Worship Connection: July 2, 2023 (Additional)

May 25th, 2020

Fifth Sunday After Pentecost

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

Call to Worship #1

L: When we walk the pathways of destruction ...
P: We are met by the God of peace and reconciliation
L: When we sit and wonder if there is any way we can be of help ...
P: We encounter the Holy One who invites us to faithful service.
L: When we least expect it ...
P: The Holy One through the Spirit offers us life-giving water!

Call to Worship #2

L: Something new is stirring in our church, O Lord.
P: A different voice comes to us.
L: Make us ready to receive this new Word
P: Open our hearts and renew our spirits.
L: Let us be the voice of welcome, the spirit of joy.
P: Let us be those who bring the life-giving waters to others. AMEN.

Call to Worship #3

[Using only the Refrain Melody line of “Let Us Be Bread” from THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2260, singers’ edition, follow the prompts listed below]

L: Brokenness floods our world dividing us against each other. Lord, who do you call us to be in these times of trouble?
P: (singing Refrain Melody line only of “Let Us Be Bread” FWS p. 2260)
L: Fear grips us and we need to know what to do. What shall we do”
P: (singing Refrain Melody line only of “Let Us Be Bread” FWS #2260)
L: Lord, we come before you today seeking your guiding love. Pour out your Spirit on us that we may truly serve you. AMEN.

Gathering Prayer

Redeeming Christ, you welcome us today with joy and peace. Impart those attributes in each of us that as we are called to serve in your world we may feel the power of your love and peace. In Jesus’ name, we pray. AMEN.

Opening Prayer

Lord of hope, when the dark clouds assail, you ask us to bear the light of your love and truth. When fears seem to immobilize us, you give us courage and strength to bear your witness. We thank you for your call to us. We praise you for your sustaining love for us. We honor you with our lives and our service to you; for it is in Christ’s Name, we offer this prayer. AMEN.

Morning Prayer

Gracious God of mercy, we thank you for your presence with us. As we gather in this community to share our faith, we open our hearts to the future of this church. We ask that you make us a blessing Prepare us to serve and celebrate the ministries you place before us. Giver of everlasting life, fill us again with your spirit, for it is in Christ’s name we pray. AMEN.

Prayer of Confession

Patient God, each and every day you offer to us new hope and special blessings. From the rising of the sun to its descent, the light of your love pours on your creation. We love all these things, but we want to hold onto each of your blessings just for ourselves. Teach us to share openly and willingly with others. Forgive our selfishness and turn it to selflessness in service to you. Clear our minds and spirits from sadness to a sense of joy and adventure; for we offer this prayer in Jesus’ name. AMEN.

Words of Assurance

Hear the good news! God has again blessed our lives with hope and joy. Be at peace, dear ones, for God is with us. AMEN.


Prayer of Dedication

Generous God, you have abundantly blessed each one of us; cause these gifts to be a blessing as they are put to work in your world. AMEN.

Benediction/Sending Forth

God of peace and mercy, send us into your world with confident joy. Help us to reach out to others and care for them as you always care for us. AMEN.

Children’s Time

How many of you shake hands with someone when you meet him or her? Not too many…… It’s a custom that we don’t practice enough. When you shake hands with someone, it means that you are interested in them and what they have to say; it means that you are thankful for all the things they are doing to help others; it can mean lots of things. In a way that is what Jesus was talking about when he told the disciples to receive or welcome someone. He said that when we welcome someone it is a reminder of the way God welcomes us. I’d like to have you shake hands with me. (leader shakes hands with several of the children). That made me feel very welcome. Thank you for shaking my hand. Shaking hands can also mean that you are willing to work with the other person to get something special done. It’s a very special pledge — it means you are serious about helping others. Today Jesus reminds us to be helpers, working together with others. I know that you can do this. So, shake hands with each other — we are now workers for Jesus!

Art for the Altar/Worship Center

Have someone create a poster showing two people shaking hands. The background of the poster should be a cross. Mount this poster on an art easel (preferably a table top one) in the center of the altar. Place several risers around the altar which has been covered with green fabric. Other glasses of water may be placed on the main level of the worship center. Use Boston ferns or other large leafy plants on either side of the poster. Place votive candles on the main level of the worship center, interspersed among the various water glasses. You may also place large plants on the floor in front of the worship center, if you choose

Scripture as Script

Paraphrase of Psalm 13

Reader 1: How long will you ignore me, O Lord? Are you going to hide yourself from me forever?
Reader 2: If I’m left to my own wits, I fail miserably. I need your presence. Where are you, O Lord?
Reader 3: I feel as though everyone is against me. When I try to do something which I think is good, it just turns out bad and everyone makes fun of me. What can I do, Lord?
Reader 1: Come on, God! Look at me! Answer me!
Reader 2: Stop the silent treatment! Give me some hope, some direction!
Reader 3: I feel as though I’m going to die! I have no hope.
Reader 1: But I have trusted in you in the past. Help me to again place my trust in your mercy.
Reader 2: Remind me that you are always with me, even when I feel so all alone.
Reader 3: My heart will rejoice in the salvation that you offer me. My spirit shall sing your praises.
ALL READERS: God has been good to me. In the midst of my doubts, God watches over me, gently guiding me. Blessed are all those who place their trust in God, for it shall be well with their souls!

Message Movers

Some years ago, in a church in Vermont, the youth group purchased several cases of bottled water, very little bottles. They prepared the labels reminding each person that this was the Water of Welcome — prepared to quench even the thirstiest person. These labels were affixed to the bottles and all the bottles were placed on the altar in church. During the children’s time, we talked about how much we need water when we are thirsty; how it helps us grow; how it refreshes us. We talked about Jesus, who helped us to grow and to learn how to be good disciples — and we talked about this congregation of faithful people who over the years have worked hard for our Lord.

Today on our altar we see a lot of bottles of water, each with a label from our church. These are the waters of Welcome here. We strive to be faithful to the witness of Jesus. Today we offer you each a bottle of water — free of charge, just for you. That’s the way it is with God — God’s loving care is free of charge and it is just for each one of us. We are called to be the witnesses to this love and to reach out to others, helping wherever and whenever we can.

Take these bottles — drink from them. For although this is ordinary water, it has become extraordinary through the blessing of the church and through the ministry of Jesus Christ who calls us into lives of service. Take and be healed. May your thirst be broken, in the name of our risen Lord, Jesus Christ. AMEN.

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