Worship Connection: September 5, 2021

July 1st, 2021

15th Sunday after Pentecost

COLOR: Green
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23; Psalm 125 (or Psalm 124); James 2:1-10 (11-13), 14-17; Mark 7:24-37

CALLS TO WORSHIP

Call to Worship #1

L: Lord, open our hearts this morning to hear your words of compassion.
P: Lord, help us to truly listen to you.
L: Lord, open our spirits this morning to strengthen our faith.
P: Lord, help us to work for you.
L: Lord, make us ready to serve.
P: Lord, make us ready to witness to your healing love. AMEN.

Call to Worship #2

L: We are called here this morning to learn of Christ’s healing love.
P: Help us, O Lord, to learn your lessons of compassion.
L: Every day there are many ways in which we can offer help to others.
P: Help us, O Lord, to be ready to reach out to all in need.
L: Come, let us worship the One who prepares us for service.
P: Let us sing our songs of praise to the One who has healed us. AMEN.

Call to Worship #3

[Using THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2086, “Open Our Eyes, Lord”, offer the following call to worship as directed]

L: We are blind, yet we believe that we see.
P: Lord, heal our blindness.
L: We utter words of prejudice and hatred, yet we believe that our words hold compassion.
P: Lord, heal our thoughts and our words.
Choir: singing “Open Our Eyes” through one time.
L: Help us to see our compassionate Lord.
P: Help us to hear Jesus’ words of forgiveness.
L: Reach into our hearts, Lord, and give us healing.
P: Reach into our lives, Lord, and teach us to love. AMEN.

Choir and congregation singing “Open Our Eyes” through two times

Call to Worship #4

L: Jesus brought healing love to all people.
P: They talked and marveled about his miracles.
L: But they really didn’t understand him.
P: They wanted the healing, but not necessarily a change in their lives.
L: Jesus brings us transforming compassion.
P: Lord Jesus, keep our minds and our spirits open to your life-changing words. AMEN.

PRAYERS, READING, BENEDICTION

Opening Prayer

Lord of mercy and compassion, be with us this day as we hear of the healing love of Jesus. Remind us that we are also recipients of his compassion and we are called to bring the same hope and love to others. Prepare us for service in His Name. AMEN.

Prayer of Confession

Patient Lord, you know us so well. We are fascinated by healing and can talk all day about the miracles, but we do not understand the compassion of Christ. We often say, “Just heal us; or Just make me rich; or Just make things go better at work” or other such deals and then we promise our faithfulness and witness. But in our hearts, we just don’t get it. Please forgive us, Lord, when our greed and fear get in the way of understanding. Help us to know the transformational power of your love. Get us ready to be faithful witnesses to you in all that we say and do. It is in Jesus’ Name that we pray. AMEN.

Words of Assurance

In the Name of Jesus Christ, you have been healed. Praise be to God who has given you new life. AMEN.

Pastoral Prayer

Lord, you know how great our needs are. In these difficult times when jobs are threatened, homes are being lost, families are experiencing great stress, come and bring your healing love to us. Help us to place our trust in you. Remind us again of how you transform lives, not just with healing, but with a spirit of hope and compassion. Keep us hopeful. Teach us not to give up when things are going wrong. Give us faith that can move mountains. Give us hearts that are ready to be of service to others in all times and in all places. As we have lifted up people and situations which concern us and have asked for your hand of healing, remind us that that same healing hand rests on us also. Enable us to be people of compassion and trust; for we ask these things in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.

Reading

Narrator: They sat in church, waiting for prayer time, each one with his and her own thoughts and needs; each one reaching out.

Reader 1: What are we going to do? I’ve just lost my job. What meager savings we had have disappeared into the usual bills and needs for our family. I’m embarrassed. I know that I need some help, but I don’t want to ask…..I don’t want people to know how hard this is.

Reader 2: I don’t know why the pastor keeps harping on giving things to the food pantry and the used clothing closet. No one helped me when I was down. Let them pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, I say. It’s everyone for themselves.

Reader 3: My son asked me the other day what we could do to help people in need of food. I suggested that we look at some of the food that we have and find ways to share it with others. We could do this through the food pantry or through special meals for shut-ins. He wanted to get started right away. “Let’s do it!” he said. “Right now!” And we did. We discovered how much stuff we had and we contacted the food pantry to find out what they needed. We also went to the market and got some of the items they had mentioned. What a great feeling! I love it when we all can help, and now my kids are enthusiastic about finding new ways to share the bounty we have. I’m so proud of them.

Reader 4: I’m paralyzed by the tremendous needs. I just don’t know where to start. I’m a good reader, maybe I could help out at the school. Or maybe I could give some simple cooking lessons to folks who are struggling and want to do better nutritionally.. I wish I had more direction. It all seems so overwhelming.

Voice: “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,’ and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.”

Narrator: And they each bowed their heads in prayer, offering their thoughts and needs to God. And Christ, in great love and mercy, touched each heart. To one he gave a spirit of courage and hope; to one he poured our his healing compassion; to another, he gave a spirit of joy and commitment; and to the last he gave direction and strength. To each of us, Christ gives strength, peace, joy, and love. Receive the Good News of Jesus Christ and be healed. AMEN.

Benediction

Feel the power of Christ’s healing love restoring you. Go in peace, offering help and hope to others. And may the peace of God always be with you. AMEN.

ARTISTIC ELEMENTS

The traditional color for this Sunday is: GREEN.

[Note: this setting will need some explanation. The green fabric stands for hope and faith. The center riser, on which the cross is placed, represents Christ and the two candles on either side represent all of us. The ivy vines, which should trail across the ends of the table and down the front, represent the word and hope of Christ which is spreading from person to person. The piles of rock remind us of the difficulties encountered in life, and the candles around them suggest that we can be part of the healing love Christ offers. I suggest placing a basket or two on either side of the worship center so that items for the local food pantry, brought by the people, can be received. At the end of the worship service, or the reading, these items should be blessed by the pastor]

SURFACE: Place a 10” riser at the center back of the worship table. Place two 6” risers on either side of the 10” riser. Place a riser in front of the worship center.

FABRIC: Cover the entire worship center with dark green cloth so that all risers are covered and the cloth puddles to the floor in front of the worship center.

CANDLES: Place two 6” white or light green pillar candles on the risers on either side of the center riser. Beside the mounds of rocks on the worship center and riser, place four or five votive candles.

FLOWERS/FOLIAGE: Place ivy or other trailing plants on either side of the 6” candles.

ROCKS/WOOD: In the center of the worship table, place a pile of rocks approximately 2 feet long, and build them up (or mound them). Place another pile of rocks on the riser in front of the worship center.

OTHER: Place a brass cross on the center riser. Place two baskets near the worship center to receive the food donations for the food pantry.

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