Seventh Sunday after Pentecost
SCRIPTURE READINGS: 2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19; Psalm 24; Ephesians 1:3-14; Mark 6:14-29
CALLS TO WORSHIP
Call to Worship #1
L: Come, sing and dance before the Lord.
P: Praise God with the sound of music and dancing!
L: Let every soul sing God’s praises!
P: Let the mountains tremble and the seas roar!
L: Praise the King of glory who guides our lives.
P: Praise the Lord of hosts who watches over us. AMEN.
Call to Worship #2
L: Come, give to the Lord your praises of thanksgiving.
P: We come this day, grateful for God’s wondrous gifts to us!
L: Sing with great enthusiasm of God’s mighty power and love.
P: We celebrate that love that frames our lives.
L: It is a wonderful thing to praise God!
P: May God’s praise always be in our hearts and in our lives. AMEN.
Call to Worship #3
[Using THE UNITED METHODIST HYMNAL, p. 99, have the congregation sing as directed below]
L: All the earth belongs to the Lord, the Creator!
P: Let us rejoice in the wonder of creation!
L: Gather your hearts together to praise God’s wondrous love!
P: (singing): "My Tribute", UMH p. 99
L: To God, be the glory now and forever.
P: Amen! Amen!
Call to Worship #4
L: Open wide the doorways of our sanctuary!
P: May the king of glory come into our midst.
L: Who is this king of glory?
P: This king of glory is our Savior Jesus Christ.
L: Open the doors of our hearts to receive Jesus Christ.
P: May our spirits and our hearts receive his blessing now and forever. AMEN.
PRAYERS, LITANY/READING, BENEDICTION
Creator God, in praise and adoration our spirits dance before you today. You have created this wondrous universe and all the magnificent things within it. You have blessed us with so much throughout our lives, even to this day of praise and thanksgiving. Let our spirits soar! Let our hearts sing boldly of your wondrous love. We celebrate your love and presence with us, and it is in the name of your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ, that we offer this prayer. AMEN.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
In the midst of our "summer" lives, O Lord, so many things have claimed our attention. We worked hard this year to earn a little rest and recreation, to break away from the stresses of our everyday living. But in the midst of all this change, we have too often pushed our worship of you aside. We have focused so much on our needs for physical change and peace that we have neglected our spiritual hungers and thirst. Forgive us when we are tempted to stray from our worship of you and focus entirely on ourselves and our own needs. As we celebrate this day, help us to remember all the wondrous things you continue to do for us. Let us look at the world as a place of delight. And when we encounter situations in which sorrow and hurt abound, help us to be ready to bring hope and peace. Be with us in this warm days of summer, preparing us for ministry and mission, in your holy name. AMEN.
WORDS OF ASSURANCE
God is merciful and pours God’s love on us abundantly. In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven! Hallelujah! AMEN.
Lord of the dance of life, you have breathed into us your creative, joyful Spirit. You have lifted us from the dust into the swirling joy of your presence. We are so grateful for all that you have done for us. Each day reminds us in many ways of your mercy and your love. Yet there are times in our lives when we have felt lost and alone. We have been hurt and frightened and wondered where you were. Remind us again of your loving presence. Place your hands of healing on our lives. Comfort us when we become afraid, lost, lonely, and fearful. Prepare us to serve you faithfully all our days. As we have lifted the name of dear ones to you who are in need of your healing love, cause us to reflect on our needs for your love and our response in dedicated service to you. Be with us now, in this time and place, and in all the places and times of our lives. For it is in Jesus’ Name, we pray. AMEN.
L: In the beginning......
P: The dance began to swirl and ponder.
L: In the beginning, all was dark.
P: And the dance cast forth bright light.
L: In the beginning, the earth burst forth with wondrous things, creatures of all sorts, mountains and hills, vast seas and rivers, valleys and desert areas.
P: And the Lord of the Dance saw that it was good and blessed it all.
L: In our beginning, God blessed us.
P: And the dance went on, through our lives, into all that we have done.
L: Sometimes the dance was slow and plodding; at other times it was sprightly and fast.
P: Yet in the midst of it all, the Lord of the Dance is with us.
L: This dance, called Life, is everywhere - in the light and in the dark. It is in places of hope and in places of deepest sorrow and tragedy.
P: How shall we dance our dance for God?
L: We shall live lives of hope and peace, bringing the good news of Jesus Christ and all that he taught to us, so that others may join the dance.
P: Praise be to the Lord of the Dance, the Lord of Creation, the Lord of Life! AMEN.
God’s love for you is real and alive in your hearts today. Go in peace, knowing that the Lord of Love and Life is with you. Bring God’s peace to all you meet, this day and all your days. AMEN.
The traditional color for this Sunday is GREEN.
Note: I recommend putting a brief paragraph describing or explaining the symbolism used in your visual display. These become good teaching tools for a congregation.
Note: The imagery of joy and hope abound in most of today’s scriptures. You may find yourself caught in the problem of the beheading of John and wondering how this fits with the sense of joy. Remember John’s faithfulness and his witness, that even death could not stop. Look at the passages in 2 Samuel, Psalm 24, and Ephesians - all speak of the love of God and God’s adoption of us as beloved children. Swirling colors might be a way of depicting the dance. Below is a suggestion for a special cross which could be made inexpensively as a center piece for the worship center.
Create several levels on the worship center, but leave a space in the center for the placement of the large cross. Place a riser in front of the worship center.
Although the color for the day is green, you can have a wonderful time with shades of green. Using dark green as the base color, cover the entire worship center with the fabric so that it covers all the risers, including the one in front of the worship center, puddling the fabric on the floor. With silky green fabrics, in a variety of shades (and you may also use small prints) (fabrics should be about 5 yards long), drape the fabrics in swags from the center of the worship table, across and down the front so that it looks as though the fabric is swirling. Do not let is just drop straight down, but give it a swirl (movement).
Using white pillar candles, about 3-4" high, place them on the risers on the worship center and on the riser in front of the worship center. You may group several together if you wish.
This setting does not call for flowers, but you may want to use some very leafy foliage plants, such as ferns and ivy, behind the worship center so that they present a backdrop for the cross the fabric.
These are not necessary for this setting.
Create a cross, about 3 feet high from 1"x4" boards. Paint the cross, dark blue. Let it dry thoroughly. Draw swirling lines on the board about ½" apart, making them look as though they are part of a larger pattern. Do not draw the lines in tight spirals, but rather make them curved and flowing. Using a good wood glue, follow each line with glue and place colored beads along each line, place the colors next to each other so that they create a rainbow effect. Make sure that the beads are entirely dry before you place the cross on the worship center. Suggestion: If you have access to Sculpey clay, using a Fondant circular cutter and a pasta machine which is dedicated to clay use only, roll out the clay in colors of your choice, cut the circles and bake the clay circles as directed on the Sculpey package. Glue these circles to the cross. They are very light weight and will easily hold well to the glue. When they have dried, you may brush Mod Podge (in the gloss finish) over them to create a finished look. This is very inexpensive and will look nice.