Sunday Worship: Candles of Joy Despite All The Sadness

CALL TO WORSHIP | by Howard Thurman

Listen to the long stillness.
New life is stirring. New dreams are on the wing.
New hopes are being readied.
Humankind is fashioning a new heart.
Humankind is forging a new mind.
God is at work. This is the season of Promise

OPENING HYMN | “O Come O Come Emmanuel” Sing along (Versus 1, 2, 6 & 7) with Andrew Malderelli

Stewardship Responsive Chorus

There are so many exciting ways that God is working through each of us and in this community.

As we consider our receiving and our giving to the works of ministry in this place and in the world, may we remember to whom we belong.

“All In” HYMN

Through all our living, we our fruits must give.
Good works of service are for offering.
When we are giving, or when receiving,
We belong to God.
We belong to God.
We belong to God.
We belong to God

CHRISTIAN READING | Matthew 6:25-33

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet God feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to their lifespan.

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,  yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will God not clothe you, O you of little faith?  Therefore do not be anxious…  Instead, seek first the kin-dom of God and God’s righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

EPISTLE READING | Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

THEME MUSIC | Song of Gratitude” by A Virtual Choir Celebration

“Candles of Joy Despite all the Sadness”
By Rev. Don Ludwig

Click here to read Pastor Don’s Sermon.

RESPONSIVE HYMN | “Joy to the World” sing along with Andrew Malderelli


  1. What do you find yourself worrying the most these days?
  2. Who is someone in your life that has always radiated joy?
  3. How have you tried to look beyond your own garden?


CORPORATE PRAYER | by Diane Butler Bass, 2019

God, there are days we do not feel grateful. When we are anxious or angry. When we feel alone. When we see and know injustice. When we do not understand what is happening in the world, or with our neighbors. We struggle to feel grateful.

But today, we choose gratitude. We choose to accept life as a gift from you, from the unfolding work of all creation. We choose to be grateful for the earth from which our food comes; for the water that sustains us; and for the air we breathe.

We choose to see our ancestors, those who came before us, and their stories, as a continuing gift of wisdom for us today. We choose to see our families and friends with new eyes, appreciating them for who they are, thankful for our homes whether humble or grand. We will be grateful for our neighbors and strive to love them as we love ourselves. We choose to see the whole planet as our shared commons, the stage of the future of humankind and creation.

God, today, we do not give thanks. We choose it.  We will make thanks with courageous hearts. When we see your sacred generosity, we become aware that we live in an infinite circle of gratitude. We all are guests at a hospitable table around which gifts are passed and received. We will not let anything opposed to love take over this world. Instead, we choose to open our eyes to see grace and the gifts of life everywhere. In this choosing, we will share gratitude in the world.

We ask you to strengthen us in this resolve. Here, now, and into the future. Around the table of our church. Around the table of our nation. Around the table of the earth. Amen.

FINAL BLESSING & BENEDICTION | “Shalom My Friends” by Tarris Rosell