January 17, 2021, Martin Luther King Jr Sunday, 2nd Sunday after Epiphany

"March for Racial Justice" Photograph in front of Capitol building Washington, DC

“March for Racial Justice” by DCErica is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Bethesda United Church of Christ Worship Service

“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.”


We invite you to gather for quiet and centering prayer and reflection every Sunday at 10:15 am. May this time and space be a blessing for your journey.

For Your Reflection: “We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience.”  –Martin Luther King, Jr.

Question:   Of what importance is the human conscience?  How does your human conscience direct you?  How do you keep your conscience healthy?  How do you hear your conscience speak?  Can countries or institutions have a collective conscience?


Rev. Dee Ledger

God’s Light Grows 

Call To Worship  (responsive)

Let it be known and proclaimed! Let this truth sink into the depths of your being:
The presence of God receives us as we are.
Our questions. Our pain. Our stories unfinished and memories held close.
There is a love to hold it all.
Quieting the noise of shame.
Casting out words of “not enough.”
The voice of God says, “Welcome. Welcome. Welcome.”


#448 Take My Life

Music and lyrics to Take My Life

Opening Prayer (unison)

Beloved One, your love has companioned us since birth. You know our stories, our struggles, the very roots of our being. There is nothing hidden from you. Even in our greatest insecurities, you embrace and encourage us. May we be disciples of your compassion, extending to others the grace that enables us our hope. Amen.

 *Alleluia #765

Al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia;

Al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia;

I will praise you, al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia;

I will praise you al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia, al-le-lu-ia

Passing The Peace

Leader:       The peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!

People:      And also with you.

Children’s Moment

“Here is truly one in whom there is no deceit”

The children may depart to the breakout room for their classes and activities.

 The Contemporary Reading

“Sneezing Is Like Racism”

performed by S.C. Says  @WANPOETRY (TGS 2018)

permission granted for use under

Musical Meditation

A Reading From The Gospel

John 1:43-51

 43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” 49 Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Very truly, I tell you,[a] you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”


Can Anything Good Come Out of This?                                 


# 451 Be Now My Vision

Music and lyrics to Be Now My Vision

Music is shared under Church Copyright License: One License A-726712

Giving thanks

Invitation to offering

There are parts of who we are – each of us – that have been demeaned, shamed, or silenced. Love asks us not to hide them away, but to bring them before God. To see what wisdom they might hold. What story they might tell. What gifts they might bear. In faith, let us share all of who we are and all of what we have with God and one another.

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 for the offerings, pledges, and gifts of today and this week   (Unison)

Beloved One, here we are. Imperfect. Created good. Whole and broken all at once. We bring our offerings as those who heal and harm; as those who have done violence and received care. We pray for the accountability, transformation, and wisdom that will lead us in the way of liberation and give thanks for your assurance that for today, we are enough. Amen.

Joys/Concerns, Pastoral Prayer & The Lord’s Prayer

***This week is a Week of Prayer for Christian Unity; January 18-25th.  We encourage you to pray for peaceful Christian Unity both here in the States and around the world.***

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.


The Congregation


#379 Come, We Who Love God’s Name (Marching to Zion)

Music and lyrics to Come, We who Love God's Name (Marching to Zion)

Music is shared under Church Copyright License: One License A-726712


Love sends us in our full humanity, to encounter the full humanity of others: messy, real, complicated as it is. That compassion may be our practice. That differences may be our teacher. That honesty and truth may guide us. God calls not the perfect but the willing. With the assurance of the Spirit’s companionship, go in peace.

Notes on Resources and Acknowledgements: Unless otherwise marked, our liturgy comes from and is adapted to our worship setting.

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