Classic Worship Connection: July 23, 2017

June 19th, 2017

Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

COLOR: Green
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Genesis 28:10-19a; Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24; Romans 8:12-25; Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

CALLS TO WORSHIP

Call to Worship #1

L: In the midst of strife, God is with us!
P: Come, O Lord, and pour your word into our hearts.
L: In the anguish and grief of everyday living, God is with us!
P: Hear our cries, O Lord, and quiet our spirits!
L: Come, let us open our hearts and spirits to the Lord.
P: We come, with confidence and hope in the presence of God. AMEN.

Call to Worship #2

L: Has it been a tough week?
P: So much has happened; some of it good, other things that are hurtful.
L: The Lord has been with you in all that has happened.
P: We need to see the loving presence of God.
L: Open your eyes and see God’s wondrous love active in your life.
P: Lord, help us to take our focus away from our strife and place it on you. AMEN.

Call to Worship #3

[Using THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2172, “We Are Called,” offer the following call to worship as directed. ]

L: God has scattered the seed of love and compassion lavishly to the world.
P: But some of the seed is wasted. It has fallen into ruin and decay.
L: There will always be enough seed that falls into the good soil.
P: But how will we know? Help us, Lord, discern the goodness that has been poured out to us.

Congregation: singing “We Are Called”  [Note: If you do not have the pew edition of THE FAITH WE SING, have your choir sing this song.]

L: AMEN
P: AMEN!

Call to Worship #4

L: The Lord knows each and every one of us and loves each one dearly.
P: Sometimes it feels as though God has drifted away from us.
L: Be strong! Look for the ways in which God is present to you.
P: Given all the troubles of the day, we often look more closely at them.
L: Come, open your hearts and spirits to God’s love and presence
P: Lord, help us to see your presence in all of life’s circumstances. AMEN.

PRAYERS, READING, BENEDICTION

Opening Prayer

God of Jacob, who rested his head on a stone pillow and saw visions of your angels, be with us this day. Give us a vision of your presence in the midst of our strife. Give us courage and confidence that you are with us, calling us to be your loving people in the world. For we ask these things in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.

Prayer of Confession

Patient Lord, it is so easy for us to focus on all the things that are wrong. We spend much time and energy in anger and sorrow, leaving behind the possibilities of hope and service to you. Ease our hearts, O Lord. Forgive our willingness to get caught up in the negative. Direct our steps toward positive actions that will produce growth and peace. We offer this prayer in the name of Jesus Christ. AMEN.

Words of Assurance

God’s seeds of love have already been sown in your midst. Come and see the love of God outpoured for you. You are God’s beloved ones. Come, live in the light of God. AMEN.

Pastoral Prayer

Lord, we wonder about you. We look around us at the mighty power and majesty of nature, and it is easy for us to sing songs of praise for your creation. But then we look at the ways in which people treat one another. Too often, lying and cheating are touted as the ways in which we should live. We see deceit and anger, hostility and hatred, and we wonder where the visions of the angels descending and ascending are today. We long for times of peace and joy yet are drawn into the horrors of the world. Be with us, Lord. Help us see and feel your presence in our lives. Help us place our trust in you. For there is much work to be done in your world, and you have called us to this work. Guide our steps and guard our lives. For we ask this in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.

Reading

Voice: The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, the weeds appeared as well.

Reader 1: Some gardener! He should have been more careful. You’ve got to watch out for enemies all around you.

Reader 2: Yes. You can never tell when something you have done will be corrupted.

Reader 1: Let me tell you, if I was that gardener I would have built a big wall around the garden and stationed guards on all four sides. I would have guard dogs patrolling, making sure that nothing gets through. I wouldn’t take any chances.

Reader 2: I know what you mean! Vigilance! That’s the ticket. In this day and age, you have to be watchful and careful. You can’t trust anyone.

Voice: When the gardener’s helpers told him about the weeds and asked him if they should pull them up, he responded, “No, for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers: Collect the weeds first and bind them into bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.”

Reader 1: I don’t get it. This gardener is letting the weeds grow with the wheat. What’s his problem? Doesn’t he know that he should just grab those weeds and yank them out of the garden?

Reader 2: So you lose a few good plants. What’s the problem with that?

Voice: Your care is commendable. Your job is to nurture the good plants. In the strengthening of the good plants, lies the hope for the world. God is with you, even in the midst of the weeds.

Benediction

Go into God’s world with confidence and hope. God’s presence is with you in all that you do. Be those people who plant seeds of comfort and hope. God will bring about the harvest in due time. AMEN.

ARTISTIC ELEMENTS

The traditional Color for this Sunday is: GREEN

[Note: This is an interesting Sunday for the worship artist. You could focus on making an arrangement of weeds and good plants. You will need lots of help with this, so look to the gardeners in your parish for assistance. I have suggested landscaper‘s burlap as the main fabric for the worship center. It comes in a large roll and will need to be aired out before you use it on the worship center. This is a wonderful fabric to have. You may cut it to fit or leave it and double it up, which is what I do because I use this fabric in many settings.]

SURFACE:
Place five risers on the worship center: one riser, about 10” tall, should be at the center back; the other risers, of varying heights, may be placed randomly on the worship center. Place a riser in front of the worship center. Cover all the risers with a clear plastic painter’s drop cloth to help protect the surfaces from the moisture and soil of the plants.

FABRIC:
Cover the entire worship center with burlap (I prefer to use landscaper’s burlap, which can be found at most garden stores or plant nurseries. It comes in a 50-foot roll and will need to be unrolled and laid outside to air out; it has an interesting aroma.) This burlap can be woven back and forth across the worship center, puddling on the floor in front of the worship center.

CANDLES:
No candles are necessary for this setting.

FLOWERS/PLANTS:
Here’s where you can have some fun. Get some lovely healthy plants, very robust, preferably in terra cotta pots. They should be green and very leafy. Place these plants on the risers on the worship center and in front of the worship center. If you have some taller plants, you may place them on the floor in front of the worship center, to the sides of the floor riser. Also get some weeds, the scragglier the better, and pot them in smaller terra cotta pots, some of them can be falling over and spilling out of the pots. Place them on the main level of the worship center, near the other potted plants, and on the riser in front of the worship center. Be careful not to overplant this setting. Give the impression of the strong plants growing among the weeds.

ROCKS/WOOD:
I would place some clusters of rocks near the weed plants both on the main level and on the riser in front of the worship center. It breaks the dominance of the green and gives a little texture to the setting.

OTHER:
Place a brass cross on the center riser on the worship center. It should be easily seen amid the plants and weeds.

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