Worship Connection: September 18, 2022

February 20th, 2022

Worship elements* from The Abingdon Worship Annual

Theme Ideas

Today's readings describe the sickness of our public life—sickness that evokes God's deep grief. Judah is sick-unto-death: its political, religious, and socioeconomic systems practice idolatry and render injustice (Jeremiah 5–6). Jesus tells the story of a property manager who regularly fleeces his boss. Paul writes to a young church that must learn how to present an alternative understanding of truth in the context of an empire gone awry. All the readings assert that there is but one master, one God. "Whom will you serve?" they urgently ask, for our decision makes all the difference to our individual and collective future.

Call to Worship (Psalm 79, Jeremiah 8)

"My joy is gone, grief is upon me, my heart is sick.
I am hurt for my poor people, I mourn, I am dismayed."
Help us, O God of our salvation. Help us!
"Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?
Why then has the health of my poor people not been restored?"
Help us, O God of our salvation. Help us!

Call to Worship (Psalm 79)

We look upon our world, our neighborhoods,
our families, and see suffering and want.
How long, O Lord?
We see deep suffering, brutal violence,
destroyed homes, and ravaged nations.
How long, O Lord?
Let your compassion come quickly to meet us,
for we are brought low.
How long, O Lord?
Help us, O God of our salvation!
Help us, O Source of our hope!

Contemporary Gathering Words (Psalm 79, Jeremiah 8, Luke 16)

Our world is hurting in every way:
injustice in the shadows, injustice in broad daylight,
worship of wealth, worship of doctrine,
homeless people under freeways,
hungry children in our schools,
stolen pensions, destabilized nations,
politicians wined and dined, judges wooed and won,
exploding grenades, cherished grudges.
Is there any medicine to heal us? Is there any physician?
Help us, God of our salvation! Help us!

Praise Sentences (1 Timothy 2)

God is our salvation.
Truly there is one God.
There is one mediator, Christ Jesus!
God is our salvation.

Praise Sentences (Psalm 79, Jeremiah 8, 1 Timothy 2)

God sees the hurt of all God's people.
Praise the God of our salvation!
God wants everyone to be saved.
Praise the God of our salvation!
God sent Jesus to give himself for all.
Praise the God of our salvation!

Opening Prayer (Jeremiah 8)

God of grief,
you see our hurt and weep:
"O that my head were a spring of water,
and my eyes a fountain of tears."
Sometimes we share your grief,
and we despair.
Sometimes we are so used to the way things are,
that we scarcely notice.
But one day, one night, one morning,
maybe this morning—your pain, our pain,
our world's pain, hits us.
And we call out to you,
"Is there a balm in Gilead? Is there healing?"
Today we wait for your answer,
you who weep for us and with us. Amen.

Opening Prayer (Psalm 79, Jeremiah 8)

God of our salvation,
you see your world laid waste
with false worship, injustice, and indifference,
and we tremble at your anger.
Only in your tears,
born out of vast love,
do we find hope.
Open to us the way of your tears—
the way that leads us back to your love.
Teach us to serve you and you alone,
that you may deliver, forgive,
and renew our world at last. Amen.

Prayer of Confession (Psalm 79, Jeremiah 8, 1 Timothy 2, Luke 16)

We confess that we find your medicine hard to swallow.
The quick fixes of this world are so much more pleasant,
leaving us free to go back to our usual routines.
But your medicine is powerful.
And if we take it, it will remake and renew our lives.
It will reorient us to you and to you alone.
Turn us toward your love for justice and true worship.
Forgive our sins, for which you weep.
Forgive our hesitation.
Grant us courage to choose you as our physician,
and to serve you and you alone. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon

The God of our salvation,
the God who weeps for us and for our world,
desires everyone to be saved.
Christ Jesus, a human like us,
gave himself as a ransom for all.
Through the love of the one God
and the one mediator,
we are forgiven.

Assurance of Pardon

The God of our salvation,
the God who weeps for us and for our world,
is the God whose compassion
comes speedily to meet us,
and to forgive us. Amen.

Benediction (1 Timothy 1–2, Luke 16)

Be faithful with little.
Be faithful with much.
Be faithful with what belongs to another.
Be faithful with what is your own.
Serve only one master.
There is one God.
We will serve this God alone.
And may the grace, mercy, and peace of the one God
be with you. Amen.

Benediction (Jeremiah 8, 1 Timothy 2, Luke 16)

Is there a physician who can heal us and our world?
The one true God can heal us.
Is there a balm in Gilead?
The one true God can heal us.
Look to God for your healing and renewal,
and for the healing and renewal of our world. Amen.


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