Worship: November 1, 2020

ZION UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST

22 Gettysburg Street  Box 538

Arendtsville, Pennsylvania

November 1, 2020

9:00 am

All Saints’ Sunday

Sacrament of Holy Communion

 

Welcome to Zion and a special welcome to our visitors in these days of adjusting to a new normal in worship.  We are practicing safe distancing and wearing masks during the entire service so that you can feel secure worshiping together.  The entire service is printed here so there is no need for hymnals or Bibles.  As you have been ushered to your seats at the beginning of worship, you will also be ushered out, one row at a time, to exit the sanctuary.   Restrooms are located in the church school building.  Please leave by the Gettysburg Street door to the side door on Main Street, turn left at the end of the hall and then turn right to find the restroom.  Return through the Gettysburg Street door.  Thank you for your understanding and patience in these difficult times.

 

*Where noted, please stand if able.

Congregational response in bold print.

 PRELUDE

TIME OF SHARING

*CALL TO WORSHIP

Along with all the saints who have gone before us

and who now experience the fullness of God in the heavenly realm;

along with all the saints who worship in the majestic cathedrals

and the lowliest of mud huts;

along with all the saints who remain faithful in the midst of temptation

and in the midst of desperation;

along with all saints who follow the way of Jesus

in spite of extreme poverty or great wealth;

along with all those who seek to serve God,

we gather to worship, to praise, to honor,

and to receive the presence of God in our lives.

 

* PRAYER OF INVOCATION

We come before you, O Holy God,

 not because we have so much faith, but because we desire faith;

not because we have arrived, but because we are on the journey;

not because we are so good, but because we strive to become good;

not because we are so holy, but because we wish to share your holiness.

 

 

TIME OF CONFESSION

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just,

and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Sisters and brothers, in faith and trust, let us ask for the forgiveness we need.

God of the galaxies and God of the newborn baby,

we know that you hold all things in your care. 

We confess that although we want to believe your promises,

 we sometimes fail to live as people of the promise. 

We have sought security in temporary pleasures,

in false hopes, in easy words. 

Forgive us, O Holy and Majestic God,

 and restore to us a renewed commitment

to follow the way that leads to you;

a way that is not always free of trouble

but a way that leads to eternal victory. 

For we ask it in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

And now let us confess in silence those fears that keep us from loving as Christ has loved us.

 

ASSURANCE OF FORGIVENESS

Once we were strangers, but now we are God’s own.

Once we were enemies, but now we are God’s friends.

Once we were orphans, but now we are God’s children.

Thanks be to God for this magnificent gift of love.

 

THE GIVING OF OURSELVES AND OUR OFFERINGS

In worship we receive with gratitude the self-giving love of God.

Let us pass on that love to others through our persons and our gifts.

 

(If you did not place your offering in the basket prior to being seated for worship, you are invited to place your offering there before you leave this morning.  You can also choose to mail it to Zion United Church of Christ, PO Box 538, Arendtsville, Pennsylvania 17303.  Your ongoing support of the church is deeply appreciated in these days.)

PRAYER OF DEDICATION

Help us to mirror the glory of your sacrificial love,

both in our daily lives and in the tithes and offerings we present in this place.

 

GOSPEL READING FOR THE MORNING

St. Matthew 23: 1-12

23:1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples,
23:2 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat;
23:3 therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach.
23:4 They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them.
23:5 They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long.
23:6 They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues,
23:7 and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi.
23:8 But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students.
23:9 And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father–the one in heaven.
23:10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah.
23:11 The greatest among you will be your servant.
23:12 All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.

 

SILENT PRAYER AND PREPARATION

THE MESSAGE FOR THE MORNING

November 1, 2020

All Saints’ Sunday

I Thessalonians 2: 9-13

St. Matthew 23: 1-12

 

Over about the past seven Sundays we have been reading from St. Matthew’s account of Jesus’ interaction with the religious leadership of his time in Jerusalem  – the Pharisees and the Sadducees, highly respected among the people.,  They were the ones who carried great authority and who lived very disciplined lives; they also felt threatened by Jesus and, consequently, were constantly trying to trap and embarrass him and, in doing so, tarnish his reputation and his authority and his popularity with the common ordinary people.  If they could somehow trap Jesus and alienate him from the people, they would gain power over him and Jesus would be discredited.

