Worship Resources

The following Worship Resources were selected from many that were shared through a "Call to Writer's Process. We thank each and every person who submitted their work for consideration.


Worship Resource 1

Worship Resource 2

Worship Resource 3
Worship Resource 4
Worship Resource 5

Worship Resource 6


Special Thanks to Peggy McClanahan for Sharing her Sermon Oh! The Places You've Been. Below is what Peggy had to say after reading the OGHS Annual Mission Report...

I got so excited when I read the stories about what our One Great Hour of Sharing gifts are doing around the world.  As I was reading the report, the line that just popped in my head was: “OH! THE PLACES YOU’VE BEEN!”  That’s a take-off on
Dr. Seuss’s “OH! THE PLACES YOU’LL GO.”

That would not leave me alone!  So, with apologies (and thanks) to Dr. Seuss, here’s a little story I wrote so that you can get excited too about the places YOU’VE been through your gifts to the One Great Hour of Sharing offering.

A sermon for OGHS Dedication Sunday.
by Peggy McClananan
Pilgrim Faith United Church of Christ, Oak Lawn, IL


OH!  THE PLACES YOU’VE BEEN

(with thanks and apologies to Dr. Seuss)

Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’ve been to great places!
You’ve been far away.

You have brains in your head.
You have love in your heart.
You chose to get busy.
You were ready to start.

Some chose to avoid streets you went to visit.
Some sights were not pretty but love has no limit.
So you went to Haiti when the hurricane struck.
You reached out to those who were mired in muck.
You started with food so that stomachs were filled.
When the cameras went home you stayed there to rebuild.
You’re still working hard with the churches of Haiti.
You’re helping build schools so that Haitians can study.
They know their own country.  They know what they need.
Your loans help small businesses start up and succeed.

OH, THE PLACES YOU’VE BEEN!

You went off to Mozambique where you met Mama Alda
Whose husband must work far away in South Africa.
He can only come home for one month of the year.
So she tends to the cattle and seven children so dear.

Through the Food Resource Bank you gave five head of cattle.
With a bull and four heifers she was all set for battle.
She has paid back five cows now and has still grown her herd.
Her children eat vegetables, with fresh milk and curd.
Nineteen cows provide milk and two oxen plow her field.
She earns cash when she markets the left over yield.

OH, THE PLACES YOU’VE BEEN!

You found a small village high up in Tibet
With no running water (at least not yet).
Every drop of fresh water meant a trek up the mountain
And back down with a bucket and dreams of a fountain.

The people were smart, they came up with a plan.
With much rubber piping and a big concrete pan.
They buried the tubing, ran it all the way down
Bringing water right into their small little town.

Oh, what a difference that water has made!
Better health, better life, oh, what an upgrade!
You helped buy the piping and make it all work.
The smiles it has brought has been your best perk!

OH, THE PLACES YOU’VE BEEN!
THE MOUNTAINS YOU’VE MOVED!
YOU’VE BEEN EVERYWHERE!
OH, THE LIVES YOU’VE IMPROVED!

In Mindanao, in the Philippines, many strive to survive.
Church workers who’ve helped often paid with their lives.
Their children go hungry, no money for school.
Doing right has brought suffering, life has been cruel.

It’s hard to imagine, the price that they’ve paid.
But you went in response to the prayers that they’ve prayed.
You’ve reached out with money for school to help out
And with livelihood kits that saved lives, there’s no doubt.

With your help the brave Philippine church carries on
Seeking justice, showing mercy, working toward a new dawn.

OH, THE PLACES YOU’VE BEEN!

Yes, you went to Lebanon, yes, yes you did,
That country of conflict, of danger,  amid
Bombings and refugee camps filled with rubble.
You went for the children with lives full of trouble.

You saw the young children with no place to play
But garbage strewn streets dodging danger each day.
At the Sabra-Shatilla refugee camp
A grassy new playground shines forth like a lamp.

You joined forces with others who shared your concern.
Your gifts helped volunteers build and transform
The landscape which dampened the dreams of young lives
Into bright hopeful spaces where new vision thrives.

OH! THE PLACES YOU’VE BEEN AND THE PLACES YOU’LL GO!
YOU’LL KEEP MAKING LIFE BETTER AND MAKING LOVE FLOW.
ONE GREAT HOUR OF SHARING DOES THIS AND MUCH MORE.
GIVE THANKS!  GIVE HOPE!  GIVE JOY!  LET IT SOAR!

Peggy McClanahan


 WORSHIP RESOURCE 1

“A Parent’s Joy”

Liturgy without Communion
by Rev. Audrey deCoursey

Rev. Audrey deCoursey is ordained in the Church of the Brethren. She served
the
Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren congregation in Elgin, Illinois, and
now
works in chaplaincy in Portland, Oregon.


Call to Worship

People of God, come and worship!
Come with joy in your hearts
and with gratitude for the life you have been given!
Come with the heavy burdens and honest wrestling of your heart!
Come with a song, an offering, a dream, a prayer!
Come to meet God in the faces of your sisters and brothers.
Come to share in this hour,
to receive the abundance of our Creator
that we might transform our world and our hearts!
Come to worship God!


Opening Prayer

Giver of all life, you have cheerfully poured your Spirit out in our midst and
sown it generously in our community. Let us feel your Spirit anew today. Let
us dance with it, rejoicing in the rush of your powerful presence. Let us step
with you in jubilation, moved in our hearts and minds, in our bodies and
spirits. Let us live out our thanksgiving for the life you have so joyfully
shared with us, moving closely in the rhythm of your love to share that Spirit
with your children everywhere! Amen.


