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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 love and grace?” 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 29:15-28 and Psalm 105:1-11,45b, 1 Kings 3:5-12 and Psalm 119:129-136, Romans 8:26-39, Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52
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
Leader: We have gathered in God’s holy presence,
the One who etches grace on our hearts.
All: This is the place where God will transform us into disciples.
Leader: We glorify our God, who yearns for justice,
not just for a favored few, but for the least of our world.
All: This is the place where God will write compassion on our souls.
Leader: We give thanks to God for unceasing grace;
we remember God’s persistence in saving us.
All: This is the place where God will breathe the Word into our lives.
Leader: Come, let us worship our great God!
All: Yes, Let us worship God!
Song of Praise
Sing one song that focuses on giving thanks to God and God’s work in the world.
The psalmist writes in Psalm 105,
Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples!
2 Sing to him, sing praises to him;
tell of all his wondrous works!
3 Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!
4 Seek the Lord and his strength;
seek his presence continually!
5 Remember the wondrous works that he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he uttered,
6 O offspring of Abraham, his servant,
children of Jacob, his chosen ones!
7 He is the Lord our God;
his judgments are in all the earth.
8 He remembers his covenant forever,
the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations,
9 the covenant that he made with Abraham,
his sworn promise to Isaac,
10 which he confirmed to Jacob as a statute,
to Israel as an everlasting covenant,
11 saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan
as your portion for an inheritance.”
Praise the Lord!
Old Testament Reading
Hear the word of the Lord from 1 Kings 3.
5 The Lord appeared to Solomon at Gibeon in a dream at night. God said, “Ask whatever you wish, and I’ll give it to you.”
6 Solomon responded, “You showed so much kindness to your servant my father David when he walked before you in truth, righteousness, and with a heart true to you. You’ve kept this great loyalty and kindness for him and have now given him a son to sit on his throne. 7 And now, Lord my God, you have made me, your servant, king in my father David’s place. But I’m young and inexperienced. I know next to nothing. 8 But I’m here, your servant, in the middle of the people you have chosen, a large population that can’t be numbered or counted due to its vast size. 9 Please give your servant a discerning mind in order to govern your people and to distinguish good from evil, because no one is able to govern this important people of yours without your help.”
10 It pleased the Lord that Solomon had made this request. 11 God said to him, “Because you have asked for this instead of requesting long life, wealth, or victory over your enemies—asking for discernment so as to acquire good judgment— 12 I will now do just what you said. Look, I hereby give you a wise and understanding mind. There has been no one like you before now, nor will there be anyone like you afterward.
Prayer of Preparation
Gracious and Loving God,
Your extravagant love has called us together.
Long before we even knew You,
You already knew us,
and had chosen us to be part of Your own family—
sisters and brothers with our Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
And so we come before You with listening ears,
offering You the worship of our hearts and lives,
and opening ourselves to the prompting and leading of Your Holy Spirit.
Speak to us through your word.
Stir our hearts to walk closer with you each day.
May the time we spend here in Your presence
bring honor and glory to Your Name.
(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.)
A reading from the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 13.
31 He told another parable to them: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and planted in his field. 32 It’s the smallest of all seeds. But when it’s grown, it’s the largest of all vegetable plants. It becomes a tree so that the birds in the sky come and nest in its branches.”
33 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast, which a woman took and hid in a bushel of wheat flour until the yeast had worked its way through all the dough.”
44 “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure that somebody hid in a field, which someone else found and covered up. Full of joy, the finder sold everything and bought that field.
45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls. 46 When he found one very precious pearl, he went and sold all that he owned and bought it.
47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that people threw into the lake and gathered all kinds of fish. 48 When it was full, they pulled it to the shore, where they sat down and put the good fish together into containers. But the bad fish they threw away. 49 That’s the way it will be at the end of the present age. The angels will go out and separate the evil people from the righteous people, 50 and will throw the evil ones into a burning furnace. People there will be weeping and grinding their teeth.
51 “Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked.
They said to him, “Yes.”
52 Then he said to them, “Therefore, every legal expert who has been trained as a disciple for the kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings old and new things out of their treasure chest.”
Let’s remember together the parables we just heard. What was the first parable? What parable was told next? (go around the circle and tell recall each of the parables. Try to remember as many details as possible.). Perhaps your group would like to act out these parables.
What parable of the kingdom of heaven stood out to you the most? Why did that one stand out to you?
Let each person in the circle take a turn to wonder about something in these parables. Start out by saying “As we read these parables, it made me wonder…”
What did you learn about the kingdom of heaven through this reading?
What will we carry into this week from this text?
What can we pray for this week?
Prayers of the People
Prayers are conversations with God. For the prayers of the people today, we are going to speak our prayers in a more conversational way.
What are some things we want to praise God for?
What do we want to thank God for?
What are some of the things we are worried about? What do we need to ask for help with?
Are there people that come to mind?
Are there things going on in the world we should pray for?
(allow time for people to name the things that come to mind…some ideas may include prayers for those who are sick, for those who care for the sick, for leaders, for our family, for our neighbors, for those who don’t have everything they need.)
At the end of this time of prayer, close with the following:
May we be the hands and heart of Christ.
As we pray the prayer you taught us to pray saying,
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,
People of God, hear this:
the Lord our God is the one and only God.
Therefore go out into the world
and love the Lord your God
with all your heart, soul, mind and strength,
and love others as you love yourself.
And may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
The love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you now,
We go in peace to love and serve the Lord,
…In the name of Christ. Amen.