Scripture Readings: Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10; Psalm 19; 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a; Luke 4:14-21
Calls to Worship
Call to Worship #1
L: God's glory is pouring forth from the heavens.
P: Earth below receives the good news with great joy.
L: The promise is sure and true, that Jesus has come to show us the best ways to serve God.
P: By serving and caring for others, we truly serve God.
L: Come, let us prepare ourselves for joyful service.
P: Lord, make us ready for great service in your name. AMEN.
Call to Worship #2
L: We each have many gifts to offer in service to God.
P: Some will be teachers; others preachers; some will be capable leaders, others will be skillful workers; some will be those who have visions of all possibilities; others will find ways to make those visions a reality; some will develop ministries of peace and justice; others will seek to change unjust systems.
L: Each person here has been blessed by God.
P: Lord, help us to use those blessings to help others. AMEN.
Call to Worship #3
[Using THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2172, "We Are Called", offer the following call to worship as directed]
L: What would God have us do?
P: What gifts do we have that can serve God?
L: Lord, guide our lives and our service.
P: Lord, call us to ministries of hope and promise.
Choir: singing verse 1 of "We Are Called"
L: Help us, O Lord, to look beyond words.
P: Help us, O Lord, to see ways of service.
L: Open our hearts and our spirits this day to receive your guidance.
P: Help us to be those people who will bring good news to those in darkness and doubt.
Choir singing verse 2 of "We Are Called".
L: Come, let us worship God with thanksgiving for gifts of ministry.
P: Let us praise God with joyful hearts for opportunities to serve. AMEN.
Call to Worship #4
L: Today is a day of rejoicing!
P: It is a time to celebrate!
L: Jesus offers us a plan of action!
P: No longer are we trapped, wondering what we should be doing.
L: Jesus speaks to us of freedom, release from captivity, recovery of sight.
P: Jesus outlines the kind of disciples that are needed in God's world. AMEN.
PRAYERS, READING, BENEDICTION
Leading and Guiding God, you have opened the doors to us for true service. We are encouraged to become involved in ministries of peace and justice. The light of promise is reflected in your Spirit which rests in each one of us. Get us ready to serve you. Guide our lives, as we learn more of what you would have us do. AMEN.
Prayer of Confession
Waiting God, you know us all too well. We listen to this episode in the life of Jesus. We hear the astonishment of the people gathered in worship as Jesus proclaims the mandate and scope of his ministry. It is what they had hoped for and also what they have feared.
Change and challenge are always difficult. We are more inclined to turn our backs on opportunities of service than pitch in to affect the needed changes that will promote healing and wholeness. Forgive us when we give lip service to you and then slip into inaction. Give us courage to be willing disciples. Help us to be people of promise and hope. In Jesus' Name, we offer this prayer. AMEN.
Words of Assurance
Jesus has opened the doors for service to each one of us. We have been freed from our fears and doubts. Rejoice, dear fiends! In Jesus' Name, we are forgiven and healed. AMEN.
Lord of patience and persistence, the scriptures from Isaiah's scroll were not new to the people gathered on that day for worship. Many times before they had heard the words and in their hearts hoped that the mandate could become a reality in their lives. But none moved forward. Then Jesus proclaimed that God had called him to bring good news to the poor; to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind; to let the oppressed go free; to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor. How startled they were! At last, with confidence, Jesus forced the issues and the mandate. God has fulfilled God's promise in the person of Jesus. Now something was going to be done. No more lip service; no more fear; no more waiting. Now the time had come. It is no different today than it was 2000 years ago. We still want someone else to pick up the reins; to lead the charge, to do the work. But God, through the witness of Jesus, is calling each of us to the task. The promise of hope and justice is given to this world. And we have become bearers of that promise. Now is the time for work and witness. Now is the time for hope and peace. Now is the time for each one of us to do our part in establishing God's kingdom. Lord, get us ready for service. Pick us up; dust us off, and put us on the pathways of justice. In Jesus' Name, we offer this prayer. AMEN.
