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.”
For Your Reflection: “I believe that we are here for each other, not against each other. Everything comes from an understanding that you are a gift in my life – whoever you are, whatever our differences.” –John Denver, musician
Question: How would it change your life and the lives of others if you viewed everyone and everything as a “gift” in your life? What are the challenges in this perspective? What might be the blessings?
Sharing Team Announcement by Linda Cornelius
“We Are Not Alone” Words and Music by Pepper Choplin
Performed by the Southwestern Conference Virtual Choir— a special gift from the UCC, National Setting
Choir: We are not alone, God is with us (repeated).
Descant: We are never alone, for God is with us.
We, we are never alone, for God is with us.
Now, through all our days, always.
Forever and ever: we are never alone.
And God will make us strong, for God is with us.
We, we will press on, for God is with us.
Now, through all our days, always.
Forever and ever, we are never alone.
Our God is with us now.
God’s Light Grows
You are invited to light a candle as you worship with us.
Call To Worship (responsive)
God of Life prepare our hands for a new and different touch;
A touch of meeting, of awakening, of hope, of feeling.
God of Life prepare our feet for a new and different path;
A path of happenstance, of awareness, of courage, of mood.
God of Life prepare our speaking for a new and different voice;
A voice of engagement, of recognition, of potential, of regard.
God of Life prepare our living for a new and different life;
A life of gathering, of beginnings, of expectations, of import.
Give us daring as you create within us and among us the community that explores meaningful ways
to move into your realm of kin-dom closeness. Amen.
Passing The Peace
Leader: The peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!
People: And also with you.
A Word With The Children
A special message from John Dorhauer, UCC General Minister and President Read by John Dorhauer, Jonna Jensen (Maine Conference UCC), and Chad Abbott (Indiana Kentucky Conference UCC)
The children may depart to the breakout room for their classes and activities.
#4 Joyful, Joyful, We Adore You
#532 Come Labor On
A Reading From The Gospel
Reader: Clifford Porter
14 “For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; 15 to one he gave five talents,[a] to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. 17 In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. 18 But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. 20 Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. 29 For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 30 As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth
Joys/Concerns, 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.
Prayer Of Dedication For The Offerings Of Today And This Week
I’m Gonna Live So God Can Use Me
–Written by Lynn Bunjak (Vermont Conference UCC)
May we have grace to perceive the bounty of a generous God.
May we have open hands and open hearts to share this abundance with abandon.
May we have courage to see and not look away from the injustices that rob our siblings of their birthright as children of God.
May we have the will to make the changes you desire for all your people and for the healing of the earth.
Let us not grow weary and when we do, give us to one another so many hands make light work.
May the blessings of God, our creator redeemer and sustainer go with us always. Amen.
Liturgical Resources/Credits: Except where specifically noted, parts of our liturgy have come to us as gifts from the Council of Conference Ministers and General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ for use by congregations and pastors for this Sunday. Rev. Dee has adapted their use for our worship today.
More Food For Spiritual Thought
A Prayer of Daily Thanksgiving, Written by David Long-Higgins (Heartland Conference), September 2020
I thank you Love,
For the gift of this day,
For its possibilities
For its challenges
For all that will draw me
To You and your creation
In the work and rest
That is your gift to me.
I thank you
That the breath of life
Flows in and out of me
As a gift not of my making
But of your design,
That I may remember Your inspiration and call
In each moment
Of each second,
Of each hour.
Let me now attend
With a thankful heart
To Your forming work
That I may be molded
Into whatever expression
Of love you desire.
And in this
May your highest hope
Be my deepest desire
Formed by You, O Love,
For the healing Of the world…
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.