Worship Connection: September 1, 2019

July 25th, 2019

12th Sunday after Pentecost

Color: Green 
Scripture Readings: Jeremiah 2:4-13; Psalm 81:1, 10-16; Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16; Luke 14:1, 7-14

CALLS TO WORSHIP

Call to Worship #1:
L: When we are left to our own devices, we become like weak and cracked vessels, unable to sustain love, mercy, and justice.
P: But when we come before God, seeking God's healing love, we are given the strength and courage to serve others.
L: We often want to have our own way in all that we do.
P: We have a difficult time trusting in God.
L: Lord, come to us this day, healing our mistrust and our hesitancy.
P: Give us spirits ready to receive your forgiveness and mercy. AMEN.

Call to Worship #2:
L: Jesus said, "Love one another, even as I have loved you."
P: Love is more powerful than fear; it is mightier than hatred.
L: Let the love which God has lavished upon us be poured out to those in need.
P: Help us, O Lord, to witness to you by the ways in which we care for others.
L: Remind us, Lord, that we are called to be your disciples.
P: As we worship this morning, heal our hearts and spirits and prepare us for service. AMEN.

Call to Worship #3
[Using THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2031, "We Bring the Sacrifice of Praise,” offer the following call to worship as directed. This call to worship is tied to creating the worship center setting. Please read the Artistic Elements for the pre-arrangements. During the singing of this song, have people bring the elements of Communion foward as directed. The song may be sung as many times as necessary to complete the worship setting.]

L: What shall we bring to the Lord in celebration for all God's mercies?
P: We shall bring the finest bread, the finest fruit of the vine, the light of God's love to our worship center.
L: Come, let us bring our Sacrafice of Praise to the house of the Lord!

[Have the organist play an introduction to the song, and then have the choir or a small ensemble sing the song as the elements of the worship center are being brought forward. Begin with the cross. Place it at the middle of the worship center on the highest riser. Place the candles on the other two risers on each side of the cross. Next bring the two baskets of bread to be placed in front of the worship center. These baskets should be leaning on their sides so that the bread may be shown. Bring the bunches of grapes and place them on the worship center, you may use some grapevines, if they are small. Make sure that the grapes can be seen. Finally bring the chalice and the basket of bread or the paten forward and place them in the center of the worship center, so that there is easy access for the worship leader to serve Communion.]

L: All is ready. We have come with praise and thanksgiving to the house of the Lord.
P: Let us offer to God our shouts of thanksgiving, love, and praise. AMEN.

Call to Worship #4:
L: With all your strength, sing aloud to the Lord, who has brought you here and blessed you.
P: Our voices shall shout forth praise and thanksgiving to God.
L: With all your heart, reach out in service to those in need, remembering God's mercy in your own life.
P: Our lives shall be witnesses to the love of God which has been lavished upon us.
L: Come, let us worship the Lord with Great joy!
P: Let us bring all that we have and all that we are to God in gratitude. AMEN.


PRAYERS, LITANY/READING, BENEDICTION

Opening Prayer:
Through the ages, O God, you have called to us to follow. You led us to freedom, to hope and peace. Enter our hearts again today and lead us to your healing love that we might serve you joyfully in this world that you have loaned to us. AMEN.

Prayer of Confession:

We confess, O Lord, that we love attention. We are pleased when people single us out for something good that we have done, for some outstanding act or trait of kindness that we exhibit. We revel in the light; but the seductive light too often captures us and we seek its brightness and glory and turn our backs on others in need. We have been given many gifts, but have failed to use them to help others and to serve you. Forgive us our vanity and greed. Heal our wounded and aching souls. Place us again on the pathway of peace and hope that is your way to true life. For we ask these things in the name of Jesus Christ. AMEN.

Words of Assurance:

You have lifted us and dusted us off, O Lord. You have claimed us as your own. Let us celebrate your love for us in lives of service to others; for you are with us always. AMEN.

