Worship Connection: November 1, 2020

October 1st, 2020

Color: Green
Scripture Readings: Joshua 3:7-17; Psalm 107:1-7, 33-37; 1 Thessalonians 2:9-13; Matthew 23:1-12


CALLS TO WORSHIP

Call to Worship #1:

L: Give thanks to God, for God is good.

P: God’s love endures forever!

L: God has come to God’s people with blessings and hope.

P: Praise God for the many ways God touches our lives. AMEN.

Call to Worship #2

L: God is leading us out of our wilderness.

P: God will provide a safe haven for us.

L: Place your trust in God’s loving kindness.

P: God has heard our cries and offers us hope.

L: Thanks be to God who brings us to life.

P: Thanks be to God who nurtures and sustains us. AMEN.

Call to Worship #3

[From the United Methodist Hymnal, p. 430, invite the congregation to sing the first verse of "O Master, Let Me Walk with Thee".]

All: O Master, let me walk with thee in lowly paths of service free; tell me thy secret; help me bear the strain of toil, the fret of care.

L: Come, draw near to the Lord. Rest your cares upon God.

P: We come, seeking God’s guidance for our lives.

L: Open your hearts and spirits to receive God’s word for you.

P: Help us, O Lord, to be attentive to your word and will. AMEN.

Call to Worship #4:

L: How good it is to gather together to praise our God!

P: It is a joyous thing to sing and speak God’s praises!

L: Let your hearts be glad and your spirits rejoice!

P: May we with joy and thanksgiving, give our attention to God’s word and love for us. AMEN.

PRAYERS, LITANY, BENEDICTION

Invocation/Opening Prayer:

God of gentle, loving guidance, who brought the Israelites into a new land, filled with new hope and promise: Be with us today, opening our hearts and spirits to an awareness of your abiding love and presence with us. Help us to place our trust solely in you; for we ask this in Jesus’ Name, AMEN.

Prayer of Confession

Patient God, sometimes we just don’t understand, we don’t get it. We want instant gratification for all our needs. We don’t want to have to follow direction or instructions. We are impatient. We want you to come down from heaven and solve our problems right now. We don’t want to have to think about the problems and we are hesitant to create solutions. When we try to wiggle out of difficult situations we get even further bound up in our own problems. You ask us to trust you. You invite us to lean on your strong arms of comfort and support. You set us on our feet and give us gifts and talents to use for healing and hope. All these wonderful things you do for us, and still we whine and complain. Please forgive us, Lord. We are a stubborn people. As Jesus reminded the disciples to trust in God’s commandments and guidance, so we are called to place our trust and confidence in your Presence. Heal our wounds. Calm our spirits and souls. Challenge and Encourage our service to humankind. And when at last we enter the land of promise, help us to truly give thanks and rejoice and praise you. AMEN.

Words of Assurance

You are not alone. God is always with you. You can place your trust in God, for God will not fail you. AMEN.

Pastoral Prayer

[Using the United Methodist Hymnal, p. 521, have a soloist sing the first verse of "I Want Jesus to Walk with Me". This should be sung in the style of a spiritual, slowly, intentionally]

Soloist: I want Jesus to walk with me. I want Jesus to walk with me. All along my pilgrim journey, Lord, I want Jesus to walk with me.

We say we want you to walk with us, Lord Jesus. But we are not comfortable with the path that is set before us. We would like a smooth, newly paved road, with clear markings and bright bold signs, telling us what to do; warning us of what lies ahead. But the journey of discipleship is like a rough mountain path. There are rocks, ruts, dust, dirt, holes. There may be wolves or robbers at any turn. We don’t know if we dare to risk discipleship if it means struggle.

Soloist: In my trials, Lord, walk with me. In my trials, Lord, walk with me. When my heart is almost breaking, Lord, I want Jesus to walk with me

But you have called us to rely on your guidance and direction. You remind us that God has never failed us yet. We have been brought to new vistas and new opportunities of service that we never would have encountered on the safe road. And this is because in all our trials, you do walk with us, Lord Jesus.

