Worship Elements: October 15, 2017

September 15th, 2017

19th 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

Theme Ideas

Today's encouragement to be humble and to focus on good things is especially apt in the heat of a political season. What if politicians, and all of us, would stand firm, but be gentle and thankful, thinking on what is true, honorable, just, pure, pleasing, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8)? What if seekers of justice and righteousness would first confess that "we and our ancestors have sinned" (Psalm 106:6), acknowledging the fallibility of people and nations as seen in the incident at Mount Sinai (Exodus 32:1-14)? Scholar Dennis Duling notes that even the harsh allegorical parables in Matthew 21 and 22, while illustrating the rejection of certain leaders, warn the newly included against self-righteous arrogance.

Invitation and Gathering

Call to Worship (Psalm 106)

Praise the Lord.
Give thanks for God's goodness.
God's steadfast love endures forever.
Happy are those who observe justice,
who do righteousness at all times.
Save us, O Lord,
and gather us from among the nations,
that we may give thanks to your holy name,
and glory in your praise.

Come and worship God!

Opening Prayer (Philippians 4)

Gracious God,
when the world's political noise is turned up high,
we come not to escape, but to seek wisdom,
and to focus on things that are worthy.
Dial down the distractions in our minds.
Tune our senses to your word
and our hearts to your praise.
In your holy name we pray. Amen.

Proclamation and Response

Prayer of Confession (Exodus 32, Matthew 22, Philippians 4)

God of mercy,
in our impatience for answers,
we sometimes turn to idols of our own making
and forget our covenant with you.
Passionate for what is right,
we wrong those with whom we differ.
Pleased at the invitation to your banquet,
we fail to arrive with humility and thanksgiving.
Forgive us when our faith is weak
and our zeal too strong.
In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Words of Assurance (Philippians 4, Psalm 106)

Do not worry; the Lord is near.
God hears our prayers with compassion
and with abundant, steadfast love.
Rejoice, for in the name of Jesus Christ, we are forgiven!

Passing of the Peace (Philippians 4)

Let your gentleness be known to everyone,
and the God of peace will be with you.
The peace of Christ be with you.
And also with you.
Let us greet one another with a sign of God's peace.

Response to the Word/Sermon (Philippians 4)

Whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, pleasing,
commendable, and worthy of praise—
let us think about these things.
May we be strengthened to do what is pleasing
and acceptable in God's sight.

Unison Prayer (Philippians 4, Psalm 106)

In times of difference and division,
save us from rancor and meanness, O God.
Help us focus ourselves on things
that are excellent and worthy.
Make us witnesses to your way of justice
and righteousness.
Transform us and transform the world, we pray. Amen.

Thanksgiving and Communion

Offering Prayer (Psalm 106, Philippians 4)

O God, creator of all that we have and all that we are,
no one can utter all your mighty deeds
or declare all your praise.
Yet accept these gifts, we pray,
both as tools of the work of the gospel
and as signs of our pledge to be coworkers
in Christ's name. Amen.

Sending Forth

Benediction (Philippians 4)

Do what you have learned and received
and seen and heard in Christ,
and the peace of God will be with you.
And may that peace,
which passes all understanding,
guard our hearts and our minds
in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Contemporary Options

Contemporary Call to Worship (Philippians 4)

Come, Holy Spirit, and incline our minds
to things that are true and just,
things that are pure and pleasing,
things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Come, Holy Spirit, and incline our hearts
toward you!

Praise Sentences (Psalm 106)

Praise and thank the Lord, for God is good!
God is good, all the time!
All the time, God is good!
God's steadfast love endures forever.
Praise and thank the Lord!


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

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