Veradale United Church of Christ
An Open & Affirming Congregation
Worshiping God in Christ – Welcoming All – Working for Justice & Peace
“No matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here!”
September 17, 2023
10:20 Gathering and Prelude
Wayne Shull, Music Director
Charlie Salt, AV
Joe McSwain, AV and Usher
Jerry Brines, Usher
________, Scripture reader
_____, Candle lighter
Scotty Patton, Zoom Monitor
___________, Fellowship Set-Up
_________, Fellowship Clean-up
Rev. Genavieve Heywood, Pastor
10:30am Land Acknowledgement
We worship on the unceded traditional territory of the Spokane, Cayuse, Umatilla, Walla Walla, Coeur d’Alene, and other tribes. We acknowledge the history of indigenous genocide, removal, and erasure that continues to this day. We recognize the role that Christian communities played in these injustices, and we recommit ourselves to seeking more peaceful, just, and neighborly ways of sharing this land with all who call it home.
God is good...all the time! All the time... God is good!
Welcoming the Light of Christ
Hymn: “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore You” 4 (NCH)
1. Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love; Hearts unfold like flow’rs before Thee, Op’ning to the sun above. Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; Drive the dark of doubt away; Giver of immortal gladness, Fill us with the light of day!
2. All you works with joy surround you, Earth and heav’n reflect your rays, Stars and angels sing around you, Center of unbroken praise. Field and forest, vale and mountain, Flow’ry meadow, flashing sea, Singing bird and flowing fountain. Tell us what our praise should be.
3. You are giving and forgiving, Ever blessing, ever blest, Wellspring of the joy of living, Ocean depth of happy rest! Loving Spirit, Father, Mother, All who love belong to you; Teach us how to love each other, By that love our joy renew.
4. Mortals, join the happy chorus, Which the morning stars began; Boundless love is reigning o’er us, reconciling race and clan. Ever singing, move we forward, faithful in the midst of strife, Joyful music leads us onward, In the triumph song of life.
Hymn: “Amazing Grace” 547 (NCH)
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see.
Prayers of Gratitude
T’was grace that taught my heart to fear and grace, my fears relieved. How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed.
Prayers of Concern
Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come ‘tis grace that brought me safe thus far and grace will lead me home.
My God has promised good to me, whose word my hope secures; God will my shield and portion be as long as life endures.
Response: 812 (NCH)
Amen. Amen. Amen.
A Time of Offering
Dedication 780 (NCH)
Praise God from whom all blessing flow. Praise God all creatures here below. Praise God for all that love has done; Creator, Christ, and Spirit, One. Amen
Holy One, you know us better than we know ourselves and you love us abundantly, thank you. May these gifts of our time, talent, and treasure be tokens that are pleasing in your sight. Amen.
Listening for God
Message with Young Hearts
What does it mean to “Use your words?”
Romans 14:1-12 NRSVUE
Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don’t see things the way you do. And don’t jump all over them every time they do or say something you don’t agree with—even when it seems that they are strong on opinions but weak in the faith department. Remember, they have their own history to deal with. Treat them gently.
For instance, a person who has been around for a while might well be convinced that he can eat anything on the table, while another, with a different background, might assume he should only be a vegetarian and eat accordingly. But since both are guests at Christ’s table, wouldn’t it be terribly rude if they fell to criticizing what the other ate or didn’t eat? God, after all, invited them both to the table. Do you have any business crossing people off the guest list or interfering with God’s welcome? If there are corrections to be made or manners to be learned, God can handle that without your help.
Or, say, one person thinks that some days should be set aside as holy and another thinks that each day is pretty much like any other. There are good reasons either way. So, each person is free to follow the convictions of conscience.
What’s important in all this is that if you keep a holy day, keep it for God’s sake; if you eat meat, eat it to the glory of God and thank God for prime rib; if you’re a vegetarian, eat vegetables to the glory of God and thank God for broccoli. None of us are permitted to insist on our own way in these matters. It’s God we are answerable to—all the way from life to death and everything in between—not each other. That’s why Jesus lived and died and then lived again: so that he could be our Master across the entire range of life and death, and free us from the petty tyrannies of each other.
So where does that leave you when you criticize a brother? And where does that leave you when you condescend to a sister? I’d say it leaves you looking pretty silly—or worse. Eventually, we’re all going to end up kneeling side by side in the place of judgment, facing God. Your critical and condescending ways aren’t going to improve your position there one bit. Read it for yourself in Scripture:
“As I live and breathe,” God says, “every knee will bow before me; Every tongue will tell the honest truth that I and only I am God.”
So, mind your own business. You’ve got your hands full just taking care of your own life before God.
Matthew 18: 21-35
At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, “Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?”
Jesus replied, “Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.
“The kingdom of God is like a king who decided to square accounts with his servants. As he got under way, one servant was brought before him who had run up a debt of a hundred thousand dollars. He couldn’t pay up, so the king ordered the man, along with his wife, children, and goods, to be auctioned off at the slave market.
“The poor wretch threw himself at the king’s feet and begged, ‘Give me a chance and I’ll pay it all back.’ Touched by his plea, the king let him off, erasing the debt.
“The servant was no sooner out of the room when he came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him ten dollars. He seized him by the throat and demanded, ‘Pay up. Now!’
“The poor wretch threw himself down and begged, ‘Give me a chance and I’ll pay it all back.’ But he wouldn’t do it. He had him arrested and put in jail until the debt was paid. When the other servants saw this going on, they were outraged and brought a detailed report to the king.
“The king summoned the man and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave your entire debt when you begged me for mercy. Shouldn’t you be compelled to be merciful to your fellow servant who asked for mercy?’ The king was furious and put the screws to the man until he paid back his entire debt. And that’s exactly what my Father in heaven is going to do to each one of you who doesn’t forgive unconditionally anyone who asks for mercy.”
Message: We were Created Good
Our light Goes into the World
Hymn: “I was There to Hear Your Borning Cry” 351 (NCH)
I was there to hear your borning cry, I'll be there when you are old. I rejoiced the day you were baptized, to see your life unfold. I was there when you were but a child, with a faith to suit you well; ’ll be there in case you wandered off to find where demons dwell.
When you found the wonder of the Word I was there to cheer you on; You were raised to praise the living God, I was there to cheer you on; You were raised to praise the living God, to whom you now belong. Should you find someone to share your time, and you join your hearts as one, I’ll be there to make your verse rhyme from dusk till rising sun.
In the middle ages of your life, not too old, no longer young, I'll be there to guide you through the night, complete what I've begun. When the evening gently closes in, and you shut your weary eyes, I'll be there as I have always been, with just one more surprise.
I was there to hear your borning cry, I'll be there when you are old. I rejoiced the day you were baptized, to see your life unfold.
Benediction and Silent Meditation with Postlude
Grow in Christ.
Live with Compassion.