It really bothered Jesus and again and again he would confront these religious leaders, these self-righteous ones who had all the answers.  He called them hypocrites, blind guides, fools, a brood of vipers.  This morning’s text gives us some insight into exactly what Jesus saw lacking among these religious leaders.  The list is rather extensive: they interpreted Scripture in such a way as to put heavy burdens on other people, but then did nothing to help them; they lacked compassion and understanding of the real, day-to-day, lives of people.  Their attitudes reflected one kind of life but, in truth, their actions never matched their words.  They loved to be the center of attention, they wore their prayer shawls and tassels in order to be noticed, were proud and haughty, always showing off how religious they thought they were.  They were arrogant, feeling they deserved to be treated as special and important.  They were quick to condemn and judge others as unworthy, and slow to emphasize mercy and justice.

In the middle of this long speech against the religious leaders of his day, which continues beyond what was read this morning, Jesus says some critical words about the way in which truly faithful followers of God must live out their lives.  He says, “The greatest among you must be your servant.  Whoever makes himself great will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be made great.”

As we remember our celebration of All Saints’ Sunday today, this particular passage finds great meaning for our lives.  The church sets aside this day to remember those who have gone before us in faith, those who, having completed the earthly part of their journey, now experience God’s presence in a new way in the eternal realm promised.  Thinking about the special meaning of this day, we cannot help but focus our attention on those whose lives have touched our lives, those who have made a difference in our faith and how we live, those who have inspired and encouraged us to follow the way of Jesus Christ, who have walked with us on the journey, and who have challenged us to remain faithful in the midst of temptations and pressures.

Those who have served as role models of faith for us, the saints of our lives, are not, for the most part, people of fame.  They are not well-known in the world.  The real saints for us are those whom we have known personally, those with whom we have lived and shared life.  Their faith has shown us the way that we can journey in a personal relationship with God.  And their lives are remarkable for us in several ways.

First of all, they understood the frailties and the pitfalls of humanity; they demanded nothing from us that they did not also demand of themselves.  Like the teacher that William White writes about in his book, Stories for the Journey.  It seems that one day a very upset mother approached her son’s elementary teacher for help with a problem at home.  “My son has terrible eating habits,” she said.  “Please, he will listen to you if you tell him to stop eating foods with so much sugar.”  The teacher listened sympathetically and responded, “Please come back next week and ask me again.”  So, the mother agreed, even though she didn’t understand, and came back a week later. “My son’s problem continues,” she said, “I’m concerned about his health.  He rarely eats fruits and vegetables.  Please, won’t you talk to him about the dangers of eating so much sugar?”  The teacher simply looked at the mother and said again, “Please come back next week and see me again.”  By this time the mother was really disappointed, but out of her desperation, she returned a week later and again asked the teacher to talk to her son.  This time the teacher agreed.  As their conversation ended, the mother thanked the teacher for her willingness, but then said, “I don’t understand why it took you so long to agree to my request; it seemed simple enough.”  The teacher looked at the woman and responded, “I didn’t realize how hard it would be for me to give up sugar.”

Those who have influenced our faith have themselves struggled with being faithful.  Their actions and their words were consistent.  As they told us that honesty was the best policy, so their lives were known for honesty and integrity.  As they warned us about the dangers of lying, so they lived a life of truthfulness.  As they reminded us to treat others with compassion and dignity, so they were quick to forgive and to treat others with generosity.  They understood the struggles of life.  In our relationship with those who are saints for our lives, we feel a burden lifted from our shoulders, a sense of wholeness, a trust in God’s love and God’s will for our lives.

Secondly, those who have served as examples of faith for us, the saints, were not those whose faith depended on things going well for them.  In the midst of both prosperity and adversity, their faith was an anchor, unmovable and unshakeable.  The saints did not go around boasting and loudly proclaiming their good deeds.  Their actions were done quietly, without fanfare and attention.  The good they did with their lives was done without many people ever knowing, for they did not need to call attention to themselves.  The rewards came, not from ‘thank you’s or praise, but from the knowledge that the work of Jesus Christ was being done to ease the struggles of others.  The saints took upon themselves the pain and the anguish of others along with their own, without complaint.  It was satisfaction enough to live securely in sharing the love of God that they themselves had experienced.  The saints are those who have given gladly, even when it meant personal sacrifice; those who have shown all of faith in action on a daily basis.

