June 28, 2020 — Fourth Sunday after Pentecost



CALL TO WORSHIP (based on Psalms 13 and 89)

In one moment, we cry, "How long, O Lord? How much more pain and suffering can we endure?
But then we sing of God's faithfulness and unalterable love. 
Shout out loud of God's presence with us, on this day and in all the days to come.
We will share the stories of the One who experienced our life in all its fullness. 
Let us walk in the light of our God.
Justice and goodness are God's gifts to us; truth and love walk by our side. 


OPENING HYMN NO. 399                                     God Welcomes All                                               THEMBA AMEN





The idol of our times is personal independence, but in truth, we are bossed around by our faults, our poor choices, the hurts we cause to others. Yet, by God's grace, we are set free from all these passions, so let us join in offering our confessions to the One who welcomes each of us with forgiveness and hope. 




It seems so simple, God of compassion, to offer a cup of cold water to a thirsty person, yet we know we worry more about how that might inflate our bill at the end of the month. We are to open our hearts to others, but they may need to be careful lest they slip on our icy attitudes towards them. People are looking for places to lay their heads, yet our spare bedrooms continue to be the place where only the dust bunnies sleep. 

Forgive us, Radical Hope. You did not have to become one of us, but you did, so we might know your love. You did not have to welcome us into your family, but you do, so we might experience unexpected grace in our lives. You did not have to die for us, but in Jesus Christ you did, so we might have life with you forever. 




Broken, we are made whole; thirsty, we are filled with living water; longing for a renewed relationship with God, we are welcomed with open arms by the One who forgives us. Without a doubt, God's love never comes to an end. We will tell and show to everyone we meet the grace and peace God gives us. Thanks be to God, we are forgiven! Amen. 



SCRIPTURE                                                         Matthew 10:40–42

40"Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet's reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; 42and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple — truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward." 


SERMON                                                               Radical Welcome                                             Dr. EnikĹ‘ Ferenczy


HYMN NO. 203                                           Jesu, Jesu, Fill Us With Your Love                                     CHEREPONI




God of welcome,

We thank you that you are always ready, waiting to welcome us, always waiting to spend time with us. It is surprising, even shocking that you receive us as we are, no matter what we have done, where we have been, or how often we strayed from your ways. In your presence, we truly find rest, comfort for our pain and brokenness, and healing. Accepted and forgiven, we are freed and emboldened to respond to you in faith. 

We know that you are able to see beyond our limited memories and attention and hold all that pains creations, all people and situations in your care. We come to you today consumed by the effects of the pandemic and racial unrest, recognizing those in our world who feel forgotten, made invisible. 

We pray for refugees in camps, not only worried about when their lives might take a better turn but now also fearful of this invisible danger. God of welcome, we also pray for immigrant workers in our community here in Wayne County, in this nation, and across the world, who are forced to live in crowded shelters, and work without protective gear or the ability to safely distance. 

We pray for women, men, and children behind closed doors, living with danger and torment at the hands of people who profess love to them. 

We pray for people in conflict, where with attention elsewhere, dangers are increased and tensions raised, and where deaths continue unheeded. 

God of welcome, these days we witness to a renewed acknowledgement of the way our systems and our personal behavior has discriminated against and oppressed especially black and brown, as well as LGBTQIA+ sisters and brothers in our nation. 

We pray for those who suffer because of our ignorance, our willful acts of injustice, for people without safe housing, equal access to good education, healthcare, and employment, for people who live in continuous fear and feel dehumanized because of the color of their skin. 

We yearn for you to guide all in positions of leadership, including those of us who strive to be your followers to make decisions that reflect your will. 

God of radical love, unbind our hearts, our tongues, our political will that we may stop the sacrifice of your beloved children. So that all may breathe freely, that all may drink deeply. Give us sight to see, wisdom to know, and, for the sake of those bound by our sin, courage to act, now, one cup of cold water at a time. 



We are not blessed by God so we might hoard our blessings for ourselves, but use them to welcome those who are looking for a community, to feed those who hunger for friendship, to serve those whom the world has cast aside. Here are our gifts, Holy God. We pray you will use them as well as us in the work of your kingdom. Amen. 


CLOSING HYMN NO. 700                                I'm Gonna Live So God Can Use Me                      I'M GONNA LIVE




Note: Call to Confession, Prayer of Confession, and Assurance of Pardon adapted from Thom Shuman. 

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