World Communion Sunday, October 4, 2020, Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Communion table set with different types of bread and rice cakes celebrating World Communion Sunday

Photo credit: Maren C. Tirabassi, used with permission

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.

Before the service you will want to prepare a slice or a small loaf of any kind of bread to share and a cup or small cups of juice — perhaps grape or cranberry — or wine, with or without alcohol. Set these elements in the living room or kitchen where you experience worship electronically with our faith community. Place a mask and a glove on your table symbolically as well. Perhaps you want to put everything on a lovely cloth or fabric that reminds you of a special time or person. Perhaps light a candle or place a flower or the photograph of someone you wish to bring into the circle of faith beside the bread and the cup.

Thank you for your preparation.

For Your Reflection: “From my perspective, I absolutely believe in a greater spiritual power, far greater than I am, from which I have derived strength in moments of sadness or fear. That’s what I believe, and it was very, very strong in the forest.”  — Jane Goodall, English primatologist and anthropologist

Question:  Does the natural world inspire you?  What part of Creation evokes awe in you?  When you are tired and weary, what in our shared world revives your soul?


Musical Selection

We prepare our tables and our hearts.

Call to Worship

read by Tim Graber

Leader: The whole world is in God’s hands.

People: Everything that lives and breathes. Everything that simply is. Everything.

Leader: From the farthest spaces, to the inmost places!

People: God is with us and we are with God. Alleluia!

Leader: As people of Christ, gathered at table, with our sisters and brothers around the world, to remember whose we are, we praise —

People: Alleluia! Thanks be to God!

Leader: Shall we pray? With all that we have, with all that we are, we worship you, God-of-all-Being. Bless this day. Bless this time. Bless this gathering. Bless this world, with your overflowing love. Alleluia!

People: Alleluia! Amen!      (Canada)

Call to Prayerful Reflection

Moment of Silent Reflection

Prayer of Invocation

read by Rev Dee     

God of brilliant sunsets and shining rainbows,
God of golden daffodils and glowing autumn leaves,
God of all the blues of sunlit seas,
God of all the shades of green in bush and field,
in rivers and oceans and lakes,
in rough stones on a beach and polished jewels in a showcase,
God of people, brown and amber, pink and ebony,
artistic and athletic, practical and visionary,
compassionate and laughter-bringing,
God who colours us a world of variety,
We thank you that you have made each of us unique,
that you call us to contribute our special colours to the life around us.
We come to you in thanksgiving and worship. Amen.     (Aotearoa / New Zealand)

Passing the Peace

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

People:  And also with you.

Opening Hymn

For the Beauty of the Earth #28      

Music for "For the beauty of the earth"

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

The Living Word

The Contemporary Reading

“And the Table Will Be Wide,” A Blessing for World Communion Sunday© Jan Richardson., used with permission

And the table
will be wide.
And the welcome
will be wide.
And the arms
will open wide
to gather us in.
And our hearts
will open wide
to receive.

And we will come
as children who trust
there is enough.
And we will come
unhindered and free.
And our aching
will be met
with bread.
And our sorrow
will be met
with wine.

And we will open our hands
to the feast
without shame.
And we will turn
toward each other
without fear.
And we will give up
our appetite
for despair.
And we will taste
and know
of delight.

And we will become bread
for a hungering world.
And we will become drink
for those who thirst.
And the blessed
will become the blessing.
And everywhere
will be the feast.

A Reading from the Psalms

read by Tim Graber

Psalm 19

The heavens are telling the glory of God;
and the firmament[a] proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours forth speech,
and night to night declares knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words;
their voice is not heard;
yet their voice[b] goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.

In the heavens[c] he has set a tent for the sun,
which comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy,
and like a strong man runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them;
and nothing is hid from its heat.

The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the decrees of the Lord are sure,
making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is clear,
enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is pure,
enduring forever;
the ordinances of the Lord are true
and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey,
and drippings of the honeycomb.

11 Moreover by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
12 But who can detect their errors?
Clear me from hidden faults.
13 Keep back your servant also from the insolent;[d]
do not let them have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression.

14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable to you,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.



Faith and Democracy Moment

We encourage you to view this message from Rev. Brian Murray, Pastor, New Covenant Community UCC, Baltimore, MD

Giving Thanks

lead by Tim Graber

Invitation to offering

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

You are the God who creates us, the Christ who redeems us, the Holy Spirit who fills us with hope. May we and our gifts be instruments of your purpose here on Earth. Amen.

Pastoral Prayer and The 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.


How Great Thou Art

O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the *worlds thy hands have made,
I see the stars, I hear the *rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed:


Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee:
How great thou art! How great thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee:
How great thou art! How great thou art!

When through the woods and forest glades I wander
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees,
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur,
And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze:


And when I think that God, his Son not sparing,
Sent him to die, I scarce can take it in,
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.


When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!
Then *I shall bow in humble adoration,
And there proclaim, My God, how great thou art!

