Worship Connection: August 2, 2020

June 24th, 2020

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

Color: Green
Scripture Readings: Genesis 32:22-31; Psalm 17:1-7, 15; Romans 9:1-5; Matthew 14:13-21

CALLS TO WORSHIP

Call to Worship #1:
L: Come, all who are hungry and thirsty.
P: The Lord will provide for our needs.
L: Come this day to the table of the Lord.
P: Here we will find welcome and sustenance.
L: Come to this time of gathering and praise.
P: Lord, we come with open hearts and spirits to receive your gracious gift of love. AMEN.

Call to Worship #2:
L: Welcome to this house of the Lord.
P: We thank you for this kind greeting.
L: This is a place of hope, healing, and challenge.
P: Our hearts and spirits are in need of God’s healing touch.
L: Here you will be cherished and nurtured.
P: Praise be to God, who offers to us such a place of comfort. AMEN.

Call to Worship #3:
[Using THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2269, “Come, Share the Lord,” offer the following call to worship as directed. You will need to have two soloists as well as a small choral ensemble or choir.]

L: Come and celebrate the good news of God’s love.
P: We come, bearing burdens and worries.
L: God will give you healing and fill your souls with joy.

Choral Ensemble: singing verse 1 of “Come, Share the Lord”

L: We are no longer strangers.
P: We are community, gathered, forgiven and loved.

Soloist: singing verse 2 of “Come, Share the Lord”

L: Our Lord joins us in this feast and celebration.
P: Our hearts are ready to receive our Savior

Choral Ensemble: singing verse 3 of “Come, Share the Lord”

Call to Worship #4:
L: Even in the middle of summer, our hearts can be burdened.
P: Stress and worry do not seem to take vacations.
L: You have come to a special place where you can find relief and healing.
P: Thanks be to God for providing us with such blessings.
L: Come, prepare your hearts to receive God’s gracious gift of love.
P: We open our hearts and spirits in thanksgiving to God. AMEN.

PRAYERS, READING, BENEDICTION

Invocation

Saving God, we come to you this day from times that are hectic. We are pulled in many directions. Open our hearts to receive you. Deliver us from the temptation to just give up and flounder in the rough waters of life. Reach out to us with your strength and power and bring us closer to you. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. Amen.

Opening Prayer

Lord, we come to you this day in the midst of our summer months. For many this is a time of relaxation; but for others, the burdens, worries, and cares continue to weigh them down. Be with each of us as we open our ears to hear your words, our hearts to feel your presence, and our spirits to receive your healing touch. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. AMEN.

Prayer of Confession

Gracious Lord, we are filled with a mixture of feelings today. Some of us are rejoicing in the wonderful time of rest and relaxation; while others continue to seek relief from the burdens and worries that they bear. All of us stand in need of your refreshing and nourishing love and forgiveness. You know how many times we have turned our backs on those in need; we have been too busy, to preoccupied with our own problems. Cause us to turn around and see instances in which we can be of help and comfort to someone else. Give us strength and courage to truly be your loving disciples in the ways in which we care for others. Forgive us when we stray from the paths of righteousness and peace. These things we offer in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.

Words of Assurance

Rejoice! God’s love is poured over you this day for healing, restoration, and hope. Feel the power of God’s mercy in your life. Go into God’s world knowing you are forgiven and blessed, and be a blessing to others. AMEN.

Pastoral Prayer

Lord, we have heard the story of Jacob as he wrestled with the angel, how he asked for the angel to bless him. We, too, come to you for blessing. There are so many times in our lives in which we have felt alienated, downtrodden, alone. It is easy for us to wallow in our misery, to whine about all the perceived injustices that have been heaped upon us. But you encourage us to stand strong; to seek the blessings that you have provided for us; to recognize the many ways that you are with us, giving us strength and courage. Be with us again, precious Lord. Guide our lives. As we have brought our prayers before you for those near and dear to us, seeking healing and hope for them; let us also remember that those same mercies are lavished upon us, not because we deserve them, but because of your great and generous love for us. Help us receive these blessings and, in turn, be a blessing to someone else. For we ask these things in the name of Jesus Christ our Savior. AMEN.

