PDF for print version HERE. For permission to print and redistribute, comment below.
Preparation for Worship
Songs: Ask yourself and the people who will be worshipping with you (kids included), “What are some of the songs we sing that focus on God’s word sown into our hearts?”
Play them on Spotify, sing them acapella, or create your own instrumental arrangement.
Bible: You will need a Bible to read from the scriptures. You can use this doc or your phone as well, but I’d recommend using an actual Bible.
This week’s liturgy is based on the following texts:
Genesis 25:19-34 and Psalm 119:105-112, Isaiah 55:10-13 and Psalm 65:9-13,
Romans 8:1-11, Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
You can decide who will lead the different movements of this gathering. It would be great for every person to have a part.
In the Bible, in Matthew 18:20, the scripture says, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I’m there with them.” We believe that the church is not a building. The church is made up of people. So, we have gathered here in the spaces in which we live to be the church. We will worship God together. We trust that God is here with us, and God is at work among us.
Call to Worship
Person 1: Powerful God,
We gather together in your presence with expectation.
We are hungry for an encounter with You,
And we are eager to hear Your Word.
Person 2: Open our eyes and ears to the presence of Your Holy Spirit.
May the seeds of your Word scattered among us this morning
fall on receptive land.
Person 3: May your word take root in our hearts and lives,
and produce good fruit.
May our words and actions be a reflection of you.
All: We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Song of Praise
Sing one song that focuses on giving thanks to God and God’s work in the world.
Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)
For other song ideas click here.
The psalmist writes in Psalm 65,
God of Zion, to you even silence is praise.
Promises made to you are kept—
2 You listen to prayer—
and all living things come to you.
3 When wrongdoings become too much for me,
you forgive our sins.
4 How happy is the one you choose to bring close,
the one who lives in your courtyards!
We are filled full by the goodness of your house,
by the holiness of your temple.
5 In righteousness you answer us,
by your awesome deeds,
God of our salvation—
you, who are the security
of all the far edges of the earth,
even the distant seas.
6 You establish the mountains by your strength;
you are dressed in raw power.
7 You calm the roaring seas;
calm the roaring waves,
calm the noise of the nations.
8 Those who dwell on the far edges
stand in awe of your acts.
You make the gateways
of morning and evening sing for joy.
9 You visit the earth and make it abundant,
enriching it greatly
by God’s stream, full of water.
You provide people with grain
because that is what you’ve decided.
10 Drenching the earth’s furrows,
leveling its ridges,
you soften it with rain showers;
you bless its growth.
11 You crown the year with your goodness;
your paths overflow with rich food.
12 Even the desert pastures drip with it,
and the hills are dressed in pure joy.
13 The meadowlands are covered with flocks,
the valleys decked out in grain—
they shout for joy;
they break out in song!
Song of Response
Prayer of Preparation
Loving and Gracious God,
Your word is a lamp to our feet
and a light for our journeys.
In the midst of all that is going on in our lives—the joys, the suffering, the questions, help us live again according to your promises.
May we never depart from your instruction. Help us faithfully follow your path.
Your ways are our hearts’ joy.
May we keep your word.
In the name of Jesus we pray.
(The time of listening is a series of reading the scripture, re-telling the story, and paying attention to where God is stirring your hearts as you listen. Invite everyone to listen to the words of the scriptures and to be ready to re-tell the story.)
Hear the gospel reading from Matthew chapter 13.
That day Jesus went out of the house and sat down beside the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he climbed into a boat and sat down. The whole crowd was standing on the shore.
3 He said many things to them in parables:
“A farmer went out to scatter seed.
4 As he was scattering seed, some fell on the path, and birds came and ate it.
5 Other seed fell on rocky ground where the soil was shallow. They sprouted immediately because the soil wasn’t deep. 6 But when the sun came up, it scorched the plants, and they dried up because they had no roots.