Prayer of Confession

Too often we sow sparingly, because we want to be the ones who reap. We
don’t want to share the reward of our work. We question the motives of
people who ask for our help. Open us, God, to the joy of seeing others share
in your abundance, knowing it is you who has sown every good gift.

Too often we sow sparingly, because we fear we will not have enough.
Empower us, God, to make the world a place where generosity does not feel
risky. Encourage us to sow more love; and risk caring for each other.

Too often we sow sparingly, because we lose confidence that our offerings
make a difference. Help us, God, to know that in the very act of giving, we
are praying for a healed world and pledging ourselves to help birth it.
Remind us that our gifts are seeds that multiply into a great harvest.

We confess that we sow sparingly, because we forget to see the world you
are calling into being, emerging in the very midst of the world as we know it.
We confess that we think this work is all up to us, instead of trusting your
providence. Open our hearts and hands and minds, Generous One, to new
vision and new trust.


Words of Assurance
(from 2 Corinthians 9)

Children of God, know that God can provide you with every blessing, in
abundance, so that by always having enough, you may in turn share
abundantly! The God who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will
supply and multiply your seed for sowing, and increase the harvest of your
righteousness. You will be enriched for your great generosity! You are freed
from all fear that holds you back from sharing with abandon and joy!


Litany (with words from the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 6)

One: “The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly,
and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.”

All: Let us be a people who sow bountifully.
One: “God scatters abroad, gives to the poor; God’s righteousness endures
forever.”

All: Let us scatter righteousness widely, sow justice generously, plant love
abundantly.

One: “The God who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply
and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your
righteousness.”

All: Let us share generously, assured in faith that together our gifts are
multiplied, that God’s harvest will grow without limit. Let us share
joyfully and abundantly, as children growing in the image of our
generous God! Amen.


Invitation to the Offering

Paul exhorts his friends to be “cheerful givers,” having “made up your own
mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion.” We give cheerfully because we
are sharing good news – and it is great to bear good news! Through our
offering, we are sharing the good news of a world where justice is possible!
– Where peace is real! – Where love is no scarce resource, but spills out in
abundance around the globe!

The gifts that we offer today will be used for tangible ministries that further
God’s reign, by meeting the human need named by the Prophet Isaiah (61:1-4):

• bringing good news to the oppressed,
• binding up the broken-hearted,
• proclaiming liberty to the captives,
• comforting all who mourn,
• repairing ruined cities,
• providing for those who have lost too much,
• proclaiming the year of the Lord’s favor,
• sharing a mantle of praise rather than a faint spirit.

As we take part in this One Great Hour of Sharing offering, we join Christians
around the nation in multiplying our
gifts for the common good. Our sharing
embodies the compassion to which
Jesus calls us. Together our gifts nurture
stronger futures and self sufficiency
through health care, education, job
training, and tools for livelihoods.

Together, our gifts bring safety, shelter, and food to refugees after
circumstances have made their hometowns uninhabitable. Together, our gifts
build homes, schools, medical clinics, and clean water and sewage facilities
in villages devastated by earthquakes, floods, and poverty. We may give to
this ministry for one week, one day, or one hour, but the good work done by
our gifts lasts much longer. Thank you for your joy-filled sharing!


Dedicatory Prayer

Generous God, you have given us so much, and you have rejoiced in sharing
it with us. May the gifts we offer today be dedicated to your ministries: the
work of justice, peace, mercy, healing, comfort, and compassion. We know
that all we have to give has its source in you, and that we are only holding it

for a time, to be used to your purposes. Thank you for the chance to be part
of your mission. We rejoice as your love dances through us and out into
service and sharing for all of your children. Amen.

Charge & Benediction

God loves you. Go to spend God’s love abundantly!
God trusts you. Go to sow God’s goodness bountifully!
God rejoices in you. Go to share God’s joy with a grateful heart!
Go forth in peace. Amen.


Hymn Suggestions

(Numbers from Hymnal: A Worship Book, by Brethren Press, Elgin Illinois)
[Numbers from The New Century Hymnal, by the Pilgrim Press, Cleveland, Ohio]

There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy (145) [23]
Brothers and Sisters of Mine are the Hungry (142)
Let All Creation Bless the Lord (61)
God, Whose Giving Knows No Ending (383) [565]
We Give Thee But Thine Own (384)
This is the Day that the Lord has Made [84]


Sermon Starter

by debbie w parvin (lower case intentional)

debbie w parvin is a Quaker poet and writer. She wrote church school curriculum
for Christian Board of Publication for over a decade.


There’s a humorous response to 2 Corinthians 9:7 which is often seen on
church marquees or in newsletters: It reads, “God loves a cheerful giver, but
God accepts from a grouch.”

Perhaps the comical saying bears some truth, as recipients of gifts may or
may not be aware of – or affected by – the attitude of the giver; but the
scriptures say that God is. The offering plate and donation box may seem to
smile at every monetary gift that is dropped into them, no matter if the giver
is joyful or resentful, but God loves the cheerful giver.

If we are to be pleasing to God – to offer God joy – our spiritual motivation
is important, not just the fact that we give. Paul asks us to be intentional
about that motivation, deciding in our hearts not begrudgingly, but with joy
and gratitude. Our giving needs to be heart-driven and joy-filled.

