Are you preparing for worship using the Revised Common Lectionary? If so, are you using Ruth or Deuteronomy, Psalm 146, or Psalm 119? Are you using the Narrative Lectionary? Are you observing Reformation Day, following a whole different set of texts? Are scraping the Lectionary all together and welcoming the ghouls and goblins of Halloween or observing All Saint’s Day one day early? This week the choices are myriad.
Here is an offering of worship words focused on the RCL. May something in them be useful to you as is, or as a spark to your own worship words creativity, as you prepare to lead God’s people.
If you have worship words you’ve written and are willing to share for this week, please do so in the comments. Every week we welcome submissions of Worship Words for the following Sunday by the Monday before to be included here.
Call to Worship: (After Ruth 1:1-8)
You who are famished
Come to be fed.
Leave behind what is arid
Let go what is dead.
Step with confidence toward newness
Step bravely toward Christ.
God is here to embrace us
Worship God, receive life!
Invocation: (After Ruth 1:1-8)
Meet us here, O God. None of us have made it this far unscathed by life’s heartaches and tribulations. Meet us here, O God. Put our hands in the hands of each other. Put our hearts in the care of this community of grace. Strengthen us through this hour of worship that being healed, we may become healers, that finding our home, we may welcome foreigners, friends and kin home with Christ, home with you. Amen.
Prayer of Confession: (After Ruth 1:1-8)
God of loyalty, love, and grace, in the midst of life’s hardships, in the challenges we face, we turn too often to seek security and safety in places we have known, in the familiarity of home. But you present us with opportunities for service and newness of life if only we will be brave to believe you journey with us when the way is foreign and the destination is new.
Absolution: (After Ruth 1:1-8)
Where we go, Christ goes with us.
Where we lodge, Christ lodges, too.
We are Christ’s people, no matter where we travel,
We are God’s beloved no matter how far from home. Amen.
Up to You (A Reading after Ruth 1:1-8)
Forced from home by famine
Hungry for hope, for help
Elimilech and Naomi set out.
Settling on foreign soil
Starting their lives over again
Son Mahlon found a wife
Son Chilion did too.
But life isn’t fair
Heartache isn’t limited to one chapter.
Plot twist, Elimilech dies.
Naomi, Mahlon and Chilion
Bury their beloved patriarch
in land sanctified by their tears.
Sons and wives and mother
carry on where only the wives
feel at home.
But life isn’t fair
Heartache isn’t limited to chapter two.
Plot twist; Mahlon dies
Chilion dies, too.
Naomi buries her sons
Bitter tears land on fertile, foreign soil.
Wives Orpah and Ruth weep too.
Home is no longer home absent their husbands’ love.
Life isn’t fair.
Heartache isn’t limited to chapter three.
Unclaimed by kin, unprotected from men,
Naomi turns toward Bethlehem again,
In tears tells Orpah, “Go home, dear daughter-in-law,
make your way here in Moab.”
In tears tells Ruth, “Go home, dear love of my late son,
your security matters more than I.”
Three women weeping bitter tears.
Life isn’t fair.
Heartbreak isn’t limited to chapter four.
Plot twist: Ruth refuses to seek refuge
In the familiarity of home and kin.
Pledging instead, her allegiance
Hand over her heart,
Sealed not in bloodlines, but shared tears.
“Where you go, I will go,
Where you lodge, I will lodge.”
Life can be better than fair
When brave souls choose loyalty, love, and grace.
Chapter Six is up to you.
Invitation to Communion: (After Ruth 1:1-8)
That which bound Ruth to her mother-in-law Naomi is that which bound Jesus to his disciples. It was a kinship not borne of blood, but of love, sealed in self-sacrifice. Love over law.
That which bound Jesus to his disciples, that which bound Ruth to Naomi is the same as that which binds us now to Christ and each other. Come freely, all who will, to this table. Come now to remember. Come now to be loved. Come now to be at home. Amen.
Invitation to Give: (After Ruth 1:1-8)
May each of us possess the generosity of spirit that led Ruth to promise, “Where you go, I will go. Where you lodge, I will lodge.” Through our offerings may we go where our neighbors are in need, may we lodge with those who sorrow, may we share ourselves and what is ours, that all whom God loves will not feel abandoned nor alone.
Benediction: (After Ruth 1:1-8)
In this company of friends, we have shared the feast of Christ’s love.
May we go from this hour of worship empowered
to accompany our neighbors on love’s journey,
until in Christ, we walk each other home.
Psalm 146 – a re-write
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my sole!
Toes and metatarsals, arches and heels,
Walk and glide, step and slide, dance and jump for joy!
I will praise the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God at the top of my lungs.
Sweet soaring soprano, booming baritone or bass, lyric, lilting tenor, mellow, melting alto
solo or ensemble, sing praise! Sing Praise!
Our trust is not in politicians, in pundits, mere people,
Our hope is not in our neighbors, not even in ourselves—because all of us when it comes down to it, are glorified, electrified, embodied dust.
We dance because God made us. We sing because it is in the creator whom we trust.
The one who hung the stars in the heavens, who dusted the earth with mountains, seas, and plains,
God keeps faith forever.
God judges with mercy, God feeds, God frees!
God heals, God helps, God lifts, God loves, God keeps watch, God sees our needs, God responds to the lost and the least. God hears human pleas!
God is not dust. God will be when all else ceases. Praise the Lord! Praise the LORD!
Prayer of Confession: (After Deuteronomy 6:1-9)
You promise us milk and honey, but we have settled for something less. You ask for our whole hearts, all our souls, and all our might. We have given you half-hearted faithfulness. We grant you the skimmed surface of our souls. Instead of all our might, we give you devotion-lite. We have not cherished your law as words of life. Why are we surprised that all is not well within us and among us?
Words of Absolution: (After Hebrews 9:11-14)
Christ came as the high priest of good things to come. Through the eternal Spirit Christ gave himself for us. In Jesus Christ, our conscience is washed clean. In Jesus Christ, we are freed to live and to worship our living God.
Call to Worship (After Psalm 119)
Ella Fitzgerald sang, “I want to be happy, but I won’t be happy, till I make you happy, too.”
The Sunday School children sang, “If you’re happy and you know it, then your face will surely show it, if you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.”
In a little song he wrote, Bobby McFerrin was known to quote, “don’t worry, be happy.”
A far more ancient song proclaims happiness comes when we walk with God
when we follow God’s laws when we keep a steady gaze on God’s ways of love.
Come happily to worship.
Clap your hands.
Be free of worry.
Help others be happy, too.
God is in this place and all are welcome here.
Invocation (After Mark 12:28-34)
Help us draw near to your Kindom, God. Help us draw near to you. Open our minds to know that loving you and loving our neighbors is the right answer to all of our questions. Open our spirits to be filled with the willingness to live in such love. Open our hearts to give ourselves as holy offerings in this hour of worship and every minute of our lives. Amen.
Rev. Dr. Rebecca Zahller McNeil retired June 1, 2021, after serving ministries in Oklahoma, Kentucky, Zaire, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, and Nebraska in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ. She and her husband Mike just moved to Trinidad, Colorado where they enjoy worshipping with Zion’s Lutheran Church. They’ve started hiking and are thankful to begin to be able to breathe at higher altitudes.
Becky blogs at http://everydaystories.blog
RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. (We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back to the specific post. For permission to use this material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at Gmail dot com.) For Worship Words, you may use or adapt what you find here, but please credit the author in printed orders of service/web publications and public video descriptions if possible. If you have written words for worship in this strange new world that you are willing to share, please send us an email: revgalblogpals at Gmail dot com. Material is due by Monday for the upcoming Sunday