New Worship Connection: August 20, 2017

July 15th, 2017

Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost

Color: Green
Scripture Readings: Genesis 45:1-15; Psalm 133; Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32; Matthew 15:(10-20) 21-28

Call to Worship #1

L: What joy we feel when we are called together to celebrate God’s love.
P: God’s love flows through our lives!
L: This is what it means to be the body of Christ!
P: this is what it means to be faithful witnesses to God.
L: Let us rejoice on this day!
P: Lord, we thank you for the blessings you pour on us. AMEN.

Call to Worship #2

L: We gather here this day to hear God’s word for us.
P: We praise God for the opportunity to gather together.
L: We are sent forth from this place to share God’s transforming love.
P: Lord, encourage us and empower us to do your will. AMEN.

Call to Worship #3

[Using THE FAITH WE SING, (Singer’s Edition) “Lord, Listen to Your Children Praying”, p. 2193, offer the following call to worship as directed below]

L: Lord, we come to you this day with so any concerns on our hearts.
P: Lord, hear our cries.
Soloist: Singing “Lord, Listen to Your Children Praying” through one time.
L: Lord, fill our hearts with praise and our lives with your love.
P: Lord, hear our prayers!
Duet: Soprano/Alto, “Lord, Listen to Your Children Praying” through one time.
L: Lord, strengthen us in service to you and give us abundant grace
P: Lord, hear our prayers!
Trio: Soprano/Alto/Tenor: “Lord, Listen to Your Children Praying”, through one time.
ALL: AMEN!

Gathering Prayer

Lord, be with us today as we come to you from all life’s circumstances. Give us courage and strength and fill us with your love and grace that we may serve you effectively and fully. AMEN.

Opening Prayer

As summer draws to a close, we begin to focus our attention to the activities of autumn. For some it will mean preparing children for school; for others youth will be preparing to enter college or the work force or perhaps military service. Be with these precious ones as they embark on life’s journeys. Be with each one of us as we encounter life’s challenges. Open our hearts to receive your healing mercy and your transforming love. In Jesus’ name we pray. AMEN.

Prayer of Confession

God of infinite mercy and love, we come before you this day, knowing that we have not always been faithful to what you would have us do. We have too often turned our backs on those in need, choosing not to hear their cries. Forgive us, O Lord. We know that you do not want us to behave in this way. Your love and mercy, so generously showered over us, should be a beacon to guide our own actions. We make no excuses, for none would suffice. We ask your forgiveness and blessing, turning us again around and placing us on the path of compassion and peace. This prayer we offer in Jesus’ name. AMEN.

Words of Assurance

God’s love is greater than our understanding and our comprehension. That love is continually given to each and every one of us each day. Rejoice! God’s forgiving love is poured out for you now and always. AMEN.

Morning Prayer

Lord, what a blessing it is to come together in this community of faith. We travel here from all walks of life, from different ages and stages, and are welcomed in your love and your presence! Today we bring before you the names of loved ones who are struggling with loss, with illness, with depression, with addiction, with alienation from those that they love. Be with each of them. Lay your hand of healing gently over their lives and pour out your balm of peace on them. Help us to reach out to be of service to each other in Jesus’ name. Lord, we also bring to you situations of celebration: birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, family gatherings, special occasions which lift us up and remind us of the goodness that there is in life. Breathe your spirit into these wonderful events that all who gather may rejoice and celebrate the blessings you have given each of us. Keep our hearts and minds open for your reconciling word for us; for we ask this in Jesus’ name. AMEN.

Offertory

As God has so richly blessed us, let us return a portion of these blessings to God, asking that these gifts may be used in service to others through the ministries and mission of this church. Let us receive our morning offering.

Prayer of Dedication

God of abundance and joy, we thank you for the many blessings you have poured on our lives. Receive these gifts, lovingly given, and bless them in your service. AMEN.

Benediction/Sending Forth

May God’s mercy and peace go with you as you re-enter God’s world to serve those in need. Go in peace. AMEN.

