• Greeting, Call to Worship, and Opening Prayer – Rev. Val
  • Opening Hymn – Let Us Break Bread Together On Our Knees
  • Affirmation of Faith – “Our World Belongs to God”, Calvin Institute for Christian Worship
  • Statement of Faith – “We Believe”, Union Grove UMC
  • Gloria Patri (UMH 70)
  • Scripture Readings (all readings CEB) – 2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10; Mark 6:1-13 – Rev. Val
  • Message: Communion – Rev. Val
  • Offertory – Rev. Val
  • Doxology (UMH 95)
  • Service of Holy Communion – Iona Abbey Worship Book 2016, Morning Communion Service A
  • Benediction – Rev. Val
  • Closing Hymn – Holy, Holy, Holy (UMH 64)


Seneca Foote will be providing your worship service. Then the following Sunday, July 18, you’ll be led by Lay Speaker Ginny West Case. I am ever grateful to these two sisters in Christ for stepping in for me and know you will show them what Union Grove hospitality means. Thank you, in advance, to Sue for agreeing to be here to open and close the church and to Tracy for agreeing to video their worship services so we can include them in our on-demand video library!

Very quickly, take a look at your bulletins. Once again, making things fit required moving things around on the pages. Likewise, our Order of Worship is a little different today due to the Service of Holy Communion.

As usual, we have a main or outer page, and then an inner or “insert” page. There are no changes to the outside of the main page, however, please turn to the inside of the main page.  You’ll see that some items in our Order of Worship refer to “col. __” or to “insert, col. __”.  If you were to lay the insert page aside, you’ll see 4 columns across the inside of the main page. They are columns 1,2,3, and 4 respectively. Likewise, the Service of Holy Communion is on the “inside” of the insert page and is also arranged in four columns. The same numbering works on that page as well.

Last, thank you all for the prayers this week. I’m feeling significantly better. OK, if there’s nothing else, let’s begin with the Call to Worship.

Call to Worship – Abingdon Worship Annual 2009 – (Mark 6:1-13)

L: Take off your shoes!

P: We are standing on holy ground.

L: Shake off the dust!

P: We are ready to start afresh.

L: Let us worship God and receive Christ’s teachings, that we may be renewed and strengthened to share God’s love with the world.

Opening Prayer – Valerie Boyer


who was bold enough to speak something into nothing, who sent fire from heaven as a guide just because you could, who gave and still gives these outspoken prophets words that you know will sometimes rub us the wrong way, we need you.

We need boldness that does not fade, so that you can use us like you used your earliest disciples. They healed the sick, raised the dead, and cast out demons. Strangely, we need boldness just to love one another beyond petty generational arguments and to be reconciled back to one another – as you reconciled the world back to yourself through your Son, Jesus. Lord, make us bold, so that you can use us.

Lord, heal us, so that you can use us. Help us to receive healing from you, with thanksgiving, even when we feel we don’t deserve healing. Show us how to walk in happiness and joy, without feeling guilty for either of them. Teach us how to love the unlovable enough to want to contend with the forces of evil for their shalom and for their souls.

We need the kind of boldness that comes from your Holy Spirit. Let it fall fresh upon us every day. Let it meet us in the morning like new mercies. Let it live in us like an all-consuming fire that won’t burn out.

We need you. Send your Spirit, Father. We need your Spirit. We thank you for your Spirit. We love you. We have waited and continue to wait on you. In the name of the Father who was/is bold, the Son who came in boldness, and the Spirit who equips us with boldness, we pray,


AFFIRMATION OF FAITH – “Our World Belongs to God” (Calvin Institute of Christian Worship)

As followers of Jesus Christ,

living in this world—

which some seek to control,

but which others view with despair—

we declare with joy and trust:

Our world belongs to God!

From the beginning,

through all the crises of our times,

until his kingdom fully comes,

God keeps covenant forever.

Our world belongs to him!

God is King! Let the earth be glad!

Christ is Victor; his rule has begun. Hallelujah!

The Spirit is at work, renewing creation. Praise the Lord!

We rejoice in the goodness of God,

renounce the works of darkness,

and dedicate ourselves to holy living.

As covenant partners,

called to faithful obedience,

and set free for joyful praise,

we offer our hearts and lives

to do God’s work in his world.

With tempered impatience, eager to see injustice ended,

we expect the Day of the Lord.

