Sunday, September 27, 2020

St John United Church of Christ - Worship 27 Sep 2020

 St John United Church of Christ

Melbourne, IA

Welcome to worship with us!     


“No Matter Who You are or Where You are on Life’s Journey, You are Always Welcome Here!”

September 27, 2020 | 9:30 AM | Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost

Invitation to Prepare:

Gandhi said, “Moral authority is never retained by any attempt to hold on to it. It comes without seeking and is retained without effort.”

Philippians 2:4-5

4 Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. 5 Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,

Call to Worship: (from Psalm 25)


To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.

2 O my God, in you I trust;

    do not let me be put to shame;

    do not let my enemies exult over me.

3 Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame;

    let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

4 Make me to know your ways, O LORD;

    teach me your paths.

5 Lead me in your truth, and teach me,

    for you are the God of my salvation;

    for you I wait all day long.

6 Be mindful of your mercy, O LORD, and of your steadfast love,

    for they have been from of old.

7 Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions;

    according to your steadfast love remember me,

    for your goodness’ sake, O LORD!

8 Good and upright is the LORD;

    therefore you instruct us in the Way.

9 You lead the humble in what is right,

    and teach the humble holy Way.

Hymn 449 (NCH): Softly and Tenderly

Prayer of Confession

Called to follow Christ, we are called to a life of humility. 

But what does that even mean? 

Do we seek to exalt ourselves – to be lifted above others?

Does our sense of success depend on someone else’s failure?

Does our love of God entirely guide our relationships?

Do we twist service into convenience and leisure,

ignoring the idea that to serve is to be a servant?


Let God Disturb the habits of our sin. 

Rouse us from the sleep that cradles sin’s embrace. 


In the name of Jesus, we pray –

Show us your ways

Highlight what we can change

And change what we cannot.

Words of Assurance

Good friends:

God is at work in you! 

God is alive in us!


God lives – but sin is dead. 

And our sins are forgiven,

through Christ, our Savior. 

Alleluia!  Amen.

Scripture Reading:      Matthew 21: 23-32 (NRSV)                                    

23 When he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” 24 Jesus said to them, “I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. 25 Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?” And they argued with one another, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet.” 27 So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.

28 “What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 He answered, ‘I will not’; but later he changed his mind and went. 30 The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir’; but he did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.

Sermon:  What Authority

Posted online as well at:

Moment of Silence & Reflection:

Invitation to Offering:

(Upcoming “Neighbors in Need” Special Offering Oct 4, 2020

God of infinite patience, just as Moses was worn down by the complaining of the Israelites, so you must tire as we pray for things we want and not the things we need – forgetting your grace and au-thority. As we give our gifts to empower your church, help us to see the things that really matter, places where we can provide for others in need, and deepen our trust in you to take care of us. 

Let us remember the gifts you have been given. 

Remember to share them with the community, your church.

(They can be sent to the church office.)

Sharing your gifts, the fruits of your labor, is great 


God is good! All the time! 

All the time!* God is good!*

Let us share in the goodness of our God!! 


Praise God from whom all blessings flow;

 Praise God all creatures here below;

 Praise God for all that love has done;

 Creator, Christ, and Spirit, One. Amen

Prayer of Dedication:

We give thanks, O God, for all that you have given us.  O God, you have called your laborers to give their gifts. Bless these offerings so that they reflect the work of your kingdom of heaven here on Earth. We offer this prayer in the name of the Creator, the Christ and the Holy Spirit. Amen. 

Pastoral Meditation & Prayer:  

The Lord is with you  

Let us be in quiet meditations of our own hearts and minds.

Lord's Prayer: (ALL) 

Hymn 43 (NCH): Love Divine, All Loves Excelling 

Closing Announcements:


Remember as you go forth the words from letter to Philippi,

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit

Live in humility

Let each of you look not to your own interests but to those of others.

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus. 

Remember from where your authority rests.

Remember that it is up to you live into the holy promise.

May the LORD bless you and keep you,

May holiness shine upon you, with you and be gracious to you,

May the Creator turn to you and give you peace, now and always.


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