Worship Connection: October 15, 2023

August 7th, 2020

20th Sunday after Pentecost

Color: Green
Scripture Readings: Exodus 32:1-14; Psalm 106:1-6, 19-23; Philippians 4:1-19; Matthew 22:1-14


Call to Worship #1:
When the Lord calls us to the banquet, we get puffed up with importance.
Humility needs to be our attitude; humility and gratitude.
Help us, O Lord, be grateful for the many ways in which you love us.
Help us return that love by the way in which we care for others.
Be with us, O Lord, this day.
Open our hearts to hear your words of hope and encouragement. AMEN.

Call to Worship #2:
Praise be to God, who has brought us here this day.
Praise and thanks to God for all the blessings we have received.
What joy we have in God’s presence!
What peace is brought to us in God’s house!
This is truly the day that the Lord has made!
Let us rejoice and be glad in it! AMEN.

Call to Worship #3:
[Using THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2270 , “He Has Made Me Glad,” offer the following call to worship. You may wish to change the words “He” to “God” if you prefer inclusive language in your song.)

Come, let us enter this time of worship with great joy!
Let us celebrate the goodness of God!
Let all the people shout and praise God’s name!
Happy are all those people who feel the peaceful presence of God!

Choir: singing: “He Has Made Me Glad” through one time

Let us rejoice!
Let us shout with joy!
Let us open our hearts to God.
O God, accept our praise and turn our hearts toward you. AMEN.

Choir and Congregation singing: “He Has Made Me Glad” through one time

Call to Worship #4:
When the shouts of anger and hostility pound upon our ears . . .
Quiet our hearts, O God, to hear your voice.

When the arrogance of the world and the carelessness of people threaten to destroy your creation . . .
Help us be strong in our service of hope and peace.
O God, hear our voices and our prayers. P: Be with us as we come to you.


Opening Prayer
Open our hearts and our spirits to hear your healing words of peace and love, O God. Help us be the people of service and justice that you have called us to be. Make us ready to heal rather than harm; to serve rather than sever. Give us hearts of joy and justice, for we offer this prayer in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.

Prayer of Confession
Lord, you know we are in the midst of a very confusing political season. The shouts of the partisan communities often deafen us to the needs of those around us. Help us remember that you have called us to service, to ministries of hope and healing. Forgive us when we get so caught up in the chaos that we forget your presence. Give us courage and strength to truly serve you by serving your people. For we ask this in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.

Words of Assurance
Beloved of the Lord, you are healed and forgiven. You are called to go forth in compassionate ministry to help others in need. Know that God always goes with you on your journeys into ministry. Be at peace. AMEN.

Pastoral Prayer
Today, Lord, we gather at the table, to receive the blessings of salvation; gifts that are given to transform our lives from quiet isolation to joyful service. We have come here from various struggles and times of confusion. We have come seeking restoration and healing; and you have given both to us. You have reminded us again of the blessings of healing love for all people represented in the bread and the cup in which we partake. As we have offered prayers for many people and situations near and dear to us, help us also remember that we are in prayer for ourselves, for strengthening, healing, encouragement, peace. Give us spirits of confidence in your presence that we might be part of the great healing and justice ministries you have set before us. These things we ask in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.

[Using THE UNITED METHODIST HYMNAL, p. 352, “It‘s Me, It‘s Me, O Lord," offer the following monologue, with music, as directed. It might be helpful in the beginning of the readings to be looking into a hand mirror. The tone of the reader should be very arrogant, but not angry. As the words change, the reader should become more contrite, willing to open self and admit to the fears. Drop the arrogant tone for this passage. The voice, which should be “offstage“ should be gentle and soothing, but not syrupy. Each time the soloist sings, have a “star“ removed from the risers and replaced with a burning votive candle. It is best to place the ones on the worship center first and conclude with the ones for the risers in front of the center.]

Reader: I’ve been so good! I just know that God is delighted with me! I must surely be a shining star in God’s heaven!

Soloist: softly singing: “It’s Me, It’s Me, O Lord” through one time.

[Replace star with candle on the worship center]

Reader: I don’t need anything! I have it all--talent, looks, personality, and, of course, humility!

Soloist: softly singing: “It’s Me, It’s Me, O Lord” through one time.

[Replace two stars with candles on the worship center]

Reader: After all, people come to me with their concerns and their problems, knowing that I will always have just the right slant on things. I am sought out by many people for my wisdom and experience. The Lord has blessed me, and I sure know how to use those blessings!

Soloist: softly singing “It’s Me, It’s Me, O Lord”

[Replace three stars with candles on the worship center]

Reader: No one has to pray for me! All my prayers are answered! I don’t need anything. If anything, I am moving rapidly on my way to perfection. Now, don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean that I don’t occasionally make an error. But those times are so few and far between that they are not really worth considering. I am doing very, very well, indeed!

Soloist: singing a little louder “It’s Me, It’s Me, O Lord”

[Replace three stars with candles in front of the worship center]

Reader: It’s me, it’s me, O Lord, standing in the need of prayer. What am I saying? That I am in need of prayer? That maybe, just maybe, I might be wrong? But I thought I had it all. I thought if I could only be absolutely confident in everything about myself, I would be faultless. I wouldn’t need to have others pray for me. I wouldn’t lack anything. But I do lack something, I do. I am scared! I am afraid if I don’t project absolute perfection that I won’t be worthy of notice, by anyone or even by God. I’m so scared!

[Pause] Help. Help me, God. I feel as though I’m falling apart. I’m coming apart at the seams. I don’t have all the answers, even though I pretend that I do.

Soloist: singing quietly, “It’s Me, It’s Me, O Lord” through one time

[Replace three stars with candles in front of the worship center]

Reader: I am in the need of prayer. I’m falling, Lord. Save me, please save me!

Voice: Beloved child, I will not let you fall. You are always in my care. You can let go of your need to be noticed, to be the authority in everything. I have noticed you and I love you. Do not fear. Prayer is a way of talking to me; sharing everything on your heart, your joys and your fears. There will never be a time when I am absent from you. Be at peace, my child.

[Bring in one large pillar candle to place in front of the cross, representing Christ]

You have received blessing upon blessing from the Lord. Now go into the world offering hope and peace to all people you meet. Be involved in justice and healing ministries in the name of the Lord. Go in peace, AMEN.


The traditional color for this Sunday is: GREEN
[Note: This design is meant to reflect the words and actions during the Reading portion of the worship service. You will need to have the worship center set up before the service, and it will be transformed during the worship service.]

SURFACE: Place seven risers on the worship center; the center riser should be for the cross. The risers should be “staggered” in their spacing. Place two risers in front of the worship center, one being about 6” below the surface of the center and the other about 12” below the main level.

FABRIC: Cover the entire worship center with green fabric, so that the fabric covers the risers in front of the worship center as well as those on it.

CANDLES: Have ready twelve votive candles. These candles will be placed on each of the risers, one on each of the remaining six on the worship center, and three on each of the risers in front of the worship center, during the Reading portion of the worship service. Have one large white pillar candle ready to be placed on the worship center at the very end of the reading.

FLOWERS/PLANTS: Not necessary for this worship setting.

ROCKS/WOOD: Not necessary for this worship setting.

OTHER: Have a brass altar cross on the center riser on the worship center. Create gold stars, either using yellow or gold poster board. These stars should be free standing. You will need twelve 6” high stars. These stars will be removed during the reading portion of the worship service. The stars should be placed on each of the six risers on the worship center; and three on each of the risers in front of the worship center.

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