First United Methodist Church of Schenectady
Worship for the Tenth Sunday after Pentecost
August 9, 2020
2020 Photo from Dominick Giaquinto
It may help to center yourself into worship by lighting a candle, as a symbol of God’s presence with you during the time of worship. You may also want to pay attention to lighting, the position of your body, and the availability of distractions.
“Lift every voice and sing”
Breath prayers involve breathing in the first phrase, and breathing out the second.
You may wish to simply pray for a moment before starting, or you may wish to pray while listening to the prelude.
“Lord of the Dance” by Charles Callahan
Dominick Giaquinto – Organ (FUMC)
Call to Worship
One: O come and let us praise God.
Many: Who lifts our spirits to sing.
One: Who shows us the path to equal opportunity
Many: Who leads us through change into a new reality
Hymn #97: For the Fruits of This Creation
Connecting in Prayer
Gracious and loving God, you have shown us the way of love. In this time of worship, help us to hear your voice in the music, the words and the silence. Help us to hear your call to reach out in such a way that we are no longer strangers, but united in doing your will. Fill us with a sense of
mission and ministry, and show us ways to respond. We pray this in the name of Jesus the Christ. Amen.
You are welcome to read this out-loud or silently.
Our God, we gather our hearts together in prayer for the opportunities we have to be good stewards. Show us where we can best invest for the well-being of all. Help us understand the potential we have for good as we engage in economic activity. Let love of neighbor guide the choices we make in both where we offer aid and where we buy the goods we need for daily living. Help us control the ebb and flow of economic life to provide smooth sailing for all your family. Amen.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our 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 trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power,
and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Word and Reflection
We Give Thee But Thine Own – Neil Harmon
We give thee but thine own, whate’er the gift may be;
for all we have is thine alone a trust, O Lord from thee.
May we thy bounties thus as stewards true receive,
and gladly, as thou blessest us, to thee our first fruits give.
To comfort and to bless, to find a balm for woe,
to tend the lone and fatherless is angel’s work below.
And we believe thy word, though dim our faith may be;
Whate’er we do for thine, O Lord, we do it unto thee; we do it unto thee.
Scripture – Ezekiel 34:1-10
Mission Moment – Jan Huston
An Essay from John Lewis: Together, You Can Redeem the Soul of Our Nation
John Lewis, the civil rights leader who died on July 17, wrote this essay shortly before his death, to be published upon the day of his funeral. It was published in the New York Times on July 30, 2020.
While my time here has now come to an end, I want you to know that in the last days and hours of my life you inspired me. You filled me with hope about the next chapter of the great American story when you used your power to make a difference in our society. Millions of people motivated simply by human compassion laid down the burdens of division. Around the country and the world you set aside race, class, age, language and nationality to demand respect for human dignity.
That is why I had to visit Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, though I was admitted to the hospital the following day. I just had to see and feel it for myself that, after many years of silent witness, the truth is still marching on.
Emmett Till was my George Floyd. He was my Rayshard Brooks, Sandra Bland and Breonna Taylor. He was 14 when he was killed, and I was only 15 years old at the time. I will never ever forget the moment when it became so clear that he could easily have been me. In those days, fear constrained us like an imaginary prison, and troubling thoughts of potential brutality committed for no understandable reason were the bars.
Though I was surrounded by two loving parents, plenty of brothers, sisters and cousins, their love could not protect me from the unholy oppression waiting just outside that family circle. Unchecked, unrestrained violence and government-sanctioned terror had the power to turn a simple stroll to the store for some Skittles or an innocent morning jog down a lonesome country road into a nightmare. If we are to survive as one unified nation, we must discover what so readily takes root in our hearts that could rob Mother Emanuel Church in South Carolina of her brightest and best, shoot unwitting concertgoers in Las Vegas and choke to death the hopes and dreams of a gifted violinist like Elijah McClain.
Like so many young people today, I was searching for a way out, or some might say a way in, and then I heard the voice of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on an old radio. He was talking about the philosophy and discipline of nonviolence. He said we are all complicit when we tolerate injustice. He said it is not enough to say it will get better by and by. He said each of us has a moral obligation to stand up, speak up and speak out. When you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something. Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.
Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble. Voting and participating in the democratic process are key. The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it.
You must also study and learn the lessons of history because humanity has been involved in this soul-wrenching, existential struggle for a very long time. People on every continent have stood in your shoes, through decades and centuries before you. The truth does not change, and that is why the answers worked out long ago can help you find solutions to the challenges of our time. Continue to build union between movements stretching across the globe because we must put away our willingness to profit from the exploitation of others.
Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe. In my life I have done all I can to demonstrate that the way of peace, the way of love and nonviolence is the more excellent way. Now it is your turn to let freedom ring.
When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war. So I say to you, walk with the wind, brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide.
Passing of the Peace
If you are worshiping with others, please pass the Peace of Christ.
Whether you are alone or with others, please take a moment to find God’s peace within, and then to share it with the world. You may want to reach out to speak peace to another during this week.
Hymn #2115: Holy Manna
Scripture Reading: Mark 25:14-30
Sermon – “Refusing to Play the Game” – Rev. Bill Pattison
2017 Photo Show – “Prayers, Presence Gifts, Service, Witness” by Larry McArthur
If you wish, you are welcome to use this time to make a donation to the church online, or to put a check in the mail.
The time of offering is not only about our financial gifts to the church, it is about offering our lives to God and the building of the kindom. This is a time for reflection: What is being asked of us? What is being given to us? What are we able to offer? What do we need?
“For the Beauty of the Earth” by Calvin Hampton
David Read – Baritone, acc. Dominick Giaquinto, Organ
For the beauty of the earth, for the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth over and around us lies,
For the beauty of each hour of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flower, sun and moon and stars of light,
Lord of all, to you we raise this our hymn of grateful praise!
2019 Photo Show theme “Yes” – “Yes! Dusk in Vale Park” by Alice Nash
For the joy of human love, brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth, and friends above, for all gentle thoughts and mild,
For each perfect gift of yours to our race so freely given,
Graces human and divine, flowers of earth and buds of heaven,
Lord of all, to you we raise this our hymn of grateful praise!
Prayer of Presentation
As we share our resources, O God, help us to see the value of living in harmony with your diverse family. And let the song of life be an ode to the joy of shared love. Amen.
Hymn #671: Lord Dismiss Us With Your Blessing
Let us be the peace we want to be. Amen.
“God, Who Stretched the Spangled Heavens”