Worship Connection: January 18, 2015

Color: Green
Scripture Readings: 1 Samuel 3:1-10 (11-20); Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18; 1 Corinthians 6:12-20; John 1:43-51

CALLS TO WORSHIP

Call to Worship #1:

L: God knows each one of us personally and God loves each one of us.

P: Thanks be to God for such wondrous love!

L: Come this day into the presence of God.

P: We come with overflowing hearts!

L: Celebrate God’s mercy and compassion.

P: Praise be to God who offers us hope. AMEN.

Call to Worship #2: 

L: Here we are, Lord!

P: You have seen us and known us from before the beginning.

L: Here we are, Lord!

P: Jesus, you have called us to this place.

L: Here we are, Lord!

P: Gracious Holy Spirit, inspire our hearts with courage and joy. AMEN.

Call to Worship #3: 

[From the United Methodist Hymnal, p. 593 "Here I Am, Lord", you might consider this call to worship]

Choir: (verse 1) "I, the Lord of sea and sky, I have heard my people cry. All who dwell in dark and sin, my hand will save. I who made the stars of night, I will make their darkness bright, Who will bear my light to them? Whom shall I send?"

P: (singing refrain) "Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord? I have heard you calling in the night. I will go, Lord, if you lead me. I will hold your people in my heart."

L: Listen, God is calling you to witness and serve.

Choir (verse 3): "I, the Lord of wind and flame, I will tend the poor and lame, I will set a feast for them, My hand will save. Finest bread I will provide till their hearts be satisfied. I will give my life to them. Whom shall I send?"

P: (singing refrain) "Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord? I have heard you calling in the night. I will go, Lord, if you lead me. I will hold your people in my heart."

L: God has searched for you and found you. God has healed your sorrows and wounds. Open your hearts to God’s magnificent love.

P: Come, Lord, come into our lives. AMEN.

Call to Worship #4:

L: Come joyfully before the Lord!

P: God knows us and loves us!

L: Come prayerfully before the Lord!

P: God sees our concerns, our fears, our sins!

L: Come hopefully before the Lord!

P: Christ proclaimed God’s love and forgiveness for all God’s people!

L: Know throughout all of your being, that God absolutely loves you!

P: How precious and powerful that knowledge is! Thanks be to God! AMEN.

PRAYERS, LITANY, BENEDICTION

Opening Prayer

Awesome God, you knew us before we were born. You love us into life. Open our hearts and our spirits today to hear your word for us. And, upon hearing the word, may we be convinced of our call to ministry and mission through the church. Bless us with your presence and your powerful love, for we ask this in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.

Prayer of Confession

Lord, somewhere long ago, someone convinced us that we would not be good material for God to use in healing and helping ministries for this world. We don’t really believe that we have anything worthwhile to offer. It is relatively easy for us to donate funds for missions and the good works of the church, but we do not see ourselves worthy of further involvement. Remind us of your forgiving love, when we stubbornly refuse to believe your claim on our lives. Open our eyes and spirits to see the gifts with which you have blessed us, and to commit those gifts to serving you by serving others. There are so many things that we can do. And everything starts with prayer. So, patient God, bear with us as we settle down to pray, asking for your wisdom in our lives. Give us courage and strength to accomplish any task that you set before us. And give us hearts of grateful love to acknowledge your presence in our lives, and live that presence with great joy. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. AMEN.

Words of Assurance

From the very beginning, God has blessed you and planted within your spirit the words "I can do all things through God who strengthens me". Do not fear the task God sets before you. Rejoice, for God is with you every moment and God’s love washes over you always, healing and nourishing your life. AMEN.

Pastoral Prayer

Patient and Wise God, you have called this church into being to serve you in this world by helping others. We rejoice in the many ways we are able to be of help. We offer our prayers for each other, for those near and dear to us, for the situations of difficulty and strife in community and world. You hear our voices cry out and with your eternal compassion you respond in loving care to each of us. We gather here this day, meeting and greeting each other, celebrating fellowship and friendship, welcoming each other in your name. You remind us that you are with us always. What have we to fear? But we fear far too often the unknown tasks that lie ahead of us. We always want to be assured of the happy out come of our efforts. Help us to trust your guidance and presence, Lord. Help us remember that there is no time in which we are out of your care. Enable us to be in serving ministry and mission with joy and confidence. Heal our wounds, bind up our bruises and broken spirits. Put us on a pathway of peace. For we ask this in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.