Reading

[Today’s reading is done in conjunction with music from THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2254, “In Remembrance of Me.” You may want to have either a small choral ensemble or a soloist sing the suggested verses.]

Reader:

I’m exhausted! What’s that saying? I think it’s “The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get.” Well, that’s me. It doesn’t seem to matter how much I do or how fast I do something, I am always playing 
“catch-up.” I am trying to run uphill all the time. Where are you, Jesus? I thought you were supposed to help me! I thought you might take some of my burden and carry it. Please help me. Please help me.

Voice:

Come, and rest in me. I am with you. I will give you nourishment. Do not panic. All will be well. Here, I have food and drink for your soul. Take and eat and find peace.

Soloist: singing verse 1 of “In Remembrance of Me”

Reader:
I know that I am being selfish. I’m whining about all my problems and thinking that I’m the only one in the world that is burdened. I really know that’s not true. I just don’t know what else to do. I feel so weak, so unable to do anything for anyone else, never mind doing what I need to do for myself. Please come and give me strength, Lord.

Voice:
I have never left you. Place your hand in mine. You are given strength and courage to do many things, to help others as well as to help yourself. Place your trust in me, for I will not fail you.

Soloist: singing verse 2 of “In Remembrance of Me”

Reader:
Lord, forgive me. You have given yourself for me and for all people. You have offered your life and your love freely to all of us. We just need to place our trust in you. I am sorry for the ways I have lost my focus on you, Lord. I keep looking for the “quick fix” to all my problems, and the answer is always in trusting in your mercy and healing love. Thanks for your presence with me, even when I don’t recognize it. Keep being with me, Lord. Give me a nudge when I need it; forgiveness when I do stupid and thoughtless things. Help me look to you in all my needs.

Voice:

Beloved one, I am always with you.

Soloist: Singing verse 3 of “In Remembrance of Me”

Benediction
The Lord has forgiven and restored you. You are strengthened for ministry in the name of Jesus Christ. Go in peace and may God’s peace flow through you to others. AMEN.

ARTISTIC ELEMENTS

The traditional Color for this Sunday is: GREEN

[Even though the scripture today concerns the feeding of the 5,000+ people, I have chosen to identify the burdens and struggles (represented by the rocks, sticks, and chains) in our lives. In the center of the worship center, you should have a plate with an uncut loaf of bread and a chalice with the communion wine/juice. You may place some grapes and wheat near the communion set.]

SURFACE: 

Place three risers on the worship center; one in the center back (this will be for the brass cross); the other two to the right and left, but forward of the one in the center. Place a riser in front of the worship center, about a foot lower than the surface of the main table. Provide enough space in the worship center for a chalice and place of bread. Do not crowd the table.

FABRIC:

Cover the worship center in burlap, making sure that all the risers are covered. Place pieces of green fabric over all the risers, including the riser in the front of the worship center.

CANDLES:

Place two 10” white pillar candles on either side of the cross, making sure that they are not obscured by the other two risers on the worship center.

FLOWERS/PLANTS:

Place several green “leafy” plants at the base of the worship center. On top of the worship center, place a “spiky” plant, such as mother-in-law’s tongue, snake plant, or other spiky looking plant on either side of the candles on the worship center.

ROCKS/WOOD:

Place piles of rocks and broken sticks on the riser in front of the worship center. Place piles of rocks on one of the risers on the main worship center.

OTHER:

Place a small basket, rather worn and beaten, turned over on its side on the other riser on the worship center. Put some old rusted chains in the basket so that they are spilling out onto the worship center and trailing over the side. You will also need a brass cross for the center riser on the table. You will need a plate with an uncut loaf of bread and a chalice containing the communion wine/juice. You may add bunches of grapes and stalks of wheat, but make sure that you are able to retrieve the Communion elements from the table if you are going to use them in the actual Communion service, otherwise they may stand as representational elements.

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