Children’s Time

Good morning! It’s been a busy week. I don’t know about you, but I feel I have been running from thing to thing, trying to get a lot of work done and not accomplishing much. I’m tired. I was reading in my bible this week and came across the words, “Be still, and know that I am God.” I laughed because I hadn’t been still very much this week. I had been too busy. I forgot to take time for God – I kept putting it off. I’ll confess that I even rushed my prayers because I was so busy. “Be still, and know that I am God.”………those thoughts ran through my mind. The first one was “be still” which just means to slow down and be quiet! Not easy for me to do, but I did it. I sat, very quietly and didn’t speak, didn’t sing, didn’t whistle, I just sat very still and waited. The second one was “know that I am God”. I love God, but I guess that I had been pushing God out of the way this week. “OK, God” I said. “I’m waiting and listening; help me to know you.” How do you think that worked for me? Good? Bad? Nothing really at all? Well, it was amazing. I was quiet and began to feel as though God was surrounding me with a big hug, which I surely could use about then. It felt good, and I felt good. I didn’t feel so rushed and pushed. I’m going to try to remember to do this every day, right at the start of the day, so I get it going right. Want to learn how to do this?

OK, just relax and close your eyes. Take a deep breath and let it out slowly then continue to breathe normally. Just wait…….God is coming to you to give you a big hug and tell you that God loves you and always will. You will be fine this week – God is with you. That’s the message: God is with you. So each day this week, take just a few minutes to be still and let God fill you with love and peace.
God loves you, and so do I. AMEN.

Art for the Altar/Worship Center

Cover the altar/worship center with green cloth that drapes down to the floor. Place green leafy plants and green trailing vines on the floor in front of the altar/worship center and also on the worship center itself. Place a cross at the center of the table and a white 10” pillar candle on either side of the cross. Make twelve red construction paper hearts and place them among the leaves so that they show toward the congregation.

Scripture into Script

Reader 1: Where is God when I need God?
Reader 2: God’s always right there with you.
Reader 1: I can’t feel God’s presence!
Reader 2: Stop talking – listen – sit down
Reader 1: How’s that going to help?
Reader 2: Just be quiet for a little while. You’ll see.
[SILENCE]
Reader 1: I’m trying – but nothing’s happening.
Reader 2: That’s because you are trying to force God’s action – let it just happen.
Reader 1: OK. I’ll try again.
[SILENCE]
Reader 1: Oooooo, I feel so relaxed.
Reader 2: Now you are ready to receive God’s blessings.
Reader 1: How will I know?
Reader 2: You’ll know – just wait.
Reader 1: I feel like a big peaceful blanket is around me.
Reader 2: Good. That’s how it begins.
Reader 1: Think I’ll just sit here a while.
Reader 2: Take all the time you need; God’s in no hurry.

Message Movers

Faith and Crumbs

All she wanted was healing for her daughter. None of the medical experts of her time could or would do anything. There was no recourse. Then suddenly she heard about Jesus. He healed people. He healed people who weren’t even Israelites. “Maybe, just maybe”, she thought, “He can help my daughter.”

It took a lot of courage for this Canaanite woman to come and confront Jesus. She was risking her life. In this society women did not openly speak up to men in public and women from other cultures and races certainly were not welcome in conversation out in the public realm. But this Canaanite woman had great courage — she was willing to risk her life, trade it for her daughter’s healing. Matthew’s Gospel says that Jesus ignored her at first and then she was told that he had come for the house of Israel. He said that it was not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs. She countered with “But even the dogs gather the crumbs that fall to the floor”. With that bold proclamation, she announced her courage and her faith; the consequence was that her daughter was healed.

We want Jesus to take care of us, just us, no one else. We proclaim this in various ways. We want the benefits and don’t want to do the work, yet we complain when there are others who would give anything for the little pittance that the jobs we rejected would provide enough so that they could take care of their families. We proclaim that they have stolen our jobs, when we ourselves didn’t even want them. Then we complain when we do not have enough workers for the harvest and the food rots in the field. You can’t have it both ways.

When in the past few months there has been an attempt to ban people of one faith from travelling to our country — we stand up in our self-righteousness and proclaim that because they are “not like us” they are not welcome. They threaten us. Yet, right at the entrance to New York Harbor is a statue which proclaims “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free; the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed, to me; I lift my lamp beside the golden door”. When did we tear down that welcome sign?

In this day and time we are called to reach out in compassion to our brothers and sisters around the globe. We are in this life-thing together. We are drawn together. God is God! God’s love is poured down on each one of us — it is not portioned out according to our race, ethnicity, religion, gender, political leanings. Come together in God’s love, dear friends. Come together, work together in the witness of Christ and all those through whom God has spoken. Bind us together, Lord, bind us together in cords that cannot be broken! AMEN.

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