August 13, 2023

Worship Resources for
the Center for Faith and Giving

Pentecost +11       Proper

Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28 

Psalm 105:1-6, 16-22, 45b 

Romans 10:5-15

Matthew 14:22-33

Call to Worship 
(inspired by Psalm 105)

Leader:  Praise God!
People:  We’re gathered to give thanks to the Lord!
Leader:  Today, rejoice!  We’ve come to seek God
                     and celebrate God’s strength!
People:  We remember all the wonderful work God has done.
Leader:  Let’s call on the name of the Lord!
People:  Remembering how God continues to seek and save,
                let’s pray!                       

Opening Prayer 

Holy God, giver of life and redeemer of all,
Thank you for this time of worship.
Thank you for gathering us here (whether in person or on line).
Thank you for the amazing work you’ve done in the past,
      and for all we anticipate you doing from this day forward.
As we worship you,
     strengthen us to remember, to look ahead,
     and to sing your praise!   AMEN

Moment for Stewardship

Most of us, if we’re honest, can name things which make us afraid. 
We may not sing out “lions and tigers and bears, oh, my!”
but down deep, we might name fear, fire, storms, drugs, alcohol abuse…
   or think of sharks, spiders or separation from those we love.

Matthew tells of the time Jesus’ disciples were in a boat on the sea, with the wind kicking up.  Then, the disciples saw something, or some ONE, walking on the water.  A ghost?  FEAR!

Jesus!  Appearing out of the midst of the wind and the waves, inspiring Peter to call out “If it is you, command me to come to you”.  Jesus responded. Peter stepped out onto the water, and began to move toward Jesus…until fear overtook him.

Jesus’ gift to Peter was to go with him into the boat, with the other disciples.

As we come to this time of offering, I wonder if you can name a time when you’ve experienced Jesus (or the Spirit/or God) at work in you in the midst of your fears?  For me, I think of _____________________ (name your own specific time).

In grateful response for the times we’ve known the assurance of the presence of the Holy, we bring our tithes, gifts and offerings.  This is our opportunity to acknowledge the ways in which our lives are lifted from fear because of our faith.

Let us joyfully share what we’ve brought, rejoicing as we’re set free from our fear.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

With deep gratitude, God of all life, we offer you these gifts.  Accept these symbols of our lives, along with our praise, for we’re confident you desire us to move beyond our fears.  Set us free to use these resources, overcoming the fears which hold back so many.  Liberate us, that we might celebrate in your presence all the days of our lives. AMEN

Invitation to Communion  

Many who participate regularly in worship yearn for something MORE than similar near silent, solemn, somber, sanctuary services.  While we value much of what happens in our congregational worship, we can also understand the terrifying fear and the later relief of the disciples who saw Jesus walking toward them.

While we do not have the physical presence of Jesus, we do have a weekly opportunity to meet the Christ and bind ourselves to one another around this Table.  With simple bread and juice, we’re invited not just to look back, but to draw Jesus into this present moment, as One who will reach out a hand to hold us steady in every storm.

As we touch, taste, and take into our own bodies these emblems, may we once more hear “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid”

Come, for the table is prepared, and there is a place for every fear-full one of us!