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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 greatness?” 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 32:1-14 and Psalm 106:1-6, 19-23, Isaiah 25:1-9 and Psalm 23, Philippians 4:1-9, Matthew 22:1-14.
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: Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever!
All: Praise the Lord!
Leader: Blessed are they who observe justice,
who do righteousness at all times!
All: Praise the Lord!
Leader: Remember us, O Lord, when you show favor to your people;
help us and save us!
All: Praise the Lord!
Leader: Come, let us worship our great 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 23 (NRSV),
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
3 he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff—
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
my whole life long.
Exhortation from the New Testament
Philippians chapter 4 (CEB) says,
Therefore, my brothers and sisters whom I love and miss, who are my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord.
Loved ones, 2 I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to come to an agreement in the Lord. 3 Yes, and I’m also asking you, loyal friend, to help these women who have struggled together with me in the ministry of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my coworkers whose names are in the scroll of life.
4 Be glad in the Lord always! Again I say, be glad! 5 Let your gentleness show in your treatment of all people. The Lord is near. 6 Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks. 7 Then the peace of God that exceeds all understanding will keep your hearts and minds safe in Christ Jesus.
8 From now on, brothers and sisters, if anything is excellent and if anything is admirable, focus your thoughts on these things: all that is true, all that is holy, all that is just, all that is pure, all that is lovely, and all that is worthy of praise. 9 Practice these things: whatever you learned, received, heard, or saw in us. The God of peace will be with you.
Prayer of Preparation
Lord, you are our God.
We will exalt you; We will praise your name,
for you have done wonderful things.
You are faithful and sure.
You have been a refuge for the poor,
a refuge for the needy in distress,
a hiding place from the storm, a shade from the heat.
Open our ears to hear what you have to say to us today.
We will wait for you with anticipation.
May the words of our mouths and the meditation of our hearts
Be pleasing to you.
O Lord, our strength and redeemer.
(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 32 (CEB).
The people saw that Moses was taking a long time to come down from the mountain. They gathered around Aaron and said to him, “Come on! Make us gods who can lead us. As for this man Moses who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we don’t have a clue what has happened to him.”
2 Aaron said to them, “All right, take out the gold rings from the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” 3 So all the people took out the gold rings from their ears and brought them to Aaron. 4 He collected them and tied them up in a cloth. Then he made a metal image of a bull calf, and the people declared, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!”
5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf. Then Aaron announced, “Tomorrow will be a festival to the Lord!” 6 They got up early the next day and offered up entirely burned offerings and brought well-being sacrifices. The people sat down to eat and drink and then got up to celebrate.
7 The Lord spoke to Moses: “Hurry up and go down! Your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, are ruining everything! 8 They’ve already abandoned the path that I commanded. They have made a metal bull calf for themselves. They’ve bowed down to it and offered sacrifices to it and declared, ‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’” 9 The Lord said to Moses, “I’ve been watching these people, and I’ve seen how stubborn they are. 10 Now leave me alone! Let my fury burn and devour them. Then I’ll make a great nation out of you.”
11 But Moses pleaded with the Lord his God, “Lord, why does your fury burn against your own people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and amazing force? 12 Why should the Egyptians say, ‘He had an evil plan to take the people out and kill them in the mountains and so wipe them off the earth’? Calm down your fierce anger. Change your mind about doing terrible things to your own people. 13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, whom you yourself promised, ‘I’ll make your descendants as many as the stars in the sky. And I’ve promised to give your descendants this whole land to possess for all time.’” 14 Then the Lord changed his mind about the terrible things he said he would do to his people.
And a reading from the Gospel of Matthew 22 (CEB),
Jesus responded by speaking again in parables: 2 “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding party for his son. 3 He sent his servants to call those invited to the wedding party. But they didn’t want to come. 4 Again he sent other servants and said to them, ‘Tell those who have been invited, “Look, the meal is all prepared. I’ve butchered the oxen and the fattened cattle. Now everything’s ready. Come to the wedding party!”’ 5 But they paid no attention and went away—some to their fields, others to their businesses. 6 The rest of them grabbed his servants, abused them, and killed them.
7 “The king was angry. He sent his soldiers to destroy those murderers and set their city on fire. 8 Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding party is prepared, but those who were invited weren’t worthy. 9 Therefore, go to the roads on the edge of town and invite everyone you find to the wedding party.’
10 “Then those servants went to the roads and gathered everyone they found, both evil and good. The wedding party was full of guests. 11 Now when the king came in and saw the guests, he spotted a man who wasn’t wearing wedding clothes. 12 He said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ But he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to his servants, ‘Tie his hands and feet and throw him out into the farthest darkness. People there will be weeping and grinding their teeth.’
14 “Many people are invited, but few people are chosen.”
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
Almighty God, we come into Your presence
with praise and thanksgiving for Your faithful love.
Your love never fails—not even we turn away from You:
when we ignore Your invitation,
or desert You for gods of our own making.
Even then You do not abandon us,
but reach out—again and again—
inviting us back into relationship once more.
We come before you with our prayers,
knowing that You will hear and answer.
We pray for the world and the people in it… (pause)
We pray for our country and for its leaders…(pause)
We pray for our local community…(pause)
We pray for the people we know and love…(pause)
Pour out Your Spirit on us!
Fix our hearts and minds on what is true and right.
Give us the joy and peace that comes from knowing and doing Your will.
And now we pray together the prayer you have 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,
strengthened to do the work of Christ and rejoicing in God.
Let your gentleness be known to everyone
and don’t worry about anything.
The God who created you,
the Christ who redeems you
and the Spirit who empowers you
is with you today and ever more.
We go in peace to love and serve the Lord,
In the name of Christ. Amen.