And we are confident

that the light which shines in the present darkness

will fill the earth when Christ appears.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Our world belongs to you.

STATEMENT OF FAITH – “We Believe” (The Congregation of Union Grove UMC)

We believe in the wholeness of God, the wholeness of Creation, and the Holiness of all His children.

We celebrate God’s gift of diversity and value the wholeness made possible in community equally shared and shepherded by all.  We welcome and affirm people of every gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation, who are also of every age, race, ethnicity, physical and mental ability, level of education, and family structure, and of every economic, immigration, marital, and social status, and so much more.

We acknowledge that we live in a world of profound social, economic, and political inequities. As followers of Jesus, we commit ourselves to the pursuit of justice and pledge to stand in solidarity with all who are marginalized and oppressed.


Open our eyes, our hearts, our minds, gracious Lord, as we turn to your scripture. We long to know you, to understand life, and to be changed. Examine us, Lord, by the floodlight of your truth.


Our scriptures this morning are taken from the Common English Bible.

2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10 (CEB)

All the Israelite tribes came to David at Hebron and said, “Listen: We are your very own flesh and bone. In the past, when Saul ruled over us, you were the one who led Israel out to war and back. What’s more, the Lord told you, You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will be Israel’s leader.

So all the Israelite elders came to the king at Hebron. King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel.

David was 30 years old when he became king, and he ruled for forty years. He ruled over Judah for seven and a half years in Hebron. He ruled thirty-three years over all Israel and Judah in Jerusalem.

David occupied the fortress, so it was renamed David’s City. David built a city around it from the earthen terraces inward. David grew increasingly powerful, and the Lord of heavenly forces was with him.

Mark 6:1-13 (CEB)

Jesus left that place and came to his hometown. His disciples followed him. On the Sabbath, he began to teach in the synagogue. Many who heard him were surprised. “Where did this man get all this? What’s this wisdom he’s been given? What about the powerful acts accomplished through him? Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t he Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” They were repulsed by him and fell into sin.

Jesus said to them, “Prophets are honored everywhere except in their own hometowns, among their relatives, and in their own households.” He was unable to do any miracles there, except that he placed his hands on a few sick people and healed them. He was appalled by their disbelief.

Then Jesus traveled through the surrounding villages teaching.

He called for the Twelve and sent them out in pairs. He gave them authority over unclean spirits. He instructed them to take nothing for the journey except a walking stick—no bread, no bags, and no money in their belts. He told them to wear sandals but not to put on two shirts. He said, “Whatever house you enter, remain there until you leave that place. If a place doesn’t welcome you or listen to you, as you leave, shake the dust off your feet as a witness against them.” So they went out and proclaimed that people should change their hearts and lives. They cast out many demons, and they anointed many sick people with olive oil and healed them.

The scriptures of God for the People of God.

Thanks be to God.

MESSAGE – Communion

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock, and my redeemer. Amen.

Flesh & bone, bread and wine, going home versus coming home … these are all part of today’s message on Communion, our last lesson on the means of grace.

Communion is one of two sacraments of the United Methodist Church, the other being baptism. We name these acts sacraments because we think sacramentally about the world. In other words, when we think about the world … provided we’re thinking with the mind of Christ … we think about how the physical world and the spiritual world overlap. In this way, God is present to us through the sacraments of baptism and communion, and … at the same time … our participation in the sacraments prepares us to encounter and see God’s presence in all areas of our lives.

We see baptism as our entrance into the family of God, an identity marker of the community to which we belong. We see communion as our sustaining meal, a reminder of whose image we are being made into. In both sacramental acts, God’s grace is communicated through the use of physical objects – through water and the laying on of hands in baptism, and through bread and juice in communion.

According to Discipleship Ministries’ Basics of Faith Formation, “Holy Communion … shapes our past, present, and future … reminds us [of] what God has done for us in Christ … invites us to be nourished by Christ’s presence among us and lets us gaze into the future to the great banquet that awaits the church when the kingdom comes in fullness.

That explanation is just a little too much like a “visitor’s guide to things that happen at church” for me. It doesn’t really convey the real beauty and transformative nature of Communion.

Communion has always been special to me. I loathed missing Communion Sunday at church before I became a pastor. I couldn’t really explain why, I just knew that Communion moved me each time I received it. It wasn’t until a few years ago reading a book by the late Rachel Held-Evans that I was able to say, “YES! THAT is communion to me, too!” In a 2014 post titled “The Table” on her blog, Rachel wrote, “When I was ready to give up on the Church, it was the sacraments that pulled me back.

