Worship Elements: September 17, 2017

August 1st, 2017

15th Sunday after Pentecost

Color: Green
Scripture Readings: Exodus 14:19-31; Exodus 15:1b-11, 20-21; Romans 14:1-12; Matthew 18:21-35

Theme Ideas

The passages from Exodus and Matthew share the theme of deliverance. Neither the Israelites nor the slave in Jesus’ parable do anything to earn their deliverance—it is offered in grace and mercy. The Israelites respond with a song of praise to God. The slave, however, does not show grace or mercy and is punished. Romans offers a theme of being set apart. Just as we have received grace, mercy, and forgiveness, we, who are in Christ, are set apart to do likewise.

Invitation and Gathering

Call to Worship (Exodus 15)

O Lord, majestic in holiness, who is like you?
In the greatness of your majesty
you overthrew your adversaries.

O Lord, awesome in splendor, who is like you?
Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power,
shattered the enemy.

O Lord, worker of wonders, who is like you?
Sing to the Lord, my strength and my might,
you are my salvation!

Opening Prayer (Romans 12)

In this moment, gracious God,
you have called us away from the world
to a place and a time
where we can commune with you
and with one another.
Hallow this communion, we pray.
Calm our anxious spirits,
that we may be set apart
to hear your word of truth
through which we receive grace
to bring about the obedience of faith.
Open us to the reality of your all-embracing love,
both in this place and in the wider world.
May we, by our words and actions,
be bearers of your kingdom,
in the name and Spirit of the Christ. Amen.

Proclamation and Response

Prayer of Confession (Matthew 18, Romans 12)

Lord,
your grace and mercy are ever-present in our lives,
your forgiveness is boundless in mercy
when we fail to live in Christlike ways.
And yet, we are quick to carry a grudge—
quick to find fault,
quick to assign blame,
quick to harden our hearts toward others.
Set us apart, loving God,
to extend and model the grace you have shown us
by offering grace to others.
We pray in the name of the One who died
so that we might fully live. Amen.

Words of Assurance (Matthew 18, Exodus 15)

As Christ has forgiven us, we are to forgive others.
In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven.
In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven.
Praise to God who has triumphed gloriously. Amen.

Passing the Peace of Christ

Now is the time to share Christ’s love and forgiveness
with one another. Let the Christ in you greet the Christ in
another with signs of peace and reconciliation.

Response to the Word (Matthew 18)

As we have heard, so may we respond. Transform our
thinking and our doing, O God. May our actions speak
your mercy, and may our lives speak your generous love.
Amen.

Thanksgiving and Communion

Invitation to the Offering (Matthew 18)

In Jesus’ parable, the king forgave a debt that could never
be repaid. The slave responded by withholding mercy to
his own debtor. How fortunate we are that our God is like
the king and not the slave! As we give today, may we do
so out of the lavishness we have been shown by a God
who forgives and loves us beyond measure.

Offering Prayer (Matthew 18)

Giving God,
all we are and all we have
come from you.
We offer back to you
what has always been yours.
As you have entrusted your gifts to us,
so we return these gifts to you,
trusting that you will multiply them
to the great glory of your kingdom on earth.
We pray through Jesus
who gave the totality of his life for us. Amen.

Sending Forth

Benediction (Exodus 14)

Go with the God who can part
the troubled waters of your life
and lead you through to dry ground.
Go with the God who can scatter and subdue
all that hinders you on your journey.
Go forth in God’s might and in God’s peace. Amen.

Contemporary Options

Gathering Words (Exodus 15)

Who is like you, O Lord, majestic in holiness
and awesome in splendor?
We will sing to the Lord,
for God has triumphed gloriously.
God is our strength, our might,
and our salvation!

Praise Sentences (Exodus 15)

This is my God, whom I will praise,
the God of my mothers and fathers,
the God whom I exalt.
The Lord is mighty
and holy is God’s name!


From The Abingdon Worship Annual, edited by Mary J. Scifres and B.J. Beu, Copyright © Abingdon Press.

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