Worship Connection: September 13, 2020

August 1st, 2020

15th Sunday after Pentecost

Color: Green
Scripture Readings: Exodus 14:19-31; Psalm 114 or Exodus 15:1b, 20-21; Romans 14:1-12; Matthew 18:21-35.


Call to Worship #1:
L: Sing praise to God who rescues us when we fall!
P: Sing praise to God who walks with us on all our journeys!
L: Even though we fall, God lifts us and places us on paths of peace.
P: Even though we stray, God finds us and brings us back to lives of hope.
L: Thanks be to God, whose love is continually with us.
P: Praise be to God, whose mercy is over us all. AMEN.

Call to Worship #2:
L: Though the storm clouds of doubt and fear threaten to overcome us
P: God leads us into ways of peace.
L: When the darkness of war and the deep pit of anger reach toward us
P: God lifts and carries us through the darkness with hope and light.
L: Lord of hope and life, be with us today.
P: God of mercy and peace, lead our lives. AMEN.

Call to Worship #3:
[Using THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2169, “God, How Can We Forgive,” offer the following call to worship as directed.]

Soloist: Singing verse 1 of “God, How Can We Forgive”

L: Open our hearts, O Lord, to receive your healing love.
P: Restore us to life in which peace flourishes.

Soloist: singing verse 2 of “God, How Can We Forgive”

L: Our spirits are weighed down by our guilt and fear
P: Darkness surrounds us daily.

Soloist: singing verse 3 of “God, How Can We Forgive”

L: Lord, in your mercy you have forgiven and restored us.
P: Thank you, gracious God, for seeing the good in us and healing our lives. AMEN.

Call to Worship #4:
L: Sing songs of hope and peace.
P: God’s love and power have lifted us.
L: Sing songs of mercy and grace.
P: God’s mercy and forgiveness frame our lives.
L: Thanks be to God for all God’s love and mercy.
P: Praise be to God for the healing power God extends to each one of us. AMEN.


Opening Prayer
We sing and speak your praise, O God, grateful for the many ways in which you have healed us. Keep our hearts, our minds, and our spirits open to learn ways in which we can offer healing love for others. For we ask this in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.

Prayer of Confession
Just like Peter, Lord, we want to get all “legalistic” about forgiveness. We want to know if one time to forgive someone is sufficient. We might even be willing to extend forgiveness twice, but we have a tendency to follow the adage, “Once burned, twice shy.” Teach us to be humble and merciful. Remind us of the many ways in which you have offered, time and time again, your forgiving love to us. Heal our wounds and bind up our brokenness. For we ask this in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. AMEN.

Words of Assurance
In the name of Jesus Christ, each one of us has received healing mercies. We are now given opportunities to offer forgiveness and redemption to one another. May the peace of Jesus Christ be with us all. AMEN.

Pastoral Prayer
We love to say, “I may forgive, but I’ll never forget!” And we think that we are truly following the ways of Christ. How blind we are, O Lord. Forgiveness means wiping the slate clean, not retaining the hurt. It works both ways: letting ourselves make a decision for healing and reaching out to the one who has hurt us to offer forgiveness and redemption. None of us is perfect. We know that. But Jesus reminded us that love is the ruling component in lives of faithful living. Help us, O Lord, really receive the love that you have lavished upon us. Help us understand that love as an agent of forgiveness. As we have brought before you the names of people and situations that are on our hearts, we seek your healing mercies and tender love for them. Remind us that the same mercy and love is continually offered to us, though we falter and fail, though we seek and strive. Be with us, gracious Lord, all of our days. AMEN.



Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.”

Reader 1:
You’ve got to be kidding! Seventy-seven times? You’re nuts!

That’s what He said.

Reader 1:
Listen! I’m no push-over. I’m willing to let bygones be bygones and all that other stuff, but I won’t be forgiving anyone seventy-seven times, I can tell you that!

Then you aren’t really forgiving them, are you?

Reader 1:
Well, sure I am. But I won’t be a doormat. What difference will it make if I do forgive seventy-seven times or even more?

Maybe then you will truly let go of the hurt and step out of the pain. That’s what forgiveness is all about, not just speaking the words, but actually letting go of the situation. It doesn’t mean that you will have to let the hurt happen to you over and over again; it means that you will lay it down. You will have learned something about yourself as well as the one who hurt you.

Reader 1:
You mean, I’m supposed to learn something from all of this?

Absolutely. Do you think God retains God’s disappointment over you when you fail and fall short? God forgives, wipes the slate clean, gives another chance, time and time again. That’s what God wants us to do: to live lives of forgiving love.

Reader 1:
But it’s not that easy, you know.

God is with you. You will always have help with this.

Reader 1:
You’re sure of that? Really sure?

Without a doubt!

As you have been forgiven, now go into a world that needs your forgiving, healing touch. Bring peace and hope to others, sharing God’s love with them. AMEN.


The traditional color for this Sunday is: GREEN

[This setting is interactive. Before worship begins, have several people hand out strips of paper; each strip should be 8” long and about 1” wide. Ask the recipients to write their names in the middle of the strip and then hand them back in. You should have several people putting together these strips to create a “paper chain,” making sure that the names are on the outside of the rings. During the worship service, this chain may be brought forward and placed on the worship center, beginning at the cross and winding its way across the center and down onto the floor in front of the center.]

Place a 10” riser at the center back of the table. Place a 6” riser toward the left front of the table, about 6” in front of the center riser; and place a 3” riser toward the right front of the table, about 12” in front of the center riser.

Cover the entire worship center with green cloth, so that the cloth is draping down over the edge of the table and “puddling” onto the floor toward the right side.

Place two clusters of three pillar candles on the worship center. The candles should be of varying heights and may be white or any color of your choosing.

At the base of the worship center, place large, green, leafy plants. Place smaller trailing plants, such as ivy, on either side of the brass cross on the 10” riser.

Not necessary for this setting.

Have sufficient strips of paper (8” x 1”) available for everyone in the congregation, even the children. Make sure there are pens or markers available for writing, and have the chain links either stapled or taped together. Discuss with your worship leader when this paper chain should be brought to the worship center. Make sure that the chain is draped over all the risers and down the front of the worship center. Have a brass cross available to place on the 10” riser.

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