Worship Connection: June 17, 2018

May 1st, 2018

Fourth Sunday after Pentecost 

COLOR: Green
SCRIPTURE READINGS: 1 Samuel 15:34–16:13; Psalm 20; 2 Corinthians 5:6-10 (11-13), 14-17; Mark 4:26-34

CALLS TO WORSHIP

Call to Worship #1

L: This is the day that the Lord has made!

P: Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

L: This is a day of new beginnings!

P: This is a time for growing into new disciples for Jesus.

L: Come, let us prepare ourselves for worship

P: Let us be prepared for service to God. AMEN.

Call to Worship #2

L: Welcome to worship today!

P: Thank you. We are glad to be here!

L: Open your eyes and your hearts to God’s spirit.

P: We open our lives to God’s word for us.

L: Rejoice! For God is with us this day!

P: Thanks be to God for God’s loving presence. AMEN.

Call to Worship #3

[Using THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2074, “Shout to the Lord”, offer the following call to worship as directed]

L: Rejoice! Proclaim God’s Presence!

P: Let our voices raise in joy! God is with us!

Choir: singing “Shout to the Lord” through one time.

L: Our savior Jesus is with us, offering us lessons in living and serving

P: Open our ears and our hearts to hear his words of encouragement.

L: Lift your voices in joyful praise.

P: All of our days we will praise and thank God for God’s love and mercy.

Choir: singing “Shout to the Lord” through two times.

Call to Worship #4

L: In all times and in all places, God is with us.

P: God’s love flows over and around us, lifting us in hope.

L: Shout for joy!

P: Sing praises to God!

L: Get ready to become disciples for Jesus.

P: Lord, make us ready to serve you. AMEN.

PRAYERS, READING, BENEDICTION

Opening Prayer:

Lord, we come this day, having seen the miracles of everyday creation in our world. We have enjoyed both the bright sunshine and the gentle rains. We have marveled over the beauty of flowers and the complexity of your creation. Make our hearts ready to receive your word for us, that we may go forth from this place ready to joyfully serve you all of our days. AMEN..

Prayer of Confession:

Patient Lord, you know how we are. We let the frustrations and worries of our lives overcome us. Our hearts seem to buckle under the weight of anger and confusion. And we turn away from you, sure that you can do nothing to alleviate our strife. How foolish we are! How faithless we are! Please forgive us. Help us to learn that you are actively involved in our lives, not as a “puppet master” but as a creative co-worker, seeking healing and hope not only for each of us, but for the whole world. Make us into disciples of peace and compassion; for we ask this in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.

Words of Assurance:

Let go of your fears and doubts. God pours God’s love on you, in you and through you to others. Be at peace. AMEN.

Pastoral Prayer:

Lord, in this season of growth, open our hearts to grow in your love. Help us to truly trust in your creative process in our lives. We look around and we see the beauty of your world, the blossoming flowers and plants, the growth of children, the joy of celebrations of graduation and marriage, of receiving new life. And we also see the sadness and sorrow that has invaded the world when systems of injustice and hatred lay claim to people’s lives. Prepare us, O Lord, to become ambassadors of peace and hope. Help us to place our trust in you, so that when we are serving others, they may come to know your abiding love and power. Give us courage and great joy as we serve you. AMEN.

Reading:

Reader 1: “Mary, Mary, quite contrary” how does your garden grow?” Good question! It grows with lots of work - preparing the soil, selecting the seeds, or sometimes seedlings, planting them just the right distance apart, watching for weeds, making sure that they are fed with the right plant food….how does my garden grow? Only with lots and lots of hard work!

Reader 2: Look at this! I just got these seeds from the church! Mustard seeds!

Reader 1: Like the ones you get on the spice aisle at the grocery store?

Reader 2: I don’t think so. These come from the nursery and plant place down the road. They were in a little packet. Look how small they are! I wonder what the plant will look like?

Reader 1: Well, look on the packet. Is there a picture?

Reader 2: They didn’t give us a packet….just the seeds in these tiny little plastic bags. They said to go home and plant them and see what would happen. I am afraid for them because they are so tiny - what kind of plant could come from inside this little grain?

Reader 1: There’s only one way to find out….plant them, give them, water, and sunlight, but, since you don’t know what kind of seed they are, don’t give them fertilizer, other than what is already in the soil - you might burn them. Those seeds will probably take special care.

Reader 2: I think that I will divide them into to little pots, so they aren’t crowded and so that if one doesn’t grow, maybe the other will have a chance.

Reader 1: Sounds good to me. Let me know what happens, OK?

Reader 2: OK.

Reader 3: “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come. The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed…..”

Benediction:

Feel the love of God growing within your heart. Go into God’s world, planting seeds of love, mercy, joy, and peace in all that you say and do. Be at peace and serve God. AMEN. 

ARTISTIC ELEMENTS

The traditional color for this Sunday is: Green

[Note: Today’s Gospel lesson offers us the Parable of the Mustard Seed. This presents many creative opportunities for the worship artist. Create a scene which is dominated by a large shrub with many branches, the type in which a bird could build a nest. Additionally create a special packet of seeds to be given to each member in the congregation with the words “Grow in peace and love” written on an accompanying tag. These can be attached to the morning bulletin or handed out during the service]

SURFACE: Place a 6” riser on the center of the worship table, making sure that it is wide enough and sturdy enough to hold the large shrub.

FABRIC: Cover the worship center in burlap so that it puddles on the floor in front of the worship center. Take a long strip of 30” wide green fabric, wrap it around the base of the large shrub and let it trail down the front of the worship center onto the floor.

CANDLES: Place two white 10” pillar candles on either side of the large shrub, being careful to keep the flame away from the branches.

FLOWERS/FOLIAGE: Borrow a large leafy shrub from a church member or from the local florist - this should be the kind with branches in which a bird might nest. [Note: be sure to write a recognition and thank you in the bulletin for the loan of the shrub]. Other smaller leafy plants may be placed near the base of the worship center. Some of these could be flowering plants, but the central plant on the worship center should be the large shrub.

ROCKS/WOOD: Not necessary for this setting

OTHER: Place the brass cross in front of the shrub, making sure that it does not cover the shrub. If the brass cross is too large, have someone make a smaller wood cross that would be painted white, to be placed in front of the shrub (it should be about 12” high). Prepare packets of seeds and notes to be placed in the bulletin or handed out. If you are able you might place some “birds” on the shrub and create a small nest that would be visible to the congregation. Be creative, but do not overwhelm the shrub with birds.

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