After Pentecost 10A – August 6

August 6, 2023
Tenth Sunday after Pentecost
Matthew 14:13-21
“For Compassion”

Welcome and Call to Worship Psalm (145:8-9,14-21 adapted)
(Leader welcomes all, usually affirming its covenants with the United Church of Christ in the context of the local church’s traditions.)
Leader: The Holy One is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
People: The Holy One is good to all, with compassion for all God’s creation.
L: The Holy One upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down.
P: The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season.
L: You open your hand, satisfying the desire of every living thing.
P: The Holy One is just in all ways and always kind.
L: The Holy One is near to all who call on God, to all who call in truth.
P: The Holy One fulfills the desire of all who are in fear and also hears their cry and saves them.
L: The Holy One watches over all who love the Divine Presence and will make wickedness no more.
All: My mouth will speak the praise of the Holy One, and all flesh will bless God’s holy name forever and ever.

Gathering/Opening Hymn

Invocation; (based on Isaiah 55:1)
Hear, everyone who thirsts; come to the waters; and we who have need come, receive the abundance of substance provided freely for our bodies and souls. Incline our ears, and let us come to God to listen, so that we may live. Our Creator makes an everlasting covenant with us as God has with our ancestors. We ask for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in this sacred space, so we can recommit ourselves through word, love and action to our everlasting covenant with our God in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Prayer for Transformation and New Life (Confession):
Pastoral Leader: As we gather in worship, let us take this moment to consider our needs for transformation and forgiveness. I invite you to quietly reflect on our need for grace. (Allow a short moment of silence.)
People: Dear God, the creator of all things based on love, you created us in your image of love. There have been times we have fallen short of that love, not only to you but to each other and all of creation. I ask for your forgiveness and from you, present today, my siblings, sisters and brothers in Christ. I thank you for the comforting strength and compassion of the Holy Spirit to do better in bringing love and grace and all I do. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Words of Grace (Assurance of Pardon)
Pastoral Leader: Scripture tells us if we are “kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, God in Christ has forgiven us”. Rest assured, my friends, our sins are forgiven. Amen.

Hymn of Grace

Message for All Ages/Children’s Time (optional) A short story on “Compassion”

Scripture Reading: Matthew 14:13-21

Sermon/Scripture Reflection: “For Compassion”

Hymn of Reflection

Invitation to Generosity (Call to Offering)
Pastoral Leader: We are grateful for the gifts that we receive in our lives. We invite you to participate in this opportunity of generosity to continue the mission of God’s Love to the world. We are grateful and thankful. (Ask the ushers/volunteers to come forward with collection of plates if that is the tradition of the beloved community.)
Doxology: (as collection plates come forward).
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise God, all creatures here below;
Praise God for all that love has done;
Creator, Christ, and Spirit One. Amen.

Prayer of Thanksgiving and Dedication:
Pastoral Leader: O Holy One, with gratefulness we offer and dedicate these gifts for the continuation of our work in Christ’s Name. Amen.

Prayers of the People/Pastoral Prayer
Pastoral Leader: As we prepare to come to the table of Christ, let us lift the celebrations and concerns of our beloved community. (If it is the church’s tradition, members are invited to lift their prayer requests; followed by a moment of silence.)
Pastoral Leader: Dear God, we know that you have heard our prayers and we ask that the comfort of the Holy Spirit be with us today and every day. This we ask in the Name of Jesus Christ who taught us to pray: (Whatever version of the “Lord’s Prayer” the congregation is accustomed to…below is example).
All: Our Creator/Mother/Father/Spirit, who is in Heaven, hallow be your name. Your Kin-dom come, your will be done, on earth as it is heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our faults, as we forgive the faults of others. Prevent us and deliver us from evil. For yours is the realm, power, and glory, forever. Amen.

Pastoral Leader: In the United Church of Christ, we practice an open communion, which means all are welcomed to this table…God’s table. You don’t have to be a member of this church or any church to partake in the sharing of the bread and drink of the wine.
We remember, the night before Jesus would be betrayed and crucified, that he sat among his friends and took bread, blessed, and broke it, and said “Take and eat for this is my body given for you. As often as you do it do it in remembrance of me”.
After the supper had ended, Jesus took the cup, blessed it and said, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
My friends, whenever we share this bread and cup, we remember the compassion and love Jesus taught and the call to follow Christ in all we do.
(Communion is distributed, either by inviting the congregation forward to receive the bread and cup, or by ushers passing the bread, followed by wine/juice in cup trays).
After distribution:
Pastoral Leader: Let us pray. Holy Creator, we remember the sacrifice of Jesus, and all who follow to bring love and justice to the world. May this bread and drink nourish us as they are the symbol of Christ’s essence in all of us. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

Closing hymn

Pastoral Leader: Dear friends, we have been nourished in the love of God who created us, God who redeemed us, and God who sustains us. Go in peace, sharing the Good News. Amen.

For Compassion: Service Prayers for the Tenth Sunday after Pentecost was written by Rev. Roberto Ochoa, the Minister for Ethnic Inclusion, & Congregational Support for Rural and Small Churches for the National Setting of the United Church of Christ. He is a member of Mt. Zion Congregational UCC in Cleveland, OH.