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Worship Connection: August 21, 2016

By Nancy C. Townley

Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost

COLOR: Green
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Jeremiah 1:4-10; Psalm 71:1-6; Hebrews 12:18-29; Luke 13:10-17

CALLS TO WORSHIP

Call to Worship #1:
L: With great rejoicing we come to the house of the Lord today!
P: God is our refuge and our stronghold.
L: The power and love of God flow through this gathering.
P: We place our whole trust in God’s mighty compassion for us.
L: Come, let us worship the Lord!
P: Let us celebrate the presence of God here in this place and in all our lives. AMEN.

Call to Worship #2:
L: Give to the Lord your whole trust.
P: We place our lives in God’s care.
L: Know that God has always and will always be with you.
P: We place our spirits in God’s embrace.
L: Worship God in confidence and peace.
P: We open our hearts to God’s incredible love. AMEN.

Call to Worship #3
[Using THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2123, “Loving Spirit,” offer the following call to worship as directed.]

Soloist: singing verse 1 of “Loving Spirit” TFWS p. 2123.

L: God has placed God’s hand on you for healing and restoration.
P: Praise God who lavishes such love on us.
L: God has called you to special service and witness.
P: Praise God who encourages us to use our gifts to help others.

Soloist: singing verse 1 of “Loving Spirit” TFWS, p. 2123.

L: Let us rejoice and praise God!P: Let our hearts and lives reflect God’s mighty love. AMEN.

Call to Worship #4:
L: In the midst of trouble and turmoil, God is our refuge.
P: God is our mighty fortress and shield.
L: In God’s strength we shall be healed.
P: In God’s love we shall witness the Good News.
L: Come, let us worship God, grateful for God’s wondrous power.
P: Open our hearts, Lord, that we might truly become bearers of peace and justice. AMEN.

PRAYERS, LITANY/READING, BENEDICTION

Opening Prayer
Lord God, whose power and mercy have extended to all ends of creation, pour your love on us this day that we might be healed and be made ready to serve you by serving others in this world that you have created. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. AMEN.

Prayer of Confession
Lord God, we are so bound by rules and regulations that we fail to see the human need that goes beyond the bounds of structures. We easily relegate compassionate service to those agencies in our society that have that as their mandate, forgetting that you have given us the supreme mandate to care for one another, even as you have cared for us. We turn our backs on those in need, giving the responsibility to someone else. “Let someone else do the work,” we proclaim. And in that proclamation we have revealed our selfishness and our inability to be your disciples. Stop us from our selfish ways, and heal our hardened hearts. Forgive us, again, as you have so often before when we have failed to be your witnesses and workers. Help us become involved in ministries of peace and justice right where we are, for there is no where in creation where your love is not needed. Let us bring messages of love and hope to all people. Bring us to an understanding of the partnership of healing and hope that abides in your service. For we ask these things in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.

Words of Assurance
Though we have failed time and time again to be God’s people, yet God heals and forgives us. God is with us always, ready to lift and guide our lives. Place your life and your cares in God’s loving presence. AMEN.

Pastoral Prayer
Summer is almost over and we wonder where the time went, Lord. We look at all the plans we had, those that we accomplished and those that are now to be put aside for another time. We look ahead to the busy year of witness and service and wonder if we are ready to truly work for you. The rest that we craved at the beginning of the summer now seems to have slipped rapidly away, leaving us breathlessly facing the upcoming autumn season. Help us, O Lord, feel your strengthening presence with us. Help us place our trust in you, knowing that you will empower and enable us to be in service. As we have brought the names and concerns of those who are dear to us to this service of prayer, seeking your healing, compassionate love; let us also be willing to place our needs and concerns before you. Give us a powerful sense of restoration and reconciliation to you, for we ask these things in the name of your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. AMEN.

Litany/Reading
[The Artistic Elements for this day work with this reading. Prior to the beginning of worship, place 1/4 size sheets of paper in each bulletin. The heading on the top of the sheet should read, “My struggles and cares.” Have people write out what their struggles and cares will be. During the reading or following the reading, have the ushers collect the slips of paper and place them in the baskets on the worship center.] [Using THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2215, “Cares Chorus,” offer the following reading as directed.]

Soloist: Singing the chorus of “Cares Chorus” through one time.

L: From the troubles of the world and of the nation we come to you, O Lord.
P: Lord, help us to be agents of peace and hope in these troubled times.
L: From the strife of city and village, from the politics of deception and fear, we come to you, O Lord.
P: Lord, help us to discern your love and reconciliation for all people.

Soloist: Singing the chorus of “Cares Chorus” through one time.

L: From the struggles within families and individuals as they strive of healing, we come to you, O Lord.
P: Lord, help us to listen to your healing words of love and seek ways of peace.
L: From illness and alienation, from desperation and loneliness, O Lord, we come to you.
P: Lord, bring us your peace and hope; strengthen us to be your people in loving service to you by serving others.

Soloist: singing the chorus of “Cares Chorus” through one time.

L: Lord, we cast all our cares upon you.
P: We lay our burdens down at your feet.
L: And anytime that we don’t know what to do.
P: We will cast all our cares upon you. AMEN.

[At the conclusion of the above reading, the worship leader may offer this statement:

“Lord, we have come to you this day, place our lives, our burdens, our cares in your loving power. Heal us and strengthen us. Give us courage to serve you all our days. For it is in the name of the Master Healer, Jesus Christ, that we pray. AMEN.”]

Benediction
Lord, this day you have healed us and restored us. You have given us new strength and courage to serve you in this world. Now we go in peace and confidence, ready to be your people in all places and at all times. Praise be to you, Might God of love and mercy! AMEN.

ARTISTIC ELEMENTS

The traditional color for this Sunday is GREEN.

Note: Whenever you do an artistic interpretation or presentation for worship, it is helpful to write a small paragraph or several sentences for the Sunday bulletin explaining the symbolism both of colors and of items used.

SURFACE:
Place three risers on the worship center. The tallest of the risers should be placed at the center back; it should be about 6″ in height. On this riser you will be placing a cross. The other two risers may be placed slightly forward on each side of the center riser. Small baskets will be placed on each riser.

FABRIC:
Cover the worship center with green fabric–it may be solid color or have a small tone-on-tone pattern, but should not be bright stripes or large prints. The fabric should puddle down onto the floor in front of the worship center.

CANDLES:
By each of the baskets, place a small votive candle. Place a large white pillar candle in front of the cross on the worship center.

FLOWERS/FOLIAGE:
Generally I would discourage using flowers in this setting. I would use “leafy” plants, such as ivy or fern to soften the edges. I would also place large ferns near the base of the worship setting.

ROCKS/WOOD:
Some clusters of small stones may be placed near the baskets and at the base of the worship center to give texture.

OTHER:
Gather baskets of various sizes, about 5-12″ in diameter. Place them on their sides on the risers on the worship center and at the base of the worship center. In these baskets, the slips of papers on which the people have written will be placed.

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