Worship Elements: November 13, 2022

March 20th, 2022

23rd Sunday after Pentecost

COLOR: Green
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Isaiah 65:17-25; Isaiah 12; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13; Luke 21:5-19


A new heaven and a new earth . . .wars and persecutions. . . they don’t seem to go together. What were the lectionary folks thinking? These seemingly contradictory passages speak of endings and beginnings—the vision of what can and will be—times of trial, times of peace. It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. It is the contradiction we live in every day. We are caught between despair and hope; caught between people who tell us to be realistic and our vision of a better life. We are caught between those who believe the world is going to hell, and those who see a different life—a better life, a life that can come to be, will come to be, if we only believe the promises of God and live into them.


Call to Worship (Isaiah 12)

Come people of God; come and celebrate
God’s gift of salvation.
We come without fear.
We come trusting in God.
Come people of God; hear God’s promises
and witness God’s mighty deeds.
In hearing the promises,
in witnessing the mighty deeds of God,
we are strengthened for all that lies ahead.
Come, let us worship and praise God
by shouting aloud and singing for joy,
for God truly is in our midst.

Opening Prayer (Isaiah 65, Luke 21)

Our loving and caring God,
we need this time together
to be united with our sisters and brothers
in the faith;
we need this time of worship
to be comforted and strengthened
in your presence.
We hear of wars and rumors of wars.
We read of persecution and oppression.
Remind us again of your vision,
that all might live in a world
of peace and justice and love.
May this time together
imprint this vision and promise on our hearts,
that we may live into this beloved community. Amen.


Prayer of Confession (Isaiah 65, Luke 21)

O God, we are more like the vision in Luke
than the vision of Isaiah.
We see wars, hatred, and violence everywhere,
yet despair of ever stopping them.
We see oppression and injustice and persecution,
but fail to raise our voices in prophetic protest.
We have become a pessimistic people.
Help us believe—really believe—
in Isaiah’s vision of the peaceable kin-dom,
in your promise of a new heaven and new earth.
Let your cry be our cry:
“They shall not hurt or destroy
on all my holy mountain.” Amen.

Words of Assurance (Isaiah 12)

God is our strength and our salvation.
God’s anger is turned away,
and in its place we find comfort,
steadfast love, and forgiveness.
With this hope, we can draw water
from the wells of salvation
with joy and thanksgiving.

Passing the Peace of Christ (Isaiah 65)

Sisters and brothers, we are part of the new heaven and new earth. In God’s love we can reach across the differences that divide us. Greet one another in this spirit of reconciliation and peace.

Response to the Word (Isaiah 65, Luke 21)

For these words of challenge and of hope,
we give you thanks and praise.
May they enable us to lead lives
that embody both challenge and hope,
bound together by your love.


Invitation to Offering (Isaiah 65, Luke 21)

The world is a mess. What can we do? We can offer our visions of hope, our words of comfort, our acts of love, our resources to help bring God’s new heaven and new earth.

Offering Prayer (Isaiah 65)

O God,
we long to make a difference
in our world.
We offer you what we have:
our visions and dreams;
our witness to your saving acts
of love and justice;
our resources to help bring
the new heaven and new earth
into our midst.
We offer you our very lives,
that we may be coworkers with you
to bring about true change.


Benediction (Isaiah 65, Luke 21)

Go forth into a world that needs new visions.
Bring the message of hope and love,
of justice and peace, to all you meet.
Live the dream. Make it reality.
Celebrate endings and new beginnings,
challenges and promises.
Live the new creation. Amen.


Contemporary Gathering Words (Isaiah 65)

Have you heard?
Something new is coming,
a different world than the one we know.
And we’re the ones to help make it happen!
Let us gather together,
to support and encourage one another
and to praise God—
for new visions, for hope,
for new beginnings, and for new possibilities.

Praise Sentences (Isaiah 12)

Sing praises to God who has done gloriously!
Shout aloud and sing for joy, for God is in our midst!
God is our strength and salvation.
I will trust in this and not be afraid.

From The Abingdon Worship Annual edited by Mary J. Scifres and B.J. Beu, Copyright © Abingdon Press.

About the Author

Joanne Carlson Brown

Rev. Dr. Joanne Carlson Brown is pastor at Tibbetts United Methodist Church in West Seattle. She earned an M.Div read more…
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