How might we be “freed up” to be joyful in our giving? How might we enable
ourselves to slip from under the weight of giving as burden or obligation?
How might we let go of tendencies to hoard?

It’s quite easy to give to people we love. Parents delight in giving to their
children, carefully considering the gift. In fact, such giving brings so much
joy that we often run to get our cameras when gift-giving at birthdays,
Christmases, or graduations. We want to remember the joy – to linger in it!
So why is it easier to give to family than to the stranger? The answer is most
likely found in the relationships we develop: Parents invest in their children.

Such investing is the “sowing bountifully” of 2 Corinthians 9:6. Years and
years of the labor and rewards of love and lavish generosity bind parents
and children into the rich harvest of family. Such devotion such time, effort
and energy yields the benefits of intimacy, and our hearts open easily,
generously, and joyfully, for there is bountiful sowing (investing) and reaping
where there is love.

But beyond this loving nurture within family, it is important to ask, “Who are
God’s children?” The answer: Everybody! It is helpful to note that the
concept of “stranger” is a human one, so often the people in whom we have
not invested (and thus with whom we have little or no relationship) are the
people we call “strangers;” yet while they are strangers to us, God embraces
all people as daughters and sons. Made in God’s image, “all are special in
God’s sight.” And we, seeking to grow spiritually and follow in Jesus’ steps,
seeking to grow as God’s children, can come to see with new eyes and
understand: Strangers are transformed to brothers and sisters we have yet
to meet.

Does our investment in all of God’s children increase our love for them, or
does our love for them increase our sharing with, or investment in, them?
The answer is YES! Both! The ultimate joy is that it is all pleasing to God,
our divine parent.

What parents aren’t pleased – even jubilant – when their children are kind to
one another or share generously with others? Many of us can relate to that
sheer delight we experience when we see our child happily share with
others. Indeed, such kindness and generosity in relationships defines the
happy and harmonious home. On a global scale, it defines the realization of
justice and world peace – God’s realm among us, a relationship that is not
yet – and yet, can be!

When we sow bountifully and with love – when we care for, share with, and
nurture the stranger (God’s child), we can bid goodbye to the grouch within
us. When we open our heartstrings, the purse strings open simultaneously.
Behold: the joyful giver! Behold: a joyful God!


Children’s Sermon
by debbie w parvin (lower case intentional)

debbie w parvin is a Quaker poet and writer. She wrote church school curriculum for Christian Board of Publication for over a decade.
I want to tell you a brief story about a family outing:

want to tell you a brief story about a family outing:

One day a mother treated her two sons, Steve and Kevin, to ice cream cones. Steve got a cone of mint chocolate chip, and Kevin got one of Rocky Road. Yum! The day was hot, and after the family strolled outside a short distance, the ice cream got soft. Suddenly Steve gasped, and when Mom and Kevin turned to look, they saw that Steve’s ice cream was lying on the hot pavement. “Oh no!” Steve cried in shock and frustration. The ants and flies were already on their way to the scene. Instantly Mom turned to Kevin and asked, “You’d be willing to share your ice cream with Steve, wouldn’t you?”

Kevin looked at his cone. Rocky Road was his favorite flavor, and he didn’t get to eat desserts often because Mother was big on health and low-sugar diets. He stared at the chocolate scoop, the nuts, the marshmallows... “I was being careful,” Kevin said. “Steve must have been clowning around to drop his ice cream on the sidewalk like that. It’s not fair that I have to give up some of mine!”

Mom gave a little lecture (as moms often do at a time like this). She talked about how brothers should share with one another because they are family and because it’s the right thing to do. Then she instructed Kevin to offer some of his ice cream to Steve. Kevin didn’t move. He just stood there. Finally, Mom scooped some of the ice cream from Kevin’s cone and put it into Steve’s. Kevin began to cry. The End.

Well… that was a great story about sharing, wasn’t it? – Or was it? There’s a place in the Bible – in the book of Corinthians – that tells us that God loves a cheerful giver.

It’s obvious that Crying Kevin doesn’t fit that description. He also didn’t really share, because his ice cream was actually taken from him by his mother and given to his brother. That’s not sharing.

Now I want to rewrite the story so that Kevin is a cheerful giver. This time, when Mom asks Kevin to share, Kevin smiles, and with enthusiasm says, “Sure, Mom.” Even better, what if Mom never has to ask? In our revised story,let’s have Kevin think of sharing by himself! Let’s have him volunteer to give some of his ice cream to Steve!

So: On “take two” of our story, when Steve looks down and sees the yucky ice cream with the ants and flies, Kevin pops up and says, “Hey bro, don’t stick out that lip of yours and be sad. Stick out your tongue and lick some of my cone! I’ll share with you.”

Wow! How do you like this version? Kevin’s happy; Steve’s happy; and Mom, who is VERY happy, has probably passed out from the shock of it all.

In story number one, Steve receives ice cream, and in the revised story, Steve receives ice cream, but, what’s the BIG difference? The outcome may be the same, but the spirit is totally different. According to standards set in Corinthians, version two of the story is “right on” when it comes to describing the cheerful giver that makes God happy.

Mom can force Kevin to give up ice cream, but she can’t force Kevin to be happy about it. He has to be the one to make that decision. Sometimes love is a decision. Steve’s loss of spilt ice cream was a tiny loss. There are many children in the world who have lost basic needs. Some live in places of war where life is dangerous and frightening. Some are refugees fleeing from danger, and separated from their parents. These losses threaten people’s lives.

