United Church of Christ

Pentecost 2 - June 14

Too Wonderful?
Prayers for the Second Sunday of Pentecost
June 14, 2020

Genesis 18:1-15, (21:1-7) and Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19  •  Romans 5:1-8  •  Matthew 9:35-10:8, (9-23)

Since Congregations are returning to “in-person” services at different paces, Worship Ways for Summer 2020 will be edited for online use.  “Rubrics” for virtual services will be noted in red;  take and adapt as you need!

Leader should speak the lines of the people, along with the Leader’s lines 

Call to Worship

                     Strangers visit Abraham and Sarah,
                     and they welcome them with a feast!
People:         Out loud but muted:
                    How wonderful!

                    Strangers promise Sarah and Abraham
                    a child in their old age!
People:         Out loud but muted:
                    Too wonderful!?

                    Strangers leave Abraham and Sarah
                    To wait and ponder:
People:         Out loud but muted:
                    “Is anything to wonderful for God?”

                      Let us worship our Wonder-full God!

Invocation

Holy One, who we so often don’t recognize,
come into our midst and make your presence known!
          Renew our strength,
          refresh our imaginations,
          retool our weary efforts
          to carry your Peace into the world.
Amaze us with your power to make all things new
And let us face your world with curiosity and hope.         
In the name of the One who leads us on the Way, Jesus, the Christ.
Amen!

Prayer of Confession (inspired by Genesis 18: 1-15 and Matthew 9:35-10:8)

Leader:          Like Sarah and Abraham, we may be discouraged,
                     tired of waiting for a future that seems impossible
People:         Out loud but muted:
                      Is anything too wonderful for God?

                     Oh God, you call us to seek you in all times and places,
                     and work with courage to prepare the way for your Kin-dom,
                     but our resolve too often fails and we give up too soon.
People:         Out loud but muted:

                      Holy One, Have mercy.
                      Oh God, you call us to offer peace to friends and strangers       
                      to prepare the way your Kin-dom, 
                      but  we fail to cultivate the spirit of  peace in our own lives.
People:         Out loud but muted:                      
                      Christ, have mercy.

         
                     Oh God, you call us to be full of joyful confidence
                     to prepare the way for your Kin-dom,
                     but anxious doubt often burdens us and
                     blocks our witness to your good news.
People:         Out loud but muted:
                     Holy One, have mercy.

Words of Assurance     

                    Sarah laughed at first, doubting God’s promise;
                    Sarah laughed at last, delighted at God’s promise fulfilled.
                    May we laugh in hope and delight in pondering:
                    How wonderful:  In Christ, our sins are forgiven!
People: Out loud but muted:
                    Thanks be to God!

Scripture, Sermon, Prayers of the People

Notes for the worship planners in 2020:

Sermon for Pentecost 2

Consider a simple message or even an  interactive Bible Study that engages people with the Scriptures for today.  Each in their way may have a word for people living in quarantine, or considering leaving quarantine.  The letter to the Romans talks about a community suffering over a long period of time; living in faith that the message of Christ leads to life and peace.  The Gospel of Matthew speaks of the Twelve sent forth taking nothing for their journey—only peace, and the word of the Gospel.  They will encounter resistance—what could be at the root of their struggle to preach the word of Peace?

  •  Prayers of the People

    An opportunity to have the community to offer praise testimony and prayer request.  If possible, have folks write down praise and prayer requests on chat box and read as many as you are able and feel comfortable. Pastor may end the Peoples’ Prayers with a Pastoral Prayer incorporating the petitions of the congregation.
  • A caution regarding prayers of the People online: Folks gathered in-person often recount a lot of detail in their prayers concerning other members or family (“Elderly Name, living alone, experiencing isolation…”  In  a private, in-person gathering, this information may be safe, but online, it can expose vulnerable people to harm, since we can’t control who will join the gathering or access it later online.  Invite people to be prudent in offering prayers:  “For First name only, in need of healing”; “For First name only, comfort in grief”  etc. 
    Encourage people to contact the pastor directly with news of those needing  extra pastoral care.

Invitation to the Offering

The Psalmist writes:  I love our God, who heard my cries and prayers!
Let us offer our gifts to God at this time, to support the life and work of the people of God in our community, and around the world.

Dedication Prayer
People: Out loud but muted

Holy One, accept these gifts and multiply them
so that the wonder of your love, and justice and peace
may be known throughout the world!

Benediction

Go forth from this time together
With hearts open to the surprising, inexhaustible love of God.
Greet friends and strangers with the gifts of Christ:
Mercy, and justice, and joy.
Expect the Spirit to meet us wherever we are, in struggle, in grief, and in peace.
Ponder:  Is anything too wonderful for God?

Too Wonderful? Online Service for the Second Sunday after Pentecost, was written by the Rev. Susan A. Blain, Minister for Worship and Gospel Arts, Faith INFO ministry Team.

Copyright 2020 Justice and Local Church Ministries, Faith INFO 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. 

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