From the Pastor:      “A Tall Order”                                 Rev. Marshall Murphy Jr September 3, 2023


September 3, 2023

Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost




Invocation: Good morning and welcome!

Lord of all power and might, the author and giver of all good things: Graft in our hearts the love of your Name; increase in us true religion; nourish us with all goodness; and bring forth in us the fruit of good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.


Call to Worship! 

L: Followers of Christ, God calls us just as we are to live as truth-tellers and gospel-bringers in the world.

P: God, we know you call us, and still, we ask, “Who am I that you would call me?”

L: Like Moses standing before the burning bush convinced of his unworthiness to lead your people out of bondage, we ask,

P: “Who am I that you would call me?”

L: Like Peter who thought he got it right only to realize that who Jesus is doesn’t meet his expectations of who a Savior should be, we ask,

P: “Who am I that you would call me?”

L: As we raise this question to God today, we open our hearts to receive God’s answer:

P: You are my beloved children. You are my disciples. You are my people called to share the love of God for the transformation of the world. Amen.


Words of Welcome and Parish News

*Gathering song                                                                               

Prayers of the people and a time for Silent Prayer

Prayer Focus: Harmony


Scripture Reading:                                                                              Romans 12:9-21

9Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; 10love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. 11Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. 13Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. 14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. 17Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. 18If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.” 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.




The Message                             “A Tall Order”                                 Rev. Marshall Murphy Jr

Have you ever been given an assignment or task, and you said that’s a tall order? This Scripture has us probe into our mind, heart, and soul. The first four words in verse nine will make you ponder about love. How do you let love be genuine? We have heard many things about love,

including tough love, but what is genuine love? Verse sixteen speaks about living in harmony. Living in harmony seems to be a journey as well as a destination. Sometimes, harmony is understood in reference to two or more people singing or playing musical instruments or doing both. How many remember the commercial from the soft drink  Coke, “I like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony”? Today, we witness people not living in harmony, including people in the church.

Furthermore, I’m reminded how hard it is to communicate to people to follow some of these words. For example: “Bless those who persecute you,” “Do not repay evil with evil.” I feel for people for the afflictions they endure in life. Unfortunately, some people think that having hardships and misfortune are a part of life. But, some of the ills that people live through are a result of evil intentions. I thought about the training people went through for non-violent protests. People had to be prepared to endure hatred, pain, and suffering before they could march or sit at segregated lunch counters. Today, we look to see if the church can offer genuine love. Can we be the instrument to usher in harmony? Can we be authentic and intentional as the body of Christ to believe in the Spirit of the Living God? Yes, it’s a tall order, but we must prevail in the midst of chaos and let the power of love lead us.


Offertory Invitation:

God of power and might: We, like Peter, struggle with the image of a savior sent to suffer and die. We may seem to be doing great in following Christ, but we too stumble at this point. Perhaps we stumble because we know that what follows is Christ’s call to us to deny ourselves and pick up a cross of our own in order to follow.


Offertory Music:


*Doxology:                                                                                                                 UMH 95

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; praise him, all creatures here below; praise him above, ye heavenly host; praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.                                                                                                                 


*Unison Prayer of Dedication: As we bring gifts for the work of building your kingdom, help us to learn to deny, carry, and follow. In Christ’s holy name, we pray. Amen.


The Sacrament of Holy Communion                                                                           UMH 15

The Lord’s Prayer

 Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.


*Closing Music


Sending Forth:  

Receive this good news: You are beloved children of God, called and equipped to be agents of divine love in the world. And remember, you do not go alone. God goes before you, with you, and behind you wherever you go. Thanks be to God. Amen.



(Please remain seated to meditate and reflect on the music)


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