Litany

[The following Litany makes use of the wonderful song "This Little Light of Mine", UMH p. 585. You may want to consider having the music softly playing under the spoken words. The choir and people may want to sing the first three responses. Play with some ideas for this, it can be a great experience]

L: The Lord knows you and loves you. Let God’s light shine in the darkness so that others may see the good works and glorify God.

P: This little light of mine......I’m gonna let it shine.

L: Jesus has seen you, waiting for the call to ministry and mission. He calls you now to open your hearts to those around you; to people in need, to those who sorrow, to those who just need someone to talk with.

P: This little light of mine.....I’m gonna let it shine.

L: Just as God called the boy Samuel, God is reaching out to you to be a witness to God’s awesome love and power.

P: This little light of mine.....I’m gonna let it shine., Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!

L: You won’t hide it under a dark cover, will you?

P: No, I’m gonna let it shine!

L: You won’t extinguish it because you’re afraid and feel unworthy, will you?

P: No, I’m gonna let it shine!

L:Will you let God’s light shine through your life?

P: Everywhere I go, I’m gonna let it shine!

L: Will you brave the deepest darkness with God’s light in your life?

P: All through the darkness, I’m gonna let it shine.

L: Then, beloved of God, let that Light shine on you, in you and through you always.

P: Praise be to God. AMEN.

Benediction, Blessing, Commission

Go into God’s world, aware of God’s call in your life. Follow our Lord Jesus Christ who will lead you in paths of service and hope. Lean on the power of the Holy Spirit to give you courage and strength. May peace, joy and love flow through you to others, in God’s name. AMEN.

ARTISTIC ELEMENTS

Note: It is a good idea to write a brief description of the visual presentation in the worship bulletin describing the symbols and their meaning.

Note: this is a good Sunday to lift us the various missions of your church, and the ways in which you witness to God’s love by serving]

The traditional color is green for this day.

SURFACE: Place several risers of various heights on the worship center, making sure that the highest one is placed in the center back of the worship center. Place other risers of varying heights in front of the worship center. [this will depend on the number of ministries you plan to depict in the worship setting]

FABRIC: Green is the traditional color for the season of Epiphany. Cover the entire worship area with dark green fabric, making sure that all risers are covered, including those in front of the worship area. The fabric should touch the floor, "puddling" slightly. With 3 yards of medium green fabric, wind the fabric, beginning at the base of the center riser, toward the left side of the worship center and down across to one or more of the risers below, puddling the fabric on the floor. With 3 yards of light green fabric, or a contrasting green fabric, beginning at the base of the center riser, wind the fabric toward the right side of the worship center and down across to one or more of the risers below, puddling the fabric on the floor.

CANDLES: In front of the center riser on the worship center, place a large white candle, representing Christ. Have available many smaller votive candles to be placed near the various ministries and mission areas in the worship center.

FLOWERS/PLANTS: Green leafy plants, ferns, ivy are wonderful at the base of the worship center and also on either side of the center riser on the main portion of the worship center. Do not over-do the setting with plants. Use them to add softness to the setting. If you have some green varigated plants ( i.e.: green with striped leaves) they can be very dramatic against the green fabric background. Be sure to place darker green plants near the lighter green fabric, for balance and contrast.

ROCKS/WOOD: Although rocks and wood are not vital to this set, you may use some stones sparingly.

OTHER: This is where your own inspiration can soar. If you are depicting spiritual nourishment in the church, consider using an Open bible, A basket of Breads, and grapes representing communion; If you are focusing service ministries, find something that would represent them, such as canned goods, etc, for food pantries, articles of clothing pouring out of basket for thrift shops, wood/hammers/nails for Habitat for Humanity (even a small house, or doll house - don’t use plastic ones, please), ministries to people with disabilities could be represented by canes, etc. Think creatively about your various ministries. Pick symbols that can be easily displayed on the worship center. Do not crowd the center. You may choose to place mission pictures among the setting. Be sure to leave enough room for several votive candles near each of the ministries you are depicting. This should not look like a liturgical rummage sale. Be very careful. And always write an explanation for the worship setting. Design bulletin covers for this special day, if you are not using already printed ones.

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