Pentecost 24 – November 15

The Time of Richness
Service Prayers for the 23rd Sunday after Pentecost
November 15, 2020

Zephaniah 1:7, 12–18, Psalm 90:1–8[9–11] 12, 1 Thessalonians 5:1–11, Matthew 25:14–30

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


           One:   Sing the new day
People:         Out loud, but muted
            All:    O God, we come. 

           One:   Sing a new song
People:         Out loud, but muted
            All:    Awakened, we come.

           One:   Sing to the light
People:         Out loud, but muted
            All:    So beckoned, we come

Gathering Prayer

There is a richness here –
richness that greets and grows and holds and challenges and keeps. 
There is a richness here –
a richness that surrounds and brings and delivers and gives
The richness holds us in our weakness,
fills us in our hunger,
So here, richly blessed, we have come, and we have been found. 
Let this time together inspire us in richness and grace.  Amen.


There is a richness here – a gorgeous, flowing richness of unending abundance. 
But that doesn’t mean that it guides us. 
Our ways – within and beyond our control –
speak of something different:
of lack,
of fear,
of something other than
an acknowledgement of
God’s endless and beautiful
river of grace.
  People:       Out loud, but muted
But how do we step into that river? 
Do we step into it with trust? 
Do we trust the current of God’s generous gifts? 

Or do we run from the river? 
For when we run,
when we turn away from God’s gifts in distrust,
We lose the refreshment and joy of that richness…
And something else reigns.
People:       Out loud, but muted
Then, what’s left? 

Now is the time – now is the time to consider just how we distrust God’s abundance. 
Now is the time – now is the time to begin something new. 
Now is the time – now is them time to trust … differently.


Assurance of Pardon

Let us pray:
We haven’t always trusted, God. 
But now we do. 
People:         Out loud, but muted
We acknowledge the richness of your blessings<
We see your flowing river of love
And we wade into your grace. 

There is a richness – a richness that says “yes” – eternally –
even in the face of our behavioral “no”s. 
There is a richness that penetrates distrust and offers so much more. 
This richness forgives and gives even more. 
People:         Out loud, but muted
We know this forgiveness.
And we thank you, God. 

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

  • 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

Invitation to Offering

Children of the light – richness and blessings are ours.

Now, the time is ours – isn’t it exciting? 

Met by God in the holiness of this space,
inspired by God’s word, God’s gifts, God’s love
Encouraged by the presence and commitment of everyone else around us – Let’s do something!

Let’s try something new! 
We’ve given before, we’ve given to the church.
Let’s keep giving.  But let’s give something new. 
Maybe it means that we add a few dollars to our usual pledge.
Maybe it means that we add a pledge of time that we haven’t included before.
Maybe it means that we make a commitment of giving for the first time ever. 
Now is the time to do something new about God’s abundant gifts to us. 


Let us pray. 
People:         Out loud, but muted
O God, we have come, and what a delight it has been! 
We have come before your table with gifts –
gifts of ourselves, gifts of risk, gifts of newness, gifts of trust. 
We thank you for the chance to give,
and pray that we and all whom our gifts bless will never be the same.  <
Through our greatest gift, Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.


Go now as children of the light:
People:         Out loud, but muted
         Ready to serve,
         Eager to give,
         Delighted to love. 

And may God’s blessing: 
+ Source, Word and Spirit, One,
keep, lead and mold you, now and forever.  Amen.

Written by the Rev. Kaji S. Douša, Senior Minister of Park Avenue Christian Church (DOC), New York City

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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