Our global neighbors matter because we are all family. We may not live under the same roof, but we live on the same earth, and we’re brothers and sisters, because God is the parent of all of us. So choose kindness and give generously, but give from a happy heart and with a smiling face. It will make all the difference, because it will please God.



 WORSHIP RESOURCES 2

“Toppled over by Joy”


Liturgy with Communion
by Suzanne Castle

Rev. Dr. Suzanne Castle serves at University Christian Church, (Christian Church, D.O.C.) in Fort Worth, TX.


Call to Worship

Gather now, people of God, that we might share our blessings, our joy, and
our love with thankful hearts! Come and worship!


Opening Prayer

You are lavish, God! You are full of extravagance! Together we reflect on the
bountiful ways in which you reach out to us: reminding us to be the seeds
upon this earth: seeds that bring life to the parched land and fresh water to
dry beds; seeds that bring comfort, relief, warmth and care to your children
everywhere; seeds that grow into great joy and thanksgiving. Gracious God,
through the message of Christ, we recall that we are to give. Move us today,
Holy One, that we find delight in the giving. Amen.


Litany (based on Psalm 116)

One: Lift high the name of our God who offers the cup of salvation.

All: With what shall we give back to God for the many blessings of our
lives?

One: We give love and service, ready to offer both to the company of God’s
people.

All: In this place of worship, together we will share joy, here and with all
God’s children beyond this place. Thanks be to God for indescribable
gifts! Hallelujah!


Prayer of Confession

Seed-bearing God, today we recognize the vast harvest you continually lay
at our feet. At times, we have been reckless with our call to care for others
and our world. We have not given away mercy and joy, for hoarding them
seems easiest in times of scarcity. We have not offered the first fruits of our
daily work, for fear there will not be enough. Call us again to share your
generosity. Lift the stinginess from our hearts so that our hands might
generously and joyfully share the hope and joy of Christ. Empower us to
pass on your love time and time again. Be merciful to us when we fail. No
one can praise Your name enough, and we offer ourselves to you again, O
God. Amen.


Words of Assurance

The abundance of God is astonishing and extravagant. Hear and know that
our God longs for joy to be in our hearts and hands, so that others may also
know God’s bountiful gifts. Be free in Christ! Amen.


Offertory Meditation

What an amazing chance we have – an amazing chance to be extravagantly
generous. Have you thought about this in terms of how you share the gifts

of your time, talents and treasures? This One Great Hour of Sharing
offering
provides a chance to find joy, not only in the
widespread acts of mercy that it
offers to fund, but in the ways in which your
soul dances back to its Creator.
There is something delightful about offering
others a chance to find hope, a
chance to find joy, a chance to live life more
abundantly. Seeing others’ joy
moves us to share more. How much more,
then, do you think God loves us?
What a chance we have to bring joy back
to God. Give generously and joyfully!


Offertory Prayer

We offer a spirit of joy with these gifts before you, O God. We give you
thanks for the invitation you give to us to restore well-being and bring joy to
the earth and its peoples. We give you thanks for the opportunity to pass on
your love and mercy. May we be faithful to your charge. Amen.


Invitation to Communion


Many times we come to this table in a spirit of quiet reflection, but today let

us come to this table with joy. This table represents the gift of life for those
who choose to eat and drink. Here, we become a gathered community
wherein we truly care for one another, where all joys become our joys. This
table reaches to us and calls us to celebration, for today we come as the
community of Christ, centered on acts of joy and compassion. We weep with
those who weep and laugh with those who lift up the sounds of praise. In
this place we share the gift of life, of joy, of love for all. Come with joy!


Communion Prayer (adapted from the Coptic Prayer Book)


Gracious God, our hearts have been filled with joy, that our songs might be

about rejoicing. As you fed us, let our spirits glorify You. Today, may we
increase and grow firm in new birth, that our seeds of joy and love might
abide not only in us, but in those with whom we are called to serve. You
alone, O God, are our happiness. Amen.


Benediction

The call of the prophet Isaiah says to us to “go out with joy” that we might
also be agents of peace. May we go forth in joy and peace again and again
and again, knowing that joy grows more joy, and God’s peace will abound!
May God find us faithful and joy-filled in the ways we encounter the world.
Amen and Alleluia!


Hymn Suggestions

CH 2 “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee”
CH 404 “A Hymn of Joy We Sing”
CH 531 “Thank You, Lord”
You Shall Go out with Joy


Sermon Starter
by Nancey West

Nancey West is a freelance writer who has written for newspapers and

magazines, and spoken at civic and church services. She authored Miracles
Among Us: A Look Inside the Lebanon Soup Kitchen. She is a member of the
Lebanon First Christian Church (Oregon) where she has been active for
many years.


“Dominos”

2 Corinthians 9:6-15 (NRSV)


“God loves a cheerful giver.” (verse 7) This may be something we have heard

most of our lives. We were taught as children to share with others. Often we
did it because we were told to do so, but we didn’t like it. As children, we
didn’t understand the importance our attitude played in sharing.

Sharing is like dominos – not the game when like-ends of the domino are
matched, but the joyful play where they are stood on end close to each
other so that when one falls over it creates a chain-reaction. That’s the way
it is with sharing. It is contagious. It topples others over with delight!

