• Prelude – Quietly, Scripture Lullabies
  • Welcome & Prayer – Rev. Ohle
  • Call to Worship – Holy, Holy, Holy, Shane & Shane
  • Prayers of the People – Rev. Ohle
  • Scripture Reading – Matthew 5:1-12, Matthew 28:16-20
  • Message – Sermon on the Mount: The Beatitudes (Part 2) – Rev. Ohle
  • Closing Anthem – The Great Commission, Scripture Lullabies
  • Benediction – Rev. Ohle
  • Postlude – Quietly, Scripture Lullabies


Good morning. My name is Rev. Val Ohle, pastor of Union Grove United Methodist Church. Thank you for taking time to be here with me today!  

There is a lot going on at Union Grove right now. We’re preparing to re-open for in-person worship, working on putting together a new leadership team, and seeking your input on  the possibility of changing the time we gather for worship and whether we need to add a second option on a say other than Sunday.

If you’re interested in serving on the leadership team or would like to discuss other aspects of the church, please contact me. My contact information will be available at the end of this video as well as available on our website and Facebook page.

Also, today is not only communion Sunday, it’s World Communion Sunday. We’ll be observing a special communion service later in the video. I want to encourage you to stay with us for that part of our service. If you’d like to participate, you’ll need to have enough juice and bread on hand for your household.

Let’s begin today with a prayer:

God, thank you for this time together and for those who make the choice to spend it with you and with me. I pray your voice and will supplant my own. I ask that Spirit come and fill us each, emptying us of ourselves and filling us with all you would have us to hear and to be.

In Christ’s name, amen.


This is the time we lift up our joys and concerns, our praise, and our petitions. To protect the privacy of those we pray for, we do not say any names. Please know that I am lifting up any prayer requests you’ve sent me, and your unspoken prayers as well. There will be one or more moments of pause during the prayer for you to lift up any prayers of your own.

Let’s pray:

Father, we come to you now in praise and thanksgiving for the blessings you bestow on us. We thank and praise you for the companionship and love of friends and family, For the laughter of children, the wisdom of the elderly, and the optimism of the youth that this can and will be a better world.

We thank and praise you for our waking breath, for each new opportunity, each and every second chance, for hearing our prayers and for hearing our hearts when our prayers have no words.

I’m not sure where to start today, Lord.  Our prayers and petitions right now are many, almost too many to count. Everything in our lives seems to be on some kind of precipice where one wrong step will plummet us into an abyss and one right step will right so many things that are wrong. And here we stand, blind as bats and doing our best to just hang on, afraid to make a move.

Remind us again, Lord, that we walk by faith and not by sight. Clear our minds, purify our hearts, let Spirit inhabit our bodies and lead us in the right way.

We pray for those afflicted with by illnesses, conditions, and injuries, God, and for all who are afflicted by COVID-19 here and around the world. We especially pray for those who do not have the blessing of adequate healthcare or health insurance, for those suffering alone and untreated because they lack health insurance, and for those who will come through this facing enormous debt from medical bills.

We know you are the Way Maker, and we pray you will make a way for them to be healed and their burdens to be lifted. We pause now in a moment of silence to each lift up our personal prayers for our loved ones and friends suffering any illness in this time. (Pause)

Be with those who mourn, Lord. Help them find comfort. Show us how to bring them comfort. Remind them they are able to mourn because they were blessed to love and be loved.

We pause now in a moment of silence to each lift up our personal prayers for our loved ones and friends who are grieving. (Pause)

Be with those who struggle, who are facing hard times, who are unsure how they’re going to get through today let alone tomorrow. Strengthen their faith and our spirit of generosity. Reveal them to us and reveal to us the resources we need to help them through this time.

We pause now in a moment of silence to each lift up our personal prayers for our loved ones and friends who are suffering hard times. (Pause)

We pray for those who are lost, God. We pray for the addicts regardless of what it is they’re addicted to. We pray for those who are lost to your love and your Way, who’ve become misled and consumed by nationalism, by racism, and by false fears.

We especially pray for those who have hardened their hearts and convinced themselves that they know your will better than even you. We pray you bring the lost home to you here at Union Grove and that you guide us in reaching them and showing them the One who is the True Way.

