Worship Connection: October 8, 2023

August 1st, 2020

19th Sunday after Pentecost 

COLOR: Green
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20; Psalm 19; Philippians 3:4b-14; Matthew 21:33-46


Call to Worship #1:
Come away from the rush and worry of the world to worship God.
We come seeking peace and quiet for our souls.

Rest your spirits. Quiet your hearts. God is with us.
Praise be to God who calls us to come away.

Call to Worship #2:
Come, the banquet of hope and praise is ready.
We come on your invitation, seeking to be fed.
Feed on the love of God in Jesus Christ
We come on your invitation, needing healing.
Be healed by God’s gracious mercy
We come on your invitation, longing for forgiveness
In Jesus’ Name, you are loved, healed and forgiven.
Alleluia, Praise be to God. AMEN.

Call to Worship #3:
[From THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2202, have a soloist or a group of unison voices sing the first verse of "Come Away with Me". This will be followed by the spoken words of welcome]
Soloist: Come away with me to a quiet place, apart from the world with its frantic pace, to pray, to reflect, and seek God’s grace. Come away with me. Come away.
Come. Rest your hearts and spirits in the presence of the Lord.
Give peace to our hearts, O Lord.
Listen with your ears and your hearts to God’s word for you this day.
Open our hearts to hear your good news, O Lord.

Call to Worship #4:
Good morning, friends. Welcome to a celebration of God’s love.
Thank you. We are glad to be here this morning.
Today we will hear the good news of God.
In this world in which the news is mostly bad, we look forward to hearing God’s good news for us.
Prepare your spirits. Quiet your souls. God is ready for you.


Invocation/Opening Prayer:
Gracious and Patient God, as we come to you this day, we are mindful of the many ways in which we have so easily turned our back on you. Turn us around again, O Lord. Open our hearts and our spirits to receive your holy word that we may again walk in the path of true discipleship. AMEN.

Prayer of Confession:
Confession is not an easy or a pleasant thing to do. We would like to think that we have been good and faithful disciples, following your way. But we know in our hearts the many ways in which we have turned our backs on you and rejected your will for us. Like the people in the wilderness, we create for ourselves idols and worship them, only to discover their shallowness and emptiness for our lives. And we wonder what went wrong. Stop us in our tracks, O Lord. Help us to be open to your will for our lives. We know what you want us to do. Give us the persistence and the courage to do your will. Heal us from our wayward actions and attitudes. Remind us that we must reach out to others in compassion and peace. Merciful God, come to us this day with your healing power and help us again to be your disciples, offering hope and peace to your hurting and wounded world. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. AMEN.

Words of Assurance:
God, who has never strayed from you, is with you. God will heal your hearts and direct your steps. Place your life in God’s loving care. AMEN.

Pastoral Prayer:
[This prayer has an optional ending. At the close of this prayer, you may have the choir sing the following canon, THE FAITH WE SING p. 2156 "Give Peace". Have them sing it through twice]

The hymn writer, Shirley Elena Murray, offered these words "Silence is a friend who claims us, cools the heat and slows the pace. God it is who speaks and names us, knows our being, touches base, making space within our thinking, lifting shades to show the sun, raising courage when we’re shrinking, find scope for faith begun." We are afraid of silence. So much of our world is claimed by noise and clamor. But here, in this place, we are called to let go, to let go of the noise, to let go of the anxiety and worry, to let go of our fears. Silence is truly a friend who claims us. Now for just a moment. Be in silence. Let the beating of your heart and the rhythm of your breathing be your focus. Put aside your worries. Focus on God.

[use approximately 1 minuted of silence here...................]

God of our lives, who offers to us peace in the silence, a moment apart from the demands and struggles of life, relax our spirits today. We have brought to you the names and situations which have claimed our worries and our attention. We come seeking healing for those who suffer, comfort for those who mourn, direction for the lost, and peace for all your people. We have brought our joys and celebrations to you, thanking you for the many ways in which you have touched our lives with your love. Give us peace and strength for our service to this world in your name. AMEN.

Optional Ending: Choir: Give peace to every heart, Give peace to every heart, Give peace, Lord, Give peace, Lord.

Offertory Prayer:
Washed in your peace and love, O God, we bring our gifts to you. Bless the gifts and the lives that they represent, that all may be used in your service and to your glory. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. AMEN.

