Trinity Sunday and Peace with Justice Sunday
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Isaiah 6:1-8; Psalm 29; Romans 8:12-17; John 3:1-17
CALLS TO WORSHIP
Call to Worship #1
L: Great is the Lord!
P: God’s greatness is beyond our understanding.
L: Yet God has revealed God’s self in Jesus Christ.
P: Through Jesus we have come to know the absolute love of God.
L: Lift up your hearts and praise the Lord!
P: May God continue to bless God’s people with peace. AMEN.
Call to Worship #2:
L: Though many places in the world are bound in war.
P: The peace of God is poured out for all people.
L: Though discord and struggle have become factors in the lives of the people.
P: The love of God is lavished on all people.
L: Let us praise the God of love and peace.
P: Let us listen for God’s words of peace and justice for all people. AMEN.
Call to Worship #3:
[Using THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2174 "What Does the Lord Require of You", offer the following call to worship as directed]
Choir: [sing the refrain only (part 1), without part 2 or 3: "What does the Lord require of you? What does the Lord require of you.
L: How shall we serve the Lord in a world torn with strife?
P: We act in ways of justice and kindness to all whom we meet.
L: How shall we walk with God in this trouble?
P: Place the mantle of humility on our shoulders, so that we may truly listen to God’s words.
Choir: (singing Part 1, and then adding the section in which part 2 comes in.) What does the Lord require of you, What does the Lord require of you? What does the Lord require of you/Justice, kindness; What does the Lord require of you?/walk humbly with your God.
L: We are called to listen carefully and understand that God, who adopted us, expects us to live in this world as people of justice, peace, and humility.
P: Open our hearts to your words, O Lord, that we may truly be born anew into lives that shine with your justice, into acts of compassion and kindness, and into a deeper spiritual journey with you.
Choir: (Singing the entire song): What does the Lord require of you? What does the Lord require of you? What does the Lord require of you/Justice, kindness, What does the Lord require of you/walk humbly with your God. What does the Lord require of you/Justice, Kindness/to seek justice, and love kindness; What does the Lord require of you/walk humbly with your God/and walk humbly with your God.
Call to Worship #4:
L: God’s love is poured out on God’s world.
P: From the foundations of time, God’s love is woven into all things.
L: When we cry "Abba, Father!", God hears and lovingly responds to us.
P: Thanks be to God who forgives and lifts us up.
L: Now we are called to be born anew!
P: Open our hearts and our lives that we may truly be born with hearts aflame with God’s love. AMEN.
PRAYERS, LITANY, BENEDICTION
God of majesty and power, how awesome you are to us! The mountains tremble, the seas roar at the sound of your name! Yet you have chosen to come to us in love and tenderness. You have called us to be people who will act in ways of peace and justice in your world. Open our hearts and our spirits, Lord, to hear your word, and having heard, to act in ministries of hope and peace for all your earth. These things we pray in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION:
We are so like Nicodemus, Lord. We come to you, hiding in the shadows of our own fears and terrors. We want you to give us peace and hope in our hearts. We want to know that everything will be all right; that the world will cease to be a place of terror and war. We want to be born again in a spirit of hope. But when we come it is for our own sake, and not to learn what you would have us be and do in this world. Forgive our selfishness, Lord. Calm our fears and heal our spirits. Let us truly listen to you so that we may be witnesses to your peace and justice which you seek for the world. Saturate us with your light and wisdom. Empower us to be those who bring peace, which is not only an absence of war, but peace which promotes an attitude of love. Clear away the clutter in our lives and place us on paths of service to you. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. AMEN.
WORDS OF ASSURANCE:
God’s love of the world is so great that God sent Jesus that we may truly live lives of peace and hope. Listen with your hearts as well as your ears. God’s love is poured out for you that you may have new life in service and witness. Praise be to God.
We are struggling, Lord. You know how difficult it is for us to hear the news of violence and warfare and to see dear lives lost in battle and strife. We long for your peace to flood the world. We cry out for your presence. We wonder if you hear our cries. How small is our faith! From the very beginnings of time, you have poured your love into the world. People have made decisions about how to respond to that love. Some have chosen to act in ways of peace, justice and mercy, loving ministries of kindness and compassion. Some have chosen to impose their will on others, never acknowledging the rights and lives of those they oppress. Sometimes, we, by our attitudes as well as actions, have acted in ways of oppression. But you forgive and heal us. You call us to be your witnesses of peace to the world. We do not need to crawl to you during the night of our fears for healing. You have given us new life in Jesus Christ, who taught us about your love. Through Christ we are adopted as your heirs, your beloved children. You have given us opportunities to bring hope and peace to others. Let us seize these opportunities for ministries of hope. Encourage our hearts. Strengthen our spirits and our commitment to serve you. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. AMEN.
