Worship Connection: June 4, 2023

May 8th, 2020

Trinity Sunday [and Peace with Justice Sunday]
Color: White
Scripture Readings: Genesis 1:1—2:4a; Psalm 8; 2 Corinthians 13:11-13; Matthew 28:16-20

(This is traditionally Trinity Sunday, but I believe that we can “marry” the focus of Peace with Justice to the command of Christ to baptize all nations.)

Call to Worship #1

L: Welcome this day to a celebration of God’s magnificent creation!
P: Thanks be to God the Creator who has loaned to us such a beautiful planet.
L: Welcome this day to a recognition of God’s redeeming love!
P: Thanks to God the Redeemer who has given us God’s only Son as our Example and Teacher, Our Savior and Redeemer!
L: Welcome this day to the joy of God’s Holy Spirit of truth and power!
P: Thanks to God the Sustainer who walks with us every day, guiding and guarding our steps. AMEN.

Call to Worship #2

L: Good Morning!
P: Good Morning!
L: How are you doing today?
P: We’re OK. Sometimes good; other times not so good.
L: Welcome to this house of the Lord, here you will find healing for your souls.
P: We come with great joy, for we need this healing love.
L: Here you will also find a vision of peace for a broken world.
P: Help us to become part of that vision and be those who serve God with just hearts and kind spirits. AMEN

Call to Worship #3

(Using WORSHIP AND SONG, singers’ edition, “Father, We Have Heard You Calling” p.3150, have the choir offer the verses. In between each verse will be a statement by the worship leader)
L: Welcome today to the house of God where you will find nourishment for your spirits.
Choir: singing verse 1 of “Father, We Have Heard You Calling”
L: Welcome today to the place of encouragement and healing love.
Choir: singing verse 2 of “Father, We Have Heard You Calling”
L: Welcome today to the place of sending forth with hearts confident of your mission.
Choir: singing verse 3 of “Father, We Have Heard You Calling”
L: Let us praise the God of justice, mercy and love.

Gathering Prayer

Lord, we come to celebrate the great good news of your love. Let this love be wrapped in justice and peace for all. AMEN.

Opening Prayer

Merciful and Just God, we gather here this morning, each of us with many concerns on our hearts. Our hearts are concerned with systems of injustice which strip people of their dignity and their very lives. Help us to be those who would seek peace with justice, who would fight for those who are oppressed, offer voices for the voiceless and dignity for all humankind. Be with us this day and guide our steps toward a more just world in your name. AMEN.

Prayer of Confession

We confess this day, O merciful God, that we have not always acted in just ways nor sought justice for our friends and neighbors. We have found it easy to turn our backs on problems rather than seeking to be a solution to them. We have heard of the many ways in which you have demonstrated peace with justice through the ministries of your Son, yet we have given only sporadic attention to them. Forgive us, Lord. Heal our selfishness and brokenness. Cause us to be witnesses to your great love as shown to us in Jesus Christ. AMEN.

Words of Assurance

This is the good news: Christ died for us that we might have life. We are called to give our lives to ministries of justice. God is with us in this and all righteous endeavors. Thanks be to God. AMEN.

Morning Prayer

God of Love and Mercy, you have given us stewardship to care for this wonderful planet and to care for our neighbors. We have been blessed with a variety of gifts and talents and you call us to use them to help others. Open our hearts today to ministries of peace with justice. Embolden us to become part of this great cloud of witnesses who were unafraid to be your disciples. We think of so many in this church and in our lives who have gone before us, braving the difficulties presented by life. We name them in our hearts before you, grateful for their example. (Silent prayer.) We also name in our hearts those people who are ill, who mourn, who feel lost and alone, those who are part of cultures of oppression and indignity. Help us to be those people who, by our example, will break those chains of poverty and burst the doors that imprison their spirits. Be with this church that it may be a true witness to Jesus Christ in all that we do. AMEN.


Prayer of Dedication

Lord, bless these gifts that they may be used for ministries of compassion. Bless these people gathered here, bringing their gifts and their lives in service to you. For we offer ourselves and our gifts to you. AMEN.

Benediction/Sending Forth

Go forth with empowered joy to work for and with ministries of peace with justice. Be the good stewards of the earth and its people that God has called you to be. AMEN.

Children’s Time

(Alert the parents in advance that you will be encouraging their children to bring in a jar of peanut butter and a jar of jelly to be donated to the local food pantry to help provide a meal for a hungry child. Have extra jars on hand in the event that someone forgets their gift.)

Good morning, children. Many of you have heard about kids that have almost nothing to eat during the day. They come to school hungry, and sometimes the only meal they get is the school lunch, that is if they can afford it. They are not going to announce who they are. They have just decided that this is how life is and they will just have to deal with it. I hope that none of you are in these circumstances. You know that your church contributes to the local food pantry every month. We are happy to do this, but there is more that can be done. Jesus would want us to find ways to help others in need. What do you think that you could do? (wait for some answers). Who likes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? Wow! That’s quite a few of you. Do you think that next week you could ask your Mom or Dad to get a jar of peanut butter and a jar of jelly that we could donate to the food pantry? We will put them on our altar and bless them. Your teachers will have a special treat for you. Mr/Mrs ____________, who is the manager of our food pantry, will be here to talk with you about this and will receive the wonderful gift of peanut butter and jelly. Let’s pray: Dear God, you have given us so much. Help us to help others the very best way we can. AMEN.

