Worship Connection: September 24, 2023

August 24th, 2020

17th Sunday after Pentecost

Color: Green
Scripture Readings: Exodus 16:2-15; Psalm 105:1-6, 37-45; Philippians 1:21-30; Matthew 20:1-16


Call to Worship #1:
L: In the midst of the desert heat, God heard the cries of the people.
P: Help us, Lord, please help us.
L: Manna was given and water gushed forth from a rock.
P: Lord, have mercy upon us.
L: In the midst of the deserts of fear and frustration, God will provide for our needs.
P: Lord, come to us and heal us. AMEN.

Call to Worship #2:
L: Give thanks to the Lord!
P: Call upon the name of the Lord!
L: God’s love and mercy are given daily for each of us.
P: God’s forgiveness and tenderness are poured out for us.
L: Praise be to God who deals so kindly with us.
P: Lord, help us offer the same compassion to others. AMEN.

Call to Worship #3:

[Using THE FAITH WE SING, p, 2126, “All Who Hunger,” offer the following call to worship as directed.]

L: Who are you, who have come here today?
P: We are those who hunger and thirst for hope and peace.

Choir: singing verse 1 of “All Who Hunger”

L: Welcome to worship, a feast awaits you.
P: We have wandered near and far, seeking God’s mercy.

Choir: singing verse 2 of “All Who Hunger”

L: Jesus Christ offers to you healing and sustenance.
P: Thanks be to Christ for his mercy and generosity.

Congregation and Choir: singing verse 3 of “All Who Hunger”

Call to Worship #4:
L: Whether you arrived here first this morning or came in as the service was beginning, God bids you joyful welcome.
P: We thank you and thank God for this generous welcome.
L: You are precious in God’s sight, a delight in God’s presence.
P: Lord, we have come seeking your healing mercy.
L: Know that God’s compassionate love is poured over you this day.
P: Hallelujah! AMEN.


Opening Prayer

Lord, whether we have come to you from long ago, or have just come to you now, you reach out with love and blessing for each one of us. Help us remember your mercy and your love and offer greetings and blessings to each other in your name. AMEN.

Prayer of Confession
Forgiving Lord, we are such jealous people. We want to make sure that we get what we deserve, that we are always treated fairly. Yet we complain when you treat others, who have not worked as hard or been as faithful, with such love. Just like the workers in the Gospel lesson, we want to know why you are as generous with the late-comers as you are with us, after all, we whine, we’ve been here longer. You are merciful and compassionate. You do not count the time, but the quality of the heart. Forgive us, generous Lord, when we have been so petty about your love. Heal and restore us. Help us reach out with love and hope to others in the name of Jesus Christ. AMEN.

Words of Assurance
Blessings are showered on all who seek God. Come and rejoice! God has given you such love and mercy. AMEN.

Pastoral Prayer
Lord of justice and mercy, we quibble over perceived little injustices. We look around us and see mercy being offered to others, when we feel that they have done little to merit such treatment. Our world is in such bad shape. There are true injustices and horrible situations in which peace and mercy seem to be dim and distant hopes. Give us eyes to see where justice and compassion may be offered. Give us hearts to reach out to those who are new in faith and who struggle in life. Enable and strengthen each one of us in your service, that we may offer peace and hope to others, not counting the cost, but sharing the wealth of your mercy and love. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. AMEN.


Reader 1:

Whew! What a long day! I’ve been out there working in the hot sun since 6 am. And here it is 5 pm. I am looking forward to getting paid for this day.

Reader 2:
Me, too. I got called to work about noon, and you are right about the heat! Wow, was it ever hot out there! I can surely use the pay for this day.

Reader 3:
I didn’t work as long as you both. I got to work about 3 pm, but the work was hard, and the sun was hot. The pay will surely be welcome in my house.

Reader 4:
I was so grateful to be called for work. I never thought it would happen. I only worked about one hour, but I was glad for the work. I hope that I get called again. Any pay I get will surely help my family.

Reader 1:
You only worked 1 hour?

Reader 4:
That’s right. I waited all day, and finally the manager hired me.

Here you go. Equal pay for all of you.

Reader 1:
Wait a minute! I worked all day and you gave the same amount to the person who only worked one hour. That’s not fair.

Readers 2 and 3:
Yeah, that’s right. How come that person gets the same as we do?

Didn’t I have an agreement with each of you that I would pay you this amount for this day? Did I not give you what I agreed to give you? It is not your business what I have given to the others, to either the ones who worked all day, or since noon, or since three, or just one hour. It is my decision to treat each person fairly as I have agreed upon with them. No one of you is greater than the other. All of you are valuable in my sight, and my appreciation is given to each of you.

And Jesus said, “The first shall be last and the last shall be first.”

God shows mercy and love to all God’s people. Go into the world where strife and injustices prevail and bring God’s love to each one, not counting the cost, but rejoicing in the sharing. God’s peace is with you always. AMEN.


The traditional color for this Sunday is: GREEN

Place a 10” riser on the center back of the worship table. Place a riser in front of the worship table about 12” lower than the main level.

Cover the whole worship center in green fabric, preferably a dark forest green.

Place candles as follows: A group of 10” pillar candles to the left and slightly in front of the center riser; a group of 8” pillar candles to the right and slightly in front of the center riser; a group of 6” pillar candles to the left and slightly toward the center of the 10” pillar candles; a group of 3” pillar candles to the right and slightly toward the center of the 8” pillar candles. (These candles represent the workers.)

Place a leafy green plant in front of the worship center.

Not necessary for this setting.

Place a brass cross on the 10” riser in the center of the worship table. Place a box on the riser in front of the worship table. Have streamers, made of white cloth, coming from the box (these should be placed so that the words can be seen by the congregation). The streamers should be 4“ wide and about 4‘ long. Each streamer should have a word written upon it: Love, Mercy, Forgiveness, Peace, Hope, Justice, Healing. From the top of the box, have a cord or ribbon that leads to each group of candles, reminiscent of the workers receiving the same payment.

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