Worship Elements: October 8, 2017

September 1st, 2017

18th Sunday after Pentecost

COLOR: Green
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20; Psalm 19; Philippians 3:4b-14; Matthew 21:33-46

THEME IDEAS

The law of God, and what it means to truly uphold this law, is the focus of today’s readings. From the time that the Lord’s commandments are given to Moses and the people of Israel, the law is both a blessing to those who understand its message and a curse to those who can read it only as a set of rigid, unbending rules. Paul’s letter to the Philippians reveals and clarifies the meaning of righteousness, and Jesus makes it quite clear that the kingdom of heaven belongs to those who understand God’s word to be a living, breathing entity: the love story of the Creator for all of creation.

INVITATION AND GATHERING

Call to Worship (Exodus 20)

O Lord, you are God.
There is no other God but you.
We renounce all that we have allowed
to come between us.
O Lord, we worship you.
We praise and honor your name.
We worship you on this, your holy day.
For your love, for your word,
for all that you have given:
O Lord, we thank you and praise you.
We love you.

Opening Prayer (Psalm 19)

Almighty God,
your word bursts forth into our lives
like a glorious sunrise.
You speak, and our hearts rejoice.
You command, and our eyes are opened.
The sound of your voice brings revival to our souls.
Your words are purer than the finest gold.
True and righteous one, living Word,
light our way.
As we listen to your Spirit,
may the words of our mouths
and the thoughts of our hearts
be accepted in your sight, O Lord,
our strength and our redeemer. Amen.

PROCLAMATION AND RESPONSE

Prayer of Confession (Philippians 3)

No matter how righteous
we imagine ourselves to be, Lord,
your perfect word reveals our imperfections
all too clearly.
No matter how hard we strive
to fulfill the requirements of your law,
we always fall short.
We have forgotten that righteousness and perfection
come not from rules and regulations
but from faith.
We have ignored the truth that your righteousness
comes from faith.
Open our eyes to see that all we have accomplished
is nothing compared to knowing Christ
as our Lord.
Let us count everything as loss,
that we might gain heaven
and be found blameless in Christ.
In the name of the Savior we pray. Amen.

Words of Assurance (Philippians 3)

Take heart; have faith. The goal is in sight.
Press on to take hold of it,
as Christ has taken hold of us.
Have no fear; leave the past behind.
Reach out for what lies ahead, for the prize,
for the life to be found in Christ Jesus.

Response to the Word (Matthew 21)

The weight of your words, your laws,
your commandments and decrees
can become an impossible burden, Lord,
if we allow them to overwhelm and crush us.
Yet they were meant to be life-giving,
vital and alive—
the foundation for our lives,
the chief cornerstone of your church,
the living temple of God.
Loving God, this is your handiwork.
How amazing and wonderful it is!

THANKSGIVING AND COMMUNION

Offering Prayer (Psalm 19, Philippians 3)

Lord of grace and forgiveness,
you who gave everything
and spared nothing
to make us your own,
we offer back to you
what you have so freely given to us.
Let all that we say and do,
all that we think and plan and consider,
be pleasing to you, blessed Creator,
Provider, and Savior,
in whose name we pray. Amen.

SENDING FORTH

Benediction (Psalm 19, Matthew 21)

Hear the voice of the Creator, the mighty God,
the One who built the vault of heaven,
who set the sun on its blazing course
through the skies!
Hear the words of life,
declared not by speech or language or voice
but written on the heart!
Go forth in the name of the living Word,
the One whose words bring forth
the fruit of the kingdom in your own lives! Amen.

CONTEMPORARY OPTIONS

Gathering Words (Psalm 19)

The heavens shout out the glory of God!
The universe declares God’s work!
We hear no voice or speech.
Yet the word is heard in all the earth!
The word of the Lord reaches to the end of the world!
Thanks and praise be to our God!

Praise Sentences (Psalm 19)

The word of the Lord is perfect!
God’s word revives the soul!
The decrees of God never fail!
Our hearts rejoice!
The word of God shines clear!
Our eyes are enlightened!
The word of the Lord endures forever!
Blessed be God’s holy name!



From The Abingdon Worship Annual, edited by Mary J. Scifres and B.J. Beu, Copyright © Abingdon Press. 

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