And, finally, those who are the saints in faith, lived in humility.  Knowing the saving grace of God at work in their lives, they responded by living each day as a ‘thank you’ to God.  Not needing to be constantly ‘patted on the back’, not needing to be the center of attention, they were free to serve God, free to offer God’s holy and healing power to the lives of those who are the most helpless in society.  They were not given to popularity, but quietly loved others as much as they knew God loved them.  Love for its own sake, not for the sake of anything else.  A gentleness of spirit that is so pervasive that the saints don’t even realize it within themselves.

The hymn which we will sing at the conclusion of today’s service was written for her children by a British author, Lesbia Scott.  It is a hymn of thanksgiving and praise for the saints of the church, past and present.  Six saints are referred to: a doctor, a queen, a shepherd, a prophet, a priest, and a martyr “slain by a fierce wild beast.”  What is not included in the hymn is the fact that each individual referred to was a real person, a historical figure, a saint of God.  A doctor: Saint Luke, “the beloved physician,” author of the gospel that bears his name as well as the Acts of the Apostles.  A queen: Margaret of Scotland, who was known for her care for orphans and the poor.  A shepherd: Joan of Arc, the “Maid of Orleans,” who was a fighter for the people of France.  A prophet: Martin of Tours, who as a soldier, shared his military cloak with a beggar and renounced war.  A priest: John Donne, preacher and poet, pastor of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.  A martyr: Ignatius of Antioch, bishop who was slain in the Colosseum of Rome.  “They were saints of God, if you know what I mean.  God help me to be one too.”

Today, on All Saints’ Day, we also pause to give our thanksgiving and praise for all the saints of the church, past and present.  Certainly our parents in the faith, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, “who bravely labored, lived, and died for the God they loved and knew.”   Certainly for those known to each one of us, who by example and teaching, by encouragement and sacrifice, “did what was right for Jesus’ sake, lived justly their whole lives long.”  And who, in so doing, blessed and enriched your life and mine.

And certainly, most certainly for those saints among us still.  “You meet them in school, on the road, or at sea, in a church, in a train, in a shop, or at tea.”   Holiness is not defined by time; sainthood is not a gift once given and now lost; blessedness is not confined to a sermon on a hill.  To be a saint of God is to be what God intends us to be; to come, by grace, to the full measure and stature of our life in Christ; to lay claim to a gift freely given.  To celebrate All Saints’ is to celebrate and acknowledge and affirm all the saints.

Such are the saints we remember in this day – examples of faith and faithfulness as we continue to struggle to live our lives on the faithful journey that leads to God’s eternal realm.  Through the saints we gain confidence and encouragement because we have been touched by their lives.  Parents, grandparents, special friends, neighbors, beloved Christians, who have gone before us and now are present in the care of God’s gracious love.  On this All Saints’ Sunday may we resolve to take their example more seriously so that we may show those around us the way that leads to peace in God’s realm.

Will you join me now as we pray the Prayer for the Saints of God’s eternal care.

 

PRAYER FOR THE SAINTS

 

Foster B. Tony B. Bernice T. B.
Ken D. Willie M. Doug P.
Dick S. Jennifer C. Ronald R.

 

 

THE LITURGY OF THE SACRAMENT OF HOLY COMMUNION

This feast is for all who wish to know the presence of Christ

and to share in the community of God’s people.

God be with you.

And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them to God.

Let us give thanks to God Most High.

It is right to give God thanks and praise.

 

Mighty and tender God, in Jesus of Nazareth we recognize

the fullness of your grace – the breadth and depth of your love –

the transforming power of your living word.

And so, it is today that we set this table before you –

and remember how on the night of his betrayal –

the eve of his death, when Jesus ate with his disciples,

he took bread, and after blessing it

he broke it and gave it to them saying

“Take, eat, this is my body, given for you.”

And we remember too, Jesus took the cup, the cup of blessing,

and after giving thanks

he passed it to his friends, saying,

“Take and drink, this is my blood, poured out for you,

a new covenant for the forgiveness of sins.”

