Worship Elements: June 12, 2016

May 16th, 2016

Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

COLOR: Green
SCRIPTURE READINGS: 1 Kings 21:1-21a; Psalm 5:1-8; Galatians 2:15-21; Luke 7:36–8:3


Judgment and forgiveness focus our readings. We have people acting badly; people in distress; people who commit sins of omission; people who are deeply faithful; people who follow and support Jesus—all surrounded by the theme of judgment and forgiveness, but a judgment and forgiveness that belong to God, not to human beings. We find our true selves, our true lives, in being faithful to God and to Jesus’ teachings and life. We find hope and forgiveness in a life that does not count the cost.


Call to Worship (Psalm 5)

People of God, raise your voices in praise to God.
God takes delight in our presence here.
Come and enter God’s house.
We come trusting in the steadfast love of God.
Let us worship the God of love and righteousness.

Opening Prayer (Psalm 5, 1 Kings 21, Luke 7, Galatians 2)

O God,
in this time of worship,
hear our prayers.
Hear us now,
as we stand in the midst
of so much wrongdoing in our world.
Help us hear your voice
amid the cacophony of sounds
that surround and distract us.
Help us focus on what is truly important—
living faithful lives,
and being of service to you
and to all your people.
May this time apart
strengthen us to resist evil
and to embrace justice
in your steadfast love.
May this time with you
focus our awareness
that Christ lives in each one of us. Amen.


Prayer of Confession (1 Kings 21, Galatians 2, Luke 7)
O God,
our world seems in such a mess:
greed triumphs over generosity;
death appears stronger than life;
people judge one another harshly;
sin abounds and grace recedes far away.
Forgive us, O God,
when we succumb to the forces
of sin, greed, judgment, and death;
when we act as if you are not here with us;
when we fail to do the things we should:
welcome all people with love and joy,
live in an attitude of abundance,
find ways to support your work in the world.
Like the woman with the alabaster jar,
may we lay all that we are
and all that we have at your feet,
trusting in your forgiving, steadfast love.

Words of Assurance (Luke 7)

Sisters and brothers,
Jesus said to the woman with the alabaster jar,
“Your sins are forgiven.”
Hear his words for yourselves,
and take them into your heart and soul.

Passing the Peace of Christ (Galatians 2)

Sisters and brothers, look closely at the people sitting next to you. See Christ in them. Reach out your hands to greet them with signs of love and peace from the Christ that lives in you.

Response to the Word (1 Kings 21, Psalm 5, Galatians 2, Luke 7)

To words that challenge the world’s values,
to words that bring the comfort of God’s presence,
to words that speak of grace and forgiveness,
we open our hearts.
Let these words take root in our hearts,
that we may grow in faith.


Invitation to Offering (Galatians 2, Luke 7)

Like the woman with the alabaster jar, let us bring all that we are, and all that we have, to support God’s work in this church, this community, and this world. Offer these gifts in joy and gratitude and love, for all that God has given us—especially God’s best gift of love, Jesus, who lives within us.

Offering Prayer (Psalm 5)

O God,
through the abundance of your steadfast love,
we are able to come into your house
with gratitude and praise.
Accept our gifts—
our money, our time, our very selves.
May they help forge your beloved community
here on earth.


Benediction (1 Kings 21, Galatians 2, Luke 7)

Go forth into the world as people reborn.
Live generosity, not greed.
Celebrate life, not death.
Revel in the abundant grace
that flows over and through us,
and bring that love and grace
to a world deeply in need.
Go in peace. Amen.


Contemporary Gathering Words (Psalm 5, Luke 7)

Listen. Can you hear God’s voice
over the noise that surrounds us?
It is a voice of love, of forgiveness,
of grace, of justice, and of peace.
Come and listen, and let your soul and body
be refreshed and strengthened
for the ministry to which God calls us.

Praise Sentences (Psalm 5)

In the morning God hears my voice.
In that I rejoice.
I praise God for the abundance
of God’s steadfast love.
I will worship God with all my being.


