Call to Worship: Psalm 25

Here’s a call to worship based on Psalm 25 with two options for the last congregational statement.

In worship today, we offer our lives to you, Lord.

Our God, we trust in you.

In worship today, make your ways known to us, Lord; teach us your paths.

Lead us in your truth—teach it to us—because you are the God who saves.  We put our hope in you always.

In worship today, show us your compassion and faithful love.

Forgive our sins, and teach us the way we should go—the way of justice, love, and faithfulness.

In worship today, we want to honor you.

Show us the way of your heart.

(or…)

For you alone are worthy.

Call to Worship: 2 Sam. 24:24

Here’s a contemplative call to worship based on David’s words in 2 Sam. 24:24 (CEB) that invites worshipers to consider worship as costly and sacrificial.  The moment of silent reflection is optional but I recommend it.

Consider these words of David in 2 Sam. 24:24: “I won’t offer up to the Lord my God entirely burned offerings that cost me nothing.”

(Silence)

Lord, worship is sacrifice.  It can be no other way.  When we worship you we aren’t looking to get something from you but to give something to you.  Help us to understand today, as we prepare for this service of worship, that you call us to lay ourselves down before you, to give ourselves over to you, to offer the sacrifice of praise.  And in our feeble attempts to give you what you’re due, accept what we have to offer, our lives humble and broken, and transform us into living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to you.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Call to Worship: Spirit and Truth

Here’s a contemplative call to worship that invites worshippers to approach God and engage in worship with both heart and mind.  The biblical texts used (CEB) are 1 Cor. 14:15 and John 4:23-24.

Reflect on the words of the Apostle Paul from 1 Corinthians 14:15: “What should I do? I’ll pray in the Spirit, but I’ll pray with my mind too; I’ll sing a psalm in the Spirit, but I’ll sing the psalm with my mind too.”

(Silence)

Almighty God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Perhaps we’ve joined this assembly today because we desire that our hearts be stirred by your Spirit; help us also to be open to the renewal of our minds by your Word.

Perhaps we’ve come to this place with the expectation that we will experience your presence through music that touches our hearts; help us also to be open to a divine encounter through thoughtful engagement with every aspect of worship, even those that don’t particularly “move” us.

Jesus told us, “But the time is coming—and is here!—when true worshippers will worship in spirit and truth. The Father looks for those who worship him this way. God is spirit, and it is necessary to worship God in spirit and truth.”  And so today we desire to worship you in our spirits and with our minds—truly, to know you and love you with all that we are and all that we have.  We bring you our hearts: touch them.  We bring you our minds: transform them—all this by your Spirit and your Word, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Call to Worship: Christ our King

This is a call to worship, which uses the full text of Psalm 93 along with part of Rev. 11, highlights God’s supreme rule over all through the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  The last Sunday in the Christian year, known as “Christ our King Sunday” would be a great occasion for this call to worship.  You might also consider using it on Sundays that coincide with major national political events, such as Independence Day or a presidential election.  In that context, this call invites worshippers to recall that only God’s kingdom is eternal and only Jesus is Lord over all, forever.

Call to Worship: Based on Psalm 93, Rev. 11:15-18

The Lord rules! He is robed in majesty— the Lord is robed, clothed with strength.

Yes, he set the world firmly in place; it won’t be shaken. Your throne is set firm for a very long time. You are eternal! 

Lord, the floods have raised up— the floods have raised up their voices; the floods raise up a roar!

But mightier than the sound of much water, mightier than the sea’s waves, mighty on high is the Lord! Your laws are so faithful. Holiness decorates your house, Lord, for all time.

The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and his Christ and he will rule forever and always.

We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and was, for you have taken your great power and enforced your rule, in judgment and salvation.

(Together): So we worship you, Christ our King, for you alone are worthy.

Communion Prayers: Eph. 2:8-9

Here’s a liturgy and prayers for Holy Communion based on Eph. 2:8-9 with words of institution from Luke 22:19-20.  Biblical text from the CEB.  The closing affirmation is from 2 Cor. 9:15, which I customarily say at the conclusion of Communion.

The Apostle Paul declares, “You are saved by God’s grace because of your faith. This salvation is God’s gift. It’s not something you possessed. It’s not something you did that you can be proud of.”

Grace.  That’s what we find here, now.  The table represents fellowship with God, for it is the Lord’s Table.  And all are invited; we are invited; you are invited.  Grace.  This table isn’t a right that any deserves; it’s a gift that all who come receive undeservingly, humbly, and gratefully.

As we come to the table, let’s remember the institution of this meal on the night Jesus was betrayed.  In his Gospel, Luke records that “After taking the bread and giving thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, he took the cup after the meal and said, “This cup is the new covenant by my blood, which is poured out for you.”

Let’s pray:

Jesus, your body is given, not taken.  No one could have taken your life against your will.  In submitting your will to your Father’s, you gave your body for us.  Isaiah tells us that your broken body makes us whole: “by your wounds we are healed.”  We give you thanks for what you have done for us—become the sacrifice for our sins—and what you have given to us—new and eternal life.  Be glorified as we receive the gift of your body, which is given for us.  Amen.

