Worship Connection: August 23, 2020

July 17th, 2020

12th Sunday after Pentecost

COLOR: Green
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Exodus 1:8–2:10; Psalm 124; Romans 12:1-8; Matthew 16:13-20

Call to Worship #1

L: Welcome! It is good to have you here this day.
P: Thank you. We come seeking healing and peace for our spirits.
L: God is with us, giving that wondrous healing love to each one.
P: Blessed be God who watches over us.
L: Come, let us praise God with thankful hearts.
P: Lord, we come to you in gratitude for all you do for us. AMEN.

Call to Worship #2

L: Life can sometimes be very difficult.
P: We look around and wonder where God is.
L: In the midst of our trials and tribulations, God is with us.
P: God surrounds us with love and courage.
L: Come, let us praise God for God’s abiding presence.
P: Lord, thank you for always being with us, even when we don’t recognize your loving presence. AMEN.

Call to Worship #3

(This call to worship requires advance preparation. Take 3 x 5 index cards and punch a hole in the top center. Tie a colored ribbon, about 12” in length, to that hole making sure that the tails of the ribbon or yarn are about six inches long. On the altar/worship center have a large picture of your church or a 3 foot tall wooden cross.)

L: Dear friends, please take the index card which is placed in your bulletin. Write on that card a special talent or gift you might have. It can be anything – even a good listening ear, a ready smile, baking bread, gardening, reading to children, working with your hands, singing, speaking – any talent you possess. You are invited to include your name on the card. Please write on your card now. [Pause while the people write.] When you have completed that, tie one tail of your ribbon to the ribbon of the person sitting next to you. If you are alone in the pew, add your card to the nearest row. The young people will carefully collect the streamers of cards and bring them to the altar]
L: Lord, bless each one of these people who have told us of their special talent.
P: Please be with us as we learn to share our gifts for your Glory.
L: We gather these cards, symbols of our community of faith, and place them on the altar/worship center.
P: Lord, help us to give and receive the gifts from each other; help us to go into your world sharing our gifts humbly. AMEN.

Gathering Prayer

O Lord, you bind us together in love, to learn, to be healed, to grow, to serve. Be with us this day and open our hearts to the amazing opportunities to help others through the gifts we possess. In Jesus’ glorious name, we pray. AMEN.

Opening Prayer

We thank you, O Lord, that we are not alone. You watch over us, guide us, and lead us in your righteous pathways. When we stumble and fall, you lift us up and gently place us on that pathway again. When we doubt, you surround us with your mercy and peace, reassuring us of your presence through the love of others and of our savior Jesus Christ. Keep our hearts and minds open and ready to serve you, for we pray these things in Jesus’ name. AMEN.

Prayer of Confession

There are far too many times, O Lord, when we have neglected or ignored the needs of others because it just wasn’t convenient for us to help. We backed away with excuses on our lips and indifference in our hearts. Forgive us and set us on the right path of service and compassion in the name of Jesus who modeled faithful living for us. Remind us that we are residents of a global community. Help us to hear the plight of those who have been voiceless. With the gifts that we have and the love of Christ, direct our lives in compassionate service to others. In Jesus’ name, we pray. AMEN.

Words of Assurance

Through the abundance of God’s mercy and forgiving love, you are empowered to be disciples, to reach out to others, to offer the words and deeds of hope in a struggling world. God’s blessings are poured over you for this service.

Morning Prayer

Lord, we hear the wonderful words from Matthew’s gospel in which Simon Peter acknowledges Jesus as the Christ, the son of the living God. He is given the name Peter, the rock upon whom the church will be built. We would like to be the kind of “rock” that Jesus could count on – to be strong in the face of adversity; brave when danger is present; compassionate when sorrow and strife prevail. You have called us to be your church and we ask for your transforming love that we might be better witnesses for you. Today we name in our hearts before you people that we love who are dealing with sorrow and illnesses; people who feel abandoned and alone; people who are entering schools and colleges, military service, the workforce. We also name those people and situations filled with joy and hope; a new home, the birth of a child, celebrations of special occasions, and often just a beautiful day. Hear the cries of our hearts to you, O God. Heal and transform lives. For we ask these things in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.