Voice: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he [God] has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He [God] has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind; to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
Reader 1: Okay, so who is in charge of the refreshments for next week? Anybody? Whose job is this? Reader 2: Not mine. I did it last week and it seems like I plan the refreshments more than anyone else. That's not right!
Reader 3: Listen, I would help, but I've already got so much to do.
Reader 4: I guess I could do it. What do I need to do? Can someone help me?
Voice: "to bring good news to the poor; to give sight to the blind, to offer freedom…"
Reader 1: No that that's settled. What should we be doing next?
Reader 2: I don't know. The preacher wants us to do ministries of peace and justice; to fulfill the promise Jesus made. I'd just as soon not do that.
Reader 3: I wouldn't know where to begin. Let's just let those missionaries do the work. OK?
Reader 4: Maybe there is something that we can do. What needs to be done here in our town?
Reader 1: Well, we are always shipping our food to a food pantry about 20 miles away. Maybe we could start a Food Pantry.
Reader 3: That sounds like a lot of work. I don't know if we can do this? What are the rules and regulations; who will be in charge, who will collect all the food; how do we find out who really needs it or who is milking the system?
Reader 2: Maybe if we checked with the elementary school nurse she might give us some idea who is in need. Or maybe we should just collect food and advertise that we now have a food pantry for local people—we could alert the other churches and civic organizations, we might be able to use that little room just off the fellowship hall of the church. I've got lots of bags for people to put their food in.
Reader 1: We probably should contact some other food pantry and find out how they got started. I know that there are lots of people who travel that 40 mile round trip just to get some help and they are our neighbors and fiends. Why haven't we thought of this before?
Reader 2: Okay! Let's get started. Let's talk with the preacher and find out what the direction for doing this through our church are.
Reader 3: Wow! Look how the discussion moved from a coffee/refreshment hour after church to serving others in need! Who would have thought?
Voice: Jesus did.
The promise has been given. We have been called to ministries of service. God goes with us in all that we do, enabling and encouraging us as we serve others. Go in peace. AMEN.
The traditional color for this Sunday is: GREEN
Today's theme is LIGHT OF PROMISE, and is revealed in a rich Kelly green fabric Consider having someone who is skilled in calligraphy create a scroll. The scroll should be about 20" wide and 3' long. You may use a dowel for the scroll, using one on the top and the bottom of the scroll. If you choose, you may "antique” the paper by lightly brushing it with "tea” water (let a tea bag steep in water until it is very strong, then lightly brush it on the paper). Let it dry completely before writing on it.
SURFACE: Place a 10"riser at the upper right portion of the worship center, facing it toward the center of the worship table (kitty comer). Place a riser in fiont of the worship center about 10" below the main level of the worship table.
FABRIC: Cover the worship center, including the fiont riser, in a rich bright Kelly green fabric,
CANDLES: In the center of the worship table, place a 10"white pillar candle. Place smaller pillar candles on the worship center, near the objects suggested.
FLOWERS/FOLIAGE: On the upper lee, place an ample ivy vine or other trailing plant, or you may use a Boston Fern in the same place. If you have another Boston Fern, place it on the floor beside the front riser.
ROCKS/WOOD: not necessary for this setting
OTHER: On the 10" riser, place a brass or wooden cross. Place a group of candles on the main worship table, representing recovery of sight to the blind; place a basket, overturned, overturned on the front riser and have chains and ropes spilling from it onto the floor. Place food, such as bread and fruit spilling from a basket on the worship table. At the center of the table, in front of the 10" pillar candle, place an unrolled scroll representing the mandate for ministry. You may want to have this leaning on a covered riser. Feel free to use a 4" riser on which you will place the candle and lean the scroll against that. If it is possible have the scroll, lean over the edge of the table, spilling down onto the basket of ropes and chains.