Pastoral Prayer:
For some of us here today, Lord, we wish the summer would never end. We have enjoyed opportunities to travel, to relax, to break away from schedules and hectic calendars. For others, there is the thrill of entering the new season; looking forward to the challenges ahead. On this Labor Sunday we gather to receive your blessings once again, that we may recognize your presence in our lives and use the gifts that you have given to us in service to others. As we have offered names and situations to you in prayer for your compassionate healing love, we add our names as well. Heal our wounds, we pray. Enable us to be strong in our commitment to you by serving others in need. Keep us open always to your abiding love. For we ask this in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.

Litany/Reading:
L: The Lord said, “I have given to you the finest of all that I created. In this garden you are provided with all that you will ever need. But you turned your back on me. You did not listen and chose the lesser way.”
P: Hear our cries, O Lord.
L: In Egypt you have languished, serving those who would consider you as vermin, as slaves, as those not worthy to be cherished. I have sent to you one who will bring you home, who will lead you out of slavery into hope.
P: Hear our cries, O Lord.
L: In the desert you were impatient. You wanted prosperity and wealth immediately. You could not wait and learn the important lessons of trust, hope, compassion, and community. You created for yourselves false idols and then wondered why things didn’t get any better for you.
P: Hear our cries, O Lord.
L: Again I took pity on you and sent you prophets who called you back to me. I gave to you opportunities to be the people of peace and hope; but you chose to imitate those who lived in greed and avarice. You turned away once more, even though I continued to seek you out. You have become a stubborn people.
P: Hear our cries, O Lord.
L: In the fullness of time I sent you my most precious gift, my Son, who came that you might learn how to live in peace. He brought to you the great lesson of Love and Hope, but you turned to those whose only goal was domination and destruction. In your greed and selfishness you crucified Him.
P: Hear our cries, O Lord.
L: How long will it take, my people? How long will it take for you to understand my love for you? How much more will I have to give for you to understand that you are cherished? Turn your hearts around now. Do not wait! This is the time. Come to me not as those who believe that they are self-important and deserve to be treated as royalty. Come as ones who understand love, who are willing to put others first; who are willing to serve faithfully without expectation of reward. Come to me and I will welcome you with open arms. Come to me humbly and share in the peace which is given for you. Come to me.
P: Lord, we have been so thoughtless and greedy. We have looked for the limelight and not for the light of your love. Forgive us. Help us to serve you in all that we do, not with thoughts of praise for our efforts but with the joy of sharing that others might know your love and peace. AMEN.

Benediction:
Beloved of the Lord, go in peace, knowing that God's peace will be with you always. Go in service in God's world, helping those in need, sharing the gifts you have been given. Go in love, bring hope to all.AMEN.


ARTISTIC ELEMENTS

The traditional color for this Sunday is GREEN.

SURFACE:
Place three risers on the worship center. The tallest of the risers should be placed at the center toward the back. On this riser you may place a cross. The other two risers should be placed on either side of the center riser, but more toward the middle of the space. You may place a riser in front of the worship center, if you wish.

FABRIC:
Cover the entire worship center with green fabric. Let the fabric puddle down onto the floor in front of the front riser.

CANDLES:
Place a large white pillar candle in front of the cross riser. You may place smaller pillar candles near the baskets.

FLOWERS/FOLIAGE:
Place ferns or ivy on either side of the cross to soften the lines of the worship center. Some leafy plants may be placed at the base of the worship center near the front riser.

ROCKS/WOOD:
Small clusters of stones are optional in this setting.

OTHER:
You will need baskets of bread of various kinds, bunches of grapes and grape vines (optional), the Communion chalice, and paten, which will be placed in the center of the worship center. [Note: Make sure there is easy access to this for those who will be serving Communion.] The worship center items will be brought forward during the call to worship, if you are using call to worship #3; if not, this set may be created in advance.

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