Loving God, we rejoice in the gift of your grace, remembering Christ’s

life and death, proclaiming his resurrection,

waiting in hope for his coming again.

Grant that in praise and thanksgiving, we may offer ourselves to you

and that our lives may proclaim the mystery of faith.

Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again.

Send, O God, your Holy Spirit upon us and upon these gifts that all

who share in the bread and this cup may be the body of Christ:

light, life, and love in the world.

In this hope, and as your people, we praise you.

Through Christ, with Christ, and in Christ, in the unity of the Spirit,

all glory is yours, God most holy, now and forever.

We praise and adore you and lay our lives before you.

Be present with us as we share this meal, and throughout our lives,

that we may know you as the Holy One,

who with Christ and the Holy Spirit, lives forever. Amen.

 

BREAKING OF BREAD AND POURING OF WINE

The gifts of God for the people of God.

Take them remembering Christ died and was raised for you.

Give Christ thanks and praise.

In humble and joyous thanksgiving, we will receive the

body and blood of our Savior.

 

SHARING OF THE BREAD AND WINE

 

*THE SACRAMENTAL BLESSING

 

*PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING

We give you thanks, Almighty God, for renewing us with your presence.

 Strengthen us through this sacrament, so that we,

like all the saints who have gone before,

may share in the presence of our Savior, Jesus Christ. 

Fortify our faith, increase our love for you and for one another,

 and send us into the world with courage, hope and peace. 

Help us always to rejoice in the power of the Holy Spirit at work in us. 

For we ask it in the name of the One who reigns forever and ever,

Jesus Christ.  Amen.

 

*COMMISSION AND BENEDICTION

Go forth to become what you have already been declared to be:

God’s own people, a royal priesthood, a people set apart.

 

CHIME MEDITATION

(please be seated until dismissed by the usher)

 

POSTLUDE

 

Greeter, Bulletin Sponsorship & Flower Sponsorship Sign-Up Sheets for 2020 are on the wall in the narthex.  v(Bulletin Sponsorship is $15 per Sunday.  Please place your remittance designated for Bulletins in the offering plate.)v

During this virus crisis, the Office Manager will often be working from home.  Please call the office before stopping by.

Coming Up Next Week:

November 1                     In-person Worship           Church                     9:00 a.m.

With Communion

Sunday School                 Church                   10:00 a.m.

November 5                     Search Cmte                    Fellowship Hall       7:00 p.m.

November 7                     Rambler’s Walk               Peace Light              9:00 a.m.

 

Looking Forward:

November 8                     In-person Worship           Church                     9:00 a.m.

Choir Mtg                        Fellowship Hall After worship

Sunday School                 Church                   10:00 a.m.

November 9                     Ladies Breakfast with      Apple Bin                9:00 a.m.

White Elephant Sale

November 12                   Book Club                       Fellowship Hall       6:30 p.m.

 

Our Sympathy to:  Joan R., her children, and their extended family at the death of their husband and father, Ronald R. on October 25, 2020.  Also to Bonnie & Frank O. and their family at the death of their daughter, Jennifer C., on October 28, 2020.

Happy Birthday to Betty T. who turns 82 on November 7th!

Cancellation of Worship:  Should indoor worship be cancelled due to Covid-19 or inclement weather, an email blast will be sent and a message placed on the church answering machine by 7:30 a.m.  The email will have an invitation to Zoom worship at 9:00 a.m.

Pastoral Care:  If you would like a visit from George, please contact him and let him know a convenient time.

In-Person Worship:  In-person worship begins today at 9 a.m., with the service also being live streamed (the link for services was sent out via email beforehand).  We ask for your patience and your cooperation as we begin this adventure in our new normal circumstances.

You are asked to use only the Gettysburg Street door to enter and to leave the sanctuary (the other doors will be marked “Do Not Enter”).  There will be a greeter at the door to welcome you to worship and to ask if there are any special prayer requests that you might have.   There will be another person to write down your name in case we need to do contact tracing in the week following worship.  An usher will escort you to an available pew for seating; families who normally socialize are invited to sit together as we maintain social distancing.    Masks will be required, and if everyone wears their mask for the service it will allow us to sing the hymns. After worship services, the ushers will release one row at a time in order to maintain safe distancing upon leaving the sanctuary.

