CALL TO WORSHIP
One: We come to hear the sweet word of the Lord today.
All: But sometimes the words are not so easy to hear.
One: The good news of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting.
All: Yet some days are not as easy as others.
One: We come to worship the Lord who loves us through all of life no matter what.
All: Let us come before our Savior today singing praises with ears and hearts open.
O Holy One, today we come before you with full lives and hearts and minds overflowing from our everyday existence, and here we pause to consider what we are doing. Let us take this time and space to reevaluate our lives. May we hear your will for us anew today. Amen.
CALL TO CONFESSION
Our Psalm for today begs “turn again, O God of hosts; look down from heaven, and see; have regard for this vine, the stock that your right hand planted.” As the Psalmist of old, let us come before our Lord broken as we are. Let us confess our sins.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Gracious God, you have so much love for us – have invested so much time and effort in us, and your returns have been so very disappointing. You expect justice, yet we just judge others to be less important than us. You expect righteousness, but eventually we abandon all our neighbors. We close off our ears and hearts and minds. But our mouths stay wide open and our hands never stop grabbing. Forgive us, please. Help us change from wild, sour grapes into the sweet produce of your kingdom. Renew us in you, we pray. Amen.
ASSURANCE OF PARDON
Dear ones, hear the good news: though today’s scriptures are hard, though we know that we continuously disappoint our God, we are never abandoned. God never stops loving us. And so, in the full confidence of the love of our Savior, I declare to you that in the name of Jesus Christ your sins are forgiven. Alleluia. Amen.
Bonus! PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
In the beginning was the Word, and God’s Word is still reaching out to us still. Let us be faithful disciples today – being attentive and earnest in the face of words we might not completely understand. Let us be like Mary, sitting at the feet of the Lord listening. Amen.
CALL FOR THE OFFERING
Instead of wild grapes, let us instead bring forth our first fruits today – the best of our best from our pockets and ourselves. Let us bring forth our tithes and offerings.
PRAYER OF DEDICATION
O Lord, may all that we have brought forth go to further your kingdom. May these fruits be sweet and full of filling life. May your name ever be glorified and work ever furthered. Amen.
Bonus 2! In case you ever wondered the kinds of things I say during the PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
Gracious God, we don’t know how or even why you listen to us, but you do. Even when we are tired of hearing ourselves you listen to us, and we are full of awe and ever grateful.
We thank you for listening to all the prayers that we have brought on our minds and hearts this morning, be they spoken or unspoken. We also today lift up this country in the midst of this election. Blood is boiling hot, relationships are strained or broken, and November is a long way off.
We know that life in you is not a popularity contest, and we pray for those others have forgotten – for the lonely, the refugees or those in the midst of war, those closed off by physical or mental divisions, and we pray for those who have no one else to pray for them. May we ever be mindful of the least of yours.
May we today dance in the graveyard, comfort the bereaved, laugh with the lost, play with all your children, let our neighbors of all kinds care for us and love those neighbor’s back as we hopefully love ourselves. May we be your people.
And now we lift up our voices together. Long ago a disciple asked “Lord, how should we pray?” and audaciously he said “pray like this: Our Father…”