First United Methodist Church of Schenectady
Worship for the Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost
September 12, 2021
Photo by Zach Long
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.
“Teach us of equality, Holy One.”
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.
“The Heart of Peace” by Mons Leidvin Takle
Call to Worship
One: Siblings in Christ, come, take a seat.
Many: We gather to worship the Great Equalizer.
One: Beloveds of God, prepare your hearts for worship.
Many: We let go of the hierarchies of the world, to enter into the realm of God.
Hymn: For Everyone Born
Connecting in Prayer
God of All of History,
Twenty years ago, the United States was united in grief and horror.
We remember when the towers fell and the lives were lost;
we remember the dust and the smoke, the despair, and the grief.
We remember that sense of vulnerability and shock.
We remember the heroes, those who rushed to help,
who guided the wounded down innumerable flights of stairs,
who rose to overwhelm those who held death in their hands.
We remember the hours and the days of binding wounds
and healing hurts, giving comfort, drying tears.
We remember words of support and compassion
from nations far and wide. We remember.
As we remember,
may we seek justice and peace where it is within our ability,
and rely on you when the ability escapes us.
May we live your love when hate seems to reign.
May we bear witness to the cause of peace.
God of All History,
September 11th, 2001 existed within the bounds of history.
Those who attacked were responding to experiences in their own lives, and
those who protected responded to experiences in their lives.
Countless people acted out of selfless love,
many of whom sacrificed everything.
Loved ones of those who died still grieve.
Our national history was transformed on that day.
Our war in Afghanistan started,
asking huge sacrifices of those who serve in our military,
and even more from Afghani citizens who worked with us.
Twenty years later we look in horror at the ways we’ve abandoned our allies,
and at the outcome of our presence.
Life transformed on that day,
and the impacts are felt deeply today.
Loving God, we have so many requests of you:
be a source of strength and peace to those
who are grieving,
be a source of hope to those
who are still hurting,
be a source of wisdom to those
who make decisions,
be a source of grace to those
who have been harmed,
be a meaning maker for all of us,
that we can take from our history the
motivation to do better,
and leave behind the anger that would
guide us to do more harm.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father (Creator) 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
“Dona Nobis Pacem by Mark Miller
Children’s Time – James on the Rich and the Poor
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 #592: When the Church of Jesus
Scripture Reading – James 2:1-10, 14-17
Sermon – Mutuality
Photo 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?
Offertory: “I Want Jesus to Walk With Me” by Edward Boatner
Prayer of Presentation
God of Equity,
You know us.
You know what we have, and what we don’t have.
You know what we can give, and
what we simply cannot give.
We offer to You our prayers, our presence, our gifts,
our service, and our witness.
We offer it to You in gratitude for what we have,
and in hope for what might be.
We give knowing that we can only give of what we have.
We give trusting that you will make what we have given a blessing to others. We give in hope and trust.
Hymn #729: O Day of Peace That Dimly Shines
May God guide us toward mutuality, towards authentic connections, toward humility, and always – always – towards love! Amen
“Processional in F# minor” by Stephen H. Best