New Worship Connection: November 12, 2017

October 12th, 2017

23rd Sunday after Pentecost

Color: Green
Scripture Readings: Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25; Psalm 78:1-7; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Matthew 25:1-13

Call to Worship #1

[Using THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2128, “Come and Find the Quiet Center”, offer the following call to worship as directed below.]

Leader: We get ourselves so caught up in the hectic world around us. O Lord, be with each of us as we gather this day for worship.

[This is the first verse of the hymn. It should be sung with simple piano accompaniment.]

L: Come and find the quiet center in the crowded life we lead.
P: Find the room for hope to enter, find the frame where we are freed.
L: Clear the chaos and the clutter
P: Clear our eyes that we can see
ALL: All the things that really matter. Be at peace and simply be. AMEN.

Call to Worship #2

L: Come, let us bow down to the Lord; let us kneel before the Lord our maker.
P: In the ancient times, God had mercy on Israel and led them through the desert to a new land.
L: This day the Lord is showering us with mercy, bringing us hope and peace.
P: We long to feel the showers of hope and mercy on us.
L: Lord, guide our feet as we run this race of faith for you.
P: Lord, open our hearts as we reach out to others in compassion. AMEN.

Call to Worship #3

[Using THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2208, “Guide My Feet” offer the following call to worship as directed.]

L: Get ready! The time is coming when the Lord will be brought near to us.
P: Lord, set us on the pathway that leads to you.
Choir: singing verse 1 of “Guide My Feet” one time through
L: Lord, reach out to us and take our hands.
P: Help us, Lord! Guide us.

Choir singing verse 2 of “Guide my Feet.”

L: Gracious God, be with us throughout this day and all our days.
P: Heal our lives and open our hearts to you always. AMEN.

[Choir singing verse 1 of “Guide My Feet” three times through.]

Gathering Prayer

Lord, we are always getting ready for something. Rejoice with us as we prepare our hearts and spirits for the coming of your Son Jesus Christ. AMEN.

Opening Prayer

Lord, we are always seeking guidance for the journey you have placed us on. We would like it if everything was spelled out so that we knew what to expect. But that’s not the way life works. You remind us, in the story of the 10 bridesmaids, that we should always be ready to seek you and to serve you. Open our hearts today and remind us of your awesome love for us throughout all the generations, for we ask these things in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.

Morning Prayer

Each morning we arise, O Lord, wondering what the day will bring. For some of us there are many wonderful things to anticipate; new opportunities to celebrate. We smile at the sun and revel in its warmth. Even in the midst of trouble, your love comes through to us in the most amazing ways. For our friends and family who experience great joy at this time, we offer our prayers of joy! Let us pray. Lord of mercy and hope, may the warmth of your restoring and transforming love flood over them and through them to others. 

For many people, pain and hurt seem to be the daily encounter with life. Hope for something better is a distant vision. Lord, be with our sisters and brothers in their pain. Lord, we ask for your healing love to surround them as they journey through life. Give them courage and peace. We name, with our words, and in our hearts, those who struggle and suffer.

[Offer a few minutes of silence.]

For all your healing mercies, we gratefully thank you. Lord, for all anywhere, we offer prayers of healing and hope that their lives may be filled with your love and peace. In Jesus’ name, we pray. AMEN.

Prayer of Confession

Lord, forgive us when we so easily turn our backs on you; when we choose not to help in times of need; when we utter words of anger and bitterness as ways to relate to one another. Heal our hearts and our wounded spirits. Lift us from the depths of our anguish into the light of your love that we may serve you faithfully. When the darkness becomes oppressive and we cling to our fears, O Lord, forgive us. Open our hearts and release us from all those things which block us from your love, for we ask these things in Jesus’ name. AMEN.

Words of Assurance

God’s brilliant love bursts through the oppressive darkness to heal our spirits and to prepare us to become effective disciples! Rejoice! God’s love is poured out for you!

Offertory

Lord, as you have so abundantly blessed each of us, let us return a portion of these gifts in gratitude for all you have given to us. Let us receive our morning offering.

Prayer of Dedication

Lord, we return a portion of all the gifts you have given to us in remembrance and in gratitude for these blessings. Use these gifts to support ministries of healing and hope, for we ask this in Jesus’ name. AMEN.

Closing Prayer/Sending Forth

Hold back and wonder what might have been; choose God and rejoice in the many ways you will see God’s love in the world. It’s all about choices — which will you choose? This answer can make all the difference in your life. Go in peace! AMEN.


Children’s Time

There’s a special song in our FAITH WE SING books, p. 2056. It’s called “God Is So Good”. Whenever I feel down or wonder if I can accomplish anything, I think about this song. I also think about this when I know, that by myself, I can’t accomplish my goal. Then I sing this song like it is a prayer, and I know that God will help me. I want to teach you this song:

[Have choir sing the first verse of the song through one time.]

That sounded so good! Well, this is kind of connected to a project I had set for myself. I wanted to help my church because I know the many ways in which the church has helped others. So I looked in my “loose change” jar and got out some money. I thought I might find a way to make some more money for the church, but I haven’t been able to get around very well lately, so I’m asking your help.

[Leader hands out dimes; then nickels, and then pennies to the children.]

I was going to try to make some more so that I could help our church. Could you hold onto the dimes, nickels and pennies and bring it back to me next week? Thanks. I appreciate that. During out children’s time we will look over how much we have and give the total of what’s on hand to the church. Thanks for helping me. I knew that you would help me. We will count it up and ask the Lord to bless these gifts. Have a wonderful day! God bless you all!

Art for the Altar/Worship Table

Cover the worship center with green cloth which drapes to the floor. Place a 10-foot length of silky blue fabric down the front of the altar/worship center. On either side of the blue fabric “river” place green leafy plants, such as ivy, pothos, fern. Also place several of these plants at the base of the display. Small, leafy potted plants may be placed among the larger plants. Add rock and stones at the base and scattered on the altar/worship center. Finally, place a brass cross on the blue fabric at the center back of the altar/worship center. Two large pillar candles may be placed on either side of the cross.

Scripture into Script

(Loosely based on Psalm 78:1-7)

Reader One: Come closer, friends, and listen to my teachings. Listen closely to what I am saying. I will teach you using riddles from the past, I will speak proverbs to you. No longer will the truth be hidden in mysterious word games. It will be proclaimed openly, right here, in the midst of the congregation.
Reader Two: At last we will gain understanding for the meaning of the riddles will no longer be hidden. As these riddles are open to us, we shall learn of them and proclaim them to each generation.
Reader Three: God has always been with God’s people, even when they were drawn into slavery in Egypt. God gave a series of laws to God’s people that they should live in peace and harmony.
Reader Two: Children not yet born will know these laws and the instruction for living from God and they will place their hope in God, never forgetting the wondrous deeds God has done for them.
Reader Three: They shall internalize the meaning of these instructions and live in peace with their neighbors. This is possible because God is with us in all that we do. God calls us to live in peace and so we shall!

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