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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’s justice, grace, and mercy?” 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 45:1-15, 12-28 and Psalm 133, Isaiah 56:1, 6-8 and Psalm 67, Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32, Matthew 15: (10-20), 21-28.
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: Let us lift our voices in praise to God!
All: May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face to shine upon us,
Leader: May God’s way be known on earth,
God’s saving power among all nations.
All: Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you!
Leader: Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for God judges the peoples with equity
and guides the nations upon earth.
All: Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you!
Song of Praise
Sing one song that focuses on God’s faithfulness.
Reading of the Psalm
The psalmist writes in Psalm 133,
Behold, how good and pleasant it is
when brothers and sisters dwell in unity!
2 It is like the precious oil on the head,
running down on the beard,
on the beard of Aaron,
running down on the collar of his robes!
3 It is like the dew of Hermon,
which falls on the mountains of Zion!
For there the Lord has commanded the blessing,
Prayer of Preparation
How very good and pleasant it is, to be gathered together
as brothers and sisters in Christ.
Pour your empowering Spirit upon us,
that the words we hear today
may become more than words upon a page.
Help us to listen for your voice.
Move us past our doubts that we might step forward
with a faith that does not end when we leave this gathering.
We pray in Christ’s name. Amen.
(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. You may want to read/act out one or both of the following readings)
Hear the word of the Lord from Genesis 45 (CEB).
Joseph could no longer control himself in front of all his attendants, so he declared, “Everyone, leave now!” So no one stayed with him when he revealed his identity to his brothers. 2 He wept so loudly that the Egyptians and Pharaoh’s household heard him. 3 Joseph said to his brothers, “I’m Joseph! Is my father really still alive?” His brothers couldn’t respond because they were terrified before him.
4 Joseph said to his brothers, “Come closer to me,” and they moved closer. He said, “I’m your brother Joseph! The one you sold to Egypt. 5 Now, don’t be upset and don’t be angry with yourselves that you sold me here. Actually, God sent me before you to save lives. 6 We’ve already had two years of famine in the land, and there are five years left without planting or harvesting. 7 God sent me before you to make sure you’d survive and to rescue your lives in this amazing way. 8 You didn’t send me here; it was God who made me a father to Pharaoh, master of his entire household, and ruler of the whole land of Egypt.
9 “Hurry! Go back to your father. Tell him this is what your son Joseph says: ‘God has made me master of all of Egypt. Come down to me. Don’t delay. 10 You may live in the land of Goshen, so you will be near me, your children, your grandchildren, your flocks, your herds, and everyone with you. 11 I will support you there, so you, your household, and everyone with you won’t starve, since the famine will still last five years.’ 12 You and my brother Benjamin have seen with your own eyes that I’m speaking to you. 13 Tell my father about my power in Egypt and about everything you’ve seen. Hurry and bring my father down here.”
14 He threw his arms around his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, and Benjamin wept on his shoulder. 15 He kissed all of his brothers and wept, embracing them. After that, his brothers were finally able to talk to him.
A reading from the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 15.
10 Jesus called the crowd near and said to them, “Listen and understand. 11 It’s not what goes into the mouth that contaminates a person in God’s sight. It’s what comes out of the mouth that contaminates the person.”
12 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended by what you just said?”
13 Jesus replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father didn’t plant will be pulled up. 14 Leave the Pharisees alone. They are blind people who are guides to blind people. But if a blind person leads another blind person, they will both fall into a ditch.”
15 Then Peter spoke up, “Explain this riddle to us.”
16 Jesus said, “Don’t you understand yet? 17 Don’t you know that everything that goes into the mouth enters the stomach and goes out into the sewer? 18 But what goes out of the mouth comes from the heart. And that’s what contaminates a person in God’s sight. 19 Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adultery, sexual sins, thefts, false testimonies, and insults. 20 These contaminate a person in God’s sight. But eating without washing hands doesn’t contaminate in God’s sight.”
21 From there, Jesus went to the regions of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from those territories came out and shouted, “Show me mercy, Son of David. My daughter is suffering terribly from demon possession.” 23 But he didn’t respond to her at all.
His disciples came and urged him, “Send her away; she keeps shouting out after us.”
24 Jesus replied, “I’ve been sent only to the lost sheep, the people of Israel.”
25 But she knelt before him and said, “Lord, help me.”
26 He replied, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and toss it to dogs.”
27 She said, “Yes, Lord. But even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall off their masters’ table.”
28 Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith. It will be just as you wish.” And right then her daughter was healed.
Let’s remember together what happened in this story. You may want to read/act out one or both of the following readings. 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 . . . ”
What will we carry into this week from this text?
How can we be praying 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,
As you go from here, remember this:
God has gifted you and called you—
God does not cancel these gifts. So, live into them.
Go with confidence and joy to serve God and one another.
And may the blessing of God—
Father, Son and Holy Spirit—
be among you and within you
wherever you find yourselves this week. Amen.