Twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Ruth 3:1-5; 4:13-17; Psalm 127 (or Psalm 42); Hebrews 9:24-28; Mark 12:38-44
CALLS TO WORSHIP
Call to Worship #1
L: Come, take your rest this day
P: Lord, free us from the stresses we have endured this week.
L: Come, put your minds at ease.
P: Lord, ease the burdens and frustrations of our lives.
L: Come. For this is the house of the Lord. It is here that you will find peace.
P: Praise and thanks be to God for giving us sanctuary. AMEN.
Call to Worship #2
L: What to you bring before the Lord this day?
P: We bring our hopes and our dreams to the Lord
L: What do you seek?
P: We seek peace for our weary souls.
L: You will find it in this place, for this is the house of the Lord.
P: Open our hearts and our spirits, O Lord, to hear your words of comfort and peace. AMEN.
Call to Worship #3
[Using the United Methodist Hymnal, p. 87 "What Gift Can We Bring," offer the following call to worship as directed below]
L: Welcome to the house of the Lord!
P: We have come here from lives that are burdened and stressed.
L: Bring your hearts that are lonely and here find hope and peace.
Choir: Singing verse 1 of "What Gift Can We Bring"
L: Find in this place welcome, peace, and hope. All given by God who loves you.
P: We feel welcome here. It is here that we can offer our gifts and our service to God..
Choir: Singing verse 4 of "What Gift Can We Bring"
Call to Worship #4
L: What joy it is to have you here today!
P: We have come from very busy lives, filled both with joys and difficulties.
L: Welcome to this place in which God will ease your burdens and celebrate your joys with you.
P: We have come to find hope and peace in our lives.
L: Whatever has happened this week in your life, know that God is with you and offering you peace, rest and blessing.
P: Thanks be to God who accepts us as we are, and thanks for the warm welcome in this service of worship. AMEN.
PRAYERS, LITANY, BENEDICTION
Lord, we have come to you this day bringing all that we have, our lives, our hopes and dreams, our fears and sorrows. We place these before you in faith and hope, knowing that no matter what has happened you are with us and blessing us. Open our hearts to receive your words and your spirit, that we may find healing and comfort. Open our lives to the wondrous possibilities for service and joy that you offer to us. Ease our minds and spirits that we may hear the words of encouragement and peace this day. AMEN.
Prayer of Confession
Gracious God, so often we look at ourselves, our gifts and our talents, and wonder what you would do with these offerings. We don't think that we have much to give. So, far too many times, we belittle the gifts and turn our backs on the needs and opportunities present to serve, believing that our gifts cannot possibly make a difference. We think that we must possess the greatest of talents and wealth in order to truly please and serve you. How foolish we are! Forgive us when we stop listening to your healing and comforting words and focus on our anxieties. Heal us, Lord. Help us know that you have given to us such blessings and that these blessings are truly wonderful and meant to be used to joy and service to others. Help us to bring our lives, just as they are, to you and to receive your gentle touch and healing grace. For we ask this in Jesus' Name. AMEN.
Words of Assurance
God has given to each one of us such blessings and talents. With joy we bring these gifts to God. You are blessed by God's absolute love for you. Rejoice in that love and find healing and hope. AMEN.
Lord, you have placed before us your wonderful world, with its blessings and its difficulties. You have called us to be peacemakers and people who will work for you, offering our lives and our gifts in your service. But we sometimes hold back from trusting in these gifts you have given to us. We wonder if they will be enough to make a difference. And we become caught in the trap of believing that only the largest gifts have any worth. Forgive us when we slide so easily into our fears of inadequacy. Each of us has been blessed, and each is called to be a blessing. There are no small and insignificant gifts for God to bless and use. Free us from our fears of "not enough" and help us to joyfully place our hopes, dreams and lives in your care. As we have lifted up names and situations today, seeking your healing mercies and comforting power, help us to feel those same mercies and comfort active in our lives, reminding us that your love is poured out on us so that we may serve. Strengthen and encourage us as we move forward in ministry, seeking to be good stewards of all that you have given us. For we ask this in Jesus' Name. AMEN.