When my faith had become little more than an abstraction, a set of propositions to be affirmed or denied, the tangible, tactile nature of the sacraments invited me to touch, smell, taste, hear, and see God in the stuff of everyday life again. They got God out of my head and into my hands. They reminded me that Christianity isn’t meant to simply be believed; it’s meant to be lived, shared, eaten, spoken, and enacted in the presence of other people. They reminded me that, try as I may, I can’t be a Christian on my own.

Perhaps the most powerful of those sacraments is communion.”

Now, on that post, Rachel shares a video or Episcopalian Bishop Michael Curry telling a story of a young woman

In the video above, Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, tells the following story about a young woman in the 1940s:

“One Sunday, she invited the man she had been dating to join her at morning services.  Both of them were African American, but the church they attended that day was all white, and right in the heart of segregated America. The young man waited in the pews while the congregation went forward to receive communion, anxious because he noticed that everyone in the congregation was drinking from the same chalice. He had never seen black people and white people drink from the same water fountain, much less the same cup.

His eye stayed on his girlfriend as, after receiving the bread, she waited for the cup. Finally, the priest lowered it to her lips and said, as he had to the others, “The blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was shed for thee, preserve thy body and soul unto everlasting life.”

The man decided that any church where black and white drank from the same cup had discovered something powerful, something he wanted to be a part of.

The couple was Bishop Curry’s parents.

Communion, he says, “is a sacrament of unity that overcomes even the deepest estrangements between human beings.”

In his book, Unclean, Richard Beck puts it like this: 

“Participation in the Lord’s Supper is an inherently moral act. In the first century church, and in our own time, people who would never have associated with each other in the larger society sit as equals around the Table of the Lord…The Eucharist, therefore, is not simply a symbolic expansion of the moral circle. The Lord’s Supper becomes a profoundly subversive political event in the lives of the participants. The sacrament brings real people—divided in the larger world—into a sweaty, intimate, flesh-and-blood embrace where ‘there shall be no difference between them and the rest.’”

Rachel’s blog post went on to say, “I would be lying if I said I relished this “sweaty, intimate, flesh-and-blood embrace” without reservation. Sure, I’m happy to pass the bread to someone like Bishop Curry or the neighbor who mows our lawn when we’re out of town. But Ann Coulter? Mark Driscoll? Those gatekeeper types I like to complain about?  Not so much.

On a given Sunday I might spot six or seven people who have wronged or hurt me, people whose politics, theology, or personalities drive me crazy. The Church is positively crawling with people who don’t deserve to be here…beginning with me.

But the Table can transform even our enemies into companions. The Table reminds us that, as brothers and sisters adopted into God’s family and invited to God’s banquet, we’re stuck with each other; we’re family. We might as well make peace. The Table teaches us that, ultimately, faith isn’t about being right or good or in agreement. Faith is about feeding and being fed.”

Rachel Held-Evans understood the sacrament of Communion.

Recently, some American bishops in the Catholic Church to actions to … clarify who could receive Communion in their churches, endeavoring to exclude any politicians or elected officials whose platforms didn’t 100% match the position of the church on certain issues. Their actions prompted a somewhat global response from other denominations including ours. I think Pope Francis gave them the best response: “The Eucharist is not the reward of saints, but the bread of sinners.”

Pope Francis understands the sacrament of Communion. 

Communion sustains and propels us to live so that others see God’s love in us.  Christ is present to us in the partaking of the bread and wine, the elements. By doing what he did as he did it at that last supper, it’s as if we’re right there with him, receiving the bread and wine he passed to his disciples.

All of us, all who come to us, all in … to quote songwriter, Lenora Rand, in this “Broken Body of Christ.”

We are the wandering
We are the seeking
We are the ones left out to dry
We are the bleeding
Our hearts are weeping
We are the broken
Body of Christ

And when we eat
We are fed
The love that God
Has given
And when we drink
We take it in
This love
This earthly heaven.

 We are the thirsty
Looking for mercy
We have all been kicked aside
We are the stumbling
Our hands are fumbling
We are the broken
Body of Christ

And when we eat
We are fed
The love that God
Has given
And when we drink
We take it in
This love
This earthly heaven.

We are loved
Just as we are
Taste and see
Loved as we are
Loved as we are
Just as we are.

