Worship Connection: August 18, 2019

June 26th, 2019

10th Sunday after Pentecost

COLOR: Green
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Isaiah 5:1-7; Psalm 80:1-2, 8-19; Hebrews 11:29–12:2; Luke 12:49-56

CALLS TO WORSHIP

Call to Worship #1:
L: Sing to the Lord a new song!
P: We sing a song of peace and hope!
L: Sing to the Lord a song of strength.
P: Our strength is in the Lord of hosts!
L: Sing to the Lord a song of joy!
P: Our song is a song of service and faithfulness. AMEN.

Call to Worship #2:
L: Long ago a vineyard was planted. The ground was prepared, and all was made ready.
P: But the vines grew wild, the ground was unable to support the wild grapes.
L: What happened in that place of promise?
P: People forgot the One who planted the vineyard. They chose their own ways and failed.
L: Let us again turn to the Lord, who will again plant, prune, and cause us to grow in faithfulness.
P: Let us open our hearts to God, trusting in God's ways and God's word. AMEN.

Call to Worship #3
[Using THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2153, "I'm Gonna Live So God Can Use Me", offer the following call to worship as directed]

L: How shall we serve the Lord?
P: How shall we offer our lives to God?

Choir: singing verse 1 of "I'm Gonna Live So God Can Use Me"

L: How shall we pray when our souls are so cluttered with confusion?
P: How shall we pray when our selfishness crowds out the needs of others?

Choir singing verse 3 of "I'm Gonna Live So God Can Use Me"

L: How shall we offer praise to the Lord?
P: What song shall we sing in gratitude for all that God has done for us?

Choir: singing verse 4 of "I'm Gonna Live So God Can Use Me"

All: Singing verse 1 of "I'm Gonna Live So God Can Use Me"
L: Let us praise our God!
P: AMEN!

Call to Worship #4:
L: The Lord calls us to grow in faithfulness.
P: Take away our greed and selfishness, O Lord!
L: The Lord challenges us to serve others in loving ways!
P: Help us grow in our service and witness to your mercy and peace.
L: Come, let us worship the Lord who delights in our witness.
P: Let us praise God who is always with us. AMEN.


PRAYERS, LITANY/READING, BENEDICTION

Opening Prayer
Lord of light and life, you have called us this day to open our hearts, our minds, our spirits to hear your words of encouragement, healing, and hope. Give us patience and willingness to serve you in all that we do. In Jesus' Name, we pray.AMEN

Prayer of Confession
God of healing mercies, we come to you this day as imperfect people. We know that you desire for us hope, happiness, and love, yet we have found so many ways in which to block your gifts, or to grab hold of them as if we were entitled to them. We have been given the pathway to peace in the witness of Jesus Christ. He taught us to live as people of compassion and service. But our service has been mostly for ourselves, for our own gratification. We have failed to be your church, your witnesses on earth. We have neglected the needs of others in our rush for our own comfort. Forgive us, O merciful God. Heal our wounded spirits. Turn us again to you, that we may again learn of your love and mercy. Help us to become partners in peace and hope for others. For we ask this in Jesus' Name.AMEN.

Words of Assurance
Turn again, O people, to the Lord who always loves you. Remember God's loving mercies and faithfulness.AMEN.

Pastoral Prayer
We are such a fickle people, O Lord. It is easy for us to accept greedily your blessings in times of peace, and to cry for mercy in times of difficulty. We want you to pamper us. We want to be your special people. We don't like the idea that you might indeed care for those whom we would reject. Such is our lot! We need once again to be reminded of the many ways in which we have chosen to be the "wild grapes" rather than the faithful vines. We have been given opportunities time and time again to serve you by helping others. Today we have gathered in worship to praise you and to offer our gifts. But it is our commitment and our lives of service that you would appreciate. Witness and service to you are not easy. They may require some sacrifice. We may face some misunderstanding and ridicule from others. But you call us to be faithful, to be steadfast. Help us, O Lord, to make the kinds of commitments which will bring healing and hope in this troubled world in which we live. In Jesus' Name, we pray.AMEN.

