Weekly Online Worship
October 25, 2020
“The Way of Jesus and the Way of Nations”
Prelude “Invocation” – Christopher Grundy
Leader: As we gather for worship this morning, we know we gather on the eve of our national elections.
People: God of Justice and Mercy, Truth and Compassion, guide us in our decisions and deliberation.
Moses says this of God: “The LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the Great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing.” (Deuteronomy 10:17-18)
God of Justice and Mercy, Truth and Compassion, may our decisions and choices reflect your nature and your priorities.
The prophet Micah reminds us: “God has showed you, O people, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)
God of Justice and Mercy, Truth and Compassion, humble our hearts to listen to your authentic voice in contrast to the clamor that claims to speak for you.
Jesus calls us all to task with these words: “ Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices – mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the weightier matters of the law – justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!” (Matthew 23:23-24)
God of Justice and Mercy, Truth and Compassion, set our minds on the weightier matters that concern you.
Help us, O God, not to swallow the camels of power politics but to make a witness that reflects Your nature and Your will for human life.
God of Justice and Mercy, Truth and Compassion, guide our decisions with the clarity of your grace and goodness.
May the democracy we have been gifted with be used for the good of all, here in our own country as well as around the world.
Grant us wisdom grant us courage, for the facing of this hour. Amen!
Opening Song “God of Grace and God of Glory” – First Plymouth Church, Lincoln, Nebraska
Opening to the Spirit’s Instruction
First Scripture Reading (Matthew 22:15-22)
Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap him in what he said. So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, ‘Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?’ But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, ‘Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin used for the tax.’ And they brought him a denarius. Then he said to them, ‘Whose head is this, and whose title?’ They answered, ‘The emperor’s (Caesar’s).’ Then he said to them, ‘Give therefore to the emperor (Caesar) the things that are the emperor’s (Caesar’s), and to God the things that are God’s.’ When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.
Second Scripture Reading (Matthew 25: 31-46)
‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” Then he will say to those at his left hand, “You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.” Then they also will answer, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?” Then he will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.’
May God’s Spirit speak to us today through these words of Scripture, the music we sing and hear, and the message shared this day.
Song “O For a Thousand tongues to Sing” – JCUMC Virtual Choir
Sermon “The Way of Jesus and the Way of Nations” by Pastor Craig
Song “This Little Light of Mine” – NaeBad 23
Prayers for Our World and One Another
Let us enter now into a time of prayer for one another and for our world. We will do what is called a Bidding Prayer. I will open, and then I will bid your prayers based around various categories. During the silence after each category is bid, I invite you to add your own prayers, either aloud or in silence. I will then close with a prayer, then the Lord’s Prayer. Let us be in prayer.
Let us pray now for all who are ill, in hospital or at home, especially those affected by cancer or COVID-19.
Let us pray now for all medical and emergency services personnel who are responding to the best of their abilities with the resources that they have at hand.
Let us pray now for all those who are hungry or food insecure, and for all community and religious efforts to provide food and shelter.
Let us pray for the leaders of nations around the world, not only regarding their response to this pandemic, but also that they may do everything possible to assure the health and welfare of their citizens.
Let us pray for all school and college governing boards, administrations and staff, all faculty, and students as decisions are made regarding reopening, online learning, and how to offer appropriate and equitable education in a manner that protects the health and safety of all persons.
Let us pray for our friends, family, and neighbors for their health and well-being.
Let us also express our thanks to God for the expressions of love and caring that we have witnessed in our families, communities, and world.
Let us express our gratitude for life and the myriad things that gladden our hearts.
These prayers, spoken aloud or in silence, we lift into the universal embrace of the One who is Love, and we make them in the name of the One who showed us what Love looks like in the flesh, Jesus Christ our Lord, and we now join our voices in the prayer he taught us, saying:
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 forever. Amen
Prayer Response “Cares Chorus” – Maranatha! Praise Band
Benediction “The Blessing” lyrics, adapted
The Lord bless you
And keep you
May God’s face shine upon you
And be gracious to you
The Lord’s Face be turned toward you
And give you peace.
May God’s favor be upon you
And a thousand generations
And your family and your children
And their children, and their children.
May God’s presence go before you
And behind you, and beside you
All around you, and within you
God is with you, God is with you.
In the morning, in the evening
In your coming, and your going
In your weeping, and rejoicing
God is for you, God is for you.
Closing Song “You Shall Go Out With Joy” (Trees of the Field)
Extra: “This Little Light of Mine” – Soweto Gospel Choir, South Africa