Litany: [Note: this Litany may be used as a Call to Worship]
What do you hear today? P
Noise. Noise surrounds our lives.
What is the purpose of the noise?
It takes up space. It takes the space and place of quiet and peace.
What do you want to do about it?
We just want a little time for some quiet, a chance to catch our breath, to relax.
In the quiet, we hear God’s voice, whispering, inviting us to be peaceful.
In the quiet, we can open our hearts to God’s prompting rather than the demands of the world.
Do not be afraid of the quiet, for in the silence God’s word is proclaimed to your hearts.
In the quiet, we can find peace.
It is here for you.

Benediction, Blessing, Commission:
The Banquet of God’s love has been given to you. You have received blessing upon blessing. Go now into the world in which noise and confusion reign. Bring peace and hope in Christ’s Name to all you meet. God’s peace and love be with you now and always. AMEN.


[Note: Strong themes in today’s scripture are God’s providence, obedience, witness. There are several very visual passages in use today. The Hebrew scriptures reflect on the creation of the golden calf for the wilderness wanderers to worship. The Gospel lesson offers us the image of the banquet of the king for all the people. It will be important to determine which emphasis will dominate the worship service]

[Note: It will be important to include in your worship bulletin a brief description of the meaning of this worship visual setting]

[Note: if the focus is on the Hebrew Scriptures, the following visual may be helpful]

SURFACE: Place several risers on the main worship center. They should be placed with the higher riser on the upper left corner of the worship center, and at least one or more progressively lower ones diagonally across the worship center. Place a riser in front of the worship center.

FABRIC Beginning at the top of the higher riser, cover the entire worship center with burlap. Make sure that the burlap covers the front of the worship center, including the front riser. Again, beginning at the top left of the worship center, begin to drape a long flowing line of brightly colored fabric (something in rich burgundy or gold colors, to give the concept of wealth. Be careful not to use fabric with a large pattern). Puddle the fabric down the front of the worship center, across the riser and onto the floor.

FLOWERS AND FOLIAGE You may want to use leafy plants behind the worship center and at the sides to soften the edges of the fabric. Small leafy plants may be placed on the worship center near the various risers, again to soften the look. If you are using flowering plants, keep them to a minimum.

CANDLES On the upper right side of the table place a grouping of candles, with a 10" white pillar candle dominating the group. You may use 4-6 other candles. Cream or off white are recommended. These candles represent Christ/God, and the witnesses/disciples.

ROCKS & WOOD Take a small pile of garden rocks, the kind used for ground cover and spray paint them gold. Take six 10" lengths of two by four wood. Spray paint them gold and stack them as follows: bottom row: three 10"; second row 2 10"; top: 1 10" length. They will look like ingots. . .

OTHER: Using a basket, tipped on its side, and placed in the worship center, place the gold colored rocks in the basket, looking as though they had just spilled out. On a riser on the worship center, place the stack of "ingots". You may also place other shiny Gold objects...the golden idols that we worship. On the top riser in the center of the worship table, place a large white candle, representing God. This should be the highest candle and a central focus of the worship center.

[Note: If you are using the Gospel Passage as the major focus of the day you may want to use the following visual display]

SURFACE: Place a long riser across the back of the worship table. It should be wide enough to support a brass cross and several pillar candles.

FABRIC : Cover the worship center in brocade fabric or any other rich textured fabric that would represent celebration and banquet. You may use white fabric to cover the entire worship space and place a piece of the rich fabric over the center portion of the altar, cascading down the front of the worship center to the floor.

FLOWERS AND FOLIAGE: Floral arrangements, somewhat formal, may be placed on either side of the candles on the top riser. If you are using large ferns or other green leafy plants, you may put them on the floor in front of the worship center, but leave a place in the center for the "puddled" textured fabric.

CANDLES: I recommend using six 10" white pillar candles on the top riser of the worship center, three candles on each side of the brass cross.

ROCKS & WOOD : I do not recommend rocks and wood in this setting.

OTHER: Using good china and crystal goblets, set an attractive place setting as you would for an important dinner guest. You may want to include special napkins and napkin rings, serving pieces, etc. These should be placed directly in front of the cross on the main table and should be visible to the whole congregation. Creating the worship bulletin as though it was an invitation to the king’s banquet might be a good way to invite the people into an understanding of the setting.

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