Worship Connection: September 23, 2012

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Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost

COLOR: Green

SCRIPTURE READINGS: Proverbs 31:10-31; Psalm 1; James 3:13–4:3, 7-8a; Mark 9:30-37

CALLS TO WORSHIP

Call to Worship #1

L: Happy are those who follow the ways of the Lord.
P: God’s ways are just and merciful.
L: Those who follow God’s ways are continually nourished in faith.
P: In all that they do, they prosper.
L: Come, let us open our hearts to God’s compassionate love.
P: Let us celebrate God’s mercy and justice. AMEN.

Call to Worship #2

L: Our good works are done with gentleness.
P: Bitterness only leads to anguish.
L: God seeks peace and hope for all God’s people.
P: But if our hearts are filled with anger, we reject God’s mercy.
L: Open our hearts, O Lord, and help us to listen.
P: Open our lives, O Lord, and prepare us to serve. AMEN.

Call to Worship #3

[Using THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2092, “Like A Child”, offer the following call to worship as directed]

L: The disciples argued about their own importance to Jesus.
P: Who would be first in His sight, they wanted to know?
L: And Jesus took a small child and placed the child in their midst.
Soloist: Singing verse 1 of “Like A Child”
L: Whoever receives this child in my name, receives me, He said.
P: And whoever receives the Lord, receives the one who sent him.
L: And they looked at the small child and wondered.
Soloist: singing verse 2 of “Like A Child”
L: Lord, help us to open our eyes to your love.
P: Remind us again, Lord, that we are called to ministries of service.
L: Get us ready, Lord, for the witness you would have us bear.
Soloist: singing verse 3 of “Like A Child”

Call to Worship #4

L: Jesus calls us to servant ministry.
P: We must be willing to help others, not counting the cost or rewards.
L: Pretense, disharmony, greed have no place in discipleship.
P: Serving God means receiving each person as though they were a beloved child.
L: Lord, help us to truly become your disciples.
P: Create in us hearts for ministries of compassion and kindness. AMEN.

PRAYERS, READING, BENEDICTION

Opening Prayer

Lord, be with us this day, helping us to put our priorities in order; so that we may faithfully serve you by serving your people. Heal our spirits. Enable us to follow your ways all the days of our lives. AMEN.

Prayer of Confession

God of patience and mercy, we come to you, offering “lip service” to serving you, but when things get difficult; when we are called to do something which is hard for us, we shy away from the duty and the opportunity. We turn our back on service out of fear of failure. Forgive us, gracious Lord. Heal our fears and our weaknesses. Strengthen us and give us courage to truly be your disciples, not counting the rewards, but rejoicing in the work. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. AMEN.

Words of Assurance

This day the Lord reaches out to you in healing love and compassion. Receive the blessings which God offers to you. Be healed and made whole. Be ready to serve. AMEN.

Pastoral Prayer

God, how amazed we are at the solutions Jesus offers to his disciples when they question their importance to him and his kingdom. They want to know if they will receive the great rewards, if they will be recognized and praised for their accomplishments or at least their efforts. We are still so much like those early disciples. We want you to know how hard we work. We want to be praised and recognized for our efforts and successes. And we want you to pass over our failures as though they were inconsequential. When Jesus was confronted with their fears and concerns, he responded that they should be ready for service rather than adulation, And then he placed a small child in their midst; a child with no guile, no pretense. “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me, welcomes not me but the One who sent me.” Help us to reach out to others, not with thought of importance or gain, but in love and compassion; truly caring for each one we meet. When we have done this, we will have truly give our hearts and our service to our Lord. AMEN.

Reading

Reader 1: Lord, I have accepted your call to ministry; however, I have a few concerns….one of them is that I might have to work with people who are different from me, you know, maybe a different cultural background, maybe a different ethnicity….you now, different. So, if I am to truly be a valuable disciple, help me to work with my kind of people.

Voice: My beloved one, I have called you to serve all my people. Let your fears of people who are different from you go. Look into their eyes and see my imprint. Learn from their experiences and grow in your love.

Reader 2: Lord, I have accepted your call to ministry; however, I am so afraid that I will let you down. I don’t have any special talents that would change the lives of others. I’m not a great speaker; and I don’t know enough about the Bible to lead in a study. So, if I am to truly serve you, help me to be more confident.

Voice: My beloved one, I have given to you many gifts; not to be used so that you are praised, but to be used to help others. As you meet people in need you will discover the wonderful gifts of hope and healing that you possess. Place your trust in my love for you and my confidence in you.

Reader 3: Lord, I have accepted your call to ministry... Please be with me as I go to serve you by helping others. Give me wisdom, courage, joy and peace. Guide me in the ways which you would have me go.

Voice: To all who have accepted my call, I give peace, joy, love, courage, strength, wisdom. I will walk with you and be with you always. When you feel that you are faltering, I will lift you; when you wonder if you can go on, I will give you strength and confidence. You are my beloved ones, those whom I have called. Receive all others as beloved and care for them as I have cared for you. Welcome the child, the stranger, the lost, the lonely, the alienated, those who hurt and are angry, those who experience joy and peace…..be my witnesses in the world through service in my name.

Benediction

Go in confidence and peace, joyfully serving the Lord who walks with you. Bring hope to the hopeless, joy to those who sorrow, peace to the afflicted. Be true witnesses to the love of God through Jesus Christ. AMEN.

ARTISTIC ELEMENTS

The traditional color for this Sunday is: GREEN

Note: This setting is symbolic of the light of Christ’s love shining on us and through us as we are called to service. The candles represent love and welcome.

SURFACE : Place a 10” riser at the center of the worship table. Place a riser in front of the worship center. This riser should be about 6-8” lower than the surface of the worship table. Place a riser in front of the previous one - the level should be 6-8” lower than the riser behind it.

FABRIC: Cover the entire worship center in dark green fabric, making sure that all risers are covered and that the fabric “puddles” to the floor in front of the risers. Taking a 12-15” strip of white fabric, place it over the 10” riser and down the front of the worship center so that it also covers the two front risers and puddles on the floor in front of the risers.

CANDLES: Place a 10” white pillar candle in front of the 10” riser. Place 30-40 white votive candles on the white fabric making sure that there are some on each of the risers in front of the worship center as well as on the worship table itself.

FLOWERS/FOLIAGE: On either side of the 10” riser place a fern or other green leafy plant. On the other side of the ferns, or directly in front of them place an ivy or other trailing plant that will spill over the edge of the worship center and dangle down the front. On each side of the risers, place leafy plants. (These should be in large, but unobtrusive pots or jars)

ROCKS/WOOD: None needed for this setting

OTHER: Place a brass cross on the 10” riser on the worship center.

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