Altar Art for this Sunday

Equipment and supplies: 2 3-book hymnal stacks, large rocks, “prison bars” made from wood and PVC pipe and sprayed black; large rusted and worn chains; 3 foot high wood cross; 50 foot section of landscaper’s burlap (make sure this is aired out); 8” tall white pillar candle
Design: This design will feature the “prison bars” and chains on the roughened burlap. Behind the bars will be the large rough cross and in front of the bars will be the large pillar candle. The rocks or cinder blocks will hold the bars in place (be sure to place some of the rocks at the base of the worship center.
The hymnal stacks maiy be placed on the upper left corner, as a base for the cross and the mid right hand side behind the bars. The burlap should cover the entire table, making sure that it drapes to the floor.

Scripture as Script

Adaptation of Genesis 1:1-2:4a [May use 8 readers or 2 readers]

Reader 1: Everything was dark when God began creation. God’s spirit swept over the waters of this yet to be shaped planet.
Reader 2: Let there be light, God commanded. And there was light, beautiful light, flooding over part of the planet as it began to spin on its axis.
Reader 1: That was the first day – the light that illumines all.
Reader 2: God called the light Day and the darkness Night.
Reader 3: God looked at the waters and separated them.
Reader 4: The waters above were called Sky; the waters beneath were called oceans, seas, rivers, lakes, ponds, streams
Reader 3: So the second day was accomplished and God was pleased.
Reader 4: God was please, but God wasn’t done yet. Pushing up from the waters came the dry land.
Reader 5: Springing forth from this land were fruit trees, vegetation.
Reader 6: Each fruit and plant yielded seed, each according to its kind so that it would reproduce and continue.
Reader 5: Delighted with God’s own work, God declared it very good.
Reader 6: And so the third day occurred. Lush and green, beautiful with golden grain the earth was giving birth to those things which would sustain life.
Reader 7: God scattered lights in the sky and called them stars to illuminate the Night. A greater light was placed in the sky in the Day and it was called the Sun. A lesser light was given in the Night sky and God called it Moon.
Reader 8: God was very pleased and saw that it was very good. This was the fourth day.
Reader 7: The beautiful waters of the seas and oceans were vacant and so God created the wonderous see creatuires, fish, and all manner of sea and ocean creatures.
Reader 8: The lakes and rivers teamed with fish and aquatic life.
Reader 7: God saw that it was good and so the fifth day was accomplished.
Reader 8: We need some creatures to roam the earth. God created all the creatures upon the earth, endless was the variety of wildlife God created.
Reader 7: We need someone to take care of these creatures
Reader 8: So God created humanity; and the writers of Genesis wanted us to remember that we are created in God’s image, not to be God, but to be God’s good stewards; the people who would treat the earth carefully and lovingly.
Reader 1: So, that’s how they saw it – the beginnings of our ministries of peace with justice – beginning as stewards of God’s creation, not abusers, not destroyers.
Reader 3: We haven’t done a very good job. We’ve abused the land and its people. We have enslaved people and we have allowed young ones to starve, old ones to give up hope. That’s not how God wanted it.
Reader 1: We’ve got another chance to do this right, right now, this very minute. It’s up to us. We who call ourselves by Christ’s Name must now bear some responsibility for this earth and its people.
Reader 2: Then God will see creation, its creatures, its humans, and call it very good.

Message Movers

[This dialogue may be used in Reader’s Theatre format — very effective, but you should plan to have at least one rehearsal prior to presentation.]

“How do you plead?” God asked. Humankind stood by quivering.
“Not guilty, Your Honor”, they cried in their fear.
“Not guilty? An interesting plea! Why do you so plead?”
“Well, you see, Your Honor, it’s not our fault. It’s the fault of everyone who went before us. It’s the fault of the rich for not sharing. It’s the fault of the poor for not speaking up. We didn’t create this mess, we inherited it.”
“So you would like all creation, from the very beginning of time, to stand trial?”
“They should. They left us with this mess.”
“Counsel, how do you view this situation?”
“If Your Honor could be patient with us, it is impossible to put all creation on the witness stand. We’ve tried hard, but we could only find these people to represent humankind. What was the task you wanted them to do, Your Honor?”
“To be good stewards of the earth, its people, its resources……to protect the lands and its people, to find ways to get along together, to raise children who would also respect creation.”
“That’s a pretty tall order, Your Honor.”
“You think so? It may be now, but it still can be accomplished.”
“How can this be rectified?”
“What can you do?”
“Me? I’m just a simple counselor, sent to plead this case. I don’t know what to do.”
“So, that’s going to be the excuse? I can’t do it because I’m simple?”
“No, I didn’t mean that. I meant that I’m only one person, that’s all.”
“OK, that’s where we will start. Counselor, I want you to “counsel” your people about taking good care of this earth and its people. I want to see a plan in this courtroom within the next month detailing how you will begin this project. I believe that you all can turn things around. Now do it! Court, dismissed.”

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