified art.org
Welcome to worship this Labor Day weekend! The Lord gives a wide array of talents and knowledge to us all so we may serve one another through both paid and unpaid work. Thanks be to God!
Thank you to Mary Plaugher and Barbara Plaugher for sharing their musical talents with us through their special music. To quote
J.S. Bach: “I play the notes as they are written, but it is God who makes the music.”
Copies of the 2021 St. John’s UCC Church Directory are available on the hutch, and copies can be sent to you if you contact the church office.
Extra copies of the September Serendipity are available on the hutch if you have not received yours by email.
Next Sunday, September 12, we will celebrate Holy Communion during the worship service.
Please remember: Next Sunday, September 12, Sunday School begins at 9:30 am.; worship begins at 10:30 a.m.
Attendance for Sunday, August 29, was 27 persons.
This Week at St. John’s:
Tuesday, September 7—Ladies meet at Arby’s, 10 a.m.
TOPS, 5:30 p.m.
Wednes., September 8—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