Celebration of Holy Communion

Invitation to Communion

Leader: We rejoice in the God of life, who gives us bread: the fruit of the earth worked with human hands. and who makes it into the bread of life.

People: We rejoice in the God of life who gives us wine the fruit of the vine tended with daily care, and puts the flavour of the new world into it.

Leader: As the wheat and grapes are joined on this table in bread and wine –into a visual symbol for us –

People: May our church join together into a visual symbol for the entire world.   (Germany)


Paz, peace, py’aguapy.
Me Comprometo, Señor a buscar:
La sanidad de mi relación contigo.
La sanidad de mi relación conmigo misma.
La sanidad de mi relación con otros.
La sanidad de mi relación con toda tu creación.

Paz, peace, py’aguapy.
I commit, God, to searching for:
The healing of my relationship with you.
The healing of my relationship with myself.
The healing of my relationship with others.
The healing of my relationship with all your creation.
¡SHALOM! (Chile)

Assurance of Grace

Forgiveness is forgetting bad things, remembering good things. Forgiveness is accepting God’s love.  (China)

Naming of Countries

In this World Communion, we pray for our world neighbors…

You may respond by naming a country that comes to you in this moment. Feel free to respond in the comments section. Or you may respond individually in a time of silence.

Words of Remembering

Remember, the Lord, the friend of sinners,
who were the oppressed, the estranged, the weak, the sick, widow, orphans.
Remember, the Lord, the one disliking of the common structure and power.
Remember, the Lord, the one sharing of daily food in life.
Remember, the Lord, the one liberating from a dictator.
We remember thy suffering, O Lord, at thy Last Supper.   (Korea)

Prayer of Consecration

Leader: You emptied yourself completely
keeping nothing for yourself.
Now, naked, utterly stripped,
you give yourself to us as bread that sustains us
and as wine that consoles us.
You are Light and Truth
You are the Way and the Hope
You are Love. Grow in us.    (Guatemala)

Sharing of the Elements

The ears of wheat are broken and scattered
on the hillside to grow.
Gathered, they are broken again
and scattered throughout the city to make bread.
the bread is scattered to each home
and broken to make nourishment.
Broken and scattered, broken and scattered,
and some becomes Christ’s body broken for us
as we are the people of God scattered through the city
and, perhaps, broken to give nourishment to others. (South Africa)

We receive this bread, broken, scattered and made whole.


We drink this cup, thirty, longing, willing to be poured.


Sharing of bread and cup…

Prayer of Thanksgiving

We give you thanks O Lord, for all food that has arrived at our table from your generosity. Bless the people who have made it possible, from the cultivation of the earth until it arrived to us. Give bread to those who are hungry, and to those who have bread give us hunger for you. Amen.

(Mexico, grace contributed from an orphanage in Colima, may not be the original source)


Let Heaven Your Wonders Proclaim #29         

Music for "Let Heaven your wonders proclaim"

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



Que el Dios de la Vida,
sea tu guía en el camino de cada día,
sea tu refugio en momentos de inseguridad
y sea tu descanso en tiempos de fatiga.
Que el Dios de la Vida,
te fortalezca cuando te sientas débil,
te consuele cuando estés triste
y te abrace cuando te sientas sola.
Que el Dios de la Vida,
que te quiere y te conoce,
te cubra con su ternura de Madre.
Por siempre.

May the God of Life,
be your guide on the road every day,
be your refuge in times of uncertainty
and be your rest in times of fatigue.

May the God of Life,
strengthen you when you feel weak,
comfort you when you feel sad
and hug you when you feel alone.

May the God of Life,
who loves you and knows you,
cover you with the tenderness of a Mother.
Amen.    (Argentina)

Liturgical Resources

Our cover image comes from Maren C. Tirabassi,  Today’s liturgical resources are from Gifts in Open Hands — More Worship Resources for the Global Community (Tirabassi and Eddy, Pilgrim Press 2011) and from Gifts of Many Cultures (Tirabassi and Eddy, Pilgrim Press, 1995).  All resources are used with permission for congregational use and adapted to our setting.

More Food for Spiritual Thought:

On the occasion of one million deaths from COVID-19

Written by Maren Tirabassi,, and posted on September 29, 2020

“I am sorry for your loss”

These are the words that are never enough
and do not pretend to understand –
a verbal fingertip of tenderness
today offered to the world.

World, we are sorry for your loss
of a million smiles,
and a million memories,
and a million hopes for the future.

We are sorry for your loss
of stories that will never be told,
flowers never planted,
friends never made,
extraordinary gifts and simple kindnesses
that will not be received,
meals not shared; hugs not held.

We are sorry for our own loss
of a million people
whom we will never meet,
with whom we will not
laugh or cry, work or play,
argue or kiss,

and so many families and friends

to whom we will never be able
to offer our awkward words
and our inadequate but holy love.

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.

Menu Title