[This is done readers’ theatre style. Each reader should be able to present his/her portion clearly and with feeling. Reader 1 is a doubter, one who is convinced that he/she is powerless. Reader 2 is God’s messenger, the voice of loving confidence. It is best if this is presented by two readers seated on chairs or stools in the front of the worship area. Before the reading begins there should be a brief moment of silence to set the tone.
Reader 1: I feel as though I am swirling around, pulled and pushed in a host of directions. Sometimes I don’t know what to do or what to believe. Someone once said, "The world is too much with us" and that surely is the truth. I am pursued by profit and possessions. I am chased by competition and greed. I fear that I will succumb to mediocre faith.
Reader 2: Behold, the God of peace calls to you. Rise up! Do not be afraid. There is much to be done.
Reader 1: I can’t do these things you ask of me, Lord. I don’t have the skills, the time, the energy, the........
Reader 2: Behold, the God of justice beckons you. Drop your excuses and pleadings. Trust that I am with you. You will have all that you need for the tasks which I have placed before you.
Reader 1: You don’t understand. The chains of my possessions weigh heavy upon me. I have much for which I am responsible. There are so many things that rely on my presence and attention. What do you want from me?
Reader 2: You are called to be just and fair, to seek justice for those who feel powerless and voiceless, to work for just solutions rather than warfare and strife.
Reader 1: I can’t do it, Lord. The world is not a kind and loving place. My efforts will not be effective or even welcomed.
Reader 2: You are called to love kindness and compassion with such a passion that God’s love will flood the arid terrain, giving life to all. You will bring the word and actions of hope where people have lived in desolation.
Reader 1: How can you ask me to do this? How can you believe that I am even capable of doing ministries of peace and justice?
Reader 2: God has called you. Walk quietly with God. Do not let your fear spill over into inaction. God has blessed you. Be ready to hear God’s word. Its intent will be made evident to you. Trust in God’s presence and guidance for you. God has redeemed you. Do not fear. Though a host of evil encamps around you, God will be your guardian and your guide.
Reader 1: Lord, help my unbelief. Save my life. Heal my soul!
Reader 2: God has already done that for you, beloved one.
God of infinite patience, loving presence, and dazzling surprises, be with us as we leave this place today. Guide and guard our lives and bless our witness to your love. We go in peace seeking ministries of justice and hope. AMEN.
The traditional color for this Sunday is WHITE
However, you may want to consider adding some colors or textures in color if your focus is Peace with Justice Sunday. The emphasis this day will be peace with justice. The white color maintains the tradition for Trinity Sunday, and in this instance the Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) become embodied in words of Justice, Kindness, and Humility. The rough fabric and rocks and wood are reminders of the harshness of the world. The plants which are used, not soft leafed, but rigid and stiff, are good symbols of harshness, unbending. The dove, which will be placed near the white Christ Candle, is the Dove of peace. You may place chains, ropes, prison bars, in the setting as you choose.
Note: It is always a good idea to put a brief paragraph or statement in the worship bulletin explaining the visual setting of the day.
SURFACE: Place five risers on the worship center. The tallest riser, approximately 1', should be placed at the center back. The other risers, varying from 3" to 8" may be placed on the worship center as you desire. Place one riser in front of the worship center, slightly to the right of center.
FABRIC: Cover the entire worship center in white cloth, making sure that all risers are covered. Puddle the cloth in front of the worship center, making sure that the front riser is covered. Using rough fabric pieces (burlap, monk’s cloth, or even tea-dyed muslin which has been wrinkled), approximately 2' square, place them on several of the risers on the worship center and on the riser in front of the worship center.
CANDLES: Place a 10" white pillar candle on the tallest riser on the worship center. Place two other white pillar candles, approximately 4" in height, on the worship center risers of your choice.
FLOWERS/FOLIAGE: Using "spiky" plants, such as mother-in-law’s tongue, snake plants, or cacti, place them near the tallest riser and if you have larger plants, place them on the floor near the riser in front.
ROCKS/WOOD Medium sized rocks, stones, and some gnarled wood can be effective in this worship center, place the pieces of wood carefully, using only a few pieces. A particularly gnarled piece would be appropriate in front of the floor riser. Clusters of stones add texture to the setting.
OTHER: Links of heavy chain are effective symbols for oppression, as is a length of rough rope (do not use clothesline - use sisal rope). If you wish you can create a "Prison" effect of bars by making a wood frame [3'high by 4'long], (using 1x2 pieces of lumber, and 3/4" PVC pipe, sprayed black). Drill holes that will receive 3/4" pvc pipe - approximately 6" apart, on the top and bottom pieces of the frame. Insert the pipes into the frame. Spray the frame black. The frame should have "feet" attached so that it can be free-standing. You may want to have some chains draped over the frame, for effect.