Attitude is important. We know how sharing a cold or the flu can spread to
anyone who comes in contact with the infected person. A person’s attitude is
transported even quicker, be it positive or negative. Gossip (on the negative
side of things) spreads fast. Conversely, a smile shared with a stranger
travels just as fast! So, start your dominos falling with positive energy. Being
a cheerful giver brings hope to others and pleases God, because God is a
cheerful giver.

Verse 8 explains that God provides for us so that we are able to share. God
loves giving us more than we need, just for sharing. Giving generously
means we have to know what others need. – Just as the dominos in a line,
we have to be close enough to people to touch their lives, to be able to give
what is needed, and thus “topple them over” as we share from God’s
generous gifts to us

Certainly our focus on One Great Hour of Sharing today is about sharing God’s
abundant blessings through our monetary gifts
because, shared together our
funds help provide an abundance of comfort
and relief and love and basic needs
that many of us could not provide
individually. But we also understand that what
we share from God’s
extravagant blessings is more than offering our money.
The fact that we are
asked to give as we have made up in our minds, cheerfully,
tells us that
offering joy is a large part of our sharing.

Giving of ourselves includes passing on encouragement, courage, empathy,
compassion, time, energy, and positive attitude. It may mean we travel to
work in places served by One Great Hour of Sharing
funds. It means we tell
our personal experience with God. When we share
our faith in God with others,
we also learn to see more of God in our
relationships; thus enriching our own lives.
(verse 11)

Generosity is giving without the expectation of receiving something in
return. That selfless act of sharing is praise (thanks-giving) to God, who first
gave everything to us. – The first domino in our line never sees the last one;
likewise our sharing is transported from one person to another, and it is not
for us to always see where it travels or who is affected by its touch.

Our sharing, like dominoes tumbling in joy begins a chain reaction: With joy,
we topple over those who receive our gifts, who in turn give thanks to God,
who in turn is joy-filled and glorified by our generosity and our obedience.
(verse 13) Our love for God is demonstrated in both. Once our first domino
tips over, the others can’t do anything but fall and “pay it forward.” Once we
truly love God we can’t do anything but pass on all of these indescribable
blessings.

“God loves a cheerful giver” because the heart of a cheerful giver is open to
God’s provision. The eyes of a cheerful giver see people’s physical needs and
responds. The mind of a cheerful giver is connected to others’ spiritual
sbeing. The soul of a cheerful giver glorifies God.

Look around, God may be nudging you to bump into someone with
extravagant gifts – grace, forgiveness, kind words, joy, funds that bring
comfort, shelter, well-being! Be the first to line up! Be contagious! Knock
someone over with your generosity. It will bring joy to God.


Children’s Sermon
by Charlotte Carpenter

Charlotte Carpenter is a member of Central Christian Church, Waco, TX

SUPPLIES
• smiley-face stickers for the children
• offering envelopes of some sort, or the One Great Hour of Sharing coin box.

Good morning children. Do you know the book about Mr. Grumpy, or the
song, “Don't be Mister Grouchy Face?” I’ll sing words that are good for both
boys and girls, then you sing it with me. (Tune: “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”)
Don't be grumpy Grouchy Face, grouchy face, grouchy face! Wear a happy
smiley face; pass on a smile today.

What are some things that make you happy or make you smile? (Allow time
for answers.)

Have you ever wondered what makes God smile? (Possible anticipated
answers: being kind, helping others, obeying our parents, etc.)
Something that makes God smile is when we help people – even people that
we don't know, because in God’s eyes, they are God’s children, too, just like
us.

This week is a special week in our church. With smiling faces, we give an
offering to help people in our country and around the world who don’t have
what they most need. Maybe their town was hit by a tornado, or maybe a
fire destroyed their homes or church. Maybe they don't have enough food
because of drought, or perhaps fighting in their village or town meant they
had to move away from their home. So, through our church, we can send
food, or medicine, or we can help someone dig wells for clean water, or
rebuild houses. Our money in this special offering goes with other money to
send helpers, or food, or seeds, or blankets where they are needed, all year
long. Each time we help God’s other children, God will smile, especially if we
share with a smiling face.

Take this special envelope (or coin box) today and return it (next week) with
some money you can share with a smile. Use these stickers to show that you
are cheerfully sharing with others. Together, let's all put a smile on God's
face.

Let's pray together: Dear God, we thank you that your love makes us smile.
Help us put smiles on others’ faces and make you smile too. In Jesus name,
Amen!


WORSHIP RESOURCE 3

Liturgy without Communion
By Jacqueline Jenkins

Jacqueline Jenkins is a retired pastor of the Christian Church (Disciples of
Christ), receiving a Master of Divinity degree from Candler School of
Theology, Emory University. Most of her ministry was spent in ecumenical
agencies that served the homeless and near-homeless populations. She also
held staff positions at United Methodist and Presbyterian churches in Georgia
and North Carolina. During the last 8 years of her career, she served as a
Children's Minister which opened up an entirely different path to joy!


Call To Worship

One: Come, hear the good news that God’s grace abounds!

All: Come, hear the good news that God’s blessings are sufficient!

One: Come, hear the good news that God’s love is for all creation!

Leader: We come today to hear good news, to be reminded of God’s
unlimited and unfailing love. We come to learn God’s truth and to
receive strength and courage to share that truth with all God’s people.
This is the day the Lord has made. We rejoice in it.

All: Come! Prepare your heart for worship and praise.


