Worship Elements: October 18, 2020

August 14th, 2020

20th Sunday after Pentecost

COLOR: Green
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Exodus 33:12-23; Psalm 99; 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10; Matthew 22:15-22


We strive to have the ways of God revealed in concrete and tangible ways. Yet, with our limitations, we fail to recognize that God is revealed through all things. Moses needs assurance that God will not leave him alone and pleads to see God’s face so that he can trust God’s presence at all times. The psalmist proclaims that God is revealed in the quaking of the earth, the pillars of clouds, and in the high mountains. All of the earth belongs to God, revealing God’s goodness and love of justice. In response, we are called to break into glorious songs of praise. In 1 Thessalonians, God’s love is revealed through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Through the power of the Spirit, we respond to Christ by being steadfast in hope, as we labor in love, revealing Christ’s love to all people. In Matthew, Jesus reveals that the ways of God are not narrow but, rather, broad and all-encompassing.


Call to Worship (Exodus 33, Psalm 99)

As we gather to worship you, Holy One,
show us your presence, O God.
As we join to pray at your footstool, Exalted One,
show us your ways, O God.
As we unite our voices to praise you, Lover of Justice,
show us your glory, O God.
As we tremble in the cleft of the rock,
silently awaiting you, Merciful One,
show us your goodness, O God.
Let the earth shake in your praise, Most High!
We extol your great and awesome name,
ever-present God!

Opening Prayer (Exodus 33, 1 Thessalonians 1, Matthew 22)

Living God,
move among us and awaken us
to your loving presence.
When we lose our way
and put our confidence in our possessions
and our wisdom,
call us back to you.
Remind us that our very identity
is dependent on your abiding mercy.
Show us how to walk with steadfast faithfulness,
following the path of justice and goodness
in our daily lives.
May our days be filled with joy and hope
as we share the good news of abundant life
that comes from following Jesus Christ.
In the power of the Holy Spirit, we pray. Amen.


Prayer of Confession (Exodus 33, Matthew 22)

God of mercy,
we place our trust in tangible things—
things we can see and touch—
and question whether you are really there.
Forgive us, Holy One,
when we fail to recognize
that you are always nearby,
patiently waiting for us to recognize
your presence and your glory.
Help us when we lose our way,
and forgive us when we forget
to whom we truly belong.
Lover of justice,
open our eyes to see you;
open our ears to hear you;
open our hearts to love you;
and open our hands to serve you.

Words of Assurance (Exodus 33:14, Psalm 99)

When we cry to God, looking for favor in God’s sight,
God answers: “My presence will go with you,
and I will give you rest.”
In the power of the Spirit and in the name of Jesus,
we are forgiven!
We will rest in God’s mercy!

Passing the Peace of Christ (1 Thessalonians 1)

Brothers and sisters, Christ is present in the eyes of a stranger. As beloved children of God, Christ is recognized as we touch one another. Turn to one another, seeing and touching Christ as we share the peace of Christ.


Invitation to the Offering (Matthew 22)

Christ is made known in the answer to a difficult question meant to entrap him. Christ calls us to give to God the things that belong to God, and to give to the emperor those things that do not originate in the goodness of God’s love. We hear Christ’s words this day as we strive to be stewards of God’s great mercy. Let us give generously as we too remember that our very selves belong to God.

Offering Prayer (Psalm 99, Matthew 22)

God, source of all that is,
lover of justice and source of equity,
help us live boldly and truthfully
as we seek to follow your ways.
Embolden us to share with others the gift of grace
that you have so abundantly given us.
Receive and bless these gifts
that we return to you now.
In the name of the One who gives us life, we pray. Amen.


Benediction (1 Thessalonians 1)

Go from this place with the confidence
that you are God’s beloved children.
We go, to labor in love with all we meet.
Go out into the world with steadfast hope
and joyous trust.
We go, remembering our faithful God
who goes before us.
In God’s love, the Spirit’s power,
and the peace of Christ, go now in peace.


Gathering Words (Psalm 99, 1 Thessalonians 1)

Come and give thanks to God,
constantly remembering God’s faithfulness.
The Lord our God is holy!
Praise the name of the Lord.
Come before God with abiding faith
and steadfast hope.
The Lord our God is holy!
Praise the name of the Lord.
Come hear the powerful message
of good news in Christ.
The Lord our God is holy!
Praise the name of the Lord.

Praise Sentences (Psalm 99)

The Lord is the great King!
Praise God’s holy name!
The Lord is the great King!
Praise God’s holy name.

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

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