We pause now in a moment of silence to each lift up our personal prayers for our loved ones and friends who are suffering hard times. (Pause)

We pray for Union Grove, Lord. We pray you continue to guide and direct us in re-opening our doors for worship and in filling it with your children. We pray you call forth leadership for it, and that your Spirit finds and fills and resides here now and always.

We pray these things in the name of your son, our one True teacher, our savior, our king.



O God, most holy and praised: As Your Son gathered disciples to himself to teach them your ways, so your Spirit has gathered us in this time and place. Make us alert and attentive as we read and reflect on Jesus’ words; help us take them to heart and live into them so that your will is truly done on earth as in heaven. We pray in the name of our true Teacher, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Matthew 5:1-12 (NRSV)

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

  • Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  • Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
  • Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
  • Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
  • Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
  • Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
  • Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
  • Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way, they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Matthew 28:16-20

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

The scriptures of God for the People of God. Thanks be to God.


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

Last week, we talked about 3 of the 8 Beatitudes or blessings – the poor in spirit, those who mourn, and the meek.

This week, I want to look at a few more, namely those who hunger, the merciful, the pure in heart, and the peacemakers. As we go through these, you’ll not only see that those of us who are blessed with these traits are vitally needed in these turbulent times, but you’ll see that you can consciously work to become the recipients of these blessings.

  • Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

To understand this, we need to understand what Jesus meant by righteousness and what it was they would be filled with, and we need to read it a bit differently … Blessed are those who strive … hunger and thirst … to achievefor … righteousness.

In ancient Judaism, righteousness meant “to acquit, vindicate, restore to a right relationship.” To be righteous, you have to maintain right relationships … obviously with God, but also with the people around you … and therein lies the hard part of this blessing … the people around you.

They may think differently, vote differently, believe differently, love differently than you do. Their way of thinking, their beliefs, who they love may not only give you serious pause, it may completely challenge your ability to readily accept them, to love your neighbors as you do yourself. 

This is where the meekness we talked about last week comes in. Righteousness flows from meekness because we can only form right relationships with others when we cease making all our actions revolve around ourselves. Meekness is not putting ourselves first, not using our privilege or authority to our own advantage, but using it to help others. Likewise a right relationship is not self-serving, not about what you need or can gain.

If you’re hungry or thirsty, you’re alive. We are genuinely hungry for good relationships if we yearn for others for their own sake, not just as snack food for meeting our own needs. If we see that we have God’s grace for this, we will hunger and thirst for right relationships, not only with God, but with the people with whom we work or live.

Most of us truly hunger for righteousness … for forming those right relationships with others and, in doing so, we are or become sincerely concerned about their wellbeing. We begin to notice when they are struggling, when they are suffering from injustice or oppression, when they are at risk and we work to make things better for them. It’s that work that fills us, whetting our hunger and it’s that work that moves us to righteousness.

  • Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

Mercy is the act of treating people better than they deserve from us. There seems to be precious little mercy in the world right now.  In fact, it seems with each passing day, the level of cruelty keeps rising, and showing mercy takes conscious effort. Still, blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy and we are all in need of that mercy called grace.

Forgiveness is a type of mercy. So is aiding someone whom we have no obligation to help, or choosing not to exploit someone’s vulnerability. Mercy, in all these senses, is the driving force of Christ’s incarnation, death, and resurrection. Through him, our sins are forgiven and we ourselves receive aid by the gift of God’s spirit. The Spirit’s reason for showing us this mercy is simply that God loves us.

  • Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

Psalm 24:3-5 says, “Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? Those who have clean hands and pure hearts, who do not lift up their souls to what is false, and do not swear deceitfully. They will receive blessing from the Lord, and vindication from the God of their salvation.”

The passage describes what it is to be pure in heart. The pure in heart don’t idolize falseness and don’t make oaths or promises they don’t intend to keep. The pure in heart are people with integrity, a singleness of devotion, and undivided loyalty. Notice that Jesus puts the blessing of being pure in heart not right after the blessing of hungering for righteousness, but after the blessing of showing mercy. Purity of heart doesn’t come from perfection of our own will, but from receiving God’s grace.

How do we know if we’re working toward purity of heart? Ask yourself …

  • Do I maintain integrity no matter what, or do I sometimes employ deception to get the result I want?
  • Do I refuse to let my opinion of someone be shaped by gossip and inuendo, or do I let that gossip prevent me from really getting to know them?
  • Do my words and actions reflect what’s really in my heart?

