Worship Connection: February 7, 2016

December 21st, 2015

COLOR: White
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Exodus 34:29-35; Psalm 99; 2 Corinthians 3:12–4:2; Luke 9:28-36

CALLS TO WORSHIP

Call to Worship #1

L: Lord, you have called us to the mountaintop.
P: Help us to look forward to where you would have us go.
L: Help us to listen carefully to the words of your healing love.
P: Open our hearts and spirits to receive your glorious directions.
L: Place your trust in the Lord in all your ways.
P: Lord, we have come here to give our lives to you. AMEN.

Call to Worship #2

L: It is easy to stand here in the valley of our comfort.
P: We know what to expect and what is expected of us.
L: But Christ calls us to the mountain top to receive a new vision.
P: We are not sure we are ready for that.
L: Place your hope and trust in Christ, for He is your guide.
P: Let us open our hearts to Christ, ready for the vision he places before us. AMEN.

Call to Worship #3

[Using THE FAITH WE SING, P. 2173, “Shine, Jesus, Shine”, offer the following as directed, noting that the verse is sung before the refrain]

L: We are here in darkness, yet Christ beckons us to the light.
P: Come, Lord Jesus, lead us.
Choir: singing verse 1 and then singing the refrain of “Shine, Jesus, Shine”
L: Shadows of doubt and fear cloud our lives.
P: Bring us to your radiant Glory, O Christ.
Choir: singing verse 2 and then singing the refrain of “Shine, Jesus, Shine”
L: Free us from our fears, so that we can step into the light.
P: Open our eyes, our hearts, our spirits, to receive your glory.
Choir: singing verse 3 and then singing the refrain of “Shine, Jesus, Shine”
[Optional: you may invite the entire congregation to sing the refrain of “Shine, Jesus, Shine” at the end of this call to worship]

Call to Worship #4

L: We are brought here today to glimpse the hope that Christ has for us.
P: Open our hearts to receive that hope.
L: We are brought here today to be healed of our fears.
P: Heal us, Lord Jesus, with your love and power.
L: Come, let us receive the vision and healing love of God.
P: Praise be to God who continues to bless and restore us. AMEN.

Call to Worship #5

L: It is easy to stand here in the valley of our comfort.
P: We know what to expect and what is expected of us.
L: But Christ calls us to the mountain top to receive a new vision.
P: We are not sure we are ready for that.
L: Place your hope and trust in Christ, for He is your guide.
P: Let us open our hearts to Christ, ready for the vision he places before us. AMEN.

PRAYERS, LITANY/READING, BENEDICTION

Opening Prayer

Lord, it seems so long ago that we heard your words at Jesus’ baptism. You reminded us that he is your beloved Son with whom you are well pleased. Again today we hear your words that we are to listen to him, to pay attention. Open our hearts this day, Lord, to hear the words of Jesus, to follow in his footsteps, and to serve You. For we ask this in Christ’s Name. AMEN.

Prayer of Confession

We want to celebrate. We don’t want to listen. We want to stay on the mountaintop with Jesus and set up a festival where everyone can come and play and have a good time. We want our faith to be one of entertainment. But you have called us to “Listen to Him!” You have asked us to be ready for the journey. We cannot stay where we are, comfortable and snuggled down in the familiar. There is much to be done. Forgive us, Lord, when we are stubborn and willful. Remind us that you are with us, wherever we are. You call us from the mountaintop to go to the valley where this is struggle and strife; where healing is needed. Prepare us, Lord, for the journey. Help us to listen to you. Heal us, Lord. For we ask this in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.

Words of Assurance

Listen to Jesus. He will guide and care for you. Place your trust in him, for he is God’s chosen, God’s beloved. His ways are the ways of peace and hope. AMEN.

Pastoral Prayer

We picture the mountain top experience of the disciples, Peter, James and John, chosen to go up to the mountain top with Jesus, to receive a new vision. But it wasn’t what was expected. They were awed and frightened. They didn’t know what to do. One wanted to build special festival booths for Moses, Elijah and Jesus, where people could come to receive healing and blessing. It would have been so easy to stay up on the mountain and never again to descend to the hungering valley below. But Jesus has work for us to do. We are called to receive the blessing, not for ourselves alone, but to give it to others; to offer healing, mercy, forgiveness, compassion, hope and peace. These are difficult things to do in the face of the anger and hostilities that seem to abound in the world. We are not alone. God is with us. Just as we have asked for God’s healing mercies in the prayers we have offered for others, so we are recipients of God’s love and strength. Feel the power of God’s love flooding over you, coursing through your veins, encompassing your spirit! Let God’s strength and hope abide in you. Then be prepared to go and bring that blessing to others, in the name of Jesus Christ. AMEN.

