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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 about God journeying with us through difficult times?” 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 37:1-4, 12-28 and Psalm 105:1-6, 16-22, 45b, 1 Kings 19:9-18 and Psalm 85:8-13, Romans 10:5-15, Matthew 14:22-33
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: Here, in this place,
God welcomes all the dreamers, as well as the doubters.
All: We are gathered together to worship!
Leader: Here, the worriers and wanderers call on God by name.
All: We are gathered together to worship!
Leader: We remember all the ways God has graced us:
and we are reminded that God is with us, always!
All: We are daring enough to step out of comfort into the unknown:
here, in this worship space, we will find the courage and faith to cry out, ‘God, save us!’ in every situation.
Leader: Let us worship God together!
Song of Praise
Sing one song that focuses on God’s faithfulness.
Reading of the Psalm
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!
Old Testament Reading
Hear the word of the Lord from Genesis 37.
Jacob lived in the land of Canaan where his father was an immigrant. 2 This is the account of Jacob’s descendants. Joseph was 17 years old and tended the flock with his brothers. While he was helping the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s wives, Joseph told their father unflattering things about them. 3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons because he was born when Jacob was old. Jacob had made for him a long robe. 4 When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of his brothers, they hated him and couldn’t even talk nicely to him.
12 Joseph’s brothers went to tend their father’s flocks near Shechem. 13 Israel said to Joseph, “Aren’t your brothers tending the sheep near Shechem? Come, I’ll send you to them.”
And he said, “I’m ready.”
14 Jacob said to him, “Go! Find out how your brothers are and how the flock is, and report back to me.”
So Jacob sent him from the Hebron Valley. When he approached Shechem, 15 a man found him wandering in the field and asked him, “What are you looking for?”
16 Joseph said, “I’m looking for my brothers. Tell me, where are they tending the sheep?”
17 The man said, “They left here. I heard them saying, ‘Let’s go to Dothan.’” So Joseph went after his brothers and found them in Dothan.
18 They saw Joseph in the distance before he got close to them, and they plotted to kill him. 19 The brothers said to each other, “Here comes the big dreamer. 20 Come on now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of the cisterns, and we’ll say a wild animal devoured him. Then we will see what becomes of his dreams!”
21 When Reuben heard what they said, he saved him from them, telling them, “Let’s not take his life.” 22 Reuben said to them, “Don’t spill his blood! Throw him into this desert cistern, but don’t lay a hand on him.” He intended to save Joseph from them and take him back to his father.
23 When Joseph reached his brothers, they stripped off Joseph’s long robe, 24 took him, and threw him into the cistern, an empty cistern with no water in it. 25 When they sat down to eat, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, with camels carrying sweet resin, medicinal resin, and fragrant resin on their way down to Egypt. 26 Judah said to his brothers, “What do we gain if we kill our brother and hide his blood? 27 Come on, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites. Let’s not harm him because he’s our brother; he’s family.” His brothers agreed. 28 When some Midianite traders passed by, they pulled Joseph up out of the cistern. They sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver, and they brought Joseph to Egypt.
Prayer of Preparation
We are gathered together to hear from you.
Help us Lord, to empty ourselves
of those things that hinder us from fully hearing what you have to say.
Fill us, we pray, with all that makes us the people that you want us to be.
We invite your presence into this time of listening.
We need your anointing.
Be with us, we pray, and make us whole.
We ask it through Christ Jesus our Lord.
(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 14.
22 Right then, Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead to the other side of the lake while he dismissed the crowds. 23 When he sent them away, he went up onto a mountain by himself to pray. Evening came and he was alone. 24 Meanwhile, the boat, fighting a strong headwind, was being battered by the waves and was already far away from land. 25 Very early in the morning he came to his disciples, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified and said, “It’s a ghost!” They were so frightened they screamed.
27 Just then Jesus spoke to them, “Be encouraged! It’s me. Don’t be afraid.”
28 Peter replied, “Lord, if it’s you, order me to come to you on the water.”
29 And Jesus said, “Come.”
Then Peter got out of the boat and was walking on the water toward Jesus. 30 But when Peter saw the strong wind, he became frightened. As he began to sink, he shouted, “Lord, rescue me!”
31 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him, saying, “You man of weak faith! Why did you begin to have doubts?” 32 When they got into the boat, the wind settled down.
33 Then those in the boat worshipped Jesus and said, “You must be God’s Son!”
Let’s remember together what happened in this story. What happened first? What happened next? (go around the circle and tell the story to each other. Try to remember as many details as possible.). Perhaps your group would like to act out this story…
What part of this story stood out to you? Why do you think that part stood out?
Let each person in the circle take a turn to wonder about something in this story. Start out by saying “As we read this story, it made me wonder…”
Jesus says to the disciples “do not be afraid.” This phrase (or something similar) shows up 365 times in scripture. Why do you think it shows up so many times throughout the Bible? Is there something in your life or in the world around you where you need to hear the words “do not be afraid”?
What will we carry into this week from this text?
How can we be praying this week?
Prayers of the People
O God, our Strength and Redeemer,
You have called us to be a people of prayer.
And so we come before You with confidence,
bringing our prayers to you, trusting that you hear us and will answer.
We pray for those who, like Jesus’ disciples,
Find themselves surrounded by high winds and stormy seas;
Those who have lost jobs, who have lost loved ones, who are facing illness or pain,
And those who don’t know where to turn.
(pause and invite others to name names or circumstances)
We pray for those who, like Joseph,
Find themselves deeply wounded by people they love—
People they thought they knew and trusted—
And who are struggling to know how to respond.
(pause and invite others to silently pray for others)
Loving God, we place before you our doubts and despair.
We offer you our hopes and dreams.
Through the life-giving power of Your Holy Spirit,
Make Your sustaining presence known to all of us who are in pain or need.
May we know your steadfast love in new ways and share it with the world around us.
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,
Go now, telling the world all that Jesus has done for you.
Be united with each other in Christ.
Wait for the Lord, and be ready to hear God’s voice,
even in the sounds of sheer silence.
And may God be your strength;
May Christ Jesus free you to live without fear;
And may the Holy Spirit give you light and truth
to sustain you day and night.
We go in peace to love and serve the Lord,
In the name of Christ. Amen.