Pentecost -- Ordinary Time -- Service Prayers and Worship Ideas
The Whole World our
Service Prayers and
Worship Ideas for
Sunday after the Pentecost
“It seems to me that in
joining a church you leave home and home town to join a larger world. The whole world is your new neighborhood and
all who dwell therein – black, white, yellow, red, stuffed and starving, smart
and stupid, mighty and lowly, criminal and self-respecting, American or Russian
– all become your sisters and brothers in the new family formed in Jesus. By joining a church you declare your
individuality in the most radical way in order to affirm community on the
widest possible scale.”
William Sloane Coffin, from Credo (pages 142-143)
Call to Worship (Psalm 23, adapted)
One: As God is our shepherd we need
Many: We rest in green pastures and walk
by still waters,
renews and refreshes our spirits.
guides us along paths of righteousness
walks with us through dark valleys so we are not afraid.
shepherd’s staff comforts us.
set the banquet table for us in the presence of our enemies.
we’re anointed with oil and our cup overflows.
and mercy shall never depart from us
long as we dwell in the house of God.
and Gracious God, you are the shepherd who gathers us together today to
celebrate with grateful thanksgiving the community in which we live. We are nourished by its diversity, brought
about by the unique gifts each person contributes. Be with us in this time of worship and
encourage us to never cease welcoming the strangers we meet and accepting the
gifts they bring. Grant that they will
enrich our lives and will be a reminder of the joy that comes when all will be
one in you. Amen.
Prayer of Confession
God, we live in a diverse community.
There are people of different colors and abilities. There people with different sexual
orientations. There are people on the
left and the right, young and old, rich and poor. Yet, our church doesn’t reflect this
diversity. We would love others as you
do, but we can’t. We’ve erected walls built
upon our biases, fears, and insecurities that keep us apart. Forgive us that we cannot love as
unconditionally as you. Help us to take
down those walls so we may welcome the stranger and truly be one community
Words of Assurance
know we fall short in our discipleship.
confessed our sins before God.
look to God to repent of our sins and transgressions.
God’s overflowing steadfast love and mercy we are forgiven. Thanks be to God.
of the beginning of the 23rd Psalm and the words we pray every week,
“Give us this day our daily bread.”
Taken together, God promises to provide us with what we need to live
today so we may see tomorrow. When we
think of what we actually have, though, we have more than enough. We give honor and thanks to God when we make
our generous offering from our abundance.
Prayer of Thanksgiving
you, God, for the ministries of the people of your church.
you, God, for the bounty of your blessings you have poured out upon us.
have taken a portion of our abundance and given it to you in grateful
this offering. May it help to support
the ministries of this church that will dismantle the walls that divide us so
all people will be one in the new family gathered in Christ Jesus. Amen.
taught us that when we welcome the stranger we create a new community where all
are one in God. Let us continue the work
that Jesus started by welcoming the strangers who cross our paths knowing that
God is with us and protects as we pursue our ministries of healing and
hope. Proclaim God’s glory through your
work. Go in peace.
“We must face the fact that in America, the church is still the most segregated
major institution in America.
At 11:00 on Sunday morning when we stand and sing and Christ has no east or
west, we stand at the most segregated hour in this nation. This is tragic.
Nobody of honesty can overlook this. Now, I'm sure that if the church had taken
a stronger stand all along, we wouldn't have many of the problems that we have.
The first way that the church can repent, the first way that it can move out
into the arena of social reform is to remove the yoke of segregation from its
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from
his 1963 speech at Western
Citing the studies
of Michael Emerson of Rice University and Mark Chaves of the University of Arizona,
John Dart wrote an article in The
Christian Century that noted the remarks that Dr. King made in 1963
substantially remained unchanged. Defining a “mixed” congregation where at
least 20% of the members are racially or ethnically diverse, both studies found
that less than 90% of the congregations in the United States could be classified
as “mixed.” Emerson found the
congregations with the poorest record were mainline Protestant churches, about
2 – 3 %.
While the scope
of Emerson’s and Chaves’ studies concentrated on race and ethnicity, our
communities are far more diverse than that.
While not ignoring race and ethnicity, we could broaden our understanding
of diversity to include: physical and
mental ability, sexual orientation, economic class, immigration status, and
theological/political perspectives. Our
life together as a community becomes richer for its diversity.
express the current reality of diversity within our congregations. Coffin’s offers a vision of possibility. Which describes your church? Which do you prefer? Why?
the sermon time as a way to discuss the richness of possibility that comes with
- Introduce the topic using a short film clip, available
on YouTube (www.youtube.com), from My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Gus Portokalos (Michael Constantine)
offers a toast to his daughter and son-in-law at their wedding during
which he explains the derivation from Greek of both family names. (Search using “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”
for the search term.)
- If you can eat in your worship space, offer two types
of fruit salad, one that is made only with various melons and the other
with different types of fruits, such as melons, berries, and seasonal
fruits, such as peaches, nectarines, plums, and apricots. Let people sample both salads and
comment about them, noting flavors, textures, and appearance.
- Move the discussion towards diversity in
congregational life and the benefits and blessings it would be. Also, cover the difficulties that
increased diversity might pose.
Finally, have the congregation identify the first steps it should
take to increase diversity.
World our Neighborhood: Service Prayers
for the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost was written by the Rev.
Quentin Chin, member of Church on the Hill
in Lenox, MA.
2009 Local Church Ministries, Congregational Vitality and Discipleship Ministry
Team, United Church
of Christ, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115-1100. Permission granted to reproduce or adapt this
material for use in services of worship or church education. All publishing rights reserved.
 Dart, John. Hues in
the Pews. The Christian Century.
February 28, 2001. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1058/is_7_118/ai_71949662/
 For information about the four rules for
creating fruit salad, see http://www.slashfood.com/2006/01/27/four-rules-of-fruit-salad/