Soloist: When I’m troubled, Lord, walk with me. When I’m troubled, Lord, walk with me. When my head is bowed in sorrow, Lord, I want Jesus to walk with me.

In our troubles and concerns, Lord, we need your presence and comfort. We have so many fears and anxieties. Our hearts break and are burdened with the illnesses and grief of loved ones. We hear the news of disaster and catastrophe in this world and wonder how much of this we can stand. In our troubles and trials, Lord, remind us that we have your strength on which to rely. As we have faithfully brought before you the names of loved ones in need of your healing and comfort, remind us that we too are recipients of that same healing love. Strengthen us. Walk with us, Lord. Lift us high and give us confident strides as we follow your will and your path. AMEN.

Offertory Prayer

God is with us each day offering so many blessings. Now we bring these gifts in an attitude of praise and thanksgiving. O Lord, bless these gifts and the lives that these gifts represent. For we ask this in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.

Litany

[Using only the first four phrases of song #2152 "Change my heart, O God" from the Faith We Sing, have the leader begin the litany]

L: [singing] Change my heart, O God, make it ever true. Change my heart, O God, may I be like you.

P: Wait a minute! What do you mean "Change my heart, O God"?

L: Sometimes I am stubborn and want my own way. I whine and complain and act as if the world owes me everything. My heart is hardened toward God.

P: Yeah, but you said you wanted it to be true. Isn’t it true to you?

L: When I am being selfish, I guess you could say that it is true to me in that mood. But I know better than that. I want my heart to be true to God.

L: [singing} Change my heart, O God, make it ever true. Change my heart, O God, may I be like you.

P: What? You want to be like God? You want to be all powerful, eternal, and all that stuff?

L: No, No. I want to keep my heart and spirit open to the needs of people. To follow the ways God would have me live. To care for people and for this world. That’s what I believe God would have me do. That’s what God has always done. Loved and Cared for this world.

P: So you mean that you really want to change the ways in which you have been living, or acting. You want to reform and become a new person?

L: Absolutely. I need God’s loving guidance and help to be the kind of disciple or witness that God desires.

P: [singing] Change our hearts, O God. Make them ever true. Change our hearts, O God, may we be like you.

Benediction, Blessing, Commission:

Now, dear friends, go from this place in confidence that the God of Creation is with you. Go boldly into the world, offering peace, hope and healing love, in the name of Jesus Christ. And may the God of love, hope and peace be with you always. AMEN.

ARTISTIC ELEMENTS

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

[Note this setting suggests that the discipleship and witness for God is never easy. We are called to walk a path where God will always provide for us, bringing new life and hope]

SURFACE: Place several risers on the main worship center. They should be placed with the higher riser in the center back of the worship setting. Other risers may be placed on the worship table. Place a riser in front of the worship center.

FABRIC: Cover the worship center, including the riser in front of the worship center with burlap. Landscapers’ Burlap, which is a loosely woven fabric, is best for this. From the upper left side of the worship center, drape green fabric across the worship center toward the right and then back across the riser in front of the worship center, puddling the fabric on the floor.

FLOWERS AND FOLIAGE : Use large Boston ferns, "spiky" plants, jade plants, and some succulents throughout the worship center to depict the harder journey as though through a desert.

CANDLES In the center of the table, Place white votive candles surrounding the cross which is placed on the center top riser.

ROCKS & WOOD.Rocks, both large and small may be placed throughout the worship setting. These should be placed near the green fabric, particularly at the bottom front of the worship center. Small stones may be places along the worship center, again to present a rough appearance. If you have some particularly fine pieces of drift wood, gnarled and angular, place them in the worship setting, but not in front of the Bible.

OTHER: Place a Bible, opened to the Old Testament passage or the New Testament passage, in front of the center riser on the worship table. It should be tipped up so that the congregation is aware it is a large Bible. A red marker, placed at an angle should be laid across the Bible pages. Place a large brass cross on the top riser above the Bible and surround the cross with white votive candles.

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