Jesus tells us the pure in heart will see God. It might seem that this blessing is saying, “do this now and you’ll be rewarded when you join the Father in heaven,” but remember … everyone we meet is already a child of God and everyone we meet is created in the image of God.

The pure in heart are not influenced by the fear or hate or bias or bigotry of others. The pure in heart make their own assessment of all they meet, extend mercy where and when needed, and hunger for right relationships. They meet God in his children, and they see God in all that they meet.

  • Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

Lord, in your mercy, we could certainly use some peacemakers right now, amen?

This blessing calls us as Christians to the task of conflict resolution. Conflicts arise whenever people have differences of opinion.

One only has to watch the news right now to see that society is prone to ignore conflict or to try to suppress it by using force, threat, or intimidation. Either of those violates the integrity .. the purity of heart … of the people in conflict.

Jesus told us the kingdom was at hand and taught us to pray that God’s kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. In God’s kingdom, it is a blessing to bring people together who are in conflict. Bringing them together is the only way to resolve the conflict and restore right relationships.

When we succeed in this task, the result is peace. God is the God of peace (1 Thessalonians 5:16) and we show ourselves to be his children when we seek to make peace in our communities, in our homes, and in the world.  Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the “children of God.” We will reflect God in our actions.

 As I said at the beginning of today’s message, our world is sorely in need of those who hunger for right relationships. It is up to us to strive to build them.

Our world is in desperate need of mercy. We are capable of being the deliverers of mercy.

To build right relationships and deliver true mercy, we must make ourselves pure in heart, unaffected by the world’s opinions and open to seeing God in all we meet.

These three blessings work together to let us answer our calling to be peacemakers, and God knows our world needs to find peace.

So, Lord, let us hunger and thirst, shower us with the mercy we each extend, clear our vision so we may see you in your children, and help us to bring peace to all in conflict. Amen.

Now let us prepare for the Service of Holy Communion.  When you see words on the screen, say them with me. You will share the bread and juice with your household after we say the Lord’s prayer.

SERVICE OF HOLY COMMUNION (World Communion Sunday)

Because the Service of Holy Communion can only be carried out by clergy in the United Methodist Church, I will not be posting the transcript of this portion of worship. I encourage you to watch the video at the beginning of this post.


God of the prophets, God of Christ:  We are reminded today that your blessings do not necessarily follow the logic of the world. 

The world believes that the rich are blessed, but Jesus reminds us that it is the poor who are blessed, the poor in spirit and the materially poor as well.

We pray for a more just world in which all have enough, and none are left behind.

Though we fear death and avoid its inevitable arrival, Jesus tells us that those who mourn are blessed.

Help us to experience the truth of this mystery; bring healing and wholeness to those who are sick; and comfort those of us who have lost loved ones.

While people covet power, Jesus blesses the meek; instruct us, O God, in the ways of humility; help us to stand in solidarity with the oppressed and marginalized; show us your presence in the faces of those the world forgets.

Give us a hunger and thirst for righteousness; fill our hearts with love, overflowing with mercy; make our hearts pure, and give us a vision of your glory.

In a society divided by race, gender, class, ideology, sexual orientation, and so many other labels we alone have created, remind us that we are created in your image, each of us a beautiful reflection of you, each of us your beloved child.

Help us then to end our conflicts and wars, help us to be peacemakers and agents of reconciliation.

Gracious God, you have so richly blessed us with life, with love and joy, with hope in the midst of despair.

Help us to be the salt of the earth. Help us to be the light of the world, sharing with others that which we have received, boldly proclaiming the good news of your love, finding the seeds of your kingdom within us and letting your way grow in our lives and throughout the world.

In Christ’s name, amen.

Now hear this benediction:

Go ye therefore into every nation. Tell the whole world of Christ’s love. Give them grace and forgiveness, love unconditional. Show them the truth of who Christ is.

Tell them why He came for them, how he came to wash away their sin. Let them know he gave it all, gave up everything just to be with them.

Help them know he is with them now and forever, even till the end of this age.

Stay safe, wash your hands, wear a mask when you go out, be a blessing and be blessed, be the church, and go in peace. God be with you. Until next week.


Even though we can’t meet together in person, the church still has expenses that need to be met. If you are able, 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:

Smoky Mountain District
Holston Conference
PO Box 905
Alcoa TN 37701-0905

Please be sure to make your checks payable to Smoky Mountain District and write “Union Grove UMC Friendsville” on the memo line!