Worship Elements: September 20, 2020

August 24th, 2020

16th 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

Theme Ideas

Complaining to God is not always bad. In the wilderness, it seems to have helped the hungry Hebrews. Before sending food, albeit with work required to gather it and with conditions for its use (16:4-5), God proclaims, "I have heard the complaining of the Israelites" (Exodus 16:12). In fact, following God usually requires work—at its best, joyful, "fruitful labor" (Philippians 1:22). Complaining about the good that comes to others in God's vineyard will not get us far. "Are you envious because I am generous?" asks the God character in Jesus' last-will-be-first parable (Matthew 20:15). It is better to remember, with thanks, the miracles of liberation, guidance, and nourishment received by God's people (Psalm 105:1-6, 37-45).

Invitation and Gathering

Call to Worship (Psalm 105)

Call on the name of God and give thanks.
Make known God's deeds among the people.
Sing and tell of God's wonderful works.
Let those who seek God rejoice in their hearts.
Let us worship God.

Opening Prayer (Psalm 105)

Liberating God,
we seek your journey.
With parted waters,
set us free.
With cloud and fire,
guide us.
With gushing waters,
quench our thirst.
With food from heaven,
feed us.
Draw us out with joy and singing,
that we might know your ways. Amen.

Proclamation and Response

Prayer of Confession (Philippians 1, Matthew 20)

God of fruitful labor,
work sometimes brings out the worst in us.
At home, at school, in the workplace,
even in our relationship with you,
we too easily question what others do and get,
instead of taking care of our own business.
Take away our bitterness.
Teach us the art of the careful complaint.
Give us grateful hearts, we pray. Amen.

Words of Assurance (Exodus 16, Philippians 1)

Hear the good news:
what we do matters,
but our salvation is God's doing.
God hears our complaints,
but also our prayers.
God will not forget us.In Christ's name, we are forgiven. Amen.

Invitation to the Word (Exodus 16:1-15)

Like morning dew, like manna, fine as frost,
may your word now cleanse and nourish us, O God.

Response to the Word/Sermon (Psalm 105)

Seek God. Seek God's strength.
Seek God's presence always.
Praise God! Amen.

Unison Prayer and Prayers of the People (Matthew 20:1-16)

God of grace and mercy,
whether we are lifelong laborers,
or new arrivals in your vineyard,
we know you value us just as we are.
Hear now the prayers of thanks and concern
that we now speak aloud
or raise silently from our hearts.
(Petitions may be offered.) God of the last, God of the first,
God of all those in between,
hear these concerns
as we seek your presence in our lives
and in a world in need. Amen.

Thanksgiving and Communion

Invitation to the Offering (Philippians 1, Exodus 16, Matthew 20, Psalm 105)

Whatever our struggles, whatever our miracles,
whatever our burdens, whatever our fruitful labor,
we are thankful for the blessings from God
and from God's good creation.
As signs of that gratitude,
let us offer now our tithes and gifts.

Offering Prayer (Psalm 105)

God of abundance,
receive these gifts
with thanks from your people, we pray.
May they and we
help your love and grace
flow like rivers in deserts of need. Amen.

Sending Forth

Benediction (Philippians 1)

Stand firm in the spirit;
strive side by side;
and live in a manner worthy
of the gospel of Christ.
Go in peace. Amen.

Contemporary Options

Contemporary Call to Worship (Matthew 20)

Come at dawn!
Come at noon!
Come late in the day!
Come to the vineyard,
where the last and the first
harvest God's good fruit together.

Praise Sentences (Psalm 105)

Sing and give thanks!
Call on God, whose wonders guide us,
whose rivers of love bless us.
Sing and give thanks with joy!

From The Abingdon Worship Annual edited by Mary J. Scifres and B.J. Beu, Copyright © Abingdon Press. 

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