Worship Connection: July 12, 2020

June 1st, 2020

Sixth Sunday After Pentecost

COLOR: Green
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Genesis 25:19-34; Psalm 119:105-112; Romans 8:1-11; Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

Call to Worship #1

L: God scatters the seeds of reconciliation and love, and waits….
P: So much of it lands on flat pathways or rocky roads and won’t take root….
L: God scatters the seeds of healing and hope, and waits….
P: Shallowness and fear claim the seeds and they cannot live.
L: God scatters the seeds of redemption and peace, and waits….
P: These are the places of deep growth where the seed will cast down strong roots.
L: Welcome this day to a seed-scattering station!
P: May our hearts be the rich soil in which God’s love takes root. AMEN.

Call to Worship #2

L: Welcome to the seed-scattering station!
P: We thought this was the church! What’s this “seed-scattering”?
L: We are called to be the place where the loving, redeeming word of God is shared.
P: Oh! We need to hear about this love.
L: Open your hearts and lives, dear friends, for God’s word for you.
P: Lord, make us ready to receive your word and fieel our healing presence. AMEN.

Call to Worship #3

[Using “God is So Good”, p. 2056, from THE FAITH WE SING, offer the following call to worship]

L: Good morning! Welcome to worship and celebration of God’s love.
P: Thanks. It has been quite a week for us; for some good; for others difficult.
Choir singing verse 1 of “God Is So Good.”
L: God love is cast lavishly for you
P: We surely need that love.
Choir: singing verse 2 of “God Is So Good”
L: Come, be healed and live in that love!
P: Lord, help us to be open to your healing word and love for our lives. AMEN.
ALL: singing verse 3 of “God Is So Good”

Gathering Prayer

Lord, nourish the soil of our lives with goodness, courage, hope and love that we may grow in your word and in your way. AMEN.

Opening Prayer

Lord, you know us so well. We thank you for your presence in our lives, even when we don’t recognize it. This day we have gathered, coming from a week of unexpected happenings and events which have surprised us. Make us ready to become stronger witnesses for your love as we receive your word and find our spirits and lives healed. AMEN.

Prayer of Confession

Seed-scattering God, we come to you this day with so many things on our hearts and minds. Some of the events this week have been very positive and have caused us to celebrate; but we are constantly besieged by worries, doubts and fears. These negative things crowd out your word and we become like the useless soil, unable to receive and grow. Slow us down. Continue to pour your love on us because we really hunger and thirst for it. Forgive us when we allow all the negativity to drown out your word. Scatter again the seeds of peace, love, hope and joy that we may be better disciples for you in this world which is in so much pain. AMEN.

Words of Assurance

Here’s the Good News! God is never going to stop showering us with God’s love…..all the time, everywhere……always for us. Hallelujah!

Morning Prayer

God who plants seeds of hope and justice within our lives, we are so grateful for this community of faith and for all, anywhere, who hunger and thirst for your healing, reconciling word. You know all the things that are on our hearts today and you bring us together in love and support. We ask your healing mercies with those who struggle with illness of every kind, with feeling lost and marginalized; for those who mourn and for whom the darkness of sorrow enshrouds them. We ask your growth-producing love for all those who celebrate and rejoice today. Be with each one of us and all those whom we have named in our hearts before you. Help us to reach out to each other in compassion and support, for we ask these things in Jesus’ name. AMEN.


As we receive our morning offering, remember all the ways in which God has entered your lives, and be grateful.

Prayer of Dedication

Gardener God, thank you for all the blessings you have poured into our lives. Receive these gifts that they may become seeds of hope and love. AMEN.

Benediction/Sending Forth

As you have received the seeds of faith and hope; go now into God’s world to scatter the seeds of reconciliation and peace, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. AMEN.

Children’s Time: “Scattering”

Preparation: Using a computer, print out the scripture for the day in 14-16 point font. Cut the sheets of paper into confetti and place in an earthenware bowl. Be sure to alert your custodian that you will be scattering confetti.

Message: Good morning! Today we are thinking about seeds and ways things grow. How many of you have or ever have had a garden? I had a little one once and I was taught to plant the little seeds very carefully, making sure that they were about two inches from each other and that the little holes in the ground were about one half inch deep. When the seeds were placed there, I carefully covered them over with soil and then watered them well…….and waited……and waited……and waited. Some of the seeds came up into nice little plants; others didn’t grow at all; some of the birds discovered the seeds and had a snack, and there were some weeds that grew faster and the seeds didn’t have room to grow. Being a gardener is a difficult job. Jesus talked with his friends about scattering seeds, he wanted them to think about the ways in which God spreads God’s love for all people. He surprised them because he told them that God scatters the seeds, not carefully planting them two inches apart. Could I have a volunteer this morning to help me? [Wait for a child to come forward] [Taking the earthenware bowl of confetti, ask the child to take one little piece at a time and place it on the table, just about two inches apart.