Opening Prayer

All sufficient God, you have created us in your image; you have bestowed
upon us gifts far in abundance of what we need or could ever earn; you have
blessed us with the joy of connection with your people throughout the world.
For these gifts, we can only respond humbly, with so little in comparison.
Yet, we know that because you love us, and because you stay with us always
to teach us, through Jesus Christ and other examples, we can learn how to
give and how to share. Open our ears to your words today. Open our minds
to your directions. Open our hearts to your love, that we may give it away
again, never doubting that your mercies and love toward us will never
diminish. We give you thanks, Creator God, for all that we are and have; we
give you praise for enabling us to share what we are and what we have with
one another.


Prayer of Confession

We need reminders, God. We know that we are often loathe to share. We know that we have not fully understood or embraced the lessons we began to learn in our childhood. We are afraid to share. We are afraid we will not have enough. We are afraid to trust totally in your promises of abundance, sufficient for all our needs, and so we hold on to what we have. We hoard our money and material possessions. We even hoard our love, limiting it to those whom we choose to love. Yes, God, we need reminders. As we reflect on your call to share with all your creation, help us remember: you are ever faithful, ever loving, all sufficient; we can share your faithfulness, love, and sufficiency with our brothers and sisters throughout your world, and never have to worry about not having enough for ourselves.


Words of Assurance (based on II Corinthians 9:8)

Hear these words: “God is able to make all grace abound toward you so that you, sufficient in all things, may abound in every good work.”


Invitation to the Offering

Today, we remember. We remember that our own brothers and sisters, most of whom we have not met, are in need. We remember that God, through Jesus and the saints, calls us to responsibility and to caring for one another. We remember that our reward for giving is not in receiving more possessions, but in the knowledge that God provides for us, sufficient to our need. We remember, as we make our offering to God and to others, that God is the owner of all that we have and give out of our gratitude for God’s sharing with us.


Dedicatory Prayer
Receive these gifts, O God, as tokens of our faith that your gifts to us will never cease.
Receive these gifts, O God, as symbols that we remember how to share, and why we must share.
Receive these gifts, O God, and bless them as they are gifted to those who need them more than we do.
Receive these gifts, O God, in gratitude for your ever-present love and bountiful blessings.


Charge and Benediction

Go now into God’s world, to be God’s people. Be reminded every day that there is enough. There is enough for you, and there is enough to share, and there is love aplenty to go around.

Go now, in the assurance that the God of Abundance created you, that Jesus Christ leads you in God’s way, and that the Holy Spirit upholds and empowers you to remember.


Hymn Suggestions

“A Charge to Keep I Have” - traditional hymn
“Lord, Thou Lov’st The Cheerful Giver” (Trinity Hymnal #434)
“For the Life You Have Given” (The Worshiping Church #813)
“Now Join We to Praise the Creator” (Gather Comprehensive #720)


WORSHIP RESOURCE 4


Liturgy without Communion
By Ola Irene Harrison

Ola Irene Harrison (publishes as O. I. Cricket Harrison). A Kansas native, she currently serves Bethany Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) as Music Minister. She has served churches in Texas, California, Iowa and Idaho. She taught worship and church music at Lexington Theological Seminary and coedited Chalice Worship with Colbert Cartwright and served on the development committees for both Chalice Hymnal and Chalice Praise. Her hymn “Restless Weaver” appears in several recent hymn collections.

Prelude/Music before worship—If worship space is equipped with video capability, images of the work of One Great Hour of Sharing could be showing during this time. If not, posters could be made using photographs available through One Great Hour of Sharing partners and carried in during the opening hymn. This can be an excellent way to involve youth and children in the service.


Call to Worship

One: Grateful hearts need no special season to offer thanks to God.

All: Life abundant is reason enough for praise.

One: In the presence of God’s bountiful mercy, what gifts have we to offer?

All: We have gifts enough for praise: our hands, our faith, our joyful hearts.

One: Come let us worship God!


Opening Prayer

Author of Joy, grant to each one of us a singing heart – open and ready to join in your love song. Give to each person a dancing heart willing to  embrace our many partners in the great dance of creation. Give to each of us a laughing heart that we might celebrate your abundant grace with praise, thanksgiving and joy.


Confession

Mother of the world, even as we sing your praise, we cry to you for your mercy and grace. With the bounty of your womb you provide for the needs of all creation, but we hoard those gifts, so a few have too much and most of the world suffers lack. You breathe new life into our souls, but too often we turn away from your holy touch, fearing that we will have to give up our position of power or our prized possessions. You long to caress us with your life-giving love but we deny your abiding presence. Forgive us when we have not loved you or our neighbors as we should. Soften our hardened hearts that we might again know the joy of our salvation. Give us courage to approach you and others with open hands, ready to give and receive the surprising gifts you have envisioned for us.


Words of Assurance (incorporating 2 Corinthians 9:11)

Beloved of Christ, God has heard your confession and is bringing healing and reconciliation. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and your generosity will bring glory. Sisters and brothers in the name of Christ we are forgiven.


Litany

One: Giving God, we struggle to imagine the vastness of your love.

Many: We live in a finite world, limited by our senses, bound by our constant
fears of “not enough.”

One: Your world calls us to remember your unstinting care; you lavish beauty upon beauty on your creation.

Many: To every generation, you have offered the waters of your life abundant to slake our thirst if we will but drink.

One: Warmed to action by the love-light of your infinite generosity, we bring our earthly gifts to you.

