James is asking us to examine our hearts. It might seem odd in an epistle dedicated to action, to doing. But James knows that the why behind our doing is vitally important. His argument is that there are internal things that can get in the way of our acting. Envy and selfish ambition cripple our doing. Instead, he invites us to be motivated by the wisdom that comes from above – peace, mercy, gentleness all can lead to fruitfulness.
Worship is an invitation to look within and invite the Spirit to shift our priorities from self to Spirit. Create space for confession and contemplation, for reconciliation and for transformation. Sing songs of surrender to God’s will for our lives, to the Spirit’s prompting in the deepest corners of our hearts. But also, the joy of being one with God in our choices and our foundations and our identity. We are more fully ourselves when we claim this wisdom from above.
Responsive Call to Worship
(inspired by James 3:13- 4:8)
Who among you is seeking the wisdom of God?
We long to hear God’s Word spoken to our hearts.
Who among you is seeking God’s bright and holy truth?
We long to learn the ways of wisdom and righteousness.
Who among you is seeking a Spirit-filled life?
We long to live lives of holiness and light.
God grants God’s wisdom generously to all who ask.
Come near, people of God!
Let us worship in wisdom and truth.
Posted on Literature & Liturgy. https://jesusscribbles.wordpress.com/ Reposted: https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2018/09/call-to-worship-james-3-4.html.
The Peace We So Desperately Crave
(Based on Psalm 1 and James 3:13-4:2)
Our Creator and sustainer, we confess that we are not always strong like the trees planted by the water’s edge. Sometimes we are weak and indecisive. When the first big wind comes, we lean and break. We plot revenge instead of letting you fight our battles. By our silence and busyness, we let wickedness and ugliness fester and flourish. Today Lord, forgive us when we covet and lie and when we get caught up in things that displease you. Heal us, direct our paths, and be for us the peace we so desperately crave. Amen.
Cynthia A. Bond Hopson, The Africana Worship Book for Year B (Discipleship Resources, 2007), 160.
Prayer of Confession
God of the gospel, the One who sends, the one who is sent and returns, the One who is sent and remains with the church, we declare our need of the wisdom that comes from above, pure, peace-loving, considerate, open to reason. We can be devious rather than straightforward, hypocritical rather than sincere, unforgiving rather than merciful, cruel rather than kind. Forgive the bitter jealousy that leads to quarreling, the selfish ambition that destroys those who are in the way, the ungoverned passions that lead to disorder and evil of every kind. Temper your justice with mercy for the sake of your obedient Son, Jesus our peacemaker. Amen.
Declaration of Pardon
Pastor: Friends, hear the good news! God comes to those who welcome even a child in the name of Jesus.
People: We receive God when we receive Jesus and the children he loves.
Pastor: Friends, believe the good news!
People: In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.
Show wisdom and understanding by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.
B. David Hostetter, Prayers for the Seasons of God’s People: Worship Aids for the Revised Common Lectionary Year B (Abingdon, 1999), 183-184.
Unison Prayer of Confession
(inspired by Luke 16:1-13; Matthew 6:33)
O God, we want to have our cake and eat it, too:
we want to be a friend of the world and still be your friend.
Yet, Jesus taught us: “No one can serve two masters.”
Give us strength and courage to get our priorities straight:
help us to seek your kingdom first.
Help us to live faithfully and joyfully in the world,
and to be friends with the people you call us to serve.
Help us also to remember that our best relationship
is the one we have with you,
We pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Assurance of Forgiveness
(inspired by James 3:17)
“The wisdom from above is first pure,
then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield,
full of mercy and good fruits,
without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy” (James 3:17).
In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven,
and we are given a new way to live.
Let us accept God’s grace,
and live new lives of faith, obedience, and joy.
From a worship service written by Bruce Gillette and Carolyn Winfrey Gillette for the Center for Christian Ethics Copyright ©2012. Posted on http://www.baylor.edu/content/services/document.php/174967.pdf.