for July 27, 2014
Lections: Genesis 29:15-28; Psalm 105:1-11, 45b; Romans 8:26-39; Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52
CALLS TO WORSHIP
Call to Worship #1:
L: From the mustard seed a great and mighty shrub emerges.
P: Good things can come from something that seemed so insignificant!
L: The spore of the yeast can leaven the whole loaf of bread.
P: We can be those people who bring hope and peace to God’s world.
L: Come, let us praise the God of great and mighty wonders.
P: Let our spirits soar in gratitude for the opportunities God gives us to serve. AMEN.
Call to Worship #2:
L: How shall we pray to God this day?
P: Let our spirits be humble and contrite.
L: God will take all that we are and help us work for good.
P: Even though we struggle and wonder if we are good enough, God sees our abilities and our loving hearts.
L: Bring your hearts to God this day.
P: May God touch our lives with peace and confidence. AMEN.
Call to Worship #3:
[Using THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2152, “Change My Heart, O God,” offer the following call to worship as directed.]
L: How shall we praise God? We are so tied up in knots, twisted and bound to the negative.
P: Lord, hear our cries.
Soloist: singing “Change My Heart, O God” through one time
L: Help us, O Lord.
P: Bring us to your loving presence.
Soloist: singing “Change My Heart, O God” through one time
L: Lord, change our hearts. Help us be fashioned by your love and peace.
P: Guide us and help us be images of your love. Give us hearts for service and witness to your presence and power. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. AMEN.
Call to Worship #4:
L: Though there is strife in the world.
P: Yet will we seek God.
L: When our hearts grow heavy and the burdens are overbearing,
P: We will turn to the Lord.
L: God is with us in all things.
P: We can place our trust in the God of love and hope. AMEN.
PRAYERS, READING, BENEDICTION
Lord, you place before us the images of the small--the tiny mustard seed, the grain of yeast, the small treasure--and remind us that we, though we think of ourselves as small, are not insignificant in your kingdom. Open our hearts and our spirits to you in thankful remembrance of the ways in which we can serve you throughout all our lives. AMEN.
Prayer of Confession
Lord, we like BIG things. We have focused on big cars, big houses, big bank accounts, big, big, big! And you must be disappointed in us when we forget that from even the smallest thing something mighty can happen. Today the scriptures remind us of the smallness of the mustard seed and the tiny grain of yeast. Each of these things grew into something that offered shelter, peace, and hope, which became the treasures of compassion. Take away our need for the BIG possessions. Open our hearts to receive your word of love and healing, and let our spirits be ready to grow for you. Forgive our stubborn resistance to your faithful presence. For all things will work for the good for those who love God and are called according to God’s purpose. AMEN.
Words of Assurance
Don’t be frantic! God is working mighty things in your life. You have been given the spirit of hope and courage. God is with you. Place your trust in God’s absolute care. AMEN.
God of amazing surprises, how easy it is for us to focus on the big picture and forget that change comes in the smallest of ways, in our hearts, our spirits, and then in our actions. We have gathered here this day, coming from different experiences, to hear your word of healing love. We offer our prayers for our friends and family members who are in need of your healing and forgiveness. Yet we withhold ourselves from you. We have a hard time imagining that you would find much of real worth in each of us. We think of ourselves as insignificant in your kingdom. But you have poured your love on us. You have given us the seeds of hope and compassion; you have called us the treasure that is meant to enrich the world. Help us be those people who are so confident in your presence, that we dare to step out in faith, to work for you in places of need and strife; to witness to your love in all that we do, proclaiming your presence with our mouths and our actions. Give us your guidance, your forgiveness, and courage to be at work in your kingdom. AMEN.
Let’s see. I really want some of this “kingdom” stuff. I’ll have a bushel of those little mustard seeds; gotta grow that big garden, you know. And I’ll have about a hundred packets of that dry yeast; I’ll make the most bread ever. I need something to go looking for the field treasure with. I don’t know, maybe a shovel, a flashlight, a metal detector, a map, a bucket, and a guidebook. And I would like a book on pearls, what they look like, how much they are worth, where I can find them; but this book shouldn’t be too costly or heavy for me to carry. Oh, yes, and that net. I don’t know if I’ll be fishing soon, but if there are lots of fish I want the strongest and the biggest net on the market. Now, is that all I need? OK, how much will that be?
Within each person there is a small seed, a small grain of yeast, a treasure, an ability. These lie within each of us. You cannot purchase the items that produce greatness; you cannot create a search party for treasure; it is within you. It is the spirit of hope and love, of peace and joy, of justice and compassion, which develop into actions that bring about God’s kingdom for all God’s people. We are all part of this, each one of us, none greater than the others. Let go of your need to purchase the kingdom tools; instead be a tool for hope and service to the Lord in the ways in which you serve and help others. Nothing can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. AMEN.
Go into the world to be those who are patient and willing to work with the wheat as well as the weeds. Bring the Good News of God's love wherever you go. May God's people and love go with you always. AMEN.
The traditional Color for this Sunday is: GREEN
[Note: The images in the Gospel passage today are rich with possibilities for the worship artist. Be careful not to overuse the images.]
Place a 10” riser on the upper left hand corner of the worship center toward the back. Place a 3” riser slightly to the right of the center. Place a riser in front of the worship center, about 4” lower than the surface of the table. Place a riser about 6” lower than the one in front, slightly to the left of the front riser.
Cover the worship center, including the front risers, in green (a blue/green fabric would be especially nice, giving the effect of both grass and water). Place a large fishing net on the riser in the upper left of the worship center and drape it over the table down onto the risers in the front, making sure that it puddles on the floor.
In the upper right hand corner of the worship center, place a group of three pillar candles (10”, 8”, and 6”).
Place a small bushy plant near the middle of the worship table. It should be lower than the cross, which is placed on the riser on the left of the table. You may use other plants on the floor, but I would not recommend flowering plants for this setting.
Piles of rocks and bits of small driftwood may be placed on the lowest riser in front of the worship center.
Place loaves of bread on the taller of the risers in front of the worship center, Spill some strings of pearls down over the bread onto the rocks on the riser below. These “pearls” may be bought in local bead or craft shops and strung on thread or beading wire. Some party stores have strings of “pearls” for decorations for parties. You will also need a brass cross for the worship center to be placed on the riser in the left corner.