Worship Connection: June 5, 2016

May 15th, 2016

Third Sunday after Pentecost

COLOR: Green
SCRIPTURE READINGS: 1 Kings 17:8-24; Psalm 146; Galatians 1:11-24; Luke 7:11-17


Call to Worship #1
L: In the midst of difficult times, we have new life from Christ.
P: When we think that there is no hope, God offers us healing love.
L: Come, let us praise the God of new life.
P: Let us sing and shout for joy.
L: Let us worship the One who is with us forever.
P: Thanks be to God for all God’s blessings. AMEN.

Call to Worship #2:
L: When we feel down-hearted…
P: Jesus says: “Rise!”
L: When we wonder if we can continue on our journey…
P: Jesus says: “I am with you. You have nothing to fear.”
L: When we hunger and thirst in our souls for relief…
P: Jesus says: “Come, follow me.”
L: Lord of hope and possibilities, be with us today.
P: Open our hearts and spirits to feed upon your healing word. AMEN.

Call to Worship #3:
[Using THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2036, “Give Thanks”, offer the following call to worship]
L: Whenever we feel alone, forgotten, alienated, Jesus reaches out to us to lift us from our fears and loneliness. Our weakness is turned to strength by Jesus’ healing touch.
Choir: singing “Give Thanks” through 1 time.
P: Our lives rest in the power and love of Jesus. Even though times may get difficult, Jesus is with us, offering hope and power.
Choir: singing “Give Thanks” through 1 time.
L: May our hearts be filled with love and strength as we respond to God’s awesome love for us.
P: May our spirits soar as we are lifted from our anguish to pinnacles of hope through Jesus Christ our Lord.
All: singing “Give Thanks” through 1 time.

Call to Worship #4:
L: Praise the Lord with all that you have!
P: Praise and trust in the Lord with all your heart and soul!
L: For God is with us throughout all our lives.
P: God’s loving presence surrounds us and comforts us in times of trouble.
L: Rejoice in the Lord at all times, in all places.
P: For God with steadfast and loving to us all. AMEN.


Opening Prayer:

Lord of hope and light, shine into our darkness and bring hope to our souls. Remind us again of the wonderful ways you have cared for us when we were lost. Open our hearts to receive your loving spirit. Refresh our minds with knowledge of your everlasting power and compassion. We offer this prayer in Christ’s name. AMEN.

Prayer of Confession:
Lord of power and compassion, we are so overwhelmed in these times with fears. We fear that we will not have enough of whatever we need to survive. We fear the anger and hostility that abides in the world, in our own country, in our own neighborhoods. All around us is anxiety about living. And we draw into ourselves as a response to the needs. We want someone else to take care of those in need. We want someone else to fight our battles for us. We want someone else to stop the darkness. We feel as though we are drowning in the depth of despair. But you, O Lord, are the bright light, the power to heal, the reassuring hand of comfort and strength. You offer to us healing love, strength for our exhausted souls, courage to face whatever comes, with the full confidence that you are with us in all these times. Forgive our weakness and our little faith. Give us hearts of strength and hope. Enable us to be among those who would reach out to others with welcome, healing, forgiveness, and love. For we ask this in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.

Words of Assurance:
God is reaching out for you today. God offers healing and encouragement out of God’s great love for you. It is a free gift - continually given by God. Thanks be to God. AMEN

Pastoral Prayer
Life swirls around us, O Lord. So many things are happening in our lives, in our neighborhoods, in our country, in your world. We can be so easily distracted and overwhelmed by the needs and difficulties. Remind us again that you are with us, offering compassion, strength, courage, hope. Help us to place total trust in you as we offer our prayers for healing, comfort, and hope this day. Place your healing hand on our hearts and spirits and encourage us to rise and be strong in hope for the needs of others. Enable us to be partners in ministries of peace and justice in this world of darkness. Bring your light and power to us, for we pray in Christ’s Name. AMEN.

Using THE UNITED METHODIST HYMNAL, “It’s Me, It’s Me, O Lord” p. 352, offer the following presentation/reading. The refrain, sung by a soloist, should be sung very slowly. Each of the successive verses should increase in tempo and intensity. You may want to sing the refrain through again at the end of the reading.]

Soloist: “It’s Me, It’s Me, O Lord” UMH #352 - refrain
Reader 1: I’m about ready to give up! It feels as though every time I turn around someone or something is waiting to clobber me, to knock me down, to discredit me. I’m sick of it! I don’t know what to do. I feel like I’m in the middle of a deep, dark, whirlpool and I’m being drawn downward - I don’t know if I can fight it. Help me, Lord, Help me.

Choir: singing “It’s Me, It’s Me, O Lord” UMH p. 352, verse 1
Reader 2: I am responsible for the spiritual life of my congregation. I feel pulled this way and that way. There are so many demands on my energy and time. My family wants me to have time for them; those in the nursing homes and those who live alone need a visit, I have committee and team meetings so many nights during the month. I have to keep up with my own spiritual life, my studies, my work for you, Lord. I am drowning! Help me, Lord, help me.

Choir: singing “It’s Me, It’s Me, O Lord” UMH p. 352, verse 2
Reader 3: I am having trouble making ends meet these days. The harder I work, the further behind I seem to get. There are so many needs in my family. I feel pulled and frantic that I will not be able to meet them. I want the best for my children, for my friends, for my family, but I can’t seem to do enough. I feel as though I am sinking and will soon disappear. Help me, Lord, Help me.

Choir: singing “It’s Me, It’s Me, O Lord” UMH p. 352, verse 3
Leader: We are all in need of your healing love, O Lord of mercy and power. So many times we are overwhelmed by things around us over which we have little or no control. Help us to place our trust in you, Lord. Guide and lift us when we feel as though we can go no further. For we all stand in the need of prayer, in the need of your healing and transforming touch. AMEN.
[Optional: Refrain of “It’s Me, It’s Me, O Lord”, UMH 352]

Bless us and lift us up, O Lord. As we go from this place, give us courage and strength to witness to your love and power. For we ask it in Jesus’ Name.AMEN.


The traditional Color for this Sunday is Green.

Author's Note: Have you ever wondered if there is any hope left in the world? Have you looked around you and felt the chill of deep darkness? These feelings are certainly not uncommon. Each of us, at one time or another, encounters the desolation of fear and alienation. Today’s worship setting is a reminder that God is with us in our darkness; that God gives to us light, healing and transforming love. We can rise from the swirling waters of fear and doubt to new life in Jesus Christ. The variation in color is symbolic of hope rising from the darkness of despair. The candles represent each of us, and the large white pillar candle represents Jesus.

Surface: Have several risers in front of the worship center. The lowest should be about 1 foot off the floor, others should be about six to eight inches higher. Place several risers on the worship center, putting the tallest, about 8”, in the center back. You will place a cross on this riser.

Fabric: Cover the entire worship center in black fabric, including the risers in front of the worship center. Place a second covering of dark green (very dark forest green) over the risers. Add the third covering of medium green over the risers. Place squares of light green on each of the risers on the worship center. Place one square of white fabric on the center riser on which the cross will be standing.

Candles: On each of the risers, place 5-7 votive candles. On the worship center place two green pillar candles beside the cross. Place one white pillar candle in front of the cross.

Flowers/Foliage: Use ivy at the back of the worship center to soften the edges. You may also use ivy near the floor, but the color of the plants should be a dark green as opposed to a lighter color.

Rocks/Wood: Near the base of the worship center, by the black fabric, place stones and some small branches of wood.

Other: Place a cross on the center riser on the worship center.

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