Think on These Things

Pressing On

Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A

Does it seem that there are simply too many things to think about these days? It’s overwhelming, to say the least. And many in your worshiping congregation may seem overwhelmed. It just might be time for a reset. The Rev. Junius Dotson, General Secretary of Discipleship Ministries, has written "Soul Reset," a book about finding space to breathe, about reorienting one’s life with gospel priorities. It might be a good resource for planning the service this week, which is a week of getting our thinking straight.

The planning notes suggest that this is a thinking day. What that means, in part, is that whatever liturgy is provided, whatever songs are sung, there needs to be time and space to consider what is being said. This might be a day for silence, for contemplation, for lectio divina as a way of hearing deeply. (Click here for a description of lectio from the Western North Carolina Conference.)

Call to Worship

Leader: Rejoice, people of God! Celebrate the life within you, and Christ’s presence in your midst!

People: Our eyes shall be opened! The present will have new meaning, and the future will be bright with hope.

Leader: Rejoice, people of God! Bow your heads before the One who is our wisdom and our strength.

People: We place ourselves before this God, that we may be touched and cleansed by the power of God’s Spirit. Amen.

Paul J. Fluke, Bread for the Journey, Pilgrim Press, p.51.

Call to Worship (Based on Philippians 4:1-9)

Leader: Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say, Rejoice!

People: Today we choose to rejoice. Today we choose to worship and give thanks.

Leader: Seek the peace of God that will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

People: Today we choose God's peace; today we place our trust in God.

Leader: Turn your hearts away from the distractions and disappointments of life that will always flow in and flow out like the tide.
Set your affections on things above and worship the Lord who loves you and cares for you.

All: We come to worship God who alone is excellent and worthy of praise!

Focus Me, a prayer based on Philippians 4

By Rev. Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia,

Opening Prayer (Philippians 4)

Gracious God,
when the world's political noise is turned up high,
we come not to escape, but to seek wisdom,
and to focus on things that are worthy.
Dial down the distractions in our minds.
Tune our senses to your word
and our hearts to your praise.
In your holy name we pray. Amen.

By Hans Holznagel, Ministry Matters, Worship Elements: October 15, 2017

Prayer for Illumination

Gracious God,
give us humble, teachable and obedient hearts,
that we may receive what you have revealed,
and do what you have commanded.
Since we do not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from your mouth,
make us hunger for this heavenly food,
that it may nourish us today
in the ways of eternal life;
through Jesus Christ, the bread of heaven.

Service for the Lord’s Day, Supplemental Liturgical Resource 1, Office of Worship for the Presbyterian Church, p.63

A Call to Prayer

Pray for introspection to bless the citizens of this world that they might stop to think about the possibilities of this life and see and understand the limitation and problems of others. Pray that visions, personal and social, be broadened, that compassion and practicality are joined. Pray that selfishness and aloofness disappear.

Oscar Hijuelos, Peace Prayers, Harper, p.67.


May we go from this sacred place and this sacred time,
our minds filled with the Word and the fellowship of the community of faith,
to live out our call in the world as a people of joy and of hope.
Go with God. Amen.

Derek C. Weber, Discipleship Ministries, July 2020.

In This Series...

Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Reformation Sunday, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes