A part of the struggle of this long Season after Pentecost is that it is sometimes difficult to build enthusiasm for a month of worship in the middle of nowhere—not nowhere geographically, but nowhere liturgically. There is no “special Sunday” observance to build excitement; there is no high holy day on the horizon. It is truly the ordinary-est of Ordinary Times.
The worship team would help the congregation live into this series and this season by finding something to build around. That something could be visual, or musical, or spoken word. The purpose is to build familiarity and comfort and anticipation. The theme of the series is to focus on the “why” of our faith. This might be a good time to reexamine your discipleship path, to reemphasize the call to make and to be made into disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
Week One is about service, about meeting the needs of the hungry in our community and world. How can you feature the serving ministries of the church in worship? What can you build around the seasonal color of green and the growing things of the abundant life?
A Meditation for Gathering:
You Give Them Something to Eat
When Jesus went ashore, “he saw a great crowd and had compassion for them and cured their sick.” When the disciples came to Jesus and urged him to dismiss the crowds, Jesus said to them, “They need no go away; you give them something to eat.”
So many hunger today …
They passed over me for promotion – again.
They consume what I offer without as much as a thank you.
They don’t call or write or visit me.
They tire of caring for me because I can’t get well.
Jesus left the people of the world in the hands of his disciples. The people need not go away; you give them something to eat.
(Kwasi I. Kena, The Africana Worship Book: Year A, Discipleship Resources, 2006, p. 41.)
General Prayer of Thanksgiving
(Preface reformatted for use apart from Communion)
We give you all thanks and praise, O God,
for you offer us the banquet that feeds us abundantly
and fills us with your presence.
You strove against the darkness and chaos,
and you prevailed,
bringing forth creation in all its miraculous abundance.
You challenged your servant, Jacob, face to face,
and gave him your blessing and promise.
From his family you formed your covenant people,
in whom your glory, your law, and your worship
were revealed to the world.
But now, in these last days,
your Messiah, Jesus, has emerged from among them,
bringing your compassion and healing to all.
Though he was cursed and cut off for the sake of his people,
you raised him from death.
Now in him you offer food for our deepest hunger,
and it is in holding tight to him
that we see your face and receive your blessing.
Therefore, with our hearts lifted high,
we offer you thanks and praise at all times
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
© 2002 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net
PRAYERS FOR OTHERS
*Suggested bidding and response:
Leader: We ask for your truth and love.
People: Loving Friend, hear our prayers.
For the thin skinned who wear every comment as a thorn, and the tough-hided who are insensitive to the needs around them.
For the too-generous who can’t seem to say no, and the mean-spirited who shut their hearts tightly against compassion.
For the anxious who imagine unseen dangers around every corner, and the over-confident who do not think before they leap.
For the young who sometimes think they know it all, and for the foolish among the old who believe that ageing automatically bestows wisdom.
For the peacemakers who risk themselves for the cause of reconciliation, and for the belligerent who put others at risk to attain their selfish ends.
For politicians who well understand their ignorance and weakness, and those who are self-deluded enough to see themselves as the wise and infallible.
For union leaders who are dedicated to serving their members, and others who use their position just to build their own little empire.
For the churches who act as if they have all the answers, and for the churches that are too reticent about the Gospel committed to their stewardship.
For the sick and injured who long for healing, and for some who become so attached to the sympathy they remain an invalid.
For the dying who pray that the end will come quickly, and for others who cling frantically to every moment of breath.
For the grieving who wonder if their tears will ever stop flowing, and for some whose grief seems banked up like a dam within their hearts.
©BD Pewter, http://www.bruceprewer.com/DocA/47SUN18.htm
Commission and Benediction
Go now into the world, strengthened by the gifts
with which Christ has fed you.
Be generous to others, for Christ has given extravagantly.
Live by God’s word, avoiding lies and violence.
Walk in God’s paths and never stray.
And may God’s wonderful love be with you everywhere;
May Christ Jesus feed you with his body and word;
And may the Holy Spirit confirm the truth in you
and fill you with God’s presence always.
We go in peace to love and serve the Lord,
In the name of Christ. Amen.
©2002 Nathan Nettleton, LaughingBird.net