Worship Connection: October 1, 2023

August 25th, 2020

18th Sunday after Pentecost

Color: Green
Scripture Readings: Exodus 17:1-7; Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16; Philippians 2:1-13; Matthew 21:23-32


Call to Worship #1:
L: Come, let us worship God who provides for us.
P: Even though we whine and complain, God hears our cries.
L: Lift your voices in praise, for God has come to comfort you.
P: Thanks be to God who forgives and heals our wounded souls.
L: Come, celebrate God’s steadfast love.
P: Open our hearts, O Lord, and let us truly listen to your words. AMEN.

Call to Worship #2:
L: This week has been filled with joys and sorrows.
P: We have come here this day with burdens on our hearts.
L: God, who hears your cries, will offer you healing love.
P: Thanks be to God for such generous compassion.
L: Open your hearts to God’s infinite mercy.
P: We open our spirits to receive God’s love for us. AMEN.

Call to Worship #3:
[Using THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2131, “Humble Thyself in the Sight of the Lord,” offer the following call to worship as directed. Have a male soloist sing Part I of this song and a female soloist sing Part II the first time through. Then each time the song is done, have men sing Part I and women sing Part II.]

Soloists: singing “Humble Thyself in the Sight of the Lord” through one time

L: Come and celebrate with a contrite heart
P: It’s been a tough week. We feel frustrated and exhausted.
L: Let your needs be known to the Lord, who offers healing balm.
P: Our bodies, spirits, and our hearts need such comforting.

Choral ensemble: singing “Humble Thyself in the Sight of the Lord” through one time

L: Feel the power of God’s grace
P: Wash away our fears and doubts, O Lord.
L: Rejoice in God’s love for you.
P: Lord, open our eyes and our hearts to hear and feel your presence with us.

Choral ensemble: singing “Humble Thyself in the Sight of the Lord” through 3 times, with increasing intensity.

L and P: AMEN!

Call to Worship #4:
L: Jesus has called us here this day.
P: We are here, although for some of us it was not an easy choice
L: Often what we say and do are very different.
P: Help us follow God’s will, not with lip service, but with true humility.
L: Come, now is the time to worship.
P: Now is the time of healing, restoration, and hope. AMEN.

Call to Worship#5:
L: All heaven and earth proclaim the majesty of God’s creative power!
P: Praise God for the amazing and awesome beauty.
L: God has given to us codes by which to live together in harmony and peace.
P: In these commandments, God has summed up the ways we must respect one another.
L: Rejoice in the goodness of God.
P: Praise God for God’s complete and steadfast love for us. AMEN.


Opening Prayer
Loving God, we come this day to worship with so many things on our hearts and minds. We are drawn away by problems and cares. Heal our spirits. Open our hearts. Help us be your disciples. AMEN.

Prayer of Confession
How quick we are to say yes to you, O Lord, and then we turn around and forget our bold words of commitment. We really want to serve, but we are very weak and are easily drawn away by cares and fears. We pledge ourselves to working for your kingdom but find ourselves pulled this way and that by other demands on our time and energy. Forgive us, O Lord, when we so quickly drop our commitments to serving you. Heal our spirits and give us the bold courage to truly be your disciples. For we ask these things in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.

Words of Assurance
God knows our hearts and our spirits. God sees our struggles and forgives our weakness. Know that it is in God’s healing love that you live and move and have your being. Rejoice, for God is with you always. AMEN

Pastoral Prayer
Lord of hope and healing, you have heard the cries of our hearts. You know that we do want to serve you, and yet when things get tough, we buckle and cave in. We lack the courage and strength to work for you. You have reminded us that you will be continually with us and we need to place our trust in that fact. Your love will sustain and heal us. Your mercy and grace will give us courage and strength, joy and peace. As we have come before you this day, offering our prayers for those near and dear to us, let us remember that you constantly lift and carry us in your love. Bring us to the knowledge of your mercy and powerful love that will never leave us. Prepare us for ministry in areas of need and desolation. For we ask these things in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.


Voice: Come, beloved. Come and be a blessing to the people in need. There is much to be done, and I have equipped you to serve and heal. Come, the time is now to work for hope and justice.

Reader 1: I’m ready, Lord. Just look at me! I will go into the fields of need and bring your words of compassion and justice! I just have to finish this one little task before I go.

Voice: The time to serve is now. The task you so urgently need to complete will still be there when you have done as I have asked. Why do you hesitate?

Reader 1: I’m not hesitating, exactly. Well, you know what I mean. Do you really need me to come right now? Can’t I have a little time? OK, I’ll come, I promise.

Voice: Come, dear one. I have need of your gifts and talents. There is much work to be done, and I have chosen you to be part of this great service.

Reader 2: Listen, Lord! I know you need everyone to help, but I’m really not the person. I’m not good enough. I don’t have the talents everyone else seems to have. I don’t know why you are asking me. Surely there are others who are much more qualified than I am. I just can’t do this right now. I know you understand.

Voice: And the first one, who said that he/she would come, did not come. Instead, the task that seemed so urgent claimed him/her. The words were strong, but the commitment was not. However, the second one, who believed he/she was not good enough and did not have the talent, did come and work. Each one that God has called is given strength and courage. Each one has talent and abilities that are needed in this world for healing. Each one is loved by God and strengthened by God’s compassionate forgiveness. It is easy to say yes and then back down. It is also easy to say no claiming inability. But God knows us better. God calls to each of us. How can we, who have received so much from God, say no. Come, dear friends, the time is now to serve. Right now, in this place, in this hour, in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.

Go bravely and boldly into this world of confusion and pain. Bring God’s healing words of love and forgiveness. Know the power of mercy and grace in your life, and use those wonderful gifts to serve God by serving the people. Go in peace. AMEN.


The traditional color for this Sunday is: GREEN

[Note: Create a “footpath.” One person with painted feet will walk the length of this fabric/paper. Use room darkening fabric, the kind used on draperies, or heavy white butcher paper. The strip of fabric/paper should be about 24“ wide; have one person, preferably an adult with a large shoe size, paint the bottoms of their feet with acrylic paints (acrylic paint is removed with soap and water, but do not get in on your clothes because it is not so easily removed from fabric)--generally in blue or red (some color that will stand out against the white background of the fabric/paper). The painted footprints should progress down the length of the fabric/paper as though the person was walking on a path. Be careful no one else steps on the path or the person smudges the foot prints. It is a good idea to have several helpers with this task. The “footpath” will have to be created about a week before this service, giving the paint time to dry.]

Place a 6” riser on the center back of the worship table. Place a riser in front of the worship table about 12” below the surface of the main table.

Cover the entire worship center, including the front riser, with green fabric so that it puddles on the floor in front of the worship center. Place the “footpath” beginning on the top riser and flowing down across the table, across the front riser, and out onto the floor in front of the worship center.

Place two white pillar candles on each side of the center riser on the worship table.

On each side of the candles, you may place a green leafy plant or vine such as ivy. Other plants may be placed on the floor in front of the worship center on either side of the “footpath.”

Rocks and stones may be placed near the footpath as a reminder that the journey is not easy or without barriers.

Place a brass cross on the center riser on the worship table.

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