7 Other seed fell among thorny plants. The thorny plants grew and choked them.
8 Other seed fell on good soil and bore fruit, in one case a yield of one hundred to one, in another case a yield of sixty to one, and in another case a yield of thirty to one.
9 Everyone who has ears should pay attention.”
18 “Consider then the parable of the farmer.
19 Whenever people hear the word about the kingdom and don’t understand it, the evil one comes and carries off what was planted in their hearts. This is the seed that was sown on the path.
20 As for the seed that was spread on rocky ground, this refers to people who hear the word and immediately receive it joyfully. 21 Because they have no roots, they last for only a little while. When they experience distress or abuse because of the word, they immediately fall away.
22 As for the seed that was spread among thorny plants, this refers to those who hear the word, but the worries of this life and the false appeal of wealth choke the word, and it bears no fruit.
23 As for what was planted on good soil, this refers to those who hear and understand, and bear fruit and produce—in one case a yield of one hundred to one, in another case a yield of sixty to one, and in another case a yield of thirty to one.”
Go around the circle and talk about the different kinds of soil in this story. What were the different types of soil? What happened when seeds were planted in that soil? Now discuss the explanation of each type of soil.
What type of soil grabs your attention? Why do you think this speaks to you?
Why do you think Jesus told this parable?
What about this parable is challenging? What is encouraging?
What will we carry into this week from this text?
What can we pray for this week?
Prayers of the People
Prayer is a conversation with God. We join our hearts and voices to offer our prayers to God.
Now God, in a world that seems to have gone crazy and lost its way,
we come to you today,
not just seeking answers,
but seeking strength and courage for the days ahead.
We pray for courage to be the people who you have called us to be –
people who seek justice and peace through your love for all of your people.
We struggle with questions that seem to have no answers
and problems that have insurmountable solutions.
We seem to be a deeply divided people.
But as we look and listen to people around the world,
so many seem divided and at war with one another
even using the weapons of words let alone physical violence.
Surely, we must test your patience,
but we know that your love is all encompassing, never ending, always forgiving.
This is truth and the hope we cling to – that despite the struggle with our imperfections and our shortcomings… our sin,
You love us and are always there waiting for make U-turns in our lives
and return to you for forgiveness and cleansing.
You are the hope for the world
and as the Apostle Paul proclaimed in Athens,
it is in this hope that we live and move and have our being.
God, today we lift up the families and friends who have lost loved ones.
Give them strength and courage for the days ahead.
Help us to find ways not to alienate people,
But to affirm all of your people.
Today, oh God, we ask your blessing on all those who are taking the brunt of anger
because of the actions of others.
Those who in their duties have been taunted for the injustice of a few in their ranks.
Continue to give them patience, understanding, and a love beyond their own inner resources for those who threaten and disparage them.
And God we also lift up those who are terrorizers,
people who are perpetrating destruction,
those who feel the need to put others down through unwholesome words and name calling.
They need to know and experience your love.
Use people in their lives to show them a different path,
a path of goodness and hope.
This morning we lift up those in our congregation who are sick or hurting in any way.
Give them peace and strength to face their situations.
Give spirit empowered resolve to the addicted,
comfort those who are victims of violence,
help us find ways to meet needs of those lacking the essentials for living.
God, we ask you to help us be change agents in this world.
Give us courage to speak out about our faith,
to teach those around us about your love for all people,
and to lead by example showing and speaking with respect to others.
All these things we ask in the name of the Prince of Peace who taught his disciples to pray saying, 1
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
As we go from here,
we go with this promise from Isaiah 55:
You will go out with joy,
and be brought back in peace.
Even the mountains and the hills
will burst into song before you;
all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
In place of the thorn, beautiful cypress trees will grow;
in place of the nettle, the myrtle will grow.
This will be a testimony to God’s glory,
an everlasting reminder of God’s faithfulness.
We go in joy and peace to love and serve the Lord,
In the name of Christ. Amen.