top of page
  • Rev. Peter Surgenor

October 4 Worship

Updated: Dec 2, 2020

Hello Union Church Presbyterians,

NOTE: Worship TIME CHANGED to 10:30 am

Worldwide Communion will be celebrated NEXT Sunday, October 11

Worship this Sunday, October 4 will be hosted on Zoom with an option for in the sanctuary attendance (limited seating) We will share prayers and reflections.

If you are not familiar with Zoom, take a moment and follow the steps above before Sunday as Zoom will need to download files for worship. The Zoom meeting will open at 10:15 am to allow folks to connect and greet each other. If you have a camera, you will have the option to share your face and smile—be prepared. You can also have a cup of your favorite morning beverage at hand.

Worship will include familiar elements, as well as live leadership of prayers, scripture reading, and the sermon.


Union Church, Newburgh NY

October 4, 2020 10:30 am


We are glad that you are joining us today and hope you feel God’s blessings. If you do not have a church home, we sincerely invite you to be a part of the Union Church fellowship.


Food Pantry operates every other week. Next: Mon. Oct 12 and Wed. Oct. 14 from 9:30-11:30 am. Serving LOTS of people! If you would like to help, contact Kathy or Debby.

VIRTUAL Coffee Hour: Begins immediately after worship. If you have joined worship on Zoom you don’t need to do anything more. If you are joining us for fellowship time only use mobile phone or computer video. Check email or website for access instructions.

Choral Music will precede the worship service beginning at 9:45 as people ‘tune in’ to the zoom service.



PRELUDE Be Thou but Near Me Bach

CALL TO WORSHIP Psalm 19 Cathy McCarty

Leader: The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims God’s handiwork. People: Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge. Leader: There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; People: yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. Leader: In the heavens God has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy, People: and like a strong woman runs its course with joy. Leader: Its rising is from the end of the heavens, People: and its circuit to the end of them; Leader: and nothing is hid from its heat. People: The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.


Faithful God, we awaken ourselves to Your presence as we awaken too, to our discovery of who we have become. We know we were created in Your image, that You have a history of bringing us out of slavery and into freedom and we long to find that freedom today. We know You as the great restorer –able to transform all injustice into the kingdom of heaven on earth and we open ourselves to be part of Your future that is coming. Amen


The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the decrees of the Lord are sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they then gold, even much fine gold, sweeter also than honey, and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. But who can detect their errors? Clear me from hidden faults. Keep back your servant also from the insolent; do not let them have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression. Please take some moments to lift up your own thoughts of confession. Amen.


As God's own people, be merciful in action, kindly in heart, humble in mind. Be always ready to forgive as freely as the Lord has forgiven you. And, above everything else, be loving and never forget to be thankful for what God has done for you. In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.



Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Amen.

SCRIPTURES Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20

Matthew 21:33-46

SERMON Obedience Rev. Peter Surgenor

(Text at the end of bulletin)


You can support the work of Union Church by mailing donations to 44 Balmville Rd, Newburgh, NY 12550 or visit to donate online.




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.

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

and the power, and the glory,

forever. Amen.


CHORAL BENEDICTION May the Road Rise Up to Meet You

May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.


Rev. Cathy Surgenor Rev. Peter Surgenor

(845) 216-4328 (914) 907-9685

Union Church

44 Balmville Rd, Newburgh NY 12550

Phone: (845) 562-0954 Fax: (845) 562-0955

SERMON TEXT Obedience Rev. Peter Surgenor

Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20 and Matthew 21:33-46

As I pondered these two texts I was led to wonder about positive and negative space. This is a concept from psychology classes which investigate how we look at the world and perceive images and directions.

If you look at the image to the right do you see a vase or two persons? Some of us focus on the white space first and see the vase. Some of us see the dark shapes outlining two faces looking at each other. There is no right or wrong way of perceiving these, but it is important to know that we see the world differently.

Just as the boundaries of light and dark in this image define the edges which drive our brains to perception, we recognize that there are boundaries that define our actions. In simple terms we can look at birth order. Oldest children tend to obey the rules and find acceptance in that behavior. Middle children are often recognized as they test the limits of parental and familial behavior boundaries.

We have been remembering the story of the Israelites – the people of God – sometimes they were abandoned, sometimes loyal to the God they recognized. Rescued on occasion and allowed to be captured and taken into captivity in Egypt. As they were adjusting to life in rescue (could not there rescue have taken them to a more hospitable locale than the wilderness?) the people asked Moses “How should we behave to retain God’s favor? How should we behave to avoid being abandoned by God in the midst of this wilderness?”

So, we read that in a show of great theatrics Moses brings these Ten Commandments back to the people of Israel. These can be seen as directions like a cooking recipe or instructions to use your new TV.

But we need to see these Ten Commandments not as directions but boundaries. Here are the boundaries which define the positive behaviors which honor God. God is defining the white space where the Israelites can live their lives. There is freedom to conduct agriculture, trade, and education within these 10 simple boundaries.

Looking inside the boundaries the Israelites found the ability to live their lives cooperatively and productively. It was only when they pushed the boundaries that they began testing God. We are challenged to look for the open space defined for us today rather than by anxious about the defined spaces that are not available to us.

We are also challenged to consider this second passage which is assigned to us in the Revised Common Lectionary. There are a lot of layers to the story Jesus is telling. It is not a real-life incident, but a story made up to teach those challenging his message. It is easy for us to read this story and condemn the vineyard workers.

But what if we consider what could have been different if Jesus had not had to tell this story? The landowner provided everything necessary for these very fortunate workers to have employment, a product to sell and safety in their endeavors. Remember that they were given a vineyard full of producing vines. They were given a wall to protect the vineyard. They were given a tower to be able to survey the health of the vineyard and to see outside perils. And they were given a wine press to process the fruits of their labors.

Instead of being grateful for the generosity of these gifts the workers looked outside, took possession of the vineyard, and resented the giver of the resources.

Here we are again with a group testing boundaries. These workers were given all the resources necessary to work for a good living. A well-defined area to conduct their work (remember that wall). There was lots of room for success in that vineyard – and yet they could not be satisfied.

Obedience is looking for space and activity inside the white space which has been provided to us. Jealousy and greed are the result of looking outside the boundaries of the great resources given to you.

Are you living in the positive space which has been provided to you by God? Or are you longing for something outside the boundaries today?

13 views0 comments


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page