Worship Connection: July 5, 2020

May 28th, 2020

Fifth Sunday After Pentecost

Color: Green
Scripture Readings:  Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67; Psalm 45:10-17; Romans 7:15-25a; Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

Call to Worship #1

L: We gather this day to worship!
P: But we bring with us heavy burdens which weigh us down.
L: We gather this day to praise God!
P: But our hearts ache inside us and we feel we can go no further.
L: Come all who are burdened and who feel weighed down. Come to Jesus.
P: Lord Jesus, take our burdens and heal our spirits. AMEN.

Call to Worship #2

L: Come on in and find some rest!
P: We need that rest, for we are weary!
L: Come on in and discover peace!
P: We need peace, for our spirits are weighed down by troubles.
L: You have come to the right place! Our Lord is here, waiting for you.
P: Thanks be to God, who brings us rest and peace. AMEN.

Call to Worship #3

[Using THE FAITH WE SING, singers’ edition, p. 2216 “When We Are Called to Sing Your Praise”, offer the following Call to Worship. On one side of the congregation have a group of singers who will sing the first portion of each verse; on the other side of the congregation have a group of singers who will sing the remaining phrases of each verse, as directed.]

L: Come all who are weary. Come to the Lord of healing love.
P: Lord, we who are weary in spirit come to you.
Singing Group 1: “When we are called to sing your praise with hearts so filled with pain that we would rather sit and weep or stand up to complain.”
Singing Group 2: Remind us, God, you understand the burdens that we bear, you, too, have walked the shadowed way and known our deep despair.”
L: Come, all who are burdened, struggling with events of life which weigh you down.
P: We come, carrying burdens of all kinds. We seek peace.
Singing Group 1: “When we are called to sing your praise and cannot find our voice, because our losses leave us now to reason to rejoice,”
Singing Group 2: “Remind us, God, that you accept our sad laments in prayer. You, too, have walked the shadowed way and known our deep despair.”
L: Come, all who doubt, who are puzzled, who are fearful.
P: We come, wondering if it is possible to be healed of our pain, to lay our burdens down and find peace.
Singing group 1: “When we are called to sing your praise, and life ahead looks grim, still give us faith and hope enough to break forth in a hymn.”
Singing group 2: “a thankful hymn, Great God of Love, that you are everywhere. You walk the shadowed way with us and keep us in your care.”

Gathering Prayer

We gather together this morning, O Lord, eager to feel your healing touch for our wounded spirits and weary souls. Flood our lives with your peace. Shine your light of joy in our souls this day, for we pray in Christ’s Name. AMEN.

Opening Prayer

Lord of peace and hope, we open our hearts to you this day. Be with us as we hear your words of inspiration and healing. Guide our hearts and spirits as we seek to be witnesses to your redeeming and reconciling love. In Jesus’ Name, we offer this prayer. AMEN.

Morning Prayer

Welcoming Lord, we come before your throne of grace today. It’s been quite a week for some, filled with busyness and exciting activities; for others it has been a long and lonely week. Still others have experienced ongoing troubles and frustrations, sorrows and sadness. Throughout all these conditions and at all times, you are with each one of us, giving us strength, calming our spirits; healing our wounds, celebrating the delights and triumphs. This morning we name in our hearts and by our voices loved ones who struggle with issues of health, loneliness, sorrow; we name in our hearts and by our voices those who have found great joy. Be with each person, giving strength and courage for all the times ahead. Help each one of us to remember that we can always come to you with our burdens and you will take them from us.

Prayer of Confession

Merciful and loving God, we are so grateful for your redeeming love for each one of us. We confess that there have been times of doubt in our spirits. We confess that when the times of difficulties are upon us, we don’t always believe that you will take our burdens. We feel we have to always be in control, trying to demand the desired outcome. Help us to place our trust in you. Remind us that you surround us continually with your care, you never just let us go to drift aimlessly about. Open our hearts and spirits again to your healing powers. For we pray these things in the name of Jesus, the one who will take our burdens and give us peace. AMEN.

Words of Assurance

Hear the good news, dear friends! Jesus releases us from our burdens. Place your whole trust in his love. AMEN.

Offertory

Prayer of Dedication

As you have received each one of us, O Lord, receive also these gifts that we offer to you that your love may be made known through ministries of peace, hope and justice. AMEN.

Closing Prayer

Lord, we have listened to your word for us this day. We are grateful for the love of Jesus who takes our burdens and lightens our spirits. Be with us today as we leave this place. May we continue to place our trust in you, for it is in the name of Jesus that we pray. AMEN.

Benediction/Sending Forth

Weary travelers, go now in peace with the love of Christ in your hearts. You are released from your burdens! Go with joy to serve God. AMEN.

Children’s Time

Have a large rimmed baking sheet placed on a center table, near where the children will gather for their time with the pastor. Fill this sheet tray with rocks and stones so that the surface of the sheet tray is no longer visible. Prepare for each child a “tear drop” shaped piece of construction paper. At the beginning of the story the Pastor will distribute a piece of paper to each child.

