Worship Connection: November 12, 2023

October 2nd, 2020

Color: Green
Scripture Readings: Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25; Psalm 78:1-7; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Matthew 25:1-13


Call to Worship #1:
L: Today God’s word will be spoken to your hearts.
P: Open our ears and our hearts to receive God’s word.
L: Today God’s love will be poured into your life.
P: Prepare us, Lord, to receive your love.
L: Hallelujah!
P: Hallelujah!

Call to Worship #2
L: Are you ready to worship?
P: We believe that we are.
L: Put away all those cares and worries that keep you from hearing God’s word.
P: The cares and worries of the world have been put aside that we may be truly ready.
L: The Lord comes to you this day.
P: Thanks be to God for God’s abiding presence and promise. AMEN.

Call to Worship #3:
[Using the United Methodist Hymnal, "Stand Up and Bless the Lord", p. 662, have the congregation sing the verses as directed]

L: God is in God’s holy temple. Be ready to greet the Redeemer.
P: [singing] Stand up and bless the Lord, ye people of his choice; stand up and bless the Lord your God with heart and soul and voice.
L: God is with us and call us to this holy hour.
P: We come rejoicing and praising God
L: This day let service to God be your choice.
P:[singing] God is our strength and song, and his salvation ours; then be his love in Christ proclaimed with all our ransomed powers.

Call to Worship #4:
L: We are pulled in many directions.
P: Many duties and tasks seek to lay claim on our lives.
L: This day, in this place, let service to God be your choice.
P: This day, in this place, we open our hearts and spirits to God.
L: Blessed be the God of creation who has called us here.
P: Praise be to God who sustains and nurtures our lives. AMEN.


Invocation/Opening Prayer: [WBW: Yr A, Pentecost 25, God’s Presence, Strength, Hope, Personal Holiness, Witness]

Through the week of stress and demands, we come to you this day, O Lord. Awaken us again to your comforting and loving presence in our lives. Help us to be open to the many ways in which you have called to us and sustained us. Make us ready to be of service to you. AMEN.

Prayer of Confession [WBW: Yr A, Pentecost 25, God’s Presence; Obedience, Hope, Faith, Discipleship, Personal Holiness, Forgiveness, Growth & Change]

O Lord, there never seems to be enough time to do all the things that are demanded of us. Schedules become crowded. We live by the clock. We think we are ready for all events that will come our way. But we are rarely ready for you. We would like you to come to us at a planned time so that we can fit you into our busy lives. Forgive us, Lord, for trying to make you a scheduled event. We have moved you to a time on our weekly calendars. Yet you are the eternal God who has always loved us and been ready to receive us. Help us to learn that, with you as our foundation, we can handle anything that comes our way. With you as our focus, all things pale in comparison. Let us look at the priorities in our lives and see where we have placed service to you. AMEN.

Words of Assurance [WBW: Yr A, Pentecost 25, God’s Presence, Hope, Salvation, Will of God]

In the deepest darkness, in the times when all seems lost, we are not lost to God. God calls us to be ready for God’s new kingdom. In all this God is with us. AMEN.

Pastoral Prayer [WBW: Yr A, Pentecost 25, Stubbornness, Fall, Fear & Anxiety, Growth & Change, Personal Obedience, Strength, Witness, Courage & Perseverance]

Lord, we are a stubborn and impatient people. We always want to know how things will end. We want to know what the schedule is. We want a "daily planner" from you so that we can be ready. It is interesting that you have already given us a daily planner. The Holy Spirit, who has been given to comfort and guide us, is our daily planner. Daily we are called to come before you in prayer and praise; daily we are challenged by your Holy Spirit to find ways to serve your people in your world. And we do acknowledge this, somewhat. But we still would like to know when we need to have all the "oil for our lamps". Why is it so hard, Lord, for us to be continually ready? Is it because we have placed you to one side in our lives, and when we think you are coming we take our faith down from the shelf and dust it off? Help us to place you at the center of our lives, seeking to daily prepare ourselves for your coming again in glory. As we have brought before you the names of those people who are near and dear to us, we ask your healing love and blessing for them. Their needs are great and our abilities are limited. But we know that with your love, all things are possible. Give us such courage and perseverance that we may faithfully proclaim your love to all creation. Make us ready to receive you, now, in this place and everywhere we are. For it is in Jesus’ Name we pray. AMEN.

Offertory Prayer [WBW: Yr A, Pentecost 25, Blessings & Thankfulness, Offering, Gifts, Dedication, Mission & Service]

Blessing upon blessing has been given to us, O Lord, from your great bounty. Now we return these gifts to you. Bless these gifts and the lives that they represent and cause them to work for you in this world which you have loaned to us. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. AMEN.

Litany [WBW: Yr A, Pentecost 25, Witness, Discipleship, Growth & Change, Commitment, Grace & Mercy, Personal Holiness, Personal Service]

L: Ready! Set! Go!

P: Wait a minute! Ready for what?

L: The Lord is coming to us. We need to be ready

P: Just a minute. What is the date? Do you have an arrival time?

L: That’s not important. We just need to be ready.

P: Listen! That’s not the way the world works. You have to plan these things out.

L: But it is the way the Lord works.

P: And this "set" business.....what is that all about?

L: Taking stock of our lives, healing old wounds, reconciling relationships, forgiveness, service to others, most of all practicing God’s love as Jesus taught us.

P: Right now, I have all I can handle. Relationships, old wounds, angers, work for God. I have to see if I can fit it into my schedule. Anyway, won’t God give me a little "grace" period?

L: God has always given you a "grace" period. It is your life!

P: What do you mean?

L: God has offered you blessings and given you gifts. God asks you to be ready to serve, to make a choice.

P: Ready to serve God or my schedule?

L: Ready to place God first in your life. If you do this, the other things will fall into place.

P: I need to reconsider the choices I have made.

L: Choose God. Be ready to Go into God’s world to serve.

P: Ready: the Lord is Coming. Set: Get your priorities in order, placing God first. Go: serve God. I can do that. AMEN.

Benediction, Blessing, Commission [WBW:: Yr A, Pentecost 25, God’s call, Witness, Service, Peace, Healing, Love, Hope]

God has called and chosen you to be witnesses to hope and peace in God’s world. Go in peace and this same healing, reconciling love and peace will be with you. Go and serve the Lord your God in all that you do. AMEN.


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 table in dark green fabric (the traditional color for the season) or dark blue fabric, making sure that there is enough fabric to cover the riser in front of the table and that the fabric "puddles" on 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.

CANDLES Use pillar candles, or if you have them available, "hurricane" lamps on the risers on the worship center, leaving the top riser for the brass cross. Votive candles may be grouped throughout the worship setting..

ROCKS & WOOD Although this setting does not call for rocks, you may want to place some "glass" acquarium pebbles near the groups of votive candles, for a different texture and light reflection in the setting. This is optional..

OTHER: A Large brass cross should be placed on the highest riser of the worship center. Hurricane lamps may be placed around the worship center. It is a good idea to have several unlit hurricane lamps and candles grouped together to represent those who were unprepared to receive the Light.

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