Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost
SCRIPTURE READINGS: 1 Kings 8:(1, 6, 10-11) 22-30, 41-43; Psalm 84; Ephesians 6:10-20; John 6:56-69
CALLS TO WORSHIP
Call to Worship #1
L: How wonderful it is to be in a dwelling place for God!
P: The refreshing springs of God’s love cleans and restore us.
L: There is a place here for everyone. No one is turned away.
P: The least and the lost; the homeless and hopeless are always welcome in God’s house.
L: Praise to God who invites and shelters us all.
P: Praise to God who heals and sends us forth to serve. AMEN.
Call to Worship #2
L: Though storms rage around me, I will clothe myself with the whole armor of God.
P: I will fasten the belt of truth about my waist.
L: I will place strength and determination as my shoes to aid me in my ministry and mission for God.
P: I will take up the shield of faith with which I shall defend against evil ways.
L: I will pray diligently at all times, offering prayers and supplication to God.
P: The helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit will accompany my on my journey.
L: Be strong in the Lord who provides for your every need.
P: I place my confidence and trust in God always. AMEN.
Call to Worship #3
[Using THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2080, "All I Need Is You", offer the following call to worship]
Congregation: singing "All I Need Is You", verse 1
L: Place your trust in the Lord.
P: Cast away those things which detract from your faith in God.
L: God will provide for all your needs.
P: The love of Jesus Christ and his witness strengthens and sustains us.
Congregation: singing "All I Need Is You", verse 2
Call to Worship #4
L: Whom do you seek here in this place?
P: We seek God, the Creator, who brought us to life.
L: Who has told you of God?
P: Jesus Christ, God’s Son, has shown us the love of God through his life.
L: Discipleship is difficult. Are you ready?
P: We want to be ready. Lord, strengthen and sustain us this day. AMEN.
PRAYERS, LITANY/READING, BENEDICTION
In the beauty of this place, we have come to pray, to worship, to receive healing and hope. We come from the struggles and triumphs of the week, needing to feel the soothing presence of God. Lord, be with us this day. Calm and soothe our souls. Cause us to rejoice that you have provided a special place where we may gather to talk of your presence and love; to sing your praises; and to be empowered to go forth to serve you. AMEN.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Patient Lord, we are a culture that wants the quick and easy answers to all of life’s problems. We want to be able to open the Bible and place our fingers on the passage that will answer all our questions and heal all our hurts. It is difficult for us to deal with the knowledge that discipleship requires patience and perseverance. Jesus’ own disciples struggled with his teachings. It took a long time for them to understand fully what Jesus was saying and how they were to respond. We are no different. The words of Jesus take time for us to comprehend. Forgive us, Lord, when we are so impatient; when we just want to "get on with it", and be where the action is. Help us to understand the commitment we make in discipleship, through the rocky times and the smooth seas alike. Push us in our ministry of help and compassion to do more than we ever thought we could do in helping others. Give to us that extra measure of faith and commitment that we may truly serve you by serving others. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. AMEN.
WORDS OF ASSURANCE
Even though you doubt and question, God’s love is poured on you, in you, and through you to others. Rest assured in God’s presence and love for you, that will never fail or abandon you. In the name of Jesus Christ, you are healed, restored, and forgiven. AMEN!
Where has the time gone, Lord? It seems as though we just got started with summer, having plans for rest and recreation, leisure and celebration. Then suddenly we are at the end of the summer. We know, as we begin to focus more closely on our daily planners, that time fills up fast with duties, meetings, organizations, and just generally getting back into the swing of things. It is easy for us to get lost in the obligations and to neglect our commitment to you. You have girded us for the journey, giving us armaments of faith. Your beloved Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, has poured out blessings upon blessings in his teachings that we might be made whole and be in good and faithful service to you by serving your world. Open our hearts and spirits, Lord, to faithful ministries in which we may take part. Let us take the extra steps into the wondrous mission to which you have called. Heal, restore, and prepare us for service. For we ask this in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.
[Using THE UNITED METHODIST HYMNAL, p. 374, "Standing on the Promises", share the following reading and singing]
L: What has God promised?
P: To always be with us.
L: What are we called to do?
P: To shout and sing God’s praises, God’s faithful love for us.
All: singing "Standing on the Promises" verse 1
L: Life is tough these days.
P: But God is with us.
L: Storms and terrors threaten us at every turn. Who will protect us?
P: God will protect us, as God promised.
All singing "Standing on the Promises", verse 2
L: Who gives us the courage to stand in the face of tribulation?
P: Jesus Christ has given the witness by the gift of his own life.
L: What bond is there for us?
P: It is the bond of Christ’s own love, the gift of his own self for our lives.
All singing "Standing on the Promises", verse 3
L: No matter what may threaten, God is with us.
P: Hallelujah! Amen.
L: We will rest in the Savior and place our hope in him alone!
P: Hallelujah! Amen.
All singing "Standing on the Promises", verse 4
God is always with you. Even when times get difficult and the way is not clear, God is truly by your side. Rest in God’s strength and love. Serve God with joy. Go in peace. 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.
THE TREMENDOUS DIVERSITY OF ARTISTIC ELEMENTS FOR TODAY:
There are several directions in which to go, depending upon the main focus of today’s worship service.
PSALM 84: If the focus is on the beauty of the worship area - the glory of God’s dwelling place, a place for the sparrow to find a nest, you may want to adorn the worship center with natural items, such as a branch in which a nest is placed, and small blooming plants, resting on green fabric.
EPHESIANS 6:10-20: If the focus is the Epistle lesson, with its reference to the whole armor of God, your adornment of the worship center might be completely different. You may want to use some pieces of armor, a picture of the praying hands or the Norman Rockwell Freedom to Worship drawing, along with a variety of candles, as lights for worship. The fabric that you choose might be a very dark green so that the focus is on the candles and the art pieces.
JOHN 6:56-69: The Gospel lesson focuses on Jesus’ challenge to the disciples about the commitment to follow him, even in the fact of questions and doubts, when it is not clear where the path will lead. This setting may lead you in a different direction. You may consider placing a variety of risers on and in front of the worship center, covering the whole of the worship center with green and placing about 6-8 yards of fabric coming across the worship center as though it was a path. You might choose plants that are leafy to place along side the pathway, as well as some rocks and wood pieces. A cross may be placed in the extreme upper right hand corner of the worship center, to which the burlap path leads. Candles may adorn a few places on the path. If you use this focus, make sure that you are careful in your description of the meaning of this setting.