Well, that looks nice. These are seeds of God’s love. Did everybody here get some? No? You’re right! Some people can see these little seeds, but the seeds are not near to them at all. What do you suppose would happen if I tried to copy the way God scattered the seed of God’s love. Let’s try it and see. [Take a handful of confetti and broadly scatter it across the children. Use a wide sweeping motion] Wow! Look at you. God’s love has been scattered all over you.

God has given to each one of us the chance to tell others about God’s love and how much strength and courage it gives us every day. I want you to think about being seed-scatterers of God’s love. Thanks for visiting with me today. God bless you all.

Art for the Altar

Cover the altar/worship table with a plastic painter’s drop cloth. Cover that with about 8-10 yards of landscaper’s burlap, making sure that there are folds and pockets to hold soil and plants. Place a brass or wood cross at the center back of the altar/table On either side of the cross you may place a candle and low trailing vines, helping to frame the back of the table. You may use weeds of lovely little garden plants in small plain containers in some of the folds of the burlap and surround them with dirt. Gather some large rocks, place them on the table and on the floor in front of the table. Place some dead plants near the rocks or in folds where there is very little soil.

Script into Scripture

Reader 1: Sometimes I just don’t get it! In today’s world we need to guard against carelessness and it sounds like in this story Jesus told, that God is just plain careless.
Reader 2: Why do you say that?
Reader 1: Well, it appears that God doesn’t value God’s own love – God throws it anywhere not particularly caring where it lands, on whom it lands.
Reader 2: That’s just the point – God offers God’s love freely to all, knowing that some will choose to receive it and others will not – but God continues to try.
Reader 1: But isn’t that irresponsible? I mean, there are lots of people who just don’t believe in God or choose not to believe; there are lots of people who claim to have faith but when tough times come they doubt everything, especially God; and what about those who are so easily swayed by false prophets, you know what I mean…..those who think that God is obsolete and they have the latest handle on things? See what I mean. God’s got to be a lot more careful.
Reader 2: This is never a “one-shot” deal – God will continue to lavish God’s love on all creation. And you are right…..some of it will die out, some will fade, some will be corrupted, and some will take good root. That’s what it is all about. God is willing to take a chance. God’s love is inexhaustible and it is always there for us. Within this love we will find healing, peace, courage, strength, patience……so many good things. Don’t worry! God will always be with us.

Message Movers

She stood in the pulpit, a newly-minted pastor, and proclaimed the lavish love of God. Having been a pastor for a lot of years, I have preached on this text, almost ad nauseum. But this day, visiting in this little church, God’s word was cast anew in my life. This was the inexhaustible love that God continues to pour on all creation, willing to take a chance that even in the most unlikely places God’s love will take root and flourish as people reach out to help each other and to work for the healing of creation. We want to limit God’s love to a measurable supply, carefully guarded, but God doesn’t do that. 

As the pastor spoke, she cast her arms widely, just as I did with the children this morning as I scattered the scripture confetti over them. I used wide sweeping motions, because this lavishness, shared so powerfully, cannot be limited to drips and dribbles, or a mere sprinkling. Now is the time for extravagance – the deluge of love over the parched earth of hate and fear. It’s time to get serious about this Word in our lives and how it changes us – some people could call it being too generous, not being careful whom we let into the fold or the community. That is the soil of hate and fear speaking but God asks us to be reconciling, redeeming in our ministries and missions.

Just for a minute, think about the ways in which God has offered God’s love to you. Most of the time did you accept it joyfully……or did you see it as your right, as payment for your faithfulness…..or did you decide that you could determine whom God should love and save and who should be pushed out? Come on, admit it. Most of us have experienced all those feelings. We get frustrated and angered over the behaviors and attitudes of people who seem to run counter to us…..we want God to visit God’s judgment on others rather than restore them to wholeness. It’s frustrating. Why does God do that? Well, we don’t know, except to say that God’s love is boundless and it is truly available for everyone. God is always trying to reach out to us.

So what are you going to do about this? I can hear some of you saying, “I’m not doing anything”. That’s OK…..God is very patient. For me, this parable brought me to my knees. God is lavish in God’s love and God’s forgiveness and redemption know no bounds. I cannot place limitations on God’s powerful word of hope and courage. I did nothing to deserve this love, but that grace-filled compassion was freely given to me, broadly cast in my direction and into my heart and I am changed forever. AMEN.

comments powered by Disqus