July 26 Worship
Eighth Sunday after Pentecost
No matter what happened yesterday, now is the time to call upon God, to lay our lives before our creator,
and to proclaim God’s wonderful deeds to one another. Now is the time to worship.
WELCOME and CALL TO WORSHIP
As we gather to worship, we thank you God.
We thank you for the many blessings of our lives.
We raise our voices in praise, remembering your wonderful works in our lives.
In line with our ancestors in faith, with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, we praise you for the opportunities we have known.
For the work we are able to get; for the doors that are opened to us;
for the privileges in life.
For all the ways you have been our provider and defender, we praise you.
Be with us as we worship, and hear our voices, lifted in praise. Hear us, see us, be with us, and bless us, as we worship and in our lives. Amen.
Come and Join the Celebration
by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, used with permission
Because the singing of hymns is discouraged in person during this period of pandemic, you are invited to meditate on the verses below.
Come and join the celebration!
Praise the Lord and gladly sing.
Hear the gospel proclamation:
God in Christ changed everything!
Tell again the wondrous story;
let your praises rise above.
God, we sing and give you glory
for your everlasting love.
God, we sing, for there is nothing
that can keep your love away —
Not oppression, hardship, famine,
things to come or things today.
Heights and depths cannot defeat us;
death will never be the same.
Christ is risen! So you promise:
we have life in Jesus' name.
Sing with joy, each generation!
Sing with those who've gone before.
Join the kingdom celebration,
old and young, both rich and poor.
We have life, for we're forgiven;
where, O death, is now your sting?
Born of dust, we're claimed for heaven,
so let all God's people sing.
CALL TO PRAYERS
God never forgets God’s promises; God’s covenant endures in each new generation. We are free to speak the truth about our lives because God’s faithfulness embraces us as we examine our hearts.
PRAYERS OF CONFESSION AND INTERCESSION
Loving God, you search our hearts to see all the good, all the challenges, and all the obstacles in our lives. You remember the times we have turned away from you—the times we have forgotten we are your beloved children. Forgive us when we do not act as your faithful followers. Remind us we are a part of your family. May Christ intercede in our lives to bring us grace and healing. Help us be your servants and share your story with the world.
Holy One, we come before you with sighs too deep for words. We come with hearts overwhelmed—by the world, by personal relationships, and by inward struggles. We come to praise your name and to be reassured of your unending grace. In this time and place, open our hearts to your presence. Open our ears to hear your word proclaimed. Open our hands to serve you and the world. May our lives reflect Christ, who walks with us and gives us life. In the name of Christ, we pray. Amen.
Hear us now as we silently lift the cares and concerns of our hearts.
Please refer to the deacon’s prayer list.
God, in your mercy,
hear our prayers & forgive us. Amen.
ASSURANCE OF GOD WITH US
Beloved children of God, nothing in this life can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Receive the forgiveness of God, and go forth to be the loving community of faith. Amen.
SHARING THE PEACE OF CHRIST
The peace of Christ be with you all.
And also with you.
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
Prepare our hearts, O God, to accept your Word. Silence in us any voices but your own, so that we may hear your Word and also do it; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52
Hidden in Plain Sight
Rev. Kathryn R. Mustaro
OUR GIFTS OF SACRIFICE and THANKSGIVING
The apostle Paul promises that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to God’s purpose. We trust that God will bring forth good from what we offer today. It is our privilege to participate in the unfolding of God’s grace in the world. Let us give with grateful and expectant hearts.
Thank you for sending your offerings. They make a great difference to our church’s work in the world.
Prayer of Dedication
Almighty God, there are treasures all around us--family, friends, your abiding presence, and the love of Christ Jesus. Bless these gifts we return to you now, that others might come to know the true treasures of your love and grace. In your holy name, we pray. Amen.
We Are Sent
To What Can the Kingdom of God be Compared
by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, used with permission
You are invited to meditate on the verses below.
To what can the kingdom of God be compared?
A mustard seed falls where a field's been prepared, and there, where predictable plantings should be, there grows up a wild bush — as big as a tree!
God of love, here on earth, hidden things still surprise: loving deeds ... signs of birth ... faithful, Spirit-filled lives. Your reign is amazing, your ways still astound, just like that new life springing forth from the ground.
A small bit of leaven will change the whole bread:
a poor woman sees that her neighbors are fed,
a church reaches out to the youth in the town,
a man shares his faith and God's blessings abound.
God of love, here on earth, hidden things still surprise: loving deeds ... signs of birth ... faithful, Spirit-filled lives. Your reign is among us, creation is blessed, when even a few faithful lives change the rest.
While some look for treasure or one priceless pearl, God's reign is the gift wise ones seek in this world. A girl sells possessions to help those in need; a boy chooses faithfulness rather than greed.
God of love, here on earth, hidden things still surprise: loving deeds ... signs of birth ... faithful, Spirit-filled lives. Your reign is a treasure that wise ones pursue; may we seek your kingdom in all that we do.
All songs not in the public domain are used by permission of CCLI #1124594
Call to Worship - from Seasons of the Spirit, SeasonsFusion, Pentecost 1 2020 (Columbia: Wood Lake, 2019) 102.
Call to Confession, Prayers of Confession & Intercession, Assurance of Pardon, Prayer of Dedication - Scifres, Mary. The Abingdon Worship Annual 2020 . Abingdon Press. Kindle Edition.
Call to Confession, Invitation to the Offering - Feasting on the Word Worship Companion, Liturgies for Year A, Volume 2, Kimberly Bracken Long, editor (Louisville, WJKP 2014) 79.
Special thanks to Janice Royer for being our liturgist today, and to Nancy Varga for her Children's Message!