WORSHIP IN OCTOBER
Grant Us Wisdom, Grant Us Courage
Worship This Fall with United
Harry Emerson Fosdick’s famous hymn, “God of Grace and God of Glory,” is the inspiration for worship this fall. Writing in 1930, Fosdick closed each stanza with the refrain “Grant us wisdom, grant us courage” – “for the facing of this hour, for the living of our days, serving thee whom we adore.” As the founding Pastor of New York City’s iconic Riverside Church, Fosdick served throughout the Great Depression and World War II, a time when people of faith need both wisdom and courage. We need those gifts in our time, too. In worship, we’ll explore stories of people who sought such wisdom and found such courage.
Wisdom from a Donkey – October 4
St. Francis and Pet Blessing Sunday
Balak the King told Balaam the Prophet to curse the Israelites. God told him not to do it, but Balaam feared Balak more than he loved God. On the road to carry out the king’s curse, Balaam’s donkey refuses to go further. Balaam threatens to beat the animal, even kill it, but the donkey won’t budge. When God opens Balaam’s eyes, he sees what his donkey saw—an angel of the Lord, with his sword drawn. (Numbers 22) The animal’s wisdom saved his master’s life. What wisdom do we need from God’s creatures and the rest of creation? Something to consider on St. Francis Sunday—and our annual Pet Blessing. (Click here for dates and times.)
Risking Life after Death
Ruth and her sister Orpah had lost both their husbands and their father-in-law. Their mother-in-law Naomi had buried her husband and two sons. At a crossroad, Naomi tells her daughters-in-law to return to their families and homelands. She has no more sons, no more life to give them. Orpah turns back. Ruth walks on with her mother-in-law. (Ruth 1) Was she wise or foolish to risk such a journey? Where did she find the courage to seek a new life? Where do we?
Wise Enough to Listen
“The word of the Lord was rare in the land,” when young Samuel was apprenticed to the old priest Eli. One night God called out to the boy. Thinking it was Eli, Samuel went to the old man. Three times Eli sent him back to bed, finally telling Samuel to say, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.” He did and became a great prophet in Israel. How do we listen to God? Where do we hear God speaking? (I Samuel 3)
Knowing When Something Doesn’t Fit
October 25 – Reformation Sunday
The giant Goliath is terrorizing the Israelites. A young shepherd named David tells King Saul he can take him on. The desperate king gives the boy a chance and his armor. After clanking in the over-sized suit and shield, the boy takes it all off. He goes to meet Goliath armored only with his sling and five smooth stones. The rest, as they say, is history. (I Samuel 17) Sometimes wisdom is letting go of things that don’t fit. A good word for Re-formation Sunday.
The Wisdom to Find Another Way, The Courage to Follow It
November 1 – All Saints Day
The Sunday before an Election
As a king, David wasn’t always wise. When the wealthy landowner Nabal insulted him, the king rounded up his troops and declared war on him. Nabal, “surly and mean” as the Bible described him, had no more sense than David, but his wife Abigail did. (I Samuel 25) She assembled a great feast of cakes, wine, and other good things and went to meet David. Her wisdom and willingness to find a way other than war saved the day—for both sides. We need Abigail’s wisdom and courage now.
Traditionally, Sunday services are held at 8:30 AM and 11:00 AM. Holy Communion is celebrated every Sunday at 8:30 and the first Sunday of the month at the later service (11:00 AM). Adult forum is held at 9:45 AM. Childcare available. Please check back for updates.