Worship Connection: April 15, 2018

March 15th, 2018

Third Sunday of Easter

COLOR: White
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Acts 3:12-19; Psalm 4; 1 John 3:1-7; Luke 24:36b-48

Call to Worship #1:

L: How joyful it is, to celebrate the good news of God’s love!

P: We are called to be Easter people!

L: Darkness cannot claim us!

P: Fear cannot bind us!

L: Christ is risen!

P: Christ is risen, indeed! AMEN!

Call to Worship #2:

L: We are called to be God’s children.

P: God’s love has been poured on us through Jesus Christ!

L: Fear and doubt are gone!

P: Joy and Celebration ring in our hearts!

L: Come, let us raise our voices in song!

P: Let us offer our hearts and souls to God in prayer and praise. AMEN.

Call to Worship #3:

[Using THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2218, “You Are Mine”, offer the following call to worship as directed]

L: Fear hung over the disciples as a dark cloud.

P: Huddled in the upper room, they spoke in soft whispers, afraid of the sound of their own voices.

Soloist: singing verse 1 of “You Are Mine”

L: Lightning flashed in their souls.

P: Christ, the Risen Lord, was standing with them, eating with them, talking with them.

L: Where doubt had reigned, hope now grew.

P: Where fear and panic had laid claim, faith was again planted.

Soloist: singing verse 2 of “You Are Mine”

L: Come, let us worship the God of great miracles.

P: Let us lift our voices in praise to God! AMEN.

Call to Worship #4:

L: Doubt and fear are gone!

P: Light and hope abound!

L: Where we once felt alone and lost;

P: Christ has come to walk again with us.

L: Hallelujah!

P: Hallelujah! AMEN.

PRAYERS, READING, BENEDICTION

Opening Prayer:

Lord of Light and Mercy, be with us this day as we again hear the stories of faith and sight. Help us to believe in your abiding presence with us, both in our darkness and in the light which you bring. Give us courage and strength to witness to your resurrection. For we offer this in Jesus’ Name, AMEN.

Prayer of Confession:

Gracious God, you give to us your greatest gift, Your Son Jesus Christ, as we still don’t understand what is going on. You call us to be people of courage and hope; and yet we run and hide, doubting and fearing. You challenge us to proclaim our faith; but we huddle in darkness whispering our words of discouragement. Shake us up, Lord! Forgive us when we seem to need prodding over and over again. Help us to see the presence of Jesus in our lives; and remind us of all that He taught us, to help us to live as disciples, serving you by serving others. Change us! Remold us! Make us truly the disciples you have called us to be. AMEN.

Words of Assurance:

Do not be afraid. The Light of God has vanquished the darkness! Christ is risen! Doubts are erased. Rejoice! God’s love is poured upon you, now and forever. AMEN.

Pastoral Prayer:

Lord of Dawn and Darkness, how grateful we are for your loving mercies. You saw our fear and doubt, our suspicion, our mistrust, and you banished them from our lives, replacing them with hope, peace, love, and joy. You called us to be your witnesses, to all the world, unafraid of what others might think or say about us. We have been invited out of our darkened hideaways, into the light of your world as emissaries of hope and justice, peace and compassion. Be with us, as we participate in ministries of healing and hope through this church, in our community, region, nation, and world. Give us courage and strength to be your disciples in all the circumstances of our lives; for we ask this in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.

Reading:

Reader 1: What does it take to be a witness of Jesus?

Reader 2: As far as I can see, it means that you are willing to stand up and speak about your faith; you are willing to live a life of compassion for others in honor of Jesus.

Reader 1: Yeah, but what does that mean, exactly?

Reader 2: Well, for one thing, you are not afraid to admit you’re a follower of Jesus. Even if people think that you are crazy. It doesn’t mean that you have to be obnoxious about it, just honored to follow the One who brings eternal life.

Reader 1: I don’t think I would be able to do that. I’m not a good public speaker; not like the preacher, or the Sunday School Teacher, or the other folks who lead in worship here.

I don’t have a clue what I would say or do. It’s not that I don’t want to be a witness, it’s just that I’m not good enough to do that kind of work.

Reader 2: That’s just the point. Jesus did not have an application you had to fill out. He just said, Come, Listen, Learn, Care, Share, Speak from your heart. Look at who He chose to have around him - a bunch of fishermen, tax collectors, people with questionable backgrounds, as well as some of the “regular” folk. He placed love in their hearts; and courage in their souls. He’ll do the same for you.

Reader 1: You think so?

Reader 2: Sure. That’s what He promised, and he’s never backed down from his promises.

Reader 1: OK, I’ll give it a try.

Reader 2: You can do it. Just be yourself…..after all, that’s who Jesus loves and depends on!

Benediction:

Go in courage and peace, proclaiming the Risen Lord to all! Be those who bring hope and justice to a hungry and hurting world! The peace of the Lord is with you now and forever. AMEN.

ARTISTIC ELEMENTS

The traditional color for this Sunday is: White

[Note: you may want to change your setting a little for this week, leaving the white covering on the worship center, but adding other fabrics as directed. These fabrics will represent our witness in the world - blue reflecting the skies and water; brown reflecting the deserts, green reflecting the green lands]

SURFACE: Place a 12” riser at the upper left back of the worship center. Place a 3” riser in the center of the worship center; place a riser, approximately 6” below the surface of the main table, in front and slightly to the right of the worship center.

FABRIC: Although the worship center, itself, remains covered in white fabric; you should remove the gold fabric. The blue, brown, and green fabrics should be 6’ in length and about 30” wide. Beginning on the 12” in riser, place the blue fabric so that it streams toward the middle of the table; add the strip of brown fabric and green fabric so that they cascade down over the risers in front of the worship center onto the floor.

CANDLES: On the 3” riser place the 10” white pillar Christ Candle. Place a cluster of five votive candles near the Christ Candle, and two other clusters of between 5-7 votive candles on the main worship table and on the riser in front of the worship center.

FLOWERS/FOLIAGE: No flowers or foliage is necessary for this worship setting. However, if the space seems too blank, use trailing ivy or Boston Ferns near the base of the worship center.

ROCKS/WOOD: You may place a collection of small stones near the candles placed on the riser in front of the worship center.

OTHER: Place the brass cross on the riser in the upper left back on the worship center.

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