Litany/Reading

[Note: the following reading is performed as “Readers’ Theater”. Three Readers are required; there should also be two “voices” off stage, one as the voice of God, and one as the voice of Jesus. They will not be seen during the presentation. Begin the first scene in the middle of the sanctuary or worship area. Move the speakers as directed in the script]

Reader 1: Wow! An invitation to the top of the Rock. Imagine all the people who would like to have that one!
Reader 2: That’s for sure! We must be something really special to get this invitation!
Reader 3: Wait until my friends hear! I can’t decide whether I will tell them before we go up on the mountain or wait until we come back down, if we do.
Reader 1: Well, any way you look at it - it’s a privilege!
[Readers move to the front of the worship area, and sit near the worship center display. They will need to be seen and to project their voices. One of them may remain standing, if that is appropriate]
Reader 2: Look at this! It’s misty up here. I thought it would be clear.
Reader 3: At least when can still see Him. I feel a little bit better about this. This is sure different that I thought it would be.
Reader 1: We’re probably here because we are the bravest of the group, if you know what I mean. I don’t think the others would be able to enter such an unknown situation.
Reader 2: It’s good for us to be here with you, Master. We are glad you invited us.
Reader 1: Listen, we have a good plan. This is a nice place. We could build some festival booths. You know, one for You, one for each of your friends. How would you like that?
VOICE (offstage - use a microphone if available, otherwise speak loudly, but don’t shout): Be quiet! Listen to Jesus! This is my Son, my Chosen!!
[Readers bow their heads; if one is standing, have him/her kneel or sit down as if contrite]
VOICE 2 (offstage - use a microphone, speak clearly, but don’t shout - the voice should be compassionate, not harsh): It is time for us to go from this place. Listen and observe. Do not talk about what you have seen, but remember what has been shown to you, for the times ahead will be challenging and you will need to understand all that you have seen. Do not think that this will be easy, for the path is rough, but God is with us. Come, let us go back to the valley where the work will begin.
(The readers get up and leave the chancel/worship area, down the aisle and out of the sanctuary or to the rear of the sanctuary.)
Benediction: Mountaintop experiences are wonderful. There is so much to see, but you are called now to go to the valley where there is much to be done. You are not alone; God goes with you, bringing healing, hope and peace. Go now in God’s peace and let it flood through you to others. AMEN.

ARTISTIC ELEMENTS

The traditional color for this Sunday is WHITE
Note: I recommend putting a brief paragraph describing or explaining the symbolism used in your visual display in the worship bulletin. This a good teaching tool for the congregation.
DEFINITIONS:
Risers: Any structure or support which will raise a portion of 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 which is going to be placed on the riser. I also refer to benches or tables which may be placed to the side or in front of the worship center as risers. I have used pieces of 2”x 4” wood, stacked on top of each other to achieve the height I desired. Most of the time, the 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: the worship center. In some instances it may be referred to as the altar, the 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 live flowers and plants in the chancel/worship area. I believe that there are some really beautiful silk flowers which will suffice in times when live plants are not available. However, go with the tradition of your local church. Generally speaking, I like to use foliage plants (non-flowering or minimally flowering) as accent pieces. “Spiky” plants, such as: mother-in-
law’s tongue, snake plant, are good when you desire a harsh, hard, angular effect. Fern (especially asparagus or Boston) are wonderful along with some ivys, 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, smooth edges (creating a flat panel).

THE ARTISTIC ELEMENT FOR TODAY

SURFACE: Place several risers on the worship center. The tallest riser, approximately 1 foot above the main level of the worship center, should be placed to the upper left as you are facing the worship center. The other risers, about 4-6” high, may be placed, one at the center and the other slightly to the right of the middle one.
FABRIC: Cover the worship center with dark fabric, so that it puddles down onto the floor. Place a layer over it of light brown fabric, but leave about 2 feet in width of the dark fabric showing. Cover the top of the worship center with white fabric. The risers should be covered with the white fabric..
CANDLES: On the middle riser, place a white pillar candle, about 10” high, representing Christ. .Place votive candles, arranged in clusters, on the other risers
FLOWERS/PLANTS: No plants should be placed on the worship center. You may place some “spiky” plants on either side of the worship center at the base.
ROCKS/WOOD: Piles of rocks and sticks may be placed at the base of the worship center near the dark fabric, to represent roughness and rubble.
OTHER: A brass cross may be placed on the top riser on the worship center with the Christ Candle.

comments powered by Disqus