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Sunday, February 3, 2019 Communion Sunday Worship

Invitation to Worship Rev. Scott

We gather today as many. We come from a variety of backgrounds. We are old and young, male and female, gay and straight, rich and poor, tired and rejuvenated. We come as questioners, believers, and questioning believers. We come seeking rest, hope, and comfort. We come to mourn and celebrate. We gather because Christ has called us together. Out of many we become one, the body of Christ.

We come to gather around the table of God where some dip, some dunk, and others pass. Where some use trays and others chalices. Sometimes there are loaves and sometimes wafers. Different styles. Same meal. A meal to unite us and cause us to look within, look back, look around, look ahead, and look up. Let us lift up our eyes and look, our salvation comes from God, the maker of the heavens and earth.

Call to Worship (Psalm 95 Egalitarian Translation)

One: Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.

All: Let us come into God’s presence with thanksgiving and sing our praises with joy.

One: For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods.

All: Oh God in Your hands are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to You. Yours is the sea, for You made it, and the dry land were formed by Your hands.

One: Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;

All: for You are our God and we are the people of Your pasture, the flock under Your care.

*Hymn “Enter, Rejoice, and Come In”” #73

Vs. 1, 3, & 5

Scripture Acts 2:40-47

40 And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added. 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. 44 All who believed were together and had all things in common; 45 they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

Meditation Rev. Scott

Our faith ancestors gathered daily around tables. Tables that fed their stomachs and their souls. Tables of extravagant welcome and outrageous grace. We gather around these tables and are drawn inward to examine ourselves. We examine not to see whether we are worthy of the invitation, but to see how such an invitation changes our hearts and minds. The tables of the world exclude. The table of God includes. The tables of the world starve. The table of God feeds. The tables of the world divides. The table of God unites. The tables of the world subtract. The table of God adds.

The author of Acts tells us it was through the breaking of the bread together that they were awed. Awed by an invitation from God’s self to eat at the table of God. And not an invitation to come as God’s guest, but as God’s beloved child. Such an invitation as this, creates generous hearts that insures that there is enough for everyone. An invitation to hold nothing for ourselves, but to hold all things in common, so that none are left out. Let us look within. We shift the chairs around the table today and make room for one more. Lon Cartwright comes today to unite with us in this household of faith.

New Member Reception

Questions of the Candidate

Pastor: We invite Lon Cartwright to come forward as a sign of his willingness to unite with us in this household of faith

Pastor: Hear the words of Jesus: I am the vine, you are the branches. Anyone who abides in me, and I in that person, is the one who bears much fruit. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

Pastor: Do you desire to be part of this community of faith by affirming our covenant relationship with God and each other? Lon Cartwright: I do.

Pastor: Do you believe in Jesus Christ and his teachings?

Lon Cartwright: I do.

Pastor: Will you strive to order your life after his example in the spirit of love and truth?

Lon Cartwright: I will, with the help of God.

Pastor: Will you promote and support the activities of this Church in its endeavors toward the progress of knowledge, the promotion of justice, the reign of peace, and the realization of one human family both within this fellowship and within that broader fellowship of all humankind.

Lon Cartwright: I will, with the help of God.

Congregation Welcome and Reception

Pastor: Let us united with the church in all times and places in affirming our covenant with God and each other:

Pastor: Do you, Pilgrim Church, believe in Jesus Christ and his teachings?

All: I do.

Pastor: Will you strive to order your life after his example in the spirit of love and truth?

All: I will, with the help of God.

Pastor: Will you promote and support the activities of this Church in its endeavors toward the progress of knowledge, the promotion of justice, the reign of peace, and the realization of one human family both within this fellowship and within that broader fellowship of all humankind.

All: I will, with the help of God.

Pastor: Lon Cartwright, by your baptism you were made one with us in the body of Christ, the church. Today we rejoice in your pilgrimage of faith which has brought you to this time and place. We give thanks for every community of faith that has been your spiritual home, and we celebrate your presence in this household of faith.

Pastor: Let us, the members of Pilgrim Congregational United Church of Christ, express our welcome and affirm our mutual ministry in Christ.

All: We welcome you with joy in the common life of this church. We promise you our friendship and prayers as we share the hopes and labors of the church of Jesus Christ. By the power of the Holy Spirit may we continue to grow together in God’s knowledge and love and be witnesses of our risen Savior.

Pastor: In the name of Jesus Christ, and on behalf of Pilgrim Congregational United Church of Christ, we extend to you the hand of Christian love, welcoming you into the company of this church.

(Certificate presented by Jerome)

Pastor: Please join me in prayer.

O God, we praise you for calling us to faith and for gathering us into the church, the body of Christ. We thank you for your people gathered in this church and rejoice that you have increased our community of faith. Together may we live in the Spirit, building one another up in love, sharing in the life and worship of the church, and serving the world for the sake of Jesus Christ. Amen.

A Time for Our Children

We Look Back

*Hymn “Were You There?” #229

Scripture I Corinthians 11:23-25

23 For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

Meditation Rev. Scott

When Christians talk about Communion, we say it's a remembrance of Jesus, a memorial. Which is true, and scriptural, but also slightly misleading, as if what we're doing at the Table is reminiscing, like you would at a family wake or a school reunion.

But in the gospel's original Greek, the word for remembrance is stronger, edgier—anamnesis—literally, "against amnesia." Remembering Jesus in Communion is like standing up to an adversary. It's not reminiscence, it's resistance. It's not merely remembering, it's refusing to forget. There are forces around us and within us that want us to forget what they've been up to for eons, wreaking havoc, taking up all the breathing room, wringing the life out of everything for ego, profit, and power. They're always at it, trying to fog over all traces of Jesus' revolution in the world and in our hearts. They hope we'll lose his trail. They hope we'll forget we ever knew him. When we forget, we're putty in their hands. When we forget, they can tell us anything they want, and we won't know they're lying. In the vacuum of forgetting, injustice has it easy, violence rules the day. Communion is our uprising. At the Table, repeatedly, deliberately, dangerously, we remember. We remember him. We remember each other. We remember everything. We refuse to forget.

We Look Around

*Hymn “Let Us Talents and Tongues Employ” #347

Scripture I Corinthians 11:33-34

33 So then, my brothers and sisters, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. 34 If you are hungry, eat at home, so that when you come together, it will not be for your condemnation. About the other things I will give instructions when I come.

Meditation Rev. Scott

The table calls us to look around. Take a look. A good look. Who is at the table? Who is missing from the table? Who is starving for such a spread that is laid before us at God’s table of grace? We don’t wait for their arrival. Instead, we go out and seek them, telling them that God has a spot just for them. We rearrange the chairs. We tear down walls that divide us and use it to build a bigger table. All who are weary and carry heavy burdens come. Lay down your burden at the cross and have a seat at the table. There is enough for all. If you are full and still can’t wait for others to be served, it is better to first eat at home. By no means risk turning this Meal into an eating and drinking binge or a family squabble. It is, after all, a spiritual meal—a love feast.

We Look Ahead

*Hymn “Amazing Grace” #547

Vs. 3-5

Scripture I Corinthians 11:26

26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Meditation Rev. Scott

The table calls us to look to the future. During communion, we look ahead to the day of the great meal in the presence of God. It will be the day when God will wipe away our tears; it will be a place where there will no more sickness and pain, and we will see Jesus face to face! This is more than a meal – it is a proclamation. By eating we announce that Jesus was then unjustly killed by the systems of domination of his day. We thank God that the last supper wasn’t the last meal! God continually brings forth renewed hope for love and justice to and through each of us. Therefore, in the sharing of this bread and wine, we joyfully celebrate the hope-inspiring ministry of Jesus Christ until that day in the future when all are full.

We Look Up

*Hymn “I am Yours, O Lord” #455

Scripture John 6:25-40

When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” 26 Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.” 28 Then they said to him, “What must we do to perform the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” 30 So they said to him, “What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” 32 Then Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is that which[a] comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”

35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away; 38 for I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day.”

Meditation Rev. Scott

At the table we lift our eyes up and see mountains all around us. Lookout Mountain, Signal Mountain, Racoon Mountain. Does our strength come from the might of the mountain? Is it our view that sustains us? What about those who walk in the valley? Must they climb the mountain in order to be fed? No. our strength comes from God who made the mountains. The one who caused them to rise can make them fall. These mountains are far to rocky to sustain life. Instead we are fed by the Bread of Life. Christ self. Christ who descends the mountain, not to do his own thing, but to point us to God who is the creator and sustainer of our life. Our God doesn’t play hide-and-seek with us. God is not remote; God is near. We live and move and exist in God. This meal points us back to the chef who created this life-giving meal in the heavenly kitchen. It is not in the meal that we find true life, but in the one who cooked it.

Sharing the Peace of Christ Rev. Scott

God has made this meal and invited us to the ever-expanding table. A table that causes us to look within, back, around, ahead, and up. A meal that makes peace between God and ourselves.

May the peace of God be with you. (and also with you)

Because God has brought us peace, let us extend the peace to others so that we may dine together.



One: We gather together at the table.

All: We come from many places.

One: Differing in age, differing in race, differing in orientation, politics and even faith. As we come together around the table we discover that our differences are not something we tolerate but that our differences are indeed a blessing.

All: The more difference we bring, the more fully we experience the presence of the sacred in our midst.

One: So, come, children of God, just as you are. Wherever you are on this journey of life, you are welcome here, here in this place, here in this community, here at this table.

All: Come, children of God.

One: Come and remember with us.


One: We remember the stories that Jesus friends tell, stories of bread broken and shared, feeding a multitude, stories of being gathered together, enemy and friend, around tables, stories of unlikely guests revealing the face of the sacred. They say that it was on a night of both celebration and betrayal that he took the bread leftover on the table, blessed it and broke it; reminding them that

All: It is in the breaking that we become whole, in losing our lives that we find them, in serving that we are served.

One: As the grain scattered becomes one in the loaf, when we eat this bread

All: we become one with one another.

One: They say that he took the cup also leftover on the table, poured out and sharing, remembering with them, the life-giving breath even now pounding a rhythm through our veins, the breath of life from whence we come

All: The breath that precedes and follows all that we can see.

One: As the grapes find life in the vine

All: when we drink this cup, we become at one with the source of life itself.


One: And so, we pray:

All: Come, Holy Spirit, come.

One: Bless this bread and bless this fruit of the vine. Bless all of us in our eating and drinking that our eyes might be open, that we might recognize the risen Christ in our midst, indeed in one another.

All: Come, Holy Spirit, come.

The table is spread. All are invited. All are fed. The ushers will guide you to come forward. Instead of serving you one at a time in line, each row will gather around the elements and each row will be served together. Once that group has been served the ushers will guide the next group to the table.

Invitation to the Morning Offering Rev. Scott


*Doxology (We Stand and Sing)

“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 (Standing) Rev. Scott

— Please Be Seated After The Prayer —

Share Our Joys and Concerns Rev. Scott

Prayers for the People

Lord’s Prayer (debts/debtor)

Announcements Sydney

*Parting Blessing “Blessed Be the Tie That Binds”

Those Who Are Able Stand, join hands with those around you, and sing

“Blessed be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love;

The sharing of a common life is like to that above.”

Pilgrim Congregational 


400 Glenwood Drive

Chattanooga, TN 37404

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