Worship Connection: August 7, 2016

July 8th, 2016

Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost

Color: Green 
Scripture Readings: Isaiah 1:1, 10-20; Psalm 50:1-8, 22-23; Hebrews 11: 1-3, 8-16; Luke 12:32-40

CALLS TO WORSHIP

Call to Worship #1:
L: The Lord calls us today to be people of justice and mercy.
P: Our worship is hollow if it focuses only on our own gratification.
L: The Lord asks that our words of hope become actions of peace.
P: Thanks be to God who challenges and calls us.
L: Let our ministry together bring peace and justice.
P: Let our lives reflect God's love and mercy. AMEN.

Call to Worship #2:
L: The Lord comes to us this day. Are you ready?
P: We are ready!
L: The Lord challenges us to be in ministries of peace and hope. Are you ready?
P: We are ready!
L: Let us praise God who calls us to serve God by helping others.
P: Praise be to God who has given us hope and peace. AMEN.

Call to Worship #3:
[Using THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2174, "What Does the Lord Require of You", offer the following call to worship as directed. As the singing parts enter, the leader's voice and the people's response will be heard, almost as a voice-over technique]
Choir [Men only]: singing part 1 of "What Does the Lord Require of You" (they will continue to sing this throughout the whole call to worship]

L: How shall we give praise to the Lord? Shall we offer thousands of rivers of oil? Shall we give ten thousand sacrificial Lambs?
P: How shall we come before the Lord to offer praise?

Choir [Altos singing as the men continue their part]: sing part 2 of "What Does the Lord Require of You" [they will continue singing this throughout the whole call to worship]

L: What shall we offer in prayer in supplication to please God?
P: How shall we show God our devotion and our love?

Choir [Sopranos singing as the other two parts continue]: sing part 3 of "What Does the Lord Require of You" [They will continue singing this throughout the whole call to worship]

L: Will God be pleased with our songs and shouts of praise? Will God love our festivals and our feasts?
P: What does the Lord require of us?

Choir: everyone singing the whole song

L: We are called to do justice
P: We are called to love kindness.
ALL: We are called to walk humbly with our God. AMEN

Call to Worship #4:
L: Get ready! The Lord needs you.
P: We are ready to serve God.
L: Be prepared to serve in ministries of justice and peace.
P: We are ready to serve God by helping others.
L: Open your hearts, your souls, your minds to God's mercy and love.
P: Prepare us for service to you, O loving God. AMEN.


PRAYERS, LITANY/READING, BENEDICTION

Opening Prayer
Surprising God of mercy and love, thank you for calling to us this day. We praise you that you challenge us to show our faith in ministries of peace and justice, offering compassion to all in need. Open our hearts and minds today to hear your words of encouragement and challenge. We offer this prayer in Jesus' Name.AMEN.

Prayer of Confession
Forgiving God, you know how easy it is for us to celebrate with joy the wonders of your love. We create wonderful art to represent the joy we feel. Our music soars to the heavens in praise of you. Yet how often we have left our service to you as mere thoughts and intentions without fulfillment. You ask us to be ready to serve you at any time, but we place our commitment on the "to do" list of life; we will do these things when we get to them. Forgive our hesitancy and our self-serving ways, O Lord. Heal us of the disease of seeking first our own comfort before we engage in acts of justice and mercy. Open our eyes and ears to the cries of those in need. Help us to give and also to receive ministries of love and reconciliation as we serve you with our whole hearts. Then our music, our art, our worship will truly reflect your awesome and abundant love for us.AMEN.

Words of Assurance
It is God's good pleasure to give us the kingdom. It is our joy to serve God by helping each other and all those in need. Be assured of God's tender mercy toward you and continue that love in all that you do.AMEN.

Pastoral Prayer
Lord of peace and justice, how easy it is for us to fall into the trap of complacency. We get used to doing things the way we have always done them before. We celebrate your love and rejoice in your gifts through our ministry of worship and sacrament. We place our abundance before you in offerings to enable ministries of hope to flourish. Yet we hang back. We feel that we have done enough. We think that we have met the challenge of your call to us. Wake us up! Shake us up! Get us excited about all the wondrous ways in which we can serve you! Do not let our awareness of the needs of others be expressed only in our prayers for healing and compassion. Shape us to be people of justice and peace, bringing the glorious news of your love to all people. Stretch us out! Make us truly disciples who are always ready to help others. Create in us a new spirit and a joyful energy to serve you. For we ask these things in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord.AMEN.