Let us eat the bread with grateful hearts.

Let’s pray:

Jesus, your blood is poured out and a new covenant is established.  You give your life for us and we receive your life in us.  The Scriptures tell us that your sacrificial death brings us forgiveness for our sins and reconciles us to God.  We are made new to live new, to show forth signs of sacrificial love and resurrection life.  We give you thanks for guaranteeing God’s new covenant with us in your own holy and pure blood.  Be glorified as we receive the gift of your blood, which is poured out for us.

Let us drink the cup with grateful hearts.

Thank God for his gift that words can’t describe!

Call to Worship: God’s Kingdom

Here’s a call to worship based on Jesus’ basic teaching about God’s kingdom (Mark 1:15) and his Isaiah-sourced mission statement (Luke 4:18-19).  This responsive call to worship would work well for services focused on God’s kingdom and/or Jesus’ ministry.

Call to Worship: Based on Mark 1:15, Luke 4:18-19

Now is the time! Here comes God’s kingdom! Change your hearts and lives, and trust this good news! Jesus comes with good news for the poor.

Now is the time!  Here comes God’s kingdom!

Jesus comes to release the prisoners.

Now is the time!  Here comes God’s kingdom!

Jesus comes to give sight to the blind.

Now is the time!  Here comes God’s kingdom!

Jesus comes to liberate the oppressed.

Now is the time!  Here comes God’s kingdom!

Jesus comes to bring the year of the Lord’s favor.

Now is the time!  Here comes God’s kingdom!

(Together): We open our hearts and lives to God’s kingdom, trusting the good news of Jesus Christ.  We will worship Christ our King, who comes to transform us with grace and truth.

Prayer

Almighty God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, today we give thanks, we rejoice, we worship you, because you have given us your Son, Jesus, who sets us under your rule, where we find justice, peace, and joy.  Now is the time to worship.  We place ourselves in your hands, God of love and power.  Be glorified in the praise we bring to you and transform us through your presence today.  Through Christ Jesus our Lord.  Amen.

Blessing: Hebrews 13:20-21

Here’s the text of Hebrews 13:20-21 (CEB) laid out in a responsive reading to be a concluding blessing for a worship service.  This blessing is particularly suited for Easter with its emphasis on the resurrection.

Blessing: Heb. 13:20-21

May the God of peace, who brought back the great shepherd of the sheep, our Lord Jesus, from the dead by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with every good thing to do his will, by developing in us what pleases him through Jesus Christ.

To him be the glory forever and always. Amen.

Blessing: Ephesians 3:17-21

Here’s a prayer and blessing right out of Eph. 3 (CEB) that can be used responsively as a sending and blessing at the end of a worship service.  The leader’s part offers the pastor a chance to pray for his/her congregation in the manner of Paul for the Ephesians.  The congregation’s part both blesses God and encourages hope in God’s unimaginable “power at work within us.”

Blessing: Eph. 3:17-21

I ask that Christ will live in your hearts through faith. As a result of having strong roots in love, I ask that you’ll have the power to grasp love’s width and length, height and depth, together with all believers. I ask that you’ll know the love of Christ that is beyond knowledge so that you will be filled entirely with the fullness of God.

Glory to God, who is able to do far beyond all that we could ask or imagine by his power at work within us; glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus for all generations, forever and always. Amen.

Blessing: Jude 24-25

Here’s the text of Jude 24-25 (CEB) broken into two parts for a responsive blessing at the conclusion of a worship service.  If preferred, the worship leader can simply read the full blessing.  This is a benediction suitable for about any occasion.  One special aspect of Jude’s blessing is that it includes both a blessing on God’s people (represented in the leader’s part below) and it bestows blessing on God (represented in the congregation’s part below).

Blessing: Jude 24-25

To the one who is able to protect you from falling, and to present you blameless and rejoicing before his glorious presence,

to the only God our savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, belong glory, majesty, power, and authority, before all time, now and forever. Amen.

Advent Call to Worship: John 1

Here’s a call to worship for the Advent season based on part of John 1 and 2 Cor. 4:6 (CEB).

Call to Worship: Based on John 1:4-5, 11-14, 18; 2 Cor. 4:6

In Jesus Christ, God’s Word to the world, is life.  The life is the light for all people.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness doesn’t extinguish the light.

The light came to his own people, and his own people didn’t welcome him. But those who did welcome him, those who believed in his name, he authorized to become God’s children.

The Word became flesh and made his home among us. We have seen his glory, glory like that of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

No one has ever seen God. God the only Son, who is at the Father’s side, has made God known. 

God has shone in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ.

Prayer

The light and peace of Jesus Christ be with us.  Heavenly Father, we thank you for speaking your Word to us in the person of Jesus Christ and for showing your will to us in the work of Jesus Christ.  Truly, we know you best in him.  Shine your life-giving light on your people today in this hour of worship, so that the darkness that closes in around us and the darkness that rises from within us will be expelled, through Jesus Christ, the Word become flesh.  Amen.