Many: Bless them, multiply them, that they might fund miracles of hope and reconciliation in Christ’s name.

One: Open our hearts as we open our hands so we can truly share with others the fullness of the gifts you have entrusted to us.

Many: Fill us with your spirit of love, joy and peace so we can be generous to all.

One: Generous God, make of us willing and faithful stewards of your gifts.

Many: Lead us to actions of creativity, honesty and integrity so we can best honor your sacred trust with cheerfulness and joy.


Invitation to Offering (2 Corinthians 9:6-7)

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.


Dedicatory Prayer

Amazing God, you not only have given us everything that we have but you have demonstrated again and again the joy that comes in sharing. Because you unselfishly shared your Son with us we can know the joy of life abundant. The glory of your works—both great and small—fills us with wonder and awe. Receive all we offer you this day. As you are faithful in all things, may we, in our acts of generosity, be faithful to our calling. With joyful, thankful hearts we pray.


Charge

May God make you steadfast in faith, joyful in hope, and untiring in love all the days of your life. Go out into the world ready to bring the joy of sharing to all whom you meet.


Benediction (from 2 Corinthians 9:8)

May God bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.


 WORSHIP RESOURCE 5

Liturgy with Communion: Our Sharing Brings Joy to God
By Sherrill Morris

Sherrill M. Morris is a Licensed Minister in the Central Rocky Mountain Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). She serves the 18 year old home church, Fireside Christian Church of MetroDenver, and is a full time writer as well. She has published short stories, essays, chapters in college text books and poetry as well as church liturgy and resources. She is partially through a book of children's sermons for progressive churches and of course, that elusive first novel.


Call to Worship

Worship is a time to celebrate what God has given us as well as to joyfully return to God and to God’s world out of that abundance. When we gather together to share song, word and bread, we live out of that fullest gift from God. Come and join us as we experience and celebrate the inexplicable generosity of God’s providence and joy!


Opening Prayer

We come into the richness of your presence, O God to be filled and sustained and sent out brimming with a joy that we do not understand nor easily find words to describe. Bless our minds that we might take a bit of your wisdom. Bless our hearts that we might accept the mystery we cannot define. Bless our spirits that we might return this gift to you by sharing with the world, your beloved community. Amen.


Prayer of Confession

We are not your only children, O God, although we have pretended we are. We are not the only occupants of your creation although we have acted as if we are. In a thousand ways, said and unsaid, done and undone, we have contributed to and participated in the brokenness which mars your world.

Forgive us, God, for both conscious and unconscious sins. Grant that we might find wholeness and the strength to bring wholeness to our relationships and world, in your mercy and grace. Amen.


Words of Assurance

As a parent forgives a child every time they ask, so God, source of all love and grace, forgives us. Our brokenness becomes a starting point for our own need of healing. Similarly, our healing frees us to heal the wounds we have caused. We praise you, O God, that your gift of grace is ever present and ever ready, just waiting for us to accept it.


Litany (Based on Psalm 89)

Leader: I will sing of your steadfast love, Oh God, forever.

People: With our mouths, we will proclaim your faithfulness to the generations.

Leader: What can we mere mortals give to a God of steadfast love and faithfulness?

Women: The songs of our lips, the work of our hands, the bounty of our lives:

Men: All these bring joy to the God who first blessed us with them.

All: Praise God for the richness with which we are showered!


Invitation to Communion

At this table, we celebrate many things. We celebrate the community that formed out of Jesus’ ministry. We celebrate the body that healed and hugged and danced. We celebrate the blood that pulsed with passion for justice, lighting that ministry afire. And we celebrate God’s death-shattering “YES” in the face of “NO.” With so much to celebrate, how can we come to this table except filled with awe and elation. Come to the place where all are welcomed and filled with joy beyond our understanding.


Communion Prayer

Oh God of all of us, we come to your table ready to re-member Jesus’ ministry: to become again a part of that holy moment. As we celebrate hands and hearts blessed in degrees and ways we cannot grasp, we pray that we might make your joy complete by passing along every blessing we receive at this table. Amen.


Invitation to the Offering

Fear not that we will lack enough to meet the myriad of needs we see in our world. For the God of all enduring love and steadfast generosity has given each of us the abundance we need. When we share with joy from what God has given us, we share that joy with the God who blessed us first!


Dedicatory Prayer

What we give, dear God, seems so meager when held up to the needs of our communities and world. Help us remember that five fish and two loaves can feed a multitude when blessed in your name. Remind us that you meet our needs in a myriad of ways and that as we give back to you in a myriad of ways, your joy is made complete! Amen.


Charge and Benediction

St. Francis of Assisi reminded us that “it is in giving that we receive.” We have already received today: received community for our loneliness, healing for our brokenness, wisdom for our seeking and bread for the journey. Go out now in joy, giving what you have been given, and blessing as you have been blessed. Know that God smiles on each and every one of your gifts. It is God’s joy that we take with us. Amen


 WORSHIP RESOURCE 6

Liturgy with communion #2
By Kristyn Y. Reid

Kristyn Y. Reid is the Worship Department Chairperson at First Christian Church, Midwest City, Oklahoma. She is a poet who also works part-time as a substitute teacher. The mission statement for our Worship Department is, “lex orandi, lex credendi: how we worship reflects what we believe.”


Call to Worship

Part 1: Praise God who fills us with the light of day!

Part 2: I believe in the Lord the way I believe that the sun rises: not because I see the sun, but because by its light I see everything else.

