Worship Connection: October 13, 2024

August 2nd, 2021

21st Sunday after Pentecost

COLOR: Green
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Job 23:1-9, 16-17; Psalm 22:1-15; Hebrews 4:12-16; Mark 10:17-31


Call to Worship #1

L: It was easy to come to worship this morning.
P: We feel welcome and look forward to the worship service.
L: How hard it is to enter God’s kingdom.
P: We have to be ready to let go of the things that tie us down.
L: Get ready. God is waiting for you.
P: Open our hearts and our spirits, Lord, to receive your word for us. AMEN.

Call to Worship #2

L: Welcome to worship today. Bring your joys and sorrows to the Lord.
P: We come from busy lives, filled with a host of banes and blessings.
L: Give your fears to the Lord, for God will heal your souls.
P: Praise to God who listens to our cries and heals us.
L: Open your ears and your hearts to the Lord.
P: We open our lives to do God’s will. AMEN.

Call to Worship #3

[Note: using THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2165, "Cry of My Heart" offer the following call to worship]
Choir: singing the refrain of "Cry of My Heart"....

L: Come, bring your hopes and dreams to Jesus.
P: We come to him, wanting to follow his ways.
Choir: Singing the refrain, verse 1 and refrain of "Cry of My Heart".....
L: The way of God is Love.
P: The way of Christ is Peace and Hope.
L: Open our eyes, Lord, to see the wondrous ways in which you touch our lives.
P: Open our spirits, Lord, to discern what you would have us do to serve you.
Choir: Singing the refrain, verse 2, and the refrain of "Cry of My Heart"

Call to Worship #4

L: God has called all God’s people to lives of hope and service.
P: We want to serve God, but sometimes life gets to be too difficult for us.
L: Place your trust in God’s power and love.
P: God understands our needs, our sorrows, and our joys.
L: Come, let us worship God who is with us always.
P: Praise God for God’s eternal presence. AMEN.


Opening Prayer

Lord, you have called us here this day for healing, hope, and transformation. As we listen to the Scripture, pray our prayers, sing our hymns, and hear the words of wisdom, open our hearts to hear your claim on our lives; that we may fully and joyfully serve you. AMEN.

Prayer of Confession

Merciful God, we become so enamored of the glitz and glitter of the world. It is as though our lives were lived in "catalog shopping" design. We have so much and want so much more. We listen to the pitches in the media about the latest and best of everything, and rather than striving to serve you more faithfully, we strive to gather more and more possessions. Forgive our crass materialism. Break the bonds and chains of our oppression and enslavement to greed. Open our hearts to know that the riches of the kingdom are in service to you. Help us to understand the call you have given us to service, and having heard and understood that call, may we be about the work of the kingdom. For we offer this prayer in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.

Words of Assurance

Jesus understands our cries and our weakness. He forgives and heals our souls. In the name of Jesus Christ we are healed and transformed. AMEN.

Pastoral Prayer

God of infinite patience and wisdom, we come to you with so many things that claim our time, our energy, our resources, our very lives. We are easily drawn away from serving you by the enticements of the world for wealth, ease, and comfort. Just like the young man in the scriptures, we are owned by our possessions, held captive by our treasures. You continue to offer to us healing and hope. You seek to transform our lives from captivity to freedom in witness and service. We look at the world in which there is so very much warfare and strife, anger and hatred, and we easily become overwhelmed by the needs and the stresses. Help us to place our lives and our trust in you, knowing that with your help, many wonderful things can be accomplished which will provide hope and peace for others and ourselves. Give us courage and strength to truly be your disciples. For we ask this in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.


[Note: This reading can be effectively done as "readers’ theatre", having the participants in the worship area, scripts in hand. It should be rehearsed several times so that it is not rushed. Following the last lines of Reader 1; have a soloist or choir sing the first verse of "You Are Mine", p. 2218, from THE FAITH WE SING]

Reader 1: Wow! I got seventeen catalogues in the mail today. Lots of things to look at and order. I know that I will find just the things I want to make me very happy. It’s got to be in these catalogues. Now all I have to do is find it.

