Worship Elements: November 5, 2017

October 1st, 2017

Color: Green
Scripture Readings: Joshua 3:7-17; Psalm 107:1-7, 33-37; 1 Thessalonians 2:9-13; Matthew 23:1-12

Theme Ideas

Our baptism into the life of Christ recalls Israel’s miraculous crossing of the river Jordan into the Promised Land. Even as baptized Christians, we sometimes wander in the wilderness of our existence, facing spiritual hunger, thirst, temptation to fall away, restlessness, and bitterness. We await God’s deliverance into the promised land of intimate relationship with the divine. Such a relationship is not without work and responsibility. Paul underscores this in his letter to the Thessalonians, and Jesus warns disciples against religious complacency. But in our hard work and spiritual diligence, God’s purposes undergird our lives.

Call to Worship (Joshua 3, Psalm 107)

Come, let us enter the land that God has prepared for us,
God leads the way and makes our footsteps sure.
Our days of wandering in the barren desert are at an end.
God leads the way and makes our footsteps sure.
Hungry and thirsty, we cry out in deep despair.
God leads the way and makes our footsteps sure.
As in the waters of our baptism, we cross over the Jordan.
God leads the way and makes our footsteps sure.
The land is fertile and rich, with good rain in season.
God leads the way and makes our footsteps sure.
The harvest is bountiful.
We dwell in the land God has prepared for us.

Call to Worship (Psalm 107)

Hot and weary, thirsty and hungry,
We cry to you, O God.
Seeking our true resting place,
We cry to you, O God.
As children seeking refuge,
We cry to you, O God.
Afraid and alone,
We cry to you, O God.
Longing for a home,
We cry to you, O God.
Lo! As you part the river’s waters,
We cry to you, O God.
Walking across on smooth paths,
We cry to you, O God.
Secure in the home you have prepared for us,
We give you thanks, O God.

Contemporary Gathering Words (Psalm 107)

Where are we going?
We are not sure. We have lost our way.
When will we get there?
We have been journeying forever.
Are we going in circles?
Sometimes it seems that way.
God says there is a place for us.
We wish we knew the way.
You just have to trust.
We will trust in the Lord.

Contemporary Gathering Words (Joshua 3, Psalm 107)

Come! God is leading us home.
Our wandering is over at last.
Come! God is leading us home.
Home, to a safe and prosperous place.
Come! God is leading us home.
There is no more hunger or thirst.
Come! God is leading us home.
Our lives have meaning and joy.
Come! God is leading us home.
Our souls find rest at last.

Praise Sentences (Joshua 3, Psalm 107)

God is our deliverance!
God is our redeemer and our guide!
God’s love sustains and empowers us on life’s journey.
Praise God who gives us direction! Amen.

Opening Prayer (Joshua 3)

God of mercy and truth,
through the waters of our baptism
you have made us your own.
From the wandering wilderness of our existence,
you lead us to the river’s shore, part the waters,
and bring us to where we can abide with you in peace.
We pray that our lives and the work of our hands
may please you and accomplish your will for creation.
Amen.

Opening Prayer (Psalm 107)

God, our guide and our protector,
as we gather today in your holy house,
open our minds and souls and hearts,
that we may be inclined to hear the gentle direction
of your spirit in our lives.
Help us follow you as you lead us
to the land you have created for us,
where we may dwell with you and in you. Amen.

Prayer of Confession (Joshua 3, Psalm 107)

Lead us home, O God,
when we wander lost in wildernesses
of our own making.
Like errant children,
we stray from the safety
of our heavenly parent.
We hear your voice calling,
but go our own way.
We remember your teachings,
but instead follow the foolish desires
and whims of our hearts.
Forgive us, renew us, and lead us home,
where we will follow your paths
and do the work you have for us. Amen.

Benediction (Psalm 107)

Go in peace!
Walk in confidence!
Follow God’s leading!
Rely on God’s love!
Be people of peace!

Benediction (Joshua 3)

We leave this place by many paths.
May God be our guide.
We go in confidence that God is with us, protecting us.
May God be our guide.
May we walk in faith on paths established by God.
May God be our guide.
May we work and live with God.
May God be our guide.


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

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