Using THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2153, "I'm Gonna Live So God Can Use Me", offer the following participatory Reading. Have a soloist available to sing the first verse as directed; a duet for the second verse; a small group for the third verse, and the whole congregation for the fourth verse.
Reader 1: I don't have much to offer.
Reader 2: I don't have much that I can do.
Reader 3: I don't have anything that's worth much to bring to the Lord.
Soloist: Singing verse 1 of "I'm Gonna Live So God Can Use Me"
Reader 1: I don't have many skills that are worth much.
Reader 2: I don't have the great wisdom that will change much.
Reader 3: I don't have the knowledge that will help things to move forward.
Duet: Singing verse 2 of "I'm Gonna Live So God Can Use Me"
Reader 1: My prayers are weak.
Reader 2: My words are inadequate.
Reader 3: My fears overcome my spirit and I can't pray easily
Small group: Singing verse 3 of "I'm Gonna Live So God Can Use Me"
Reader 1: My voice is weak.
Reader 2: My tones are unsteady and waivering.
Reader 3: My voice breaks and warbles and the tune I sing is faulty.
Leader: Let go of your fears. God has given you blessing upon blessing. Sing with us now this song. Know that whatever you have to offer is pleasing to the Lord.
Congregation: Singing verse 4 of "I'm Gonna Live So God Can Use Me"
You have heard the words of healing and of peace. You have been blessed by the Spirit of God. Go now into God's world to be the spirit of hope, peace and blessing for others, knowing that God is always with you. 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.Definitions:
Risers: Any structure or support that will raise a portion of the worship center above the main level. Some risers may be a stack of books, others may be made from wood or whatever will give the necessary support to the object that is going to be placed on the riser. I have used pieces of 2" x 4" wood, stacked on top of each other to achieve the height I desired. Most risers will be covered with fabric.
Worship Center: Because so many churches have different worship spaces, I have chosen to call the main space for worship display (worship center). It may be called an altar, a communion table, a platform - whatever is the focal point of the worship area.
Flowers/plants: I am not a "purist,if the definition means having only real flowers and plants in the chancel/worship area. I believe that there are some really beautiful silk flowers which will suffice in times when real plants are not available. However, go with the tradition of your local church. Generally speaking I like to use foliage plants (minimal or non flowering) as accent pieces. "Spiky" plants such as sansaveria, mother-in-law's tongue and snake plant are good when you are looking for a harsh, hard, angular effect. Ferns (particularly asparagus or Boston) are wonderful along with some ivy, to soften the effect.
Puddling the fabric: Currently interior decorators use the technique with draperies of letting the fabric spill to the floor in a heap, sort of a puddle. It is a less formal design. Puddling the fabric means not creating even edges with the fabric, which is drawing a line, but rather softening the look by creating a "puddle."
SURFACE: Place several risers, of varying heights, on the worship center. The tallest riser, not taller than 10", should be placed in the upper left side of the worship center. Others may be spaced out as you choose
FABRIC: Cover the worship center with green cloth, making sure that the fabric puddles onto the floor to the right front of the worship center
CANDLES: On the tallest riser, Place three white pillar candles
FLOWERS/PLANTS: Use ivy near the base of the tallest riser, letting the branches wind around the other risers and flow over the worship center down the front. A larger ivy plant may be used on the upper right of the worship center, again with its branches flowing down the front.
ROCKS/WOOD: Place rocks, which you have sprayed Gold, on some of the other risers and scatter them throughout the worship center. If you have access to an old round broom handle or a round dowel, cut it into "coins" and spray paint them gold. Scatter them along with the rocks throughout the worship center
OTHER: Select gift boxes, such as one shoe box, one shirt box, one square box about 6-8", several smaller boxes about 4-5". Wrap these boxes in bright colored paper and place several of the smaller ones on the worship center and the larger ones stack in front of the worship center. Write large Tags (about 8" x 3") and using the following words, put one word on each tag: LOVE, HOPE, HEALING, PEACE, FAITH, SERVICE, WITNESS, JOY, HEALING, COURAGE. Tie these tags, one to each box, and drape the tags over the box so that the words are visible to the congregation. [These are the gifts we bring along with our offerings of good Stewardship for God]