Reader 2: What does the Lord want you to do?

Reader 1: I don’t know. The preacher always says God wants us to be happy and I’m happiest when I’m buying stuff.

Reader 2: What is it about buying that makes you happy?

Reader 1: Well, you know........it means I have what I want. I have control. I can look around and say that I made these choices and that all this stuff is mine, all mine.

Reader 2: Does that make you feel complete? You seem to need a steady stream of catalogues.

Reader 1: You never know when just the right thing will come along.

Reader 2: The right thing has come along - the thing that will make you truly happy.

Reader 1: OK, Let me see the catalogue. I’ll buy it!

Reader 2: You won’t find it in catalogues. You will find it - true happiness - in serving God by helping others.

Reader 1: I’d like to truly be happy, you know.

Reader 2: Let go of all the false things that are tying you down, your need for control, for possessions, anything which is keeping you from listening to God’s word and following God’s way. Don’t be afraid. God is with you and will support you in your transition from captive to one who freely and joyfully serves. Come now. Serve the Lord. You have been given the gifts to help others.

Reader 1: I’m a little frightened, but I will open my heart to God, fully and freely.

Soloist: singing verse 1 of "You Are Mine" - THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2218


You have been made free by the love of God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Go into the world to serve God by helping others. Be at peace and bring God’s peace and love with you wherever you go. AMEN.


The traditional color for this Sunday is GREEN

Note: I recommend putting a brief paragraph describing or explaining the symbolism used in your visual display. These become good teaching tools for a congregation.


Risers refer to any structure or support which will raise a portion of the worship center above the main level. Some risers may be a stack of books, others may be made from wood or whatever will give the necessary support to the object which is going to be placed on the riser. I have used pieces of 2" x 4" wood, stacked on top of each other to achieve the height I desired. Most risers will be covered with fabric.

Worship Center: Because so many churches have different worship spaces, I have chosen to call the main space for worship display (worship center). It may be called an altar, a communion table, a platform - whatever is the focal point of the worship area.

Flowers/plants: I am not a "purist" if the definition means having only real flowers and plants in the chancel/worship area. I believe that there are some really beautiful silk flowers which will suffice in times when real plants are not available. However, go with the tradition of your local church. Generally speaking I like to use foliage plants (minimal or non flowering) as accent pieces. "Spiky" plants such as sanseveria, mother-in-law’s tongue, snake plant, are good when you are looking for a harsh, hard, angular effect. Fern (particularly asparagas or Boston) are wonderful along with some ivys, to soften the effect.

Puddling the fabric: Currently interior decorators use the technique with draperies of letting the fabric spill to the floor in a heap, sort of a puddle. It is a less formal design. Puddling the fabric means not creating even edges with the fabric, which is drawing a line, but rather softening the look by creating a "puddle".

SURFACE: Place one riser, approximately 6" on the back center of the worship table. Place one riser, about 1 foot lower than the main surface of the table, in front of the worship center.

FABRIC: Using dark green fabric, cover the entire worship center, puddling the fabric in front of the floor riser.

CANDLES Use three pillar candles, 10", 8", and 6" on the right front side of the worship center

FLOWERS/PLANTS: Use non-flowering plants at the back of the worship center on the right and left of the cross riser. Jade plants and ferns might work in this setting. Do not let the plants dominate the worship center. Do not use any plants in front of the worship center.

ROCKS/WOOD If you wish, get some rough stones and spray paint them gold, or take a broom handle, cut it into "coins" and spray paint them gold. They will be placed in the basket, spilling out onto the worship center. Make some extra nuggets to place on the front riser.

OTHER: Create a set of "prison bars" using one sheet of foam core display board cut out to resemble prison bars (spray or hand paint them black). Get some chains and place them spilling out from the worship center, left, side, to the middle, down the front and across the front table onto the floor. Use smaller chains to drape around near the candles and over the edge of the worship table on the right. Place a basket, tipped over on its side on the left side of the worship center facing diagonally toward the center front. Place the coins in this basket and have them spilling out from it. The larger chains should also come from the basket.

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