October 18, 2020: Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Welcome and Announcements

Audio: Welcome and Announcements and Call to Worship

Call to Worship: Psalm 96

Sing to the Lord and bless God’s name.
Tell of God’s saving power from day to day.
Worship the Lord in holy splendor.
Tremble before God, all the earth! LET US WORSHIP GOD!

Hymn: “Sing Glory to the Name of God,” 10

Video: “Sing Glory to the Name of God”

Prayer of the Day

Audio: Prayer of the Day and Prayer of Confession

Prayer of Confession

What a debt we owe to You, O God. You have given us all things in Christ, and yet we withhold from You and others the forgiveness, understanding, and compassion that we have received. Instead, we pay tribute to idols that do not satisfy: self-sufficiency, wealth, comfort, status. Wittingly and unwittingly, our lifestyles burden our neighbors and the environment. We complain about the state of the world, but then do little to improve it. Our prayers for what we want are long, our response to Your call is muted. Forgive us, O God, and by Your grace restore in us Your image of mercy, kindness, and justice. This and more we ask in the name of Christ.

Assurance of Pardon and Commitment to Pass the Peace

Video: Assurance of Pardon and Commitment to Pass the Peace

Prayer for Illumination

Audio: Prayer for Illumination

Holy One, true and living God, through the message of the gospel and the power of Your Spirit, make us imitators of Jesus, our Savior and Friend. AMEN.

Time for Children, Jenny Newman

Video: Time for Children

Gospel Reading: Matthew 22:15-22

Audio: Gospel Reading

15 Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap him in what he said. 16 So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. 17 Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?” 18 But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? 19 Show me the coin used for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. 20 Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?” 21 They answered, “The emperor’s.” Then he said to them, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 22 When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.

Epistle Reading: I Thessalonians 1:1-3

Video: Epistle Reading and Sermon

Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,

To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

Grace to you and peace.

We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Sermon: “Shaped by Hope,” Rev. Vincent Kolb

Affirmation of Faith: Confession of 1967

Audio: Affirmation of Faith

We are called by God to be the church of Jesus Christ, a sign in the world today of the new life that God intends for all. In our life together we are to display the new reality that sin is forgiven, reconciliation accomplished, and the dividing walls of hostility torn down. As the living Body of Christ, the church is called to proclaim the good news of salvation, to present the claims of the gospel on people’s lives, and to demonstrate Christ’s love in service to the world. We are called to undertake this mission even at the risk of life, trusting God in all things. In faith we embrace a new openness to what God is doing in our time, a renewed obedience to reflecting the love of Christ, and a new joy in our common worship and work.

Anthem: “O How Amiable,” Ralph Vaughan Williams

Video: “O How Amiable”

O how amiable are thy dwellings: thou Lord of hosts! My soul hath a desire and longing to enter into the courts of the Lord: My heart and my flesh rejoice in the living God.

Yea, the sparrow hath found her an house, and the swallow a nest where she may lay her young: even thy altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: They will be always praising thee.

The glorious Majesty of the Lord our God be upon us: prosper thou the work of our hands upon us. O prosper thou our handywork.

O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come, Our shelter from the stormy blast, And our eternal home.

Psalms 84, 90 and Isaac Watts

Pastoral Prayer

Audio: Pastoral Prayer and The Lord’s Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer, 2019 Vatican Update

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 debts,
as we forgive our debtors;
do not let us fall into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power
and the glory forever. Amen.

Hymn: “Jesus, Light of Joy,” 673

Video: “Jesus, Light of Joy”


Video: Benediction


We are an open and affirming community of faith in Jesus Christ. At home in an urban neighborhood of many faiths, we acknowledge that we are not alone on the path to understanding God. In worship, study, and fellowship, we celebrate our Presbyterian roots and find joy in our diversity. We strive for the grace to love one another as we seek deeper understanding of life in the Spirit, working for justice and serving as stewards of God’s wondrous creation.

We are a More Light congregation: “Following the risen Christ, and seeking to make the Church a true community of hospitality, the mission of More Light Presbyterians is the full participation of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people of faith in the life, ministry, and witness of the Presbyterian Church (USA).”

Inclusive Language: Words matter. Jesus Christ, the living Word, reached out to all people to bring all people into God’s fold. The kingdom of God includes all types of people; therefore our language should reflect the inclusivity and equality among the people of God. To the end, when possible, we seek to eliminate the inherent bias of the English language towards the masculine gender without altering passages that reflect the historical situation of ancient patriarchal culture, out of which the Bible originated.

* The Session has voted that, until such time as the seven-day testing average for Allegheny County is below 3% for two weeks, there will be no in-person worship. We will also continue to keep the building closed until future notice. Read the most recent statement from the Reopening Task Force (click here!).

* Many thanks to Jan Myers-Newbury for being part of the service this week!

Image: Jan Myers-Newbury

* Join Pastor Vincent and fellow congregants after worship for a Zoom fellowship. Check your weekly email or contact the office.

* Sunday School for preschool through sixth grade meets (surprise!) Sundays at 10 am. Jenny will send the Zoom link to families, and it is included in the weekly worship email (the link will be the same each week). Can’t find it? Email Jenny or the church office.

* Adult education meets Sundays at 9:45 am. Check your weekly worship email for the Zoom link or email the church office (the link will be the same each week). You can see a schedule of upcoming topics and speakers (click here!). Miss an adult education or justice presentation? Recordings will be available the following week (click here!).

* Bill Guy’s Sunday School class meets (surprise!) Sundays at 10 am. Check your weekly worship email for the Zoom link or email the church office (the link will be the same each week).

* Want to join Pastor Vincent’s Bible study of the lectionary texts at 11 am on Wednesdays? Contact the office to get on the email list for connection to the Zoom meeting.

* Zoom confused? Set up a call with Amy, and we’ll work through it together.

* It’s not the same as the thrill of putting the envelope in the plate, but you can still pay on your pledges either through eGive (click here!) or by mailing your check to the church. We continue to need your support in this challenging time!

* It’s Stewardship season! You will be receiving a packet in the mail telling you all about our 2021 campaign, Shaped by Hope. Please return your pledge card or email the office with your pledge amount by November 1. We are deeply appreciative of your prayerful response.  

* Are you stressed, frightened, or discouraged? We invite you to THE OPEN DOOR. We have created The Open Door: A Place for Meditation and Reflection in response to the turmoil in our lives. There will be additional offerings in the future. Please step into this Holy Space as often as you like. Click here to enter!

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