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


CALLS TO WORSHIP

Call to Worship #1:
L: Welcome to this house of the Lord!
P: Thank you. We are glad to be here this morning.
L: This is a time to offer our praise to God.
P: With joy we thank God for all the blessings that have been poured on us.
L: Come, let us worship God who showers us with mercy.
P: Give praise to God who offers us rest and peace. AMEN.

Call to Worship #2:
L: God has abundantly cast God’s seeds of love and hope upon us.
P: May we be fruitful soil for the planting and growing of hope and peace.
L: Come, let us praise God who is so generous with us.
P: Let us sing songs of joy to God.
L: Hallelujah!
P: Hallelujah!

Call to Worship #3:
[Using THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2032, “My Life Is in You, Lord,” offer the following call to worship as directed.]

L: Lord, prepare us to receive your healing words.
P: Make our hearts and spirits ready to do your work.

Soloist or choir: singing “My Life Is in You, Lord” through one time

L: May we be the good soil, getting ready for the seeds of God’s love.
P: May we bear the good fruit of salvation to honor God. AMEN

Congregation: singing “My Life Is in You, Lord” through one time

ALL: AMEN!

Call to Worship #4:
L: The Lord is the sower of the seeds of love and redemption.
P: But we have not always been ready to receive these seeds.
L: Today we hear again the scriptures that remind us of the awesome generosity of God.
P: Help us be good soil, O God, prepared to receive your love and to grow in that love.
L: Amen.
P: AMEN. 


PRAYERS, READING, BENEDICTION

Opening Prayer

God of abundant love, we come to you this day in the midst of a season of great growth and coming harvest. All around us are signs of growth, in our earth, in our families, in our nation, in our world. We come this day, seeking your healing love and abounding mercy. Open our hearts to receive all that you offer that we may become fruitful workers for you. AMEN.

Prayer of Confession
Lord, forgive us when we doubt your mercy and your love. We are so caught up in getting everything that we want; and we want it all right now. We have trouble waiting and remembering that it is in the waiting that we might hear your voice. It is difficult for us to believe that we can be fruitful, good soil for your words and work. We find excuses not to be attentive to you, but to focus instead on our own desires. Slow us down, Lord. Remind us again of your mercy and your love; for we offer this in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.

Words of Assurance
God hears your cries and heals your wounded hearts. God is preparing you for good things to come. Place your trust in God who has always loved you and will always love you. AMEN.

Pastoral Prayer
Lord, our spirits are on a summer time schedule. We change things around in our lives to accommodate new activities, times of rest, times of visiting with families and friends, times of travel and leisure. Help us remember that in all these things you are with us. Hear our cries of frustration when the plans that we have so carefully crafted do not work out. Be with us in all of our journeys, guiding our lives and our steps. Again, lavishly pour your love and mercy on us. Prepare us to serve you in all that we do. AMEN.

Reading

Voice:
The Sower scattered the seed, not afraid of where it went. Some of it landed on rocks; some on sand; some on insufficient soil; some on good ground. The Sower did not withhold any of the seed. It was joyfully scattered, broadcast widely to the whole of creation.

Reader 1:
Do you believe that? The Sower just threw it all away, everywhere.

Reader 2:
You’ve got to pay attention to where you put the seed. You can’t just throw it around. That’s stupid and wasteful.

Reader 1:
You are right. What’s the matter with that Sower anyway? In times like these you have to guard against so much.

Reader 2:
You can’t just give the seed to anybody. They have to be the right ones. We don’t want the wrong ones laying claim to the seed.

Voice:
“Some of the seed might fall on rocky ground, where birds come and eat it up. Some of it might fall on places where the soil is not deep enough and when the plants sprout up they do not have sufficient nourishment to be sustained.”

Reader 1:
See! The Sower understands. You take lots of risks when you scatter the seed so broadly.

Reader 2:
We need to be responsible to see that the seed is not wasted on those who don’t understand or appreciate it.

Voice:
Risk is what it’s all about. You never know when something will take root somewhere you didn’t expect. If we are too careful, too controlling, we might lose something special, coming from an unexpected source.

Reader 1:
So, in other words, we are supposed to trust in the judgment and generosity of the Sower. Well, maybe that’s not so bad. It’s not up to us to determine where the seed goes. The Sower will take care of that.

Reader 2:
You know, you’re right. We spend so much time worrying about who’s supposed to get the seed. We need to trust the Sower. We need to let go of our own fears and our own lack of generosity. Maybe something surprising will happen. I guess I can let go and let God, if you know what I mean.

Reader 1:
Actually, that’s the hard part--relinquishing a control and trusting God. Yep, that’s the hard part, all right.

Voice:
A sower went out to sow . . .”

Benediction
God has placed the seed of love and forgiveness in your heart. Go into God’s world with joy, telling of the good news of God’s abundant, lavish love for all creation. Go to be a witness to all the miraculous possibilities for hope and peace. AMEN.


ARTISTIC ELEMENTS

The traditional Color for this Sunday is: GREEN

SURFACE:
Place two risers in front of the worship center: one riser should be about a foot lower than the surface of the worship center; the other should be about 6” lower than the first riser. The shorter front riser should be placed slightly to the right of the larger riser. Place 3 risers on the worship center: one, about a foot high, should be placed at the center back of the worship table (it will be the place for the cross), the other two may be placed to the right and the left and toward the middle of the worship center.

FABRIC:
Cover the worship center in burlap, making sure that the risers in front are completely covered. You may use several drapes of green fabric (several shades of green are very effective).

CANDLES: 
Although candles are not necessary for this setting, you may use votive candles sparingly near each of the venues: the rocky soil, the poor soil, the good soil.

FLOWERS/PLANTS:
Place some very “spare,” almost dying plants near one of the risers on the worship table. Place some “seeds” (use navy beans or black beans, for example, to represent seeds). These seeds should be “spilling” from a basket, which is overturned on the left side of the worship center. You may put a bag in the basket from which the “seeds” are spilling; however, make sure that you have plenty of the beans so that they can be seen at a distance. Some of these “seeds” should be placed near the dying plants; some of them on the place where there is no green fabric; some of them among the rocks (here you will have to put quite a few so that they can be seen). The last shorter riser in front of the worship center should have a smaller bag of “seeds” again with them spilling out so that they represent the “word” that is continuing to be lavishly spread to all people.

ROCKS/WOOD:
I like to use a wonderful pile of rocks on the front center riser. Bigger rocks are more effective than the smaller polished ones. It will be good to find some real gritty rocks for this setting. Make sure that the “seeds” you are using are visible among the rocks.

OTHER:
An altar/worship center brass cross is appropriate for this setting and should be placed on the tall riser in the center back of the worship center. You might consider attaching a “seed” to the bulletin or to an insert as a reminder that God’s “seeds of love and forgiveness” are lavishly given for each one of us. You might consider taking mustard seeds and attaching them to a little “pocket card” that people can carry with them. Have some fun with this one.

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