Litany/Reading
[Note: You may have the congregation or a small group of about 4-5 people read the part of "people" in this reading. In the middle of the reading, there is a section for a "voice". This should be a person, not visible to the congregation. If you have the capability, use a hand held microphone with this "voice". This dramatic reading culminates in the singing by a soloist of #2214, "Lead Me, Guide Me" from THE FAITH WE SING.]

Reader 1:
I will choose the plants for my vineyard, strong, ready to produce the good fruit.

People:
Any old plants will do....don't be so picky.

Reader 1:
I will prepare the soil, rich, full of nutrients so that these plants will grown strong and healthy. I will make sure that there is proper nourishment for each plant.

People:
Don't worry about it.....the plants will survive. Dirt is dirt!

Reader 1:
I will build a tower in the midst of the vineyard to watch over my plants and to protect them.

People:
Are you spying on the plants? That's rude!

Reader 1:
I will build a wall around the vineyard so that the wild animals and thieves will not come in and harm or destroy them.

People:
Shutting us up, are you? Closing us in, imprisoning us? What kind of vine-dresser are you?

Voice:
Listen, O people. I have provided for you the very best, but you have chosen to go your own way. You have rejected all the efforts I have made for your care and your growth. You mistrust all that is happening to you, and see it as interfering, or smothering. You are making choices that lead to destruction and not growth.

People:
We'll be just fine. Leave us alone.

Voice:
And so the people did what they wanted. They rejected the good ground, they did not care for the other plants, they were suspicious and greedy, and they floundered, withered and were on the point of death.

People:
God! Where are you? We need help? We need you? We'll do better, we promise!

Voice:
And God sent the messengers, but they were mistreated and banished. And again the people languished.

People:
Come back to us, O God. Remember us in your mercy!

Reader 2:
I have sent you another. His name is Jesus. He will teach you about living and dying. He will teach you about witness and service; but most of all he will remind you of my love for you, which, even though you have rejected it, will not die.

People:
Forgive us, O Lord. Heal us.

Reader 2:
The way will not be easy. People will not understand. There may be those who are closest to you who will reject you because of Jesus.

People:
We are frightened, but we are ready to follow. Lead us, O Lord.

Reader 2:
Come, then. Place your hand in mine. Follow me, and I will lead you to peace, mercy, justice, and love.

Soloist: singing verse 1 of "Lead Me, Guide Me"

Benediction
Plant us again in your vineyard, O Lord. Help us to grow in our witness and service to you by serving others. May your peace always be with us!AMEN.


ARTISTIC ELEMENTS

The traditional color for this Sunday is GREEN.

Note: Place several sentences in the weekly bulletin explaining the symbols you have used in the worship setting.

Note: The image of the vineyard and the wall are very powerful. I have chosen them, but have also suggested that they may apply to the Gospel lesson as well. We have built walls of division, and in order to serve God these walls must be broken down.

SURFACE:
Place a riser, about 12" in height in the upper right corner of the worship center, facing diagonally toward the center. Place two other risers, anywhere on the worship center, but not in a line. One should be 4" high; the other about 2" high. Place a riser about 18" high in front of the worship center (this could be a piano bench or small table, but should be about 12" shorter than the worship center), it should be placed slightly to the left of the worship center.

FABRIC:
Cover the entire worship center with dark green fabric, making sure that all the risers are covered, and the fabric spills to the floor on the left.

CANDLES:
Place a 10" white pillar candle in the center of the worship center.

FLOWERS/FOLIAGE:
If you have access to them, or have some artificial ones, place some vines with leaves and grapes on the worship center, traveling down to the riser on the left of the worship center and spilling onto the floor in front of the worship center. You may add some bunches of artificial grapes to fill out the vines, especially the ones on the riser in front of the worship center.

ROCKS/WOOD:
Bricks or paving blocks should be arranged on the worship center and on the floor as though they are a wall. Place a staggered stack of bricks on the upper left side of the worship center - these should represent a wall that has been broken down, so you may want to lean some broken bricks against the wall. Likewise, repeat the pattern on the floor, to the right of the riser, placing some of the broken bricks on the riser itself, with the vines draping slightly over the bricks. You may need quite a lot of bricks for this project. You might want to make the bricks out of floral foam and spray paint them to look like stones. This will take some time and careful thought and expense.

OTHER:
On the top riser at the upper right side of the worship center, place a brass cross or some other representation of Christ.

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