Worship Connection: September 6, 2020

August 1st, 2020

14th Sunday after Pentecost

COLOR: Green
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Exodus 12:1-14; Psalm 149; Romans 13:8-14; Matthew 18:15-20


Call to Worship #1:
L: Shout praise to God!
P: Let us praise God with music and great joy!
L: God looks upon us with favor.
P: God rejoices in our loving compassion for others.
L: Thanks be to God who offers to us new life.
P: Praise be to Jesus Christ who taught us how to live. AMEN

Call to Worship #2:
L: How shall we live in the love of God?
P: We will treat one another with fairness and dignity.
L: How shall we witness God’s forgiving love?
P: We will reach out others with compassion.
L: Come, let us worship God who has always loved us.
P: Let our worship of God be reflected in our lives of hope and peace. AMEN.

Call to Worship #3:
[Using THE UNITED METHODIST HYMNAL, p. 617, “I Come with Joy,” offer the following call to worship as directed. As the music is being offered, have several people place the communion elements on the worship center, concluding with lighting the candles.]

L: What do you bring to worship this day?
P: We bring joy and thanksgiving for God’s forgiving love.

Congregation: singing verse 1 of “I Come with Joy”

[As this is being sung, have two people come forward with the Communion linens or other fair cloth and place it on the table on which the elements are to be placed.]

L: What is this community in which we are gathered?
P: It is a community of love and forgiveness, of hope and peace.

Congregation: singing verse 2 of “I Come with Joy”

[As this is being sung, have two people bring in the baskets of bread and the chalice of wine/juice, placing them on the table.]

L: Christ breaks the bread of life for us.
P: We are bound together in the love of Jesus Christ.

Congregation: singing verse 3 of “I Come with Joy”

[As this is being sung, have an acolyte or some other person come and light the candles.]

L: Praise be to God!

Call to Worship #4:
L: Welcome to worship today!
P: Thank you! We are glad to be here.
L: Today we will celebrate the great gift of Jesus Christ.
P: Open our hearts, Lord, to hear these healing words.
L: Come, let us worship God who loves each and every one of us.
P: Thanks be to God. AMEN.


Opening Prayer
Lord, we come this day to worship and thank you for the many ways you guide our lives. We ask that our hearts, our ears, and our spirits may be open to your healing words of love. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. AMEN.

Prayer of Confession
Merciful Lord, we like to think that we do everything well. We pat ourselves on the back when we act with love and mercy toward others, complimenting ourselves in self-righteousness. But you know us better. You know our faults and our failings. You know when we falsely proclaim that we are truly living as you would have us live. Teach us again about your forgiving and healing love. Show us ways of merciful living that we may extend the love and mercy you have given us to others. Forgive us, we pray. For we ask these things in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.

Words of Assurance
Rejoice! You are loved by God who judges your failures and heals your hearts and spirits. In Jesus’ Name, we all are forgiven and healed. AMEN.

Pastoral Prayer
Lord, we are just beginning to get back into the “church year,” a time when our lives settle down into a somewhat predictable pattern. Children are heading back to school, college students to their studies, people to their work. And life goes on. But have we overlooked how we are living that life? Have we forgotten the many ways in which we have not been faithful to you? You judge us and love us. You look at what we say and what we have done and ask us to live lives of mercy and peace. As you have forgiven us, help us be forgiving to others. Let us bring peace and hope, keeping doors open for healing and redemption. Walk with us, Lord, this day and all our days. AMEN.


Reader 1:

This Gospel message today is a tough one.

Reader 2:
Yeah! Can you imagine doing exactly what it says! I don’t think so.

Reader 1:
I know it’s talking about forgiveness and redemption, but I don’t like the idea of confrontation and witnesses and all that stuff.

Reader 2:
I can’t imagine what that would be like. You know, so many times people get their feelings hurt and think that everyone is against them. I know that I’ve said some things that have probably hurt someone’s feelings, even if I didn’t mean to do it. I think we all do that.

Reader 1:
Well, the Gospel lesson says you should to go the person and point out the fault. I guess that means that the one who is hurt should speak up and try to resolve the matter.

Reader 2:
It’s not as easy as that! Jesus wants us to live in compassionate, loving relationships with others, and that means admitting when we are wrong and facing the ones whom we have wronged. That’s tough stuff.

Reader 1:
Jesus never made it easy for anyone. He expected us to learn about tough love, the kind that is willing to be forgiving and recognizes hurts and wounds.

Reader 2:
What it boils down to is, think before you speak. How would you like to be treated. Respond instead of react. Wow, we have lots to learn, don’t we!

The peace of Jesus Christ has been poured out to you. Now go into the world bringing hope, forgiveness, and peace to others. God’s peace is with you always. AMEN.


The traditional color for this Sunday is: GREEN

[Note: When I read the Gospel lesson for today, I was reminded of the many ways in which we are enslaved to negativity--in our attitudes, our actions, and our words. The rough texture of burlap, combined with the broken chains, rocks, and frayed rope, sets the scene for this display. I have chosen to use the image of broken chains to remind us that the love of God breaks the chains of oppression and hatred. God’s love heals each one of us.]

Place a 10” riser in the center back of the worship table. Place two smaller risers, about 4” high, to the left and the right of the center riser and closer to the front of the table. Place a riser about 1’ lower than the main level of the worship center, in front of the worship table.

Although the color for today is green, I suggest using burlap to cover the entire worship center, including the riser that is in front of the center. The fabric should “puddle” on the floor in front of the riser.

Use two pillar candles on stands, on either side of the center riser. These candles should be able to be seen above the other items on the worship center.

A small green plant, such as an ivy or other trailing plant, can be placed on the riser in front of the worship center (this represents new life and growth).

Place piles of rocks and broken wood in front of the risers on the worship center. Use them sparingly (these represent brokenness and strife).

Place a brass cross on the center riser. Place the Communion elements, or symbols representing Communion in the center of the worship table. Place a medium-sized basket, tipped over on its side, on the riser to the left of center. Have some broken chains spilling out of it and draping down the worship center. Place some frayed ropes on the riser to the right of center, spilling down onto the main level.

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