Worship Elements: November 26, 2023

October 7th, 2020

Color: White
Scripture Readings: Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24; Psalm 100; Ephesians 1:15-23; Matthew 25:31-46

Theme Ideas

Ezekiel speaks of the shepherd who searches for lost sheep, rescues them from danger, and feeds them from rich pastures. Mathew makes the metaphor personal, as Jesus blesses the “sheep” who feed the hungry and clothe the naked. Truly, this manner of shepherding is an occasion to join the psalmist in making “a joyful noise to the LORD,” for we are indeed God’s people, the sheep of God’s pasture. We, like the early Christians at Ephesus, know the hope to which we have been called and the riches of our glorious inheritance in Christ. Thus it is that we are both broken and whole, at once healer and healed, at the same time shepherd and sheep.

Invitation and Gathering

Call to Worship (Psalm 100)

Make a joyful noise to the Lord.
Worship God with gladness.
Come into God’s presence with singing.
We are God’s people, the sheep of God’s pasture.
Give thanks to the Lord; bless God’s holy name,
for God’s steadfast love is present now and endures forever.

Opening Prayer (Ezekiel 34, Ephesians 1, Matthew 25)

Tender, comforting Shepherd,
your steadfast love is present in this place
and resides within each of us.
But sometimes it is hard, so very hard,
to open ourselves to your love.
We feel like scattered sheep,
frightened and alone.
Help us know your loving presence
as we live as your gathered community.
Enlighten our hearts,
that we may know the hope
to which we have been called. Amen.

Proclamation and Response

Prayer of Confession (Ezekiel 34, Matthew 25)

Holy One,
we are like sheep
that stray from your fold.
We are the perpetually hungry,
ever in spiritual need,
and at times in physical want.
We are the naked,
with wounds exposed and bleeding.
We are the sick,
fevered, chilled, and in pain.
We are the strangers,
separated from others
and even from ourselves.
Hear us now as we confess our brokenness
and our need. Amen.

Words of Assurance (Matthew 25)

Our creator God sees our hunger and gives us food.
Christ, the healer, touches our wounds,
offering comfort and blessed relief.
The Spirit blows through us,
cools our fever, and eases our pain.
God sees and touches and heals our wounds.

Passing the Peace of Christ (Matthew 25)

When we were strangers, Christ welcomed us. Let us share the peace of Christ with friends and strangers with words of welcome: “The peace of Christ be with you.”

Response to the Word (Ephesians 1)

Faithful Comforter, we have heard your word of power and blessing. May it give us a spirit of wisdom, that our eyes and hearts may be opened, and that we may know the hope to which we have been called. Amen.

Thanksgiving and Communion

Invitation to the Offering (Matthew 25)

We are shepherd and sheep, wounded and healer. In the same spirit, we are both giver and receiver. Even as we have lavishly received, so now may we generously give.

Offering Prayer (Matthew 25)

Holy One, you have given us all that we have and all that we are. Through these gifts and in our lives, help us be the shepherds and healers and lovers that you are calling us to be. Amen.

Sending Forth

Benediction (Ezekiel 34, Matthew 25)

Come, you who are blessed!
Inherit all that is prepared for you!
We leave this sacred space
to claim the riches and glorious inheritance
that are ours through Christ.

Go out into the world to share your blessings with all in need. Amen.

Contemporary Options

Gathering Words (Psalm 100, Ephesians 1)

Be here now and give us wisdom!
Give us hope and make us strong!
Let our hearts be filled with riches!
We praise you, God, and sing your song!

Praise Sentences (Psalm 100, Ephesians 1)

God is great and God is cool!
Hang with me, God.
Make me an instrument of your love!

God is great and God is cool!
Hang with me, God.
Make me an instrument of your love!

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

comments powered by Disqus