WE GATHER FOR WORSHIP
"We do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as servants for Jesus' sake.
"For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." (2 Cor. 4:5-7; 16-18)
Hymn of Praise: "Amid the Thronging Worshipers" (PH 239)
WE BOW IN PENITENCE
Call to Confession:
God calls us to confess as he called his people through his prophet Joel:
"'Even now,' declares the Lord,
'return to me with all your heart,
with fasting and weeping and mourning.'
Rend your heart
and not your garments.
Return to the Lord your God
for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and he relents from sending calamity."
"Who knows? He may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing…"
People of God, do you weep for your sin?
Before God and his people, we declare that we have sinned.
"Spare your people, O Lord.
Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn,
a byword among the nations.
Why should they say among the peoples,
'Where is their God?'" (Joel 2:12-14; 17b)
Declaration of Pardon:
"The Lord will be jealous for his land
and take pity on his people, [saying], 'I am sending you grain, new wine and oil,
enough to satisfy you fully;
never again will I make you
an object of scorn to the nations.'"
Surely he has done great things. Be not afraid, O land;
be glad and rejoice.
Surely the Lord has done great things.
Be glad, O people of Zion,
rejoice in the Lord your God,
for he has given you
the autumn rains in righteousness.
He sends you abundant showers,
both autumn and spring rains, as before-----
You will have plenty to eat until you are full,
and you will praise the name of the Lord your God,
who has worked wonders for you;
never again win my people be shamed.
Then you will know that I am in Israel,
that I am the Lord your God,
and that there is no other;
never again will my people be shamed. (Joel 2:18-19; 20-21;23; 26-27)
Hymn of Praise: "Lord, You Have Lavished on Your Land" (PH 85)
WE HEAR THE WORD
Prayer for Illumination
Lord, you spoke through your prophet Joel:
"I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your old men will dream dreams,
your young men will see visions.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days." (Joel 2:28-29)
You have called us to be your servants Lord, young and old, men and women. Pour out your Spirit on us so that we may hear your word and do your will.
Hymn (Choir or Congregation): "Spirit of the Living God" (PH 424)
The Word of God for Children: