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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 following God?” 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:
Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20 and Psalm 19, Isaiah 5:1-7 and Psalm 80:7-15, Philippians 3:4b-14, Matthew 21:33-46.
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 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: Heaven is declaring God’s glory;
the sky is proclaiming his handiwork.
One day gushes the news to the next,
and one night informs another what needs to be known.
All: We praise you, O God!
Leader: Of course, there’s no speech, no words—
their voices can’t be heard—
but their sound extends throughout the world;
their words reach the ends of the earth.
All: We praise you, O God!
Leader: The Lord’s instruction is perfect,
reviving one’s very being.
The Lord’s laws are faithful,
making naive people wise.
All: We praise you, O God!
Leader: Come, let us worship this great God!
All: We praise you, O God!
Song of Response
Song of Praise
Sing one song that focuses on God’s love and God’s call.
Reading of the Psalm
The psalmist writes in Psalm 80 (ESV),
Restore us, O God of hosts;
let your face shine, that we may be saved!
8 You brought a vine out of Egypt;
you drove out the nations and planted it.
9 You cleared the ground for it;
it took deep root and filled the land.
10 The mountains were covered with its shade,
the mighty cedars with its branches.
11 It sent out its branches to the sea
and its shoots to the River.
12 Why then have you broken down its walls,
so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruit?
13 The boar from the forest ravages it,
and all that move in the field feed on it.
14 Turn again, O God of hosts!
Look down from heaven, and see;
have regard for this vine,
15 the stock that your right hand planted,
and for the son whom you made strong for yourself.
Exhortation from the New Testament
Philippians chapter 3 (CEB) says,
4 though I have good reason to have this kind of confidence. If anyone else has reason to put their confidence in physical advantages, I have even more: 5 I was circumcised on the eighth day. I am from the people of Israel and the tribe of Benjamin. I am a Hebrew of the Hebrews. With respect to observing the Law, I’m a Pharisee. 6 With respect to devotion to the faith, I harassed the church. With respect to righteousness under the Law, I’m blameless.
7 These things were my assets, but I wrote them off as a loss for the sake of Christ. 8 But even beyond that, I consider everything a loss in comparison with the superior value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have lost everything for him, but what I lost I think of as sewer trash, so that I might gain Christ 9 and be found in him. In Christ I have a righteousness that is not my own and that does not come from the Law but rather from the faithfulness of Christ. It is the righteousness of God that is based on faith. 10 The righteousness that I have comes from knowing Christ, the power of his resurrection, and the participation in his sufferings. It includes being conformed to his death 11 so that I may perhaps reach the goal of the resurrection of the dead.
12 It’s not that I have already reached this goal or have already been perfected, but I pursue it, so that I may grab hold of it because Christ grabbed hold of me for just this purpose. 13 Brothers and sisters, I myself don’t think I’ve reached it, but I do this one thing: I forget about the things behind me and reach out for the things ahead of me. 14 The goal I pursue is the prize of God’s upward call in Christ Jesus.
Prayer of Preparation
We sing from the depths of our souls.
We sing from the abundance of our joy.
We pray as individuals and as one united body,
May the words of our mouths, whether in speech or song,
and the meditations of our hearts,
be pleasing in your sight.
O Lord, Our Rock and Redeemer. 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.)
A reading from Exodus, chapter 20 (CEB).
Then God spoke all these words: 2 I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 3 You must have no other gods before me. 4 Do not make an idol for yourself—no form whatsoever—of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth. 7 Do not use the Lord your God’s name as if it were of no significance; the Lord won’t forgive anyone who uses his name that way. 8 Remember the Sabbath day and treat it as holy. 9 Six days you may work and do all your tasks, 12 Honor your father and your mother so that your life will be long on the fertile land that the Lord your God is giving you. 13 Do not kill. 14 Do not commit adultery. 15 Do not steal. 16 Do not testify falsely against your neighbor. 17 Do not desire and try to take your neighbor’s house. Do not desire and try to take your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox, donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.
18 When all the people witnessed the thunder and lightning, the sound of the horn, and the mountain smoking, the people shook with fear and stood at a distance. 19 They said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we’ll listen. But don’t let God speak to us, or we’ll die.”
20 Moses said to the people, “Don’t be afraid, because God has come only to test you and to make sure you are always in awe of God so that you don’t sin.”
And a reading from the Gospel of Matthew 21,
33 “Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a fence around it, dug a winepress in it, and built a tower. Then he rented it to tenant farmers and took a trip. 34 When it was time for harvest, he sent his servants to the tenant farmers to collect his fruit. 35 But the tenant farmers grabbed his servants. They beat some of them, and some of them they killed. Some of them they stoned to death.
36 “Again he sent other servants, more than the first group. They treated them in the same way. 37 Finally he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said.
38 “But when the tenant farmers saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come on, let’s kill him and we’ll have his inheritance.’ 39 They grabbed him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
40 “When the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenant farmers?”
41 They said, “He will totally destroy those wicked farmers and rent the vineyard to other tenant farmers who will give him the fruit when it’s ready.”
42 Jesus said to them, “Haven’t you ever read in the scriptures, The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. The Lord has done this, and it’s amazing in our eyes? 43 Therefore, I tell you that God’s kingdom will be taken away from you and will be given to a people who produce its fruit. 44 Whoever falls on this stone will be crushed. And the stone will crush the person it falls on.”
45 Now when the chief priests and the Pharisees heard the parable, they knew Jesus was talking about them. 46 They were trying to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, who thought he was a prophet.
Let’s remember together what happened in these readings. You may want to read/act out one or both of the 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.).
What part of these scriptures 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 text…a word, a phrase, something that happened in the text, something that you’re thinking about… Start out by saying “As we read these texts, it made me wonder…”
What do we learn about God from these texts?
What will we carry into this week from this text?
How can we be praying this week?
Prayers of the People
Lord God, you have commanded us to have no other gods.
Keep us faithful to you alone,
May we face the idols in our lives,
and give us the grace to follow you above all things.
We pray especially for the things that now come to our minds…
Lord of life, you have created the world and you give life to all people.
Help us to truly love our neighbors as ourselves
May we do nothing to hurt or harm our neighbor in any way.
Help us be your hands and feet in the world…
Gracious God, you are the giver of all things.
Help us to be good stewards of all your gifts,
Give us generous hearts and joy in serving others.
And now we pray together 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,
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
We go in peace to love and serve the Lord,
In the name of Christ. Amen.