Good morning. It’s great to see you this morning. You probably have noticed the tray of rocks on our table. These are called “reminder” rocks. They remind us of Jesus who was so loving and so strong that he could take all of our troubles and help us to solve them. This morning you will be receiving a “tear drop” piece of construction paper. Just before you go to your classes or back to sit with your family, I am going to have you place your teardrop in the bed of rocks. It’s just like you are giving to Jesus your sadness and fears. It’s OK to do this. He can take it. Remember that he always loves you and wants the best for you, even when things don’t seem to be going that way. You have to place your trust in Jesus. Are you ready to do this? (Wait for answers or nods). First, let’s have a prayer: Dear Jesus, take my teardrop which is a reminder of my scared and sad feelings. Help to heal those feelings. I place my trust in you. AMEN. OK, let’s place our tear drops on the rocks. That’s it! Thanks so much and I wish you a very happy day.

Art for the Altar

Cover the altar/worship center with green cloth so that it covers the table/center completely with the fabric puddling to the floor. Put several risers on the worship table on either side and slightly in front of the cross. Cover the risers with a square yard of burlap fabric. Making sure that a corner of the burlap drapes over the front edge of the table/center. On the risers and on the main level of the table, place some large rocks and stones. Also place large rocks and stones at the base of the table on the floor. Using fishing line, affix some tear drop shapes of construction paper about an inch apart. Attach each teardrop line to the arms of the cross and spilling down over the rocks on the altar/table and onto the floor. You may use the regular altar candles by the cross if desired, or some carefully placed votive candles (remember to keep them away from the construction paper tear drops).

Scripture into Script

Reader 1: I’m such a jerk! I know what is the right thing to do, but sometimes I’m just too lazy to do the right thing, and the wrong things seem so easy!
Reader 2: It’s hard to know what is right sometimes.
Reader 1: But I do know, and yet I do the wrong thing. I know that there are sometimes I should tell the truth, but it seems easier to lie!
Reader 2: Have you tried talking to anyone about this?
Reader 1: Yeh, right! Who’s going to listen to me?
Reader 2: Jesus will.
Reader 1: You really believe that? You’re crazier than I thought.
Reader 2: I know he will listen. Sometimes when I feel that there is no one who truly understands, Jesus listens to me.
Reader 1: I’ll bet he offers some “heavenly” advice!
Reader 2: Sometimes I just have to let go of my fears and give them to him.
Reader 1: Then what?
Reader 2: I feel better, and I can think more clearly when I don’t feel so weighed down.
Reader 1: Can anyone do this?
Reader 2: Sure.
Reader 1: How?
Reader 2: Just pray – ask Jesus to help you with your burdens. He knows how you have struggled.
Reader 1: Just like that?
Reader 2: Just like that!
Reader 1: I might just give it a try.
Reader 2: Go ahead, you won’t be sorry.

Message Movers

Don’t get me wrong. I loved my mother-in-law. Whenever troubles would assail, she would say “This, too, shall pass.” That was all well and good for her, but it drove me crazy. In the midst of trouble I needed a sympathetic ear and all I got was “This, too, shall pass.” It got to the point where I didn’t want to share any fears or concerns because the standard answer always arrived. I have to admit that she was a great woman of faith. She was strong in adversity and humble in success. Over the years, despite the admonition of “This, too, shall pass”, I learned about her strength and courage.

Along with my aging, which seems to be all too rapid, came the understanding that, if I was to turn my fears and sorrows over to the Lord, these things would pass from me. I would learn how to handle them and “roll with the punches”, as it were. These were hard lessons, because I do like to be in control. I want to be master/mistress of my own destiny. I still had, and have, lots to learn. I had to learn to let go of my fears, and give them to the Lord, completely and freely, not keeping any strings attached. These are hard lessons for a stubborn person to learn. God is patient with me, willing to wait while I learn my lesson.

Do you find any of these things active in your life? If not, how fortunate for you. But if you do, you will understand that the most difficult lessons come hardest. As we heard in today’s Gospel lection, the disciples were confronted with the same problems. Jesus’ first admonition was not to be afraid. Trust. The Gospel passage concludes with the little invitational nugget, “Come to me, all you who are burdened and carry heavy loads. Give those burdens to me. I’ll gladly take them from you. Now you may find rest for your souls.” Come to Jesus…….you take the first step forward in prayer, bringing those burdens to him. He will take them. That’s good news. You no longer have to carry them all by yourself. It does not mean that you no longer care; it means that the heavy pressure is lifted from you. He will help you with the burdens. Just when you think there is no one one who will listen – he says “come to me, all who are weighed down with heavy burdens. Give them to me. I can take them and help you.” Good News for all of us burden-bearers. He will take them………he will release us from the oppressive wieight of these burdens…..he will help make the direction clear…….he will be with us.
Come to Jesus…….come now. Bring your burdens before him……and he will give you rest.
AMEN.

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