Worship Elements: July 25, 2021

June 17th, 2021

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

COLOR: Green
SCRIPTURE READINGS: 2 Samuel 11:1-15; Psalm 14; Ephesians 3:14-21; John 6:1-21


Today’s readings are full of apparent contradictions: faith and sin, acceptance and rejection, strength and weakness, fullness and emptiness. Yet every vile deed lamented by the psalmist is offset by God’s deliverance. If King David was truly that same psalmist, who could know this truth more intimately than the one who had an infamous affair with Bathsheba? Contrast his loathsome selfishness with the incredible selflessness of Jesus, who transformed a meal sufficient for only a few into a feast for five thousand. This is what Paul speaks of as the redemptive power of God’s love, the power to abundantly achieve far more than anything we might ask for or understand.


Call to Worship (Psalm 14)

Fools say in their hearts, “There is no God.”
Too often we have been fools in word or deed.
Still, the Lord looks from heaven
for those who seek God.
May we be found among the company
of the righteous!
Deliver us from evil, O God.
Restore your people’s fortunes.
Lord, only in you can we find refuge. Amen.

Opening Prayer (Ephesians 3)

Holy One,
we bow our hearts before you this day.
Strengthen us in our innermost being
and dwell in our hearts through faith.
May we be rooted and grounded in Christ,
whose love is beyond all knowledge.
Help us comprehend even the smallest part
of the beautiful mystery of your grace.
Grant that we may experience the fullness
of your presence with us. Amen.


Prayer of Confession (Psalm 14)

Who among us hasn’t wondered if God really exists?
Who among us hasn’t recoiled in revulsion
when reflecting upon the depraved
and loathsome acts we might be capable of?
Who among us hasn’t felt the agony
of a life lived apart from God’s love?
Yet in our emptiness, in the depths of our despair,
the Lord seeks us out;
the Lord hears our cries;
the Lord becomes our refuge
and our strength.
In you, gentle savior, our hearts are glad;
we rejoice in your salvation.
We pray to you in spirit and in truth. Amen.

Words of Assurance (Ephesians 3)

The love of God is your firm foundation;
by faith you are rooted deeply in the Lord.
May you know the breadth and length
and height and depth of the love of Christ,
which surpasses all human knowledge.
May you attain the fullness of being,
the fullness of life that God brings.

Response to the Word (Psalm 14, Ephesians 3, John 6)

Lord, from emptiness, you create substance—
when we hunger,
you fill us from your abundance;
when all seems lost,
you bring hope and salvation,
you make possible the impossible.
We are overcome with joy,
but we are also terrified of your power.
Calm and strengthen our hearts
as we hear your assurance,
“It is I: Do not be afraid.” Amen.


Offering Prayer (Psalm 14, Ephesians 3, John 6)

Gracious Lord,
you have lavished upon us
the riches of your glory.
As Jesus fed the masses, providing enough for all
with more than enough left over,
so you have fed us and provided for us.
You shelter us, care for us,
and bring us safely to each stop on our journey.
As you have given to us out of your abundance,
we return our offering to you
with praise and thanksgiving.
In the name of the Savior, we pray. Amen.


Benediction (Ephesians 3)

May you know the richness and fullness
of God’s grace.
May you experience every dimension
of the love of Christ.
May the Spirit dwell within you through faith.
To the Holy One, whose power works within us
to accomplish more than we could ask
or imagine or comprehend,
be glory forever and ever! Amen.


Contemporary Gathering Words (2 Samuel 11, Psalm 14, Ephesians 3, John 6)

When we see what we want, do we simply take it?
How much better to receive a gift freely given.
If our unbridled desires lead us astray, do we admit it?
How much better to bow before our Maker.
Do we know anything? Have we learned anything?
How much better to know the indescribable love of God.


Contemporary Call to Worship (2 Samuel 11, Psalm 14, Ephesians 3, John 6)

Holy One,
you have covered the barren places in our lives
with the riches of your grace.
In the agony and emptiness of our sin,
you have filled us with forgiveness.
From a small portion of food,
you have given us sustenance for a lifetime.
Glory and praise to you forever! Amen!

Praise Sentences (Psalm 14)

Praise the Lord, our refuge!
Praise the Lord, our strength!
Praise the Lord, our deliverer!
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! 

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

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