Worship Resources 1
Liturgy with Communion (may be adapted for use without
Hamilton is a religion major in her senior year at Texas Christian University.
She is a Higher Education and Leadership Ministries Fellow through the
Christian Church, Disciples of Christ.
“I am, you
sense me, ready to break
at your touch?
murmurings surrounding you like shadowy wings.
see me standing before you
longing ripened in you
ripens on a branch?”
Book of Hours: Love Poems to God, translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna
Grace, from You abundance springs and righteousness blossoms. You breathed life
into the dust, bringing us forth from the earth with your spirit. We continue
to find life in You, through the love of Christ. Breathe again your grace into
us. Cultivate in us hearts of gratitude, of generosity, and of increasing joy.
Make us mindful of your holy presence, as we join together to worship You in
spirit and truth. Amen.
Prayer of Confession
all things, creator and sustainer, we come before you a wilted people. We
confess that at times we are like the dry and barren earth, unwilling and
unable to let your word grow in our hearts. We can be distracted and passive people,
God. Have mercy on us. We confess, too, O God that we have failed to share your
abundance. We have kept your gifts without scattering new seeds. We can be
selfish people, taking your love for granted God. Have mercy on us. We confess
to You that we are often ungrateful for your grace. Have mercy on us, we pray.
Cultivate the God-seed in us and make us bearers of Your fruits, sharing the
blessings You give us. Amen.
You, O God, for all you provide. You shower us with grace like rain upon the
parched earth of our souls. You assure us with your promises that we can
through Your Spirit produce good fruits. We thank You and praise You for You
have taught us of Your grace, compassion, and generosity. Amen.
fruits contain the seeds for new plants, let our hearts hold seeds of
compassion, kindness, patience, and love.
PEOPLE: Let us spread those seeds,
so that JOY might increase.
God offered the abundance of the Garden to Adam and Eve, delighting them with
PEOPLE: So let us offer others our
best, so that JOY might increase.
God offered the bread of heaven in the wilderness, God offers us the bread of
life in Jesus.
PEOPLE: Let us share that bread with
the world, so that JOY might increase.
sends the rains and sun so each seed is able to grow and blossom.
PEOPLE: So may the Spirit of God
fall upon us, that we may grow into God’s people who care for the world, so that
in ALL THINGS the JOY that comes from heaven might increase.
Invitation to Communion*
We come to
this table in thankful praise! Here, we receive freely the bread of life and
the cup of a new covenant. Here we receive extravagant gifts from God. At this
table we receive and we remember. We remember the hands that scattered seed and
gathered grain, that tended vines and plucked fruit. We remember the freshness
of the rain and the warmth of the sun that made seed and fruit swell and ripen.
We remember those who have prepared this feast for us, yet have been excluded
from the tables of plenty. We remember Jesus, who shared bread and wine in joy
at a wedding feast, in hospitality among the multitudes, and among his friends
in an upper room. In gathering together, in remembering, in sharing the
abundance of the open table, we give thanks with great joy for God’s remarkable
gift. Come, share bread. Come, share the cup. Share the feast God prepares for
praise to you, God. Your gifts are extravagant. We thank you for inviting us
all to this table of Your grace. May the bread of life inspire us. May the cup
of the covenant renew us. May we be filled with your spirit of generous
hospitality and love. Amen.
to the Offering
In a world
where millions are hungry, thirsty, displaced from their homes, or suffering
because of injustice, we can feel so helpless. Today’s scripture reminds us,
though, of the power of small things. The seeds we sow grow and produce a
bountiful harvest. Not because what we give is great, but because God’s grace
is sufficient. Each small seed brings an abundance of life; likewise, each
small gift brings an abundance of Joy into this world. Our gifts today will
support One Great Hour of Sharing providing aid and relief to our neighbors
affected by poverty, war, and natural disasters, locally and globally. Give
with thanks and with Joy, each as you are able.
You, God, maker of heaven and earth. We offer these gifts, fruits of what You
have planted in us. May they be seeds of hope, of grace, and of love. We pray
that the joy we have in offering our gifts to You pleases you. We pray these
gifts serve those in need, and that in all things Your will be done. Amen.
As you go
forth from this place, may the God-seed in you grow and ripen. Spread seeds of
hope in our world. Rejoice in the abundance of God’s grace. Go now in joy until
we are together again. Amen and Alleluia.
Seed, Scattered and Sown
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
altar with seeds and fruits.
prayer area with bowls of seeds available as tangible reminders of God’s gifts
and our call to share.
elements may be omitted for a service without communion
Nancy Ellett Allison, Ph.D. has served as pastor of Holy Covenant United Church
of Christ in Charlotte, NC since 2004. Dr. Allison currently serves as the
Recording Secretary for the Southern Conference of the United Church of
Christ. She is a popular retreat leader
and preacher and has been published in The Abingdon Women’s Preaching Annual,
as well as other books of collected sermons.
Paul is calling on the Corinthian Christians to make sacrifices for a
greater cause. Paul knows what we know: when
great gratitude abounds, great generosity is abundant as well. When we are grounded and secure in God’s
love, we are free to stretch the boundaries of our imagination, to explore the
wideness in God’s mercy, to give our hearts and lives over to generosity in all
When a child offers
us a gift – such as a 2 year old giving a dandelion – we are enriched when we
receive that gift, even as the giver is pleased in our accepting it. Receiving
that gift of love, our work as stewards begins when we put the dandelion in a
tiny vase. Stewardship is the care of all we have been given; it is not what we
Far too often,
we hear stories of scarcity. And we react likewise. When scarcity thinking
ensnares our lives, we no longer see things as they are, but we begin to see
things as we are: limited, anxious, cautious,
Looking back in this passage, Paul describes a truth. What is the gift you can give which brings
great joy and makes your heart sing?
Working for justice? Bible
studies with students? Playing an instrument?
Every time we sow our gifts bountifully, we reap a harvest that lifts
our hearts, enriches our life and community and overflows with the grace of
He is encouraging these early Christians and us to trust in the
knowledge of God’s abundance rather than in the fear of life’s scarcity. With a
stalled economy, reduced pensions, flat salaries, and just plain old fear and
conservatism all around, we are at risk of withering from these attitudes,
allowing our streams of sharing and mercy to be cut off. Is Paul only describing faith that fits
within a prosperous society? Or can the
stewardship, the nourishing of our soul, our being, always be the starting
place of generous living?
Tending to what
we have been given, sets us free, to bless those around us. Our “When we learn to trust God’s generosity,
We will be able to give to something larger than ourselves; to something that
will make our hearts sing, creating joyous new chords of connection and love in