Home Worship Service October 4

Union Church
Biddeford Pool
…a place of peace and Presence by the sea
Union Church Home Service, October 4, 2020
October 4, 2020
World Communion Sunday


Focus:  “Give us a mind to accept and celebrate our differences. Give us a heart big enough to love your children everywhere.”  


Threshold Moment:  Celebrating Animals https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPIErECQm-Y

Music: The Lord’s Prayer (by Arnold Strals)   -Michelle Currie

Responsive Call to Worship:
L:  Come, Let us be God’s community. Come with love.
All:  The steadfast love of God never ceases.
L:  Come with curiosity.
All:  We are one body, one planet, one Church.
L:  Come with hope.
All:  As we gather with the bread and the cup, we are reminded of the bonds we share with one another and our brothers and sisters across the earth.
L:  Let us worship.

Opening Hymn: They’ll Know We Are Christians by Our Love ( by Peter Scholtes)  -Michelle Currie

Invocation:  O God of all peoples, as we gather in worship on this World Communion Sunday, we ask that you send your Holy Spirit to fall afresh on us. We pray for your Spirit to awaken new hope in us. Help us to celebrate the glimpses of grace that you have given to each of us. Knit our hearts together in worship and communion so that we know we do not struggle alone in working for your peace and justice.  We pray this in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Lord’s Prayer

Scripture:   Lamentations 3:19-26, Psalm 8, John 6:11-14

MeditationReflection and Small Groups   – Rev. Paula Norbert                                       

                    Celebration of the Lord’s Supper

     Words of Invitation               The Bread and The Cup

                              Prayer of Thanksgiving

Music:  One Bread, One Body (by John Foley)   -Michelle Currie

Musical call to Prayer:  (two times)  Hush now in quiet peace, be still your mind at ease. The Spirit brings release, so wait upon the Lord.

Prayers of the People:

Closing Hymn:  Blest Be the Tie That Binds
Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.

From East, West, North and South we have been fed.
Now may the God of Community,
be with us all to be a hopeful and gentle people.
May you go forth in peace and in love. Amen.

Postlude:  Go In Peace


Peace Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi,
Feast Day October 4th

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

 O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.


Blessing of the Animals:


Communion Blessing

Remembering that many of us are gathered remotely,
at many tables,
And are sharing bread and cup in a virtual communion,
May we remember that this action at table is the ultimate symbol of unity.
These tables are set and all of God’s children are welcome.
These tables are open and all of God’s children receive grace, love, and hope.
This welcome, this bounty, this experience of Christ’s saving love are celebrated here at this table and  all around the world.

Let us pray this prayer from Bangladesh:

O Savior Christ, we pray for quiet courage to
meet this hour. We did not choose to be born or
to live in such an age. But let its problems challenge us,
its discoveries exhilarate us, its injustices anger us,
its possibilities inspire us, and its vigor renew us,
for your Kingdom’s sake. Bless this cup and this bread,
That it may nourish us for the journey
Together in hope.         Amen.

(Bangladesh. A Procession of Prayers: Meditations and Prayers from around the World,comp. John Carden, WCC, and Cassell, London, UK, 1998, p.179.)


Communion Blessing

The table of bread and wine is now to be made ready. It is the table of company of Jesus, and all who love him. It is the table of sharing with the poor of the world, with whom Jesus identified himself. It is the table of communion with the earth, in which Christ became incarnate. So come to this table, you who have much faith and you who would like to have more; you who have been here often and you who have not been for a long time; you who have tried to follow Jesus, and you who have failed; come. It is Christ who invites us to meet him here.

—An Invitation, Iona Abbey



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Meditation, October 4, 2020

That all may be one – World Communion Sunday

Rev. Paula Norbert

Today, we celebrate what is known as World Communion Sunday, a special observation that began in 1936 with the Presbyterian Church and then had spread out over many Christian denominations around the world. I’ve been thinking a lot about the divisions that exist around the world and in our nation. It’s a very, very challenging time and I’d like us to pray this day for unity. When we think about the word Communion, the important thing to emphasize is unity, a unity that we so desperately need. Whenever we share Communion together, we are reminded of Jesus’ Last Supper that he shared with his friends before he was betrayed and then put to death. It’s interesting to consider Jesus’ words, whenever you do this, do it in memory of me. Jesus was asking that we remember him whenever we break bread together, that we remember his life in the simple act of sharing a meal together, a meal to which all are welcome. We call that table fellowship. Again and again, Jesus was a rule breaker within his own tradition. People were always more important than rules; welcoming others was always at the center of his ministry. He reached out to the poor and forsaken, the widow who had no resources, the sick and the struggling, the ones on the margins. Do this in memory of me, he reminds us down throughout history. Open up your tables, welcome others, listen to those with whom you may disagree. This is all really hard work, isn’t it? How many of us feel sick about how divided things have become, saddened to hear the voices of our black and brown sisters and brothers who have been telling us how they feel they have been treated, how left out they feel from the laws that govern our towns and cities? What then must we do?

I think that it is not a coincidence that our Union Church has a history of welcoming folks from various traditions and from no tradition. I’m sure that in part, it was for practical reasons in the early days, but that sense of welcome and inclusion of others is a hallmark of who we have become; it is a legacy that I’m sure we all want to pass along because it is very special. In John’s Gospel, Jesus shared a special prayer for his disciples, (John 17:21). As he neared the end of his time on earth, knowing what he was to face, he prayed “that all may be one.” It’s a prayer we may hear echoing across the centuries, a prayer resounding throughout the world, that all may be One. And so, today, we share that prayer together in the hope that people may feel welcome, that Jesus’ message of inclusion may inspire each of us to be bridge builders, to be people who are open to reconciliation, that we may be workers for justice and peace so that all may be One. As open as our table is, we need to remember, this table we share is only one small leaf of a table that extends far beyond our community- across traditions, across borders, across oceans. I’d like to invite us to break into small groups now and to share your thoughts, your memories of Communion, both in the sacred sharing of bread and cup, but also in the call to unity which it offers to us this day in this moment. Amen.


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