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May 5th, 2016

Third Sunday after Pentecost

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


In all her well-known social and economic vulnerability in the ancient Middle East, few biblical characters embody the poor and oppressed more fully than the widow. In today’s stories, it is clear that the widows of the world are precisely whom God cares about. Elijah is sent by the Lord to a widow (I Kings 17); Jesus is moved by a widow’s plight (Luke 7). Both of these prophets of God become agents of miracles, showing holy love for those who have no refuge in society (Psalm 146).


Call to Worship (Psalm 146)

Praise the Lord.
Let all who draw breath praise the Lord.
Happy are those whose help is from God—
the One who made heaven and earth,
the One who created the seas and all that is in them.
Happy are those whose hope is in God—
the One who keeps faith forever,
the One who feeds the hungry
and defends the oppressed.
God will reign forever, for all generations.
Praise the Lord!
Let all who draw breath praise the Lord.

Opening Prayer (Psalm 146)

O God, who lifts us up,
sets us free, and watches over us,
visit us this day.
Lift our spirits,
and free our minds.
Open our eyes and hearts
to your words, your will,
and the miracle of your holy presence,
that we may encounter you
in the meeting of friends
and in kindness to strangers.
Lift us up, and set us free, O God.
Watch over us, we pray. Amen.


Prayer of Confession (Psalm 146, 1 Kings 17)

Merciful God,
you know how we love miracles.
We love your healing, life-giving presence.
We confess that poverty and oppression
are less appealing topics.
Yet, we find you among the poor,
the downtrodden, the widow, the orphan.
In their midst we find you,
your prophets, and your miracles.
Dwell with us,
as we make the struggles of the oppressed
our own struggles.
Join us at your table,
as we join the effort to feed and clothe
those who live in want.
Grant us your compassion, we pray,
that we may truly be your people. Amen.

Words of Assurance (Psalm 146, Luke 7)

Hear the good news:
Those who seek will find help and hope in God.
In Jesus we are raised to newness of life.
Thanks be to God.

Passing the Peace of Christ (Luke 7)

As Jesus drew crowds in Galilee, so he draws us here
today. We are not alone. Let us greet one another with
signs of God’s peace.
The peace of Christ be with you.
And also with you.

Response to the Word (1 Kings 17)

Feed us, O God,
from stores that never empty.
Anoint us, O God,
with oils that never fail. Amen.


Invitation to the Offering (1 Kings 17)

A widow in great need shared what she had, and miracles of bread and renewed life ensued. Whatever our means, whatever our needs, we each have something to share. In gratitude to God, let us offer our tithes and gifts to the One who is faithful.

Offering Prayer (Luke 7, Psalm 146)

As crowds spread the word of Jesus’ power, O God,
so may we spread the word of your grace,
as we share these gifts and our very lives
with those in need.
May these offerings be instruments of your healing,
your justice, and your good news,
in this community and around the world.
In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.


Benediction (1 Kings 17)

Elijah was sent to someone in need—
not only to serve,
but that he too might also be served.
Wherever God sends you, go to serve,
but allow others to serve you as well;
and may the peace of Christ go with you.
Go in peace.


Contemporary Gathering Words (1 Kings 17, Psalm 146, Luke 7)

Strangers meet.
Oil and grain turn to bread.
The sick are healed.
The weary are lifted up.
The prisoners are set free.
The everyday becomes a miracle.
This is God’s work.
We are its witnesses.
Let us worship God.

Praise Sentences (Psalm 146)

Praise God! Praise God, O my soul!
As long as I live, I will praise God!
Praise God! Praise God, O my soul!
God will reign forever, for all generations!
Praise God! Praise God, O my soul!
Happy are those whose help is in God!
Praise God! Praise God, O my soul!
Praise God!

From The Abingdon Worship Annual edited by Mary J. Scifres and B.J. Beu, Copyright © Abingdon Press. The Abingdon Worship Annual 2017 is now available.

About the Author

Joanne Carlson Brown

Rev. Dr. Joanne Carlson Brown is pastor at Tibbetts United Methodist Church in West Seattle. She earned an M.Div read more…
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