Worship Connection: June 28, 2020

May 25th, 2020

Fourth Sunday After Pentecost

COLOR: Green
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Genesis 22:1-14; Psalm 13; Romans 6:12-23; Matthew 10:40-42

CALLS TO WORSHIP

Call to Worship #1:

L: Welcome to each and every one of you!
P: Thank you.
L: May the joy we have in our Lord Jesus Christ become your joy also.
P: We have found a welcoming presence in this house of the Lord.
L: Thanks be to God who has welcomed each one of us!
P: Let us extend that same loving welcome to others. AMEN.

Call to Worship #2:

L: Welcome to worship today!
P: Thanks. We are glad to be here.
L: Even when things get hectic, always know that you will find welcome here.
P: We are grateful for the hospitality and friendship that are offered here.
L: Come, let us worship the God who always welcomes us.
P: Let us open our hearts to Christ who welcomed friend and stranger alike. AMEN.

Call to Worship #3:

[Using THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2271, “Come! Come! Everybody Worship” (refrain only).]

Have the choir JOYFULLY SING this song, repeating it several times.

L: Come! Come! Everybody Worship
P: Come! Come! Welcome to the house of the Lord.
L: Rejoice! Celebrate the Lord!
P: Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!

Congregation: singing the refrain of “Come! Come! Everybody Worship”

Optional: Global Songs II, published by Augsburg-Fortress Press, 1997. ISBN: 0-8006-5673-3, Published in USA. This has a CD with it and a songbook that goes with it. Song #10: “A Dazzling Bouquet.” This is a song of welcome in which the metaphor for each person there is a type of flower - blooming, bright. The song is jazzy and would be lots of fun with a service of welcome. Invite the congregation to participate in the refrain of this song.

Call to Worship #4:

L: Good morning! Welcome to our church.
P: We’re glad to be here.
L: Come let us worship with great joy the Lord who greets us.
P: Let us praise God who lifts our hearts and spirits.
L: Come on everyone, open your hearts to the Lord.
P: Thank you, Lord, for your welcome through this church. AMEN.
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PRAYERS, READING, BENEDICTION

Opening Prayer

Lord, as we walked through the doors to this place of worship, we brought with us our cares and concerns, our joys and our sorrows. Touch our hearts and heal us, Lord. Make us ready to become your faithful disciples. AMEN.

Prayer of Confession

Patient Lord, we want to extend the hand of welcome and friendship to all whom we meet, but you know that sometimes we shy away from reaching out. We make judgments about others based on their appearance and other surface factors, and we neglect your mandate to be a welcoming presence. That lack of welcome extends further when we see needs that must be addressed and choose to turn our backs. We turn away from the pain and suffering, protecting our own lives. Yet you remind us that as we welcome others, so we are also welcoming you. Heal us and give us strength and courage to always be welcoming others in your name. AMEN.

Words of Assurance

How wonderful it is to be welcomed by our Lord through God’s church. Rejoice in God’s welcoming love for you. AMEN.

Pastoral Prayer

Lord, we talk so easily about being a friendly church. We like to think of ourselves as a place where everyone is welcomed. But our welcome should not stay confined to these walls. We are called to adopt attitudes of hospitality to others who may not return the favor. We are called to be willing to take the risk of hospitality in our workplace, our homes, our community, everywhere we go. You reached out to people in all kinds of conditions. Many of those people had been rejected by their society, their families. They were in need of compassionate greeting and friendship. Lord Jesus, as you have welcomed us regardless of our faults and failings, let us also be a welcoming presence to all in your name. AMEN.

Reading: THE WHITE GLOVE WELCOME

Reader:
Marissa came to church today, having never been here before. It had been a long time since she had even darkened the doorway of a church. Lots of things had happened in her life, some good, far too many bad. She had made choices that were self-destructive, and now here she was, at the door of the church, not knowing if the roof would cave in because of her lack of presence in this holy place. That was the excuse she had used so many times before--“the roof will cave in if I come”; “It’s been too long”; “I only have Sunday to rest, so I can’t attend church.” What would happen? This was crazy!

The doors were open. A little way inside there stood an older woman, impeccably dressed, wearing a nice little hat and white gloves. “Good morning,” the woman said, extending tentatively the white gloved hand. Marissa reached out to shake the hand, but only the gloved fingertips were offered, with a slight shake of the hand then quick withdrawal of the welcoming gesture completely. The woman seemed in a hurry to greet others although there were no others in line waiting to be greeted. Marissa looked around and saw the direction to the sanctuary. There were others there, talking animatedly. She moved toward the people, whose conversation took a sudden turn. They stopped talking and seemed to look at her briefly, then look away. She was a stranger to them. They were involved with their friends. Someone else would greet this stranger. Taking a seat near the back of the church, Marissa looked around. Everywhere people greeted one another, obviously knowing one another. She felt awkward. What should she do?

The worship service began with wonderful music and words of welcome from the pastor. Then the pastor suggested that everyone take a moment to greet one another with the love of Christ. This was going to be awkward, thought Marissa. She stood up as the movement of the people around the sanctuary began. Suddenly she felt a tapping on her leg and looking down and saw a small child.

“Hi,” said the little child.

“Hi,” replied Marissa.

“Who are you?” asked the child.

“I’m Marissa. Who are you?”

“Timmy, just Timmy.”

“I’m glad to meet you, Timmy.”

“Are you new here?” inquired Timmy.

“Yes. It’s my first time coming.”

“I’m not new. I have been here a long time. I get to say hi to people. It’s my favorite thing to do”

“You do it very well, Timmy. Thanks for greeting me.”

“You’re welcome. I’m glad you are here,” and off he scampered.

Marissa didn’t remember being greeted by others, although she probably was. Timmy’s innocent, warm welcome stayed in her heart. “Whoever welcomes one of these, the least and the lost, welcomes me,” said the Pastor. “Welcome to the house of the Lord.” White glove and tentative welcome receded in her memory and was replaced by the genuineness of a small child. Thanks be to God for the hospitality of God, given through Timmy. AMEN

Benediction
Do not ever be afraid to welcome others. Bring your welcoming, accepting spirit to all those whom you meet. May God go with you on your journey this week and all of your days.
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ARTISTIC ELEMENTS

The traditional Color for today is: GREEN

WELCOME all the friends and strangers. Have balloons in the vestibule or outside the sanctuary.

SURFACE:
Place a 6” riser at the back of the worship table. Place a riser in front of the worship center.

FABRIC:
Cover the worship center with green fabric, making sure that the riser is covered.

CANDLES:
Place an altar candle on each side of the cross.

FLOWERS/PLANTS:
You may place flowering plants, ivy, or ferns on either side of the candles and in front of the worship center.

ROCKS/WOOD:
Not necessary for this setting.

OTHER:
Have one of the children in the church create a sign with just the word Welcome on it. The sign should be about the size of a sheet of foam board (20” x 30”), placed horizontally on the riser in front of worship center. The letters need to be in “child print” and should be done in a dark color so that they may be seen from a distance. Other bright images may be used, but they should be kept at a minimum.

OPTIONAL:
Have the children design a bulletin cover with the word Welcome on it.

OPTIONAL:
Have some helium-filled balloons in the vestibule/narthex, or outside the church, but make sure that they are anchored down. At this time, I would not suggest handing them out to children; that may be something that you want to consider at the end of the worship service.

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