And when we eat
We are fed
The love that God
Has given
And when we drink
We take it in
This love
This earthly heaven.

We are the wandering
We are the seeking
We are the broken
Body of Christ

Communion, the Lord’s Supper, a shared meal, a communal breaking of bread and sharing of the cup … the early church met over meals, dining together, talking together in Christian conferencing, strengthening their understanding of what he’d taught the apostles, learning to support one another, and building their faith. A point in the day, the week, the journey … where people came together.

Coming together was the goal of the Israelites in our passage from the Old Testament. It begins with a plea to recognize their kinship or relationship. The tribes of the northern kingdom of Israel come to David, newly established king of Judah, and ask to be included under his leadership and authority. They recognize a relationship; they acknowledge that David has long been the source of their strength and direction, even while Saul was still called their king. They want to be united as one nation, shepherded by David. So, they call on their kinship. They tell David, “We are your bone and flesh, how can you refuse to unite with us, to rule over us? We are family. We are home.”

Also at play in the passage is the introduction of a physical place … a physical home … Jerusalem … a place to bind this family of tribes together. Granted, it’s only the beginning of a place. David hasn’t built the Temple yet, but because of David’s presence, Jerusalem becomes a magnet that draws the newly formed (or perhaps re-formed) covenantal family together. Jerusalem, like David, grew and became “greater and greater.”

The city was built from the terraces or, a better word, ramparts inward. These are the fortifications that surround the city—protection then settlement; walls and then living space. Home is where we all want to go when we’re tired, we’re frustrated, we’re scared. Home is where you seek safety, solace, sustenance, and peace.

But then there’s the passage from Mark and Jesus’s return home. We’re not told why Jesus decided to go home, we can only speculate. Whatever his reason, the fact is the people in his hometown rejected him. Instead of safety, sustenance, and peace, he found ridicule and rejection.

Rather than have a pity party about it, he called his disciples together, then sent them out two by two, telling them not to take anything with them at all. He sent them out to create a sense of community, build relationships, care for those they met, trust them, rely on them, make themselves at home with them. Jesus’ vision of what we call evangelism or mission was not one of “winning souls” or of drive-by mission efforts. Instead, Jesus seems most interested in relationships. His work is done in the presence of relationships, and because his hometown refused to enter into a relationship with him, “he could do no deed of power there.”

So, while we might refer to certain places as “home,” they’re really just places if there is no relationship with them or with the people in them. It’s the same with Communion.  The elements are just bread and wine, nothing more, until we establish that relationship with Jesus and with God.

The good news is that God already has a relationship with us … even if we don’t know it … and since He is present wherever we are, we are already home. We just need to accept it.

Our goal is to be so fully in relationship with God and each other that it is evident in our lives, our actions, our way of being, and that we are offering that relationship to others.

The question is, are we?


Please join me in a prayer for our gifts this morning:

Holy God who both calls us and confronts us: the gifts we bring to you are only a small part of multitude we have received from your goodness. In the depth of our being, we know that in calling us, what you really seek is our faith, our belief, our conviction – our very hearts. What you long for from us is not a trip to church but a lifelong journey into the world to follow Jesus with our whole being. Forgive our unbelief, our holding back, and lead us in the way that frees us from the grip of the world – the way of life!

In Christ, we pray.


SERVICE OF HOLY COMMUNION – Morning Communion Service A, Iona Abbey Book of Worship 2016

A transcript of this service is not provided here.


L: May the everlasting God shield you wherever you go.

And the blessing of God be upon you,

P: The blessing of the Giver of Life.

L: The blessing of God be upon you,

P: The blessing of the Christ of Love.

L: The blessing of God be upon you,

P: The blessing of the Spirit of Peace.

L: The blessing of the Trinity be upon you now and forever more.

All: Amen.


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If you are able and whether you’re worshipping with us in person or online, please consider making an offering or paying your tithes through the online service provided by Holston Conference. It’s safe. It’s free. It will help us continue ministry at Union Grove.

Just visit http://www.holston.org/churchoffering, and follow the instruction for making your offering.  When asked, please choose Smoky Mountain District and Union Grove UMC Blount – Friendsville.

If you are not comfortable using a debit or credit card online, you can mail your offerings/tithes to:

Union Grove UMC
1151 Lane Drive
Friendsville, TN 37737

Please be sure to make your checks payable to “Union Grove UMC Friendsville“.