United Church of Christ

Pentecost 4 - June 28

Rewards of Welcome
Prayers for the Fourth Sunday of Pentecost
June 28, 2020

Genesis 22:1-14 and Psalm 13  •  Romans 6:12-23  •  Matthew 10:40-42


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

Leader: God calls into our midst those who are beloved
            in all their diversity:
People: Out loud but muted
             We welcome them.
            God calls into our midst all those who are vulnerable,
             In need of  teaching, healing, shelter
People: Out loud but muted
             We welcome them
             God calls into our midst all those with a word of challenge
             That proclaims God’s kin-dom for all
People: Out loud but muted
              We welcome them.
              Let us worship God, who calls us to be
             “prophets of welcome”:
People: Out loud but muted
              Alleluia!

Invocation 

  Holy One, who calls us into community,
  and invites us to welcome your prophets and messengers,
  let us experience your welcome to us
  gathered in various places but joined in this moment.
  Show us that we are beloved
  and honored in your presence and in this community.
  Show us how to put our resources at the service of all,
  help us know that the cup of water given in  your name
  nourishes the one who gives and the one who receives.
  Satisfy our thirst to know your presence here and now.

Prayer of Confession

  God of all, you call us into obedience to the ways of life and holiness,
  To honor your image in all whom we meet.
  When we ration your welcome to a very few:
People: Out loud but muted
   Lord have mercy.

             God of abundance, you call us to stop clinging to things,
             To trust in your goodness to provide all we need.
             When we grasp and hoard and do not share,
People: Out loud but muted
             Christ have mercy.

             God of hope, you call us to imagine a future “kin-dom”
             where all find a place at the table,
             A safe and joyful welcome to neighbors, children, creation.
             When we stop short of your vision of your world of mercy and justice for all,
People: Out loud but muted
              Lord have mercy.

Words of Assurance

 Holy One, who is still speaking through our words,
 Help us to hear your assurance in the peace we share together.
 You will always welcome us by name.  Amen.

Scripture, Sermon, Prayers of the People

Notes for the worship planners in 2020:

  • 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.  Scriptures today are challenging, perhaps especially the story of Abraham and Isaac and the sacrifice God calls Abraham to make.  In some respects, many of us are being called to relinquish that which is most precious in our way of life and to set out into an unknown future.  The gospel calls us to a radical welcome of all people—the thirsty, the vulnerable, the prophets with a word of challenge.  What connections may be made between these scriptural challenges and the experience of communities coming through the profound trauma of Covid-19?  Where is God at work in our midst? To what kind of witness  is God calling the wider community?

  • For the Prayers of the People, you might use a bidding prayer (“God, we pray today for those who are sick, including ….”) and encourage folk to type in their prayers using Zoom chat or Facebook Live; allow for more time in silence for those prayers to be typed and read. Consider a collective response at the end of each bidding prayer.

  • This short passage in Matthew begs for us to use our own voices.  In the pastoral prayer, allow for the gathered to welcome the many names of their prayers.  Craft the pastoral prayer so that there is space to name God, to name the unwelcomed, to name the thirsty and even to name ourselves.  If your church family is talkative, be sure to be succinct in the prompt.

  • 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 needed extra pastoral care.

Invitation to the Offering

  We know the reward of God’s welcome. 
  The Holy Spirit has blown through us so that we sing of God’s steadfast love continually.
  Now, gathered here as prophets of welcome, we respond to what God has done.
  We give our gifts of tithes and offerings in the certain hope that
  God’s welcome will continue in the ministry we offer. 

Dedication Prayer

  Welcoming One, bless these gifts with your Spirit
  Transform these gifts into the balm that your world needs.
  In these gifts, may we welcome in a new world of love. Amen.

Benediction

  Whoever welcomes you welcomes me,
  Quench our thirst for love,
  Satisfy our need to be known,
  Assure us that we are indeed prophets of welcome.
  Let us go to proclaim this peace in God’s name.

Original service written by the Rev. Elsa A. Cook, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, a budding spiritual director and wandering interim minister. She writes liturgies and shares her thoughts on cookingwithelsa.org. Adapted for on-line use by Susan A. Blain.

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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