We will not be taking your temperature upon entering the sanctuary, trusting that if you are not feeling well or have had recent contact with someone who has been diagnosed with Covid-19 you will choose to live stream the service.

If we determine that there are too many people interested in attending in-person worship services to safely worship at one service, we will decide by November 8th if we will begin two services, one at 9 a.m. and the other at 11 a.m.  On November 15th, you will be given the opportunity to decide which service you would like to attend (up to the limit that is safe) and will be asked to tell one of the ushers, so that we would begin two services of worship on November 22nd.

Also, we will be following the decisions of Upper Adams School District regarding in-person school.  If UASD returns to all remote learning due to a rise in the number of covid-19 cases, we will suspend in-person worship and use both YouTube video and live stream (with only essential persons on the sanctuary) to continue to provide opportunities for you to worship.

Thank you for your support and understanding during these times.  As we seek to continue in-person worship, we will make changes as needed in order to maintain your safety and comfort for worship.

All Saints Sunday:  Today, we celebrate our members, relatives and friends who have died since last November.

Update from the Search Committee:  The search committee continues to have training sessions under the direction of Rev. Heberling on Thursday evenings. Recently, Rev. Dr. Marisa Laviola from Penn Central Conference met with the group to have conversation, input, and help in the process of developing interview questions. The committee leadership roles are: Chairperson- Wes M., Secretary-Heather B., Chaplain-Fred M., and Communications-Kim J. Continue to keep the committee in your prayers.

The Ramblers are planning a hike on the battlefield for November 7th.  The rain date (should we be so lucky as to get rain!) will be November 14th.  We will meet at the Peace Light at 9:00 a.m.  Bring your mask and join us for fresh air, fellowship, and healthy walking!

Veterans Sunday, November 8th.  We will be recognizing all those who have served or are currently serving in the military.  Please contact the church office by November 2nd to let us know of anyone who should be included in that list.  Thank you.

The Ladies Breakfast Group:  On November 9th, Zion’s ladies will meet at the Apple Bin at 9:00 a.m. for breakfast followed by their annual White Elephant Sale.  Over the years, we have raised $1,200.00 for the church with this fundraiser!  If you have never joined us before, just bring a new or gently used item worth at least $20.00 and wrapped in pretty wrapping paper or even a brown paper bag!  Bidding is done in $5.00 increments, and you need to have a hint ready for the item you brought.  It is great fun, and there is room to social distance.

Current Homewood Auxiliary members may have received a letter regarding 2021 dues. Please give dues to Angie V. Anyone interested in joining the Homewood Auxiliary, dues are $3/single or $5/couple.

Homewood Christmas Gifts:  This year, Homewood is accepting for the residents signed Christmas cards along with UNWRAPPED, UNSCENTED, any brand body lotion and UNWRAPPED cube style tissue boxes.  Residents enjoy seasonal winter themed tissue boxes. Cards with blank envelopes and signed with name/church and a brief message are appreciated. Cards and lotion/tissues can be placed in boxes in Church until 12/6. Thank you for helping to brighten the Christmas season for the Homewood residents. Any questions, please contact Angie V.

Sunday School:     In-person Sunday School resumes today.  We again are looking for sponsors for snacks for the children.  The cost is $45.00 per Sunday.  You may make your check payable to Zion UCC and include on the memo line “Sunday School snacks”.  Please put your donation in the offering basket in the back of church.

The Altar Guild is offering your choice of Prestige Red, Whitestar, and Red Glitter (red with white accents) Poinsettias for Christmas.  Please use this order form.  Cost is $8.50 each.  Forms and money (checks preferred made out to Zion UCC Altar Guild) should be placed in the offering basket or given to Joyce B. or Donna M. by November 29th.  Poinsettias will be delivered to the church for the Christmas Eve service, and drive-by pickup arrangements will be announced.

 

Color Number Ordered Cost Each Total
Prestige Red   $8.50  
Whitestar   $8.50  
Red Glitter   $8.50  
      $

 

 

In Memory Of                                                                        

 

 

In Honor Of                                                                                        

 

 

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