Litany/ReadingReader 1:
Let's see......my check to help the mission team is ready. The boxes of school kits for the kids are almost packed. And oh, the knitted prayer shawls are being gathered to be mailed out. Look at what we have been able to do!

Reader 2:
You've got to be kidding! You are spending all your time, not to mention your money, on this stuff. When do you have any time for yourself?

Reader 1:
Well, actually....I love doing these things. I know that right now I am unable to go to help with the mission trip, but at least I can give some funds to help the mission team. Our committee at church has had a wonderful time gathering the school supplies for the children. Most of us have grown children and grandchildren and we would like to find ways to help others as well as our own. And I found myself thinking of all those volunteers who have helped in ravaged places. How hard they have worked and our prayers have been with them as well as with the people they have served. Each stitch for me is a prayer of gratitude for their strength and energy. Although I cannot do the work they are doing, I can support them with love and the gift of a shawl.

Reader 2:
Yeah, but what's in it for you?

Reader 1:
Well, if you are talking about reward or recognition, that doesn't matter. All that matters is the joy of helping in whatever way I can.

Reader 2:
You are ridiculous! Everybody wants something. Don't you want something from all of this?

Reader 1:
No. I've already got what I want. Peace and Joy.

Reader 2:
Oh brother......another do-gooder! Will you people never learn that it's everyone for themselves?

Reader 1:
I think you are mistaken. It should be that it is everyone for each other, in justice, peace, mercy, hope and love. That's what life should be all about. Not gathering in for our own comfort or pride, but giving for the joy and love of God.

Reader 2:
Doesn't make sense to me. You just give and give. You aren't getting paid or anything.

Reader 1:
The reward, or payment as you call it, is in the joy of helping.

Reader 2:
Well, you seem happy enough. But I'm not sure that I can do this.

Reader 1:
When you are ready, you will be able to do this. Meanwhile, could you help me load up this last box of school supplies?

Benediction
People of God, made ready by God's love and mercy: Go forth into God's world to serve in ministries of justice, kindness and peace. Know always that God's peace is with you.AMEN.


ARTISTIC ELEMENTS

The traditional color for this Sunday is GREEN.

Note: It is always a good idea to put a sentence or two in the weekly bulletin describing the meaning of the worship center.

Note: Lately our churches have experienced the calls for school kits, prayer shawls, and mission giving. The scripture today calls us to be ready to serve the Lord. This worship setting can be one in which the school kits, prayer shawls, and other offerings can be displayed, dedicated, and offered as symbols of our service and joy in the Lord.

SURFACE:
Place several risers on the worship center. One should be at the center back and should be approximately 8" high (you will place a cross on this one). The others may be varying heights and should be "staggered" around the worship center, but not in front of the center riser. Place two risers in front of the worship center, the taller of the two to the right front and the shorter one to the left front.

FABRIC:
Cover the entire worship center in green fabric. You may use several shades of green if you wish, but I do not recommend using patterned or striped fabric for this display. The fabric should cover all the risers and "puddle" on the floor.

CANDLES:
Place one 10" white pillar candle in front of the center riser on the worship center. (This candle represents Christ). If you are not creating a "dedication" center, place several candle holders and candles on the various risers to represent readiness to serve. These candles should be lighted following the sermon or during the offering portion of the worship service.

FLOWERS/FOLIAGE:
If you wish to use leafy foliage plants, such as ivy or fern, they should be placed to the right and left of the cross. Larger plants may be placed on the floor to soften the look of the worship center.

ROCKS/WOOD:
I do not recommend rocks or wood for this setting.

OTHER:
If you are using this setting as a point of dedication for school kits, prayer shawls, food pantry offerings, you may place some of these items on the risers. Prayer shawls may be draped over the risers. School kits could be set in baskets, which are laying on their sides near the risers. Food pantry offerings may be in baskets or boxes. If you are not doing a dedication you could place uncut loaves of bread, bunches of grapes, apples, and other fruit on the various risers to show the bounty of God's love. The lighted candles are representative of readiness to serve God. 

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