Sunday Worship: Candles of Hope Where Despair Keeps Watch

CALL TO WORSHIP | Isaiah 40:28-31

Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
Our God will not grow tired or weary, and God’s understanding no one can fathom.
God gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young people stumble and fall;
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

OPENING HYMN | “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”

It came upon the midnight clear
That glorious song of old
From angels bending near the earth
To touch their harps of gold
Peace on the earth, good will to men
From heaven’s all gracious king
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing

Still through the cloven skies they come
With peaceful wings unfurled
And still their heavenly music floats
O’er all the weary world
Above its sad and lowly plains
They bend on hovering wing
And ever o’er its Babel sounds
The blessed angels sing

All ye, beneath life’s crushing load
Whose forms are bending low
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow
Look, now for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing
O rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing
And hear the angels sing

Minute for Mission & Responsive Chorus

Pastor: 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.

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 | Job 16:15-17; 11:17-20

Job replied: “Well, I have sewed the sackcloth to my very skin
and buried my mighty forehead in the dirt.
My face, red and hot, boils over in tears;
the shadow of darkness lies heavy on my eyelids,
No matter that, my hands are free of violence,
and my prayer is pure.”

Zophar replied: “Life will be brighter than noonday,
and darkness will become like morning.
You will be secure, because there is hope;
you will look about you and take your rest in safety.
You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid,
and many will court your favor.
But the eyes of the wicked will fail,
and escape will elude them;
their hope will become a dying gasp.”

THEME READING | “Hope, Despair and Memory”, Elie Wiesel, Nobel Lecture, 1986

Just as we cannot live without dreams, we cannot live without hope. If dreams reflect the past, hope summons the future. Does this mean that our future can be built on a rejection of the past? Surely such a choice is not necessary.

The two are not incompatible. The opposite of the past is not the future but the absence of the future; the opposite of the future is not the past but the absence of the past. The loss of one is equivalent to the sacrifice of the other.

“Candles of Hope Where Despair Keeps Watch”
By Rev. Don Ludwig

Click here to read Rev. Don Ludwig’s Sermon

RESPONSIVE HYMN | For Everyone Born”

SPECIAL MUSIC | “We Three Kings” (Pandemic Parody) with Andrew Malderelli

We three kings are six feet apart. We’ll Purell before we depart. We’ve been tested, as suggested. Careful are we and smart.

Oooohhhhh…Do our masks go with our gowns? Do these face shields cover our crowns? We’ve had plenty of 2020, still headed toward David’s town.
Melchior is now quarantined. Stuck in Persia, so it would seem. No more travel on a camel, til there’s a good vaccine.

Balthasar has lost his taste. Eating food is now such a waste. How disquieting, now he’s dieting. Life now is slower paced.

Caspar left the caravan. He postponed his stargazing plans. No more roaming. Now he’s homing, scrubbing his reddened hands.

Oooohhhhh…Still our masks clash with our gowns? Face shield high a top our crowns? We’ve had plenty of 2020, soon we will be in David’s town.


CORPORATE PRAYER | written by Parker J. Palmer

Heavenly Father, heavenly Mother, Holy and blessed is your true name. We pray for your reign of peace to come, We pray that your good will be done, Let heaven and earth become one. Give us this day the bread we need, Give it to those who have none. Let forgiveness flow like a river between us, Lead us to holy innocence Beyond the evil of our days — Come swiftly Mother, Father, come. For yours is the power and the glory and the mercy: Forever your name is All in One. A-men.


The Bread of Christ broken for you
The Cup of Hope given to all

CLOSING HYMN | They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love (We Are One in the Spirit)

We are one in the Spirit, We are one in the Lord
We are one in the Spirit, We are one in the Lord
And we pray that all unity, May one day be restored

And they’ll know we are Christians, by our love by our love
Yes they’ll know we are Christians by our love

We will walk with each other, We will walk hand in hand
We will walk with each other, We will walk hand in hand
And together we’ll spread the news, That God is in our land (Chorus)

We will work with each other, We will work side by side
We will work with each other, We will work side by side
And we’ll guard human dignity, And save human pride (Chorus)

All praise to the Spirit, From whom all things come
And all praise to Christ Jesus God’s only Son
Yes all praise to the Spirit who makes us one (Chorus)