In gratitude for all that you have done for us and given to us, we return a portion of these gifts that they may be used in service to others. Let us receive our morning offering.

Prayer of Dedication

Generous God who always gives to each one of us the best, we thank you for this opportunity to share from our abundance. Bless these gifts, offered through the ministries and mission of this church. In Jesus’ name, we pray. AMEN.

Benediction/Sending Forth

The world awaits the love and gifts you have to offer. Go forth in joy and peace to be God’s witnesses this day and all your days. AMEN.

Children’s Time

Good morning! Who are you? That sounds like a strange question since I probably know most of you very well. But tell me your first name and something special about yourself. I’ll start so you’ll know what to do: OK, here goes: I’m Pastor Nancy and I love to tell people about God and Jesus. Now let’s here about you: [ask each child to give their name and encourage them to tell something special]. My goodness! I learned something about some of you that I didn’t know before. [you can lift up examples if there is time]. Each one of you is special.

Jesus was walking one day with his friends. He was curious about what people thought of him. He asked his friends “Who do people say that I am”. Some said the prophet Elijah, others that he might actually be Moses. But Simon said that Jesus was the Christ, the son of the Living God. That was true! Jesus was not Elijah or Moses or any other prophet — he is God’s Son. Jesus said that it took courage to say that and he told Simon that he would now be called Peter — the rock — the strong one. He would rely on Peter to tell others and help others. We are a lot like Peter, we know the story of Jesus, how much he loves each one of us, and he wants others to know that he loves them also. We can also tell others about Jesus, not only with our words, but with the kind things that we do. Are you ready to be disciples, special friends, for Jesus? Good! AMEN.

Art for the Altar/Worship Center

Equipment and Supplies: GREEN CLOTH to cover the altar/worship center. Place several “RISERS” of different heights under the cloth and at the base of the altar/worship center. Drape LANDSCPERS’ BURLAP over the altar, weaving the fabric back and forth and puddling it on the floor. ROCKS: of any size, placed on the risers, in front of the risers and on the floor in front of the altar/worship center. HEARTS: affixed to bamboo skewers, sticking out above some of the rocks.

Scripture into Script

Reader 1: I heard them talking. So many of them think that Jesus is actually Elijah – we’ve been waiting for him to come again to us.
Reader 2: I heard mention of Moses – after all he led the people out of slavery and gave them new hope and a new life.
Reader 3: I just caught snips of conversation but some of the people thought Jesus was one of the prophets reincarnated. I’m not sure about this.
Jesus: Don’t mean to interrupt but I heard this conversation. Let me ask you a question? Who do you sayI am?
Readers 1, 2, &3: shouting Elijah, Moses, a prophet.
Jesus: Who do you say I am?
Simon Peter: You’re the Christ – the son of the living God.
Jesus: Simon Peer, you have figured this out for yourself. Good for you. You are strong and so I will call you Peter because you are like a rock – this rock won’t be destroyed.
Peter: I won’t let you down, Lord.
Jesus: You could never let me down. I believe in you and your strength. You will be a strong leader for the church and help many others to live lives of peace and hope.

Message Movers

I love to take those little quizzes on Facebook. I found out that my Celtic name is Elspeth; that I also am Sophia, and Dorothy (from the Wizard of Oz — although when I took the test again I was Toto, the dog. I’m not quite sure how to take that. I’ve been Nancy for many years, and when my Mom was angry with me it was lengthened to Nancy Lorraine. If she added my last name, I was in deep trouble. To my husband I’m “Sweetie” or “Honey” or “Nancy”; to my sisters-in-law I’m Coley; to my granddaughter I’m Grammie; to my cat, I’m the one who gives her treats. But to God, I am “Beloved”. No matter what God loves me and asks me to keep trying.

God has redeemed and transformed my life and asks me to proclaim hope, peace, love and joy to all. I am confident that God has also called you in God’s service to help others, to be the church, to offer God’s message of peace and freedom.

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