Worship Connection: November 17, 2019

September 25th, 2019

23rd Sunday after Pentecost

COLOR: Green

SCRIPTURE READINGS: Isaiah 65:17-25; Isaiah 12; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13; Luke 21:5-19

CALLS TO WORSHIP

Call to Worship #1:
L: The Lord is continually creating something new
P: We are part of that creation, renewed, redeemed, beloved.
L: Through all this change, God is with us.
P: Though we struggle and doubt, yet God is faithful
L: Praise be to God who continually blesses us.
P: Let our hearts, our voices, and our spirits sing God’s praises. AMEN.

Call to Worship #2:
L: God’s promises are awesome!
P: In the midst of difficulty, God gives us a word of hope.
L: Something new is coming!
P: We stand eagerly on tiptoes awaiting God’s new creation.
L: Prepare your hearts to receive God’s mighty blessings.
P: Open our spirits and our hearts, Lord, to be ready to receive all that you have to offer. AMEN

Call to Worship #3:
[Using THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2282, “I’ll Fly Away,” offer the following call to worship as directed. Divide the congregation into sections, such as the right side of the center aisle and the left side of the center aisle, or all the men in one group and all the women in another group. Label them Group One and Group Two. The choir should be prepared to sing the first two verses of “I’ll Fly Away,” and the congregation may join them in the third verse as directed.]

L: God is creating something new. A new heaven and a new earth.

Group One:
Throughout all of life there has been struggle, toil, and turmoil. We have worked hard and often wondered if God really cares for us.

Group Two:
God has sent many messengers to give us the word of Love, yet we have turned our backs on them. Is it too late to turn again to God, seeking forgiveness and restoration?

L: Oh, that we could fly away from our fears and difficulties and rest in the arms of God.

CHOIR singing verse one of “I’ll Fly Away.”

Group One:
Holy God, come now and free us from our self-imposed prisons of doubt, selfishness, and greed.

Group Two:
Receive us and restore us, we pray.

CHOIR singing verse two of “I’ll Fly Away.”

L: The time is coming when God will make all things new.

Group One:
Lord, open our eyes to see the newness of your creation.

Group Two:
Lord, open our hearts and spirits to see the newness that you continually create each and every day.

CONGREGATION AND CHOIR singing verse 3 of “I’ll Fly Away.”

L: AMEN
People together: AMEN!

Call to Worship #4:
L: Praise be to God who is unchanging!
P: Thanks be to God who is continually creating newness and hope.
L: Each day we are greeted by new opportunities and challenges.
P: Each day we are given courage and strength to accomplish God’s tasks.
L: Let all God’s people shout praises to the heavens!
P: Great is our God and greatly to be praised! AMEN.

PRAYERS, LITANY/READING, BENEDICTION

Opening Prayer
In the midst of continual change, God remains steadfast in God’s love for us. God is creating something new, a new heaven and a new earth. Each day offers newness of hope and faith. Let us open our hearts and spirits to God’s creative word for us that we may learn, grow, and serve as effective witnesses to God’s love and power. AMEN.

Prayer of Confession
Merciful God, we come before you this day as those who are often afraid to confess all the many ways in which we have disappointed and betrayed You. You have given us continual opportunities to serve and love others, but we have withdrawn into lives of selfishness and greed. We have turned our backs on others in need. We have denied the gifts you have given us. Where can we turn now that we have run from you? Your voice calls to us to come home, to come to you unafraid, to receive forgiveness and healing. Open our hearts this day to receive these magnificent blessings. Help us understand the many ways in which you love us, and help us share that love with all those whom we meet. For we ask this in the name of Jesus Christ. AMEN.

Words of Assurance
Even though we have turned away from God, yet God is faithful to us. We are beloved of God and recipients of God’s love and blessings. Rejoice, children of God! For God’s mercies are ever before us. AMEN.

Pastoral Prayer
How shall we thank God for the many blessings God has given to us? Shall we offer mighty songs of praise? Shall we give of our abundance? Shall we again pledge our loyalty to God through lives of service and compassion? Yes, in all these things we shall offer our praise and our commitment to God. Each new day, each new opportunity is a blessing given freely to us. God’s new heaven and new earth reside in us. We have come before God today, proclaiming our faith. We have brought the names and situations of those near and dear to us before the throne of grace, seeking God’s healing and redeeming love. We place our lives in God’s care. In all of this, we are part of God’s new creation, meant to bring hope and forgiveness to all. Open our hearts, Lord, we want to be your agents of peace and hope. Open our lives, Lord, and help us work for you in this world so that in the world to come we may have eternal peace. AMEN.

Celebration and Reading
[Note: this “reading” is actually a celebration of the new creation in each of us. It is meant to be a joyful explosion of singing, color, and movement. This may be done at the beginning of the worship service or any place that you prefer it. The theme is joy and celebration, and as this song is being sung, items are placed in the worship center that are reminders of the new creation. See the artistic elements for suggestions.]

[Using THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2270, “He Has Made Me Glad,” offer the following Celebration and Reading.]

CHOIR AND CONGREGATION singing “He Has Made Me Glad” through one time.

L: Rejoice, O Jerusalem and all the Lands, for the Lord is creating a new hope in us.
People: Celebrate the good news of God’s blessings, pouring down on us.

CHOIR AND CONGREGATION singing “He Has Made Me Glad” through one time.

[During this time, the celebration items are brought forward and placed in the worship center.]

L: Rejoice, dear friends and beloved children of God, for in this day a new creation is happening. We are being renewed, forgiven, and freed to serve God faithfully.
People: Our hearts are bursting with the joy of new creation. Praise be to God! God has made us glad and we enter this day with joy!

CHOIR AND CONGREGATION singing “He Has Made Me Glad” through one time.

L: AMEN.
PEOPLE: AMEN.

Benediction
We go from this place rejoicing in God’s love. We commit our lives to serving God by serving others. God’s love has made us new. God’s peace goes with us in all that we say and do. AMEN.

ARTISTIC ELEMENTS

The traditional color for this day is Green.

Note: This is a wonderful day to offer celebration! The theme is God’s new creation and hope. The artistic elements for today are linked with the Celebration and Reading, which may be offered as a call to worship. During this Celebration and Reading the worship center is adorned.

SURFACE:
Place a 10” riser in the center of the worship table (on this riser you will place a cross). Other risers may be placed on the table and on the floor in front of the worship center (on these risers there will be pictures; see “Other” for suggestions)

FABRIC:
Cover the entire worship center in bright green fabric so that it covers all risers and puddles on the floor in front of the worship center.

CANDLES:
Place six 10” white pillar candles on each side of the central cross. (This should be done before the Celebration and Reading.)

FLOWERS/FOLIAGE:
Small arrangements of flowers may be placed on the worship center following the placement of the pictures.

ROCKS/WOOD:
Not necessary for this setting.

OTHER:
Today is a day of celebration. Have a variety of photographs in standing frames available to be placed on the worship center; they should include pictures of the congregation, youth, Sunday school, various church groups, people working together, and pictures of missionary endeavors and any photos that are relevant to your particular congregation. During the celebration these photos are brought forward and placed on the worship center. After the pictures are put in place, the flower arrangements are brought forward and placed on the worship center; this includes placing some pictures and flowers on the risers in front of the worship center. If you want to use helium-filled balloons as part of the celebration, you may do so. However, they should be placed at the sides of the worship center.

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