This Sunday in Worship

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World Communion Sunday

October 4, 10:15 a.m.

“The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t, the parts we see and the parts we don’t. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing.”
from 1 Corinthians 12:25-31 (The Message)

We use the word “church” to mean a lot of different things. Sometimes “church” is a building. Sometimes it’s the people who meet in that building and the stuff they do together. Sometimes it refers to a local congregation, like Lakewood UCC. And sometimes it refers to a whole bunch of congregations joined by common history or theology. So, the United Church of Christ is a “church”—it says so, right there in the name! These are all useful ways to talk about “church,” but there’s a bigger meaning of the word, and that’s the meaning behind this Sunday’s worship service. Join us as we, together with Christians all over the world, celebrate the unity of the global Church.

This Sunday in Worship

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Prayer of the Righteous

September 27, 10:15 a.m.

“Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise. Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord . . . The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.”
from James 5:13-20

Do you pray? And what do you say when you pray? What do you do? For some people, prayer is a time to unload the worries that feel too heavy to carry. It’s saying in desperation, “God, I can’t do this on my own anymore.” Sometimes it’s about saying sorry, or saying thank you. And sometimes it means not saying anything at all, but sitting in silence, or making a space feel sacred with candles and incense, or walking for miles at night, or dancing wildly, or finding your way through a prayer labyrinth. But however you pray, here’s the secret . . . shh . . . it actually matters. God is still speaking, and God is still listening. Prayer changes things. Join us on Sunday as Pastor Curt preaches prayer power.

This Sunday in Worship

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First and Last

September 20, 10:15 a.m.

Jesus asked his disciples, “What were you arguing about on the way?” But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest. He said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and the servant of all.”
from Mark 8:27-36

Oh, the disciples. If there’s a way to totally miss the point, they’re going to find it. Like in this story, where they’re walking along some dusty road in Galilee, squabbling about which one of them is “the greatest.” Jesus overhears them and asks what they’re bickering about. You can just picture the scene: twelve grown men looking sheepishly down at their sandals, too embarrassed to say a word. And you can picture Jesus sighing, sitting them all down, and saying wearily, “Okay guys, let’s go over this one more time . . .” Join us on Sunday as Pastor Curt reminds us that we can’t snicker too much, because we do exactly what the disciples did, trying to be “great” in ways that don’t matter, while overlooking the ways that do.

This Sunday in Worship

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Who Do You Say that I Am

September 13, 10:15 a.m.

Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they answered him, “John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?”
from Mark 8:27-36

After 2,000 years of Jesus paintings, Jesus sculptures, Jesus books, Jesus movies, and, just in general, a whole lot of Jesus, it’s hard to have a new thought on the subject. And yet, in spite of all the Jesus paraphernalia in our lives (or maybe because of it), most of us still struggle to answer the question posed above:”Who do you say that I am?” Who was Jesus? What was he trying to accomplish? Why does it matter? Join us on Sunday as Pastor Curt preaches, our choirs are back in action, and we kick off a new program year with worship and a celebratory potluck. You don’t need to sign up for a specific dish—just bring whatever strikes your fancy.

This Sunday in Worship

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Jesus Said What

September 6, 10:15 a.m.

“A woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” But she answered him, “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”
from Mark 7:24-37

This is one of those stories where, when you read it the first time, you’re just cruising along, not really paying attention, because it’s one more person who wants Jesus to work his magic and do some healing. Ho hum. Been there, done that. And then you get to the part where Jesus starts talking about children and dogs. And somewhere at the back of your brain, a little voice says, “Wait, WHAT?!?” Did Jesus just call that woman’s daughter a dog? What the heck is going on here?” Good questions. What IS going on here? Is Jesus being a gigantic jerk? Because it sure seems like it. Join us on Sunday as Pastor Curt proposes an answer that might surprise you.

This Sunday in Worship

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Worship in the Park

August 30, 10:15 a.m.

“Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart.”
from Psalm 111

Join us for one of our favorite services of the year—our annual “Worship in the Park” at Prospect Park (11300 W. 44th Ave., between Kipling and Ward). We’ll begin with a “gospel sing-along,” and then launch into the rest of the service, which will include a sermon by Pastor Curt on why we worship. You’re invited to come with a picnic lunch to eat after the service. Phil and Steve Goebel will bring their famous homemade root beer, and the Fellowship Committee will provide ice-cream for floats.Wo

This Sunday in Worship

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Armor of God

August 23, 10:15 a.m.

Take up the whole armor of God. Fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, and the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
from Ephesians 3:14-21

Being a Christian can be a risky business. Especially if you lived under Roman occupation in the 1st century. The apostle Paul, writing from prison, tells the church in Ephesus that they can’t protect themselves physically from persecution. Instead, he says, they must learn to depend on God for their strength. The armor of God is all they have against the forces that seek to destroy them. But it is enough. Join us on Sunday as Pastor Curt asks what it means (and does not mean) for us, living in a very different context from the Ephesians, to put on that armor.

This Sunday in Worship

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Pass through the Waters

August 16, 10:15 a.m.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you will not be burned,
and the flame will not consume you.

from Isaiah 43:1-7

Sometimes, you go all the way down. In Alcoholics Anonymous, they refer to it as “hitting rock bottom.” In our reading from Isaiah this week, it’s called “passing through the waters.” Your life has become so hard, so messed up, so unmanageable that you can’t go on. You’re sinking and you’re sure you’re going to drown. This is not a place anyone wants to be. But it’s also the place where, sometimes, we finally hear God’s voice. Join us for a special worship service led by members of the congregation, with Daniel Sweeney, Judi Baxter, and Max Michalec telling their stories of the God who called to them as they passed through the waters.

This Sunday in Worship

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Watch for Morning

August 9, 10:15 a.m.

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than those who watch for the morning,
more than those who watch for the morning.”
from Psalm 130

Join us on Sunday for a special summer session of Taizé-style worship. Originating in Taizé, France, in the 1950s, a Taizé service is comprised of quiet meditation, scripture reading, prayer, and simple, repetitive singing. Come, be still, and know that God is near.

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