Part 1: God’s love is a well-spring of joy; inspiring our tender hearts to sing.

Part 2: Our psalms are happy, sad, hopeful, pleading and thankful.

Part 1: We come to share with God and with each other, and to share the blessings God has given us.

Part 2: We come to share our Lord’s love with all God’s children under the sun.

Part 1: We come to worship in prayer and praise.

Part 2: We come to worship in spirit and truth.

Both: We come to be filled, to learn humility and to be the light of the world when we leave!


Processional Hymn

Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee or We Call Ourselves Disciples


Opening Prayer

God of planting and God of harvest, you bless us daily and all that we give you is what you gave to us in the first place. Your son’s ministry was all about sharing the blessings of heaven with the world: healing the afflicted, feeding the hungry and accepting the marginalized. The perfect life of Jesus is our theology, our template for Christian living. We come to worship the giver of life and offer our praise and thanksgiving in God’s name. “…all who live in love are thine; teach us how to love each other, lift us to the joy divine.” [from Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee, or “…We join with all disciples to live the Word in deed, to share the cup of water and bread with all in need.” (from We Call Ourselves Disciples)] Everything we have is God’s and as we share our gifts, God shares in our joy! “Yes, God made all things, and everything continues through and for him. To God be glory forever!  Amen.” (from Romans. 11:36 NCV)


Prayer of Confession

Giving and forgiving God, we confess our shortcomings. We set spiritual goals and fall short, or set uninspired goals, or none at all. We ignore those in need with our rationalizations. We doubt our own abilities when we know that you can use even a broken vessel to your glory. We know we should have more compassion for this world you entrusted to us…but we don’t.

Lord, soothe our anger, convert our hate and help our unbelief that we may know the joy of sharing abundantly. Amen.


Words of Assurance

If we walk in the light as God himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we confess our sins, God who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (paraphrased from 1 John 1:7, 9)


Litany:  On Having Compassion and Showing Mercy

One: Jesus is the incarnation of infinite compassion.

All: Heaven’s mercy endures forever.

One: The crowds were like sheep without a shepherd and the Lord had compassion on them.

All: Heaven’s mercy endures forever.

One: Jesus instructed the disciples to feed the hungry multitude instead of sending them away.

All: Heaven’s mercy endures forever.

One: Christ’s compassion for the blind, the lame, the disenfranchised was legendary.

All: Heaven’s mercy endures forever.

One: Jesus saw a bereaved widow, pitied her and raised her son from the dead.

All: Heaven’s mercy endures forever.

One: Jesus showed compassion for humankind. Christ was the human sacrifice that paid the ransom for our eternal lives.

All: Heaven’s mercy endures forever.

One: The Lord commands us, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (Lk. 6:36)

All: Heaven’s mercy endures forever!


Invitation to Communion and Communion Prayer

The communion table is not the embodiment of God’s grace, but a symbol… the real table is in you and among you. This meal we are about to share extends hospitality to Gentiles, tax collectors, fallen men and women (sinners of all varieties) the same way Jesus did during his ministry. The gesture is not lost on those of us in need of mercy.

In the breaking of bread we recognize our Lord, imagine Jesus blessing those five loaves and two fishes and feeding a multitude of thousands, and remember his sacrifice on that horrible cross that so powerfully proclaims his love. We in turn, share this bread with our neighbors and humble ourselves in service to your Son, and in the filling of this cup we pour out our hearts to receive your Spirit.

Let us pray: God of loving kindness, in remembering the death of your son Jesus, in breaking the bread, let us show by offering our hearts and hands, the depth of our commitment to live for Christ who died for us. By partaking of this cup, fill us now with the power of your spirit that we might be bold in our witness to Christ, “till all the world adores the sacred name of Jesus.” Amen.


Invitation to the Offering & Dedicatory Prayer

Most of us learned about responsibility with the property of others as we grew up. Stewardship is not a sliding scale—if we proved to our parents we could take care of something small, we were entrusted with something greater. Our responsibility remains the same. The issue is not the value of the item but the principle involved: faithfulness. “Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much.” (Luke 16: 10) But stewardship is not just about money. It encompasses the whole covenantal relationship between God and us. It’s about flexing our faith muscles and being good children of God.

Let us pray: God of all blessings, when it comes to what you have given us, there are no small gifts. Grant us the grace to be good and faithful servants to you and to uphold the principles by which you have trusted us with these blessings. Amen.


Charge

“…the rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of the saints but also overflows with many thanksgivings to God. …they long for you and pray for you because of the surpassing grace of God, the grace that God has given you.” (paraphrased from 2 Corinthians 9:12,14)


Benediction

The word that the writers of the New Testament used for compassion is not found in other Greek manuscripts of the time. It was coined by early Christians to illustrate the visceral feelings of pity and empathy Jesus had for those who were suffering. Our Lord was often moved with compassion before healing and performing miracles. May we go forth in joy and compassion to share our blessings, like loaves and fishes, with humanity. In the name of Christ, from whom all blessings flow. Amen.

Other Hymn Suggestions

Lord, Whose Love Through Humble Service
The Gift of Love
Jesu, Jesu
We Give Thee but Thine Own
For the Fruit of All Creation
Benediction Hymn: Live in Charity

SECTION MENU
CONTACT INFO



Ms. Phyllis Y. Richards
Program Associate, Global Sharing of Resources
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland, Ohio 44115
216-736-3215
richardp@ucc.org