“We welcome all without exception as we worship God together, journey in the spirit, and share our gifts with each other, our neighbors and the world.”
For your reflection: “All that I have achieved has been possible not only because of my own strength and perseverance, gained through hardship, but also through other people’s support and belief in me.”–Clemantine Wamariya, Rwandan-American author, speaker, and human rights activist
Question: What/Who has helped you to persevere through the obstacles in your life? What does perseverance look like for you? What make it easier to persevere?
Welcome and Invocation
led by Rev. Dee
Bread of heaven, nourish us in this period of wandering. Through wildernesses wearisome and fearful, we strive to remain faithful. Keep our minds set upon lands of abundance, where justice rolls down like waters and love is the law. Do not let us settle for crumbs of life, but encourage us in persevering toward your Kindom. Amen.
by Kay Krekow
We prepare ourselves for worship
God’s Light Grows
You are invited to light a candle as you worship with us.
Passing the Peace
Leader: The peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!
People: And also with you.
A Word with the Children
Children’s moment with Rev. Dee. Children will be able to join Sunday School in a breakout room.
#506 What a Friend We Have in Jesus
The Contemporary Reading
“The Hope I Know” written by Thomas Centolella
–read by Dee D’Angelo
The Hope I Know
doesn’t come with feathers.
It lives in flip-flops and, in cold weather,
a hooded sweatshirt, like a heavyweight
in training, or a monk who has taken
a half-hearted vow of perseverance.
It only has half a heart, the hope I know.
The other half it flings to every stalking hurt.
It wears a poker face, quietly reciting
The laws of probability, and gladly
takes a back seat to faith and love,
It’s that many times removed
from when it had youth on its side
and beauty. Half the world wishes
to stay as it is, half to become
whatever it can dream,
while the hope I know struggles
to keep its eyes open and its mind
from combing an unpeopled beach.
Congregations sway and croon,
constituents vote across their party line,
rescue parties wait for a break
in the weather. And who goes to sleep
with a prayer on the lips or half a smile
knows some kind of hope.
Though not the hope I know,
which slinks from dream to dream
without ID or ally, traveling best at night,
keeping to the back roads and the shadows,
approaching the radiant city
without ever quite arriving.
–Thomas Centolella, “The Hope I Know” from Almost Human. Copyright © 2017 by Thomas Centolella. Reprinted by permission of Tupelo Press. Source: Almost Human (Tupelo Press, 2017)
by Kay Krekow
Reading from from the Living Word
read by Rev. Jean Thompson
4 1 Therefore, my brothers and sisters,[a] whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.
2 I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3 Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion,[b] help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.
4 Rejoice[c] in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.[d] 5 Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, beloved,[e] whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about[f] these things. 9 Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.
Keep On by Rev. Dee Ledger
#172 Jesus Calls Us, o’er the Tumult (verses 1-3)
Faith and Democracy Moment
We encourage you to view this message from Rev. Ryan Sirmons, Pastor, The United Church of Christ of Annapolis, MD.
If you wish to give to support the work of Bethesda UCC, you can donate via Venmo @Bethesda-UCC or send a check via mail to Bethesda UCC c/o Treasurer; 10010 Fernwood Road; Bethesda, MD 20817
We thank you for your generous support of this faith community and of our ministry together. Let us bless the offerings from this week together.
Prayer of Dedication
Holy Agitator, Blessed Defender of Life, you teach us how to practice courage in the hardest situations. When we would rather remain silent. Or go with the flow. Or stay off the radar of our enemies. You remind us of the Sacred calling of love that will not let us take shelter in privilege or apathy. For your disruptive and saving truths, we bring our gifts with thanks. Amen.
Pastoral Prayer and Lord’s Prayer
Our Mother/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 debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
#476 My Life Flows on in Endless Song
God sends us with the audacity of Christ.
Before thrones of injustice and in the quiet of our own hearts,
the Spirit enables us to be brave:
For our own integrity.
For our neighbors’ well-being.
For the sake of collective flourishing.
With peace that passes all understanding,
let us go and live our faith.
Liturgical Resources/Credits: Except where specifically noted, our liturgy today is from enfeshed.com and adapted to our setting.
More about us
Bethesda UCC was founded in 1957 as Bethesda Congregational Church. United Church of Christ is the union of the Congregational Christian Churches and the Evangelical and Reformed Church.
We are located at the corner of Fernwood and Democracy. Our postal address is:
Bethesda United Church of Christ
10010 Fernwood Road
Bethesda, Maryland 20817
Minister: Rev. Dee Ledger
Music Director: Kay Krekow
Today’s music is shared under Church Copyright License: One License A-726712
A ONE LICENSE Reprint License grants churches, schools, religious communities, retreat centers, and other worshiping bodies permission to reprint or project music for their congregations from any of our Member Publishers.
Permission to podcast / stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE, License #A-726712. All rights reserved.