United Church of Christ

Pentecost 7 - July 19

Surely God is in This Place!
Seventh Sunday after Pentecost
July 19, 2020

Genesis 28:10-19a-- Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24--Romans 8:12-25—
Matthew 13: 24-30, 36-43

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

We come to celebrate God’s blessings to us.
People:Out loud, but muted
Surely God is in this place!

We come to open ourselves to God’s guidance and love.
People:Out loud, but muted
Surely God is in this place!

We come to see more clearly God’s presence in our lives.
People:Out loud, but muted
Surely God is in this place!

We come to see God in this community of seekers.
People:Out loud, but muted
Surely God is in this place!

We come to pray, praise, and offer ourselves to God.
People:Out loud, but muted
Surely God is in this place! Let us worship!

Invocation

Holy One, you know us already.
Help us to know you better.
Let us see you all around us.
Fill our worship with your Spirit
so that we may learn to recognize your presence
in all places. Amen.

Call to Confession

Our failures, shortcomings, and sin are like strong weeds in our lives.
We confess them to God,
So that we may clear away  anything
that would choke out our nourishing connection with God.
Let us pray.

Prayer of Confession

Gracious God,
in the fields of our lives, we strive to be fruitful, but we fall short. 
We get so comfortable
that we sleep when we need to be vigilant
about the errors in our own lives
and the injustices around us.
We are so casual about wrongdoing that it creeps into our lives
and threatens to overwhelm the good we do.
We do not pay attention to the unjust systems which shape our lives,
that we must work to transform
so that your Beloved Community may come to be.
Forgive us.
Keep us awake so that we can produce the lives you call us to live.
Amen.

Assurance

You are not God’s tenants or employees;
you are God’s precious family.
In the words of the apostle Paul,
“You did not receive a spirit of servitude to fall back into fear,
but you have received a spirit of adoption.”
As God’s children, in God’s embrace, you are forgiven and free.

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.  The Genesis passage offers a famous image of Jacob’s dream of a Ladder, which leads him to the insight that that God is present in that place, at all times, in all circumstances.  As the days of Covid-19 sheltering in place continue, do people have new insight into this time and place?  Do they recognize the presence of God?  Are they surprised?  Disappointed?  Curious?

  • 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.

  • 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

Call for the Offering

What we have received comes from seed sown in us by Jesus Christ.
Having received the blessings of the harvest begun in us,
let us return to God fruits of the blessings we have received.

Prayer of Dedication

People:Out loud, but muted
Loving God, we offer back to you what we have been given:
our treasure, our time, and our lives.
Bless our gifts and multiply them for your purposes.
Amen.

Benediction

God’s spirit is always with you.
People:Out loud, but muted
Wherever we go, God is there!
If you ascend to heaven,

People:Out loud, but muted
God is there.
If you settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
People:Out loud, but muted
God is there.

In all places, God holds you fast.
May you know deeply the presence of God:
Creator, Christ and Holy Spirit.
Go with God.

Surely God is in this Place: Service Prayers for the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost, was written by the Rev. Ruth Garwood of Cleveland, Ohio, is a certified leader of InterPlay, a system of forms in movement, story-telling  and vocalizing that brings body and soul together, and brings communities together. She teaches suicide first aid via Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training. Adapted for online 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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