New Worship Connection: November 5, 2017

October 5th, 2017

22nd Sunday after Pentecost

Color: Green
Scripture Readings: Joshua 3:7-17; Psalm 107:1-7, 33-37; 1 Thessalonians 2:9-13; Matthew 23:1-12

Call to Worship #1

L: God, who creates rushing springs of thirst-quenching water from dry ground, will provide generously for you.
P: Lord, thank you for quenching our thirst and guiding our lives.
L: God, who creates hope out of darkness when you thought that all was lost, will protect you.
P: Lord, we praise you for the beam of hope which penetrates the darkness of our unbelief.
L: God guides you and protects you; God watches over you and loves you unconditionally.
P: Lord, open our hearts this day that we may live in the love and protection you have provided. AMEN.

Call to Worship #2

L: So many times we are tempted to be boastful and proud, trying to outdo others in our piety. We are called to be humble in God’s sight.
P: We tend to look at those who have power in the community and who lord it over us.
L: You don’t need to do that. All that God wants is your faithfulness.
P: We are grateful because God is so forgiving with us.
L: Rejoice! God’s love is poured over you this day and all days, to nourish and to heal your lives.
P: Gracious God, thank you for being so patient with us and for giving us second chances. Be with us today as we listen with our ears and our hearts for your healing words. AMEN.

Call to Worship #3

[Using THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2131 “Humble Thyself in the Sight of the Lord”. Begin with a men’s chorus singing Verse 1 of TFWS #2131; keep the music going under the spoken word paying attention to the insert for singing]

L: Through the wilderness we have been rescued.
P: We didn’t think that we would survive.
L: God is mighty. God chose to save God’s people!
P: Now we are asked to step foot in a new place — a new attitude.

[Chorus: singing verse 1 of TFWS #2131 – increasing the tempo.]

L: God will walk with you; God will work with you! Believe!
P: Lord, give us strength to flourish in this rescue you have provided. Help us to be your people in a world of hope and peace. AMEN.

Gathering Prayer

Lord, we gather today from all the deserts in our lives. We praise you for safe passage. Work with us and walk with us today as we learn to be your people in this present world. AMEN.

Opening Prayer

Lord of mercy and hope, help us to cling to you in all our trials and tribulations. Hold us gently and bring us to a place of new beginnings where we will find healing and strength to serve you in the times ahead. We pray this in Jesus’ name. AMEN.

Prayer of Confession

Lord, you provide rushing waters to quench our thirst, and we complain about vast deserts. You shower us with love and guidance, and we whine about all the work placed before us. You give us gifts for healing and building and we denigrate those gifts. Forgive us the very many times when we are angry, greedy, lazy and weak. Pick us up, O Lord, and heal those wounds that we can serve you more effectively. Dust us off, O Lord, and place us on pathways of peace. Embrace us, the apathetic and ignorant ones, the angry and greedy, with your mercy and justice that we may grow in your spirit to live lives of great compassion and witness to your love and power for all people. We pray these things in Jesus’ name. AMEN.

Words of Assurance

Rise up! God has heard your cries. You are healed and restored. Nothing can hold you back from serving God who walks with you. This is the great good news!

Morning Prayer

As a community of faith, we come together, seeking God’s mercy and blessing. Here, in this place, the warmth of God will pour over you. We have brought with us, O Merciful God, the names and conditions of loved ones who struggle with illness, loneliness, sorrow. Lord, we offer their names and needs to you in confidence of your healing love. Let us take a moment of silence and then offer these dear ones to our Lord.

[A moment of sharing and then silence.]

We also offer to you, generous God, the wonderful things that have happened in our lives. We praise you for these gifts. Let us take a moment and share those events of love and joy.

[A moment of silence and sharing, followed by a brief prayer.]

Lord, in your love and mercy, you have heard all our prayers. Be with us and strengthen us and those whom we love. Touch all hearts with your mercy, for we ask this in Jesus’ name. AMEN.

Offertory

In gratitude for all the blessings you continue to pour into our lives, we receive this morning’s offering. AMEN.

Prayer of Dedication

Lord, you have given to us so much. Help these gifts be used for ministries of hope and healing throughout your world. AMEN.

Closing Prayer/Sending Forth

[Using THE FAITH WE SING, P. 2131, have the congregation sing the verse while the pastor offers the prayer of sending forth.]

Pastor: Lord, you have filled our lives, now give us strength to do your will with humble hearts and obedient spirits. In Jesus’ Name we are sent forth in love. AMEN.


Children’s Time

[Loosely created on Matthew 23:1-12]

Children, I want you to watch what happens in our play.

Reader One: I have accomplished so much. People turn to me for wisdom in making decisions in every day life.
Reader Two: I know what you mean. I have a gift of being a wonderful teacher, well admired and respected in the whole district.
Reader Three: Someone said that I could probably preach the birds right out of the trees. Well, I know I’m a great preacher. Everyone is calling me to visit their churches and breathe messages to their sad and tired congregation.
Reader Two: I’ll bet no one ever fell asleep during your worship!
Reader Three: They better not. Anyway, we have ushers that wander and wake up those drowsers.
Reader Two: Well, since we all are called to offer our wisdom to the people and we have loads of books to bring with us, let us fill these backpacks. Perhaps some peasant will come by to carry them for us.
Reader One: This village is surely fortunate to have us here. Look. Here comes young David. Perhaps he will carry our load — he’s good and strong.

[They strap two back packs on David’s back, filled with books. David groans under the weight.]

Reader Two: Don’t worry. He can carry anything.
David: I’m going to have a little trouble with both these bags. Do you think you might help me?
Readers One, Two and Three: laughing……….no David. We cannot help. We are very important people. There is no way to help you.
David: How about removing just one of the books?
Readers One, Two, Three: laughing………….no, David. This is your burden to bear.
David struggles forward only to collapse under the weight of the books.
Reader Three: Come on, David. Get up! You can do it.
Reader One: For Pete’s Sake, he can’t do anything. We need to be much more selective. They turn and leave the stage with David on the floor amid a pile of books.
Off-Stage voice: The one who shall turn out to be the greatest will be the one who has been deemed the least among you.
Children, what did you learn about Readers One, Two, Three?

[Receive the answers from the children.]

Maybe we felt that the three readers thought they were the most important people in the village. They worked hard in announcing their importance to each other. As for the project with which they needed help, they probably could have moved the books if they each took a pile. But they saw David and thought it was a better job for him. They couldn’t even help him when he requested it. Jesus suggested that we should not be like that. He wanted us to help each other. It’s important for us to work hard to build on the skills God has given us. Not so that we would be praised by lots of people but so that we could work for God. Lots of people in our church work for God — some are teachers, some musicians, some preachers, some who work on the rummage sale, some who help keep the church clean and looking attractive. All these people have been given gifts from God who wants them to use these gifts to help others. That’s a lot about what the church is about. Each of you has gifts which you may have already discovered or which you will discover at a later time. Praise God that all God’s gifts are meant for hope and healing. AMEN.

Art for the Altar/Worship Center

Place risers of a variety of sizes on and in front of the altar/worship center. Cover the whole worship center with brown landscaper’s burlap so that the fabric spills over the altar and onto the floor in front. Drape about six yards of green fabric across the altar, beginning with the upper left hand corner and ending with the lower right hand side. In front of the altar, put stacks of books that have been tipped over. On the altar place a back pack partially empty of books. Then place a cross at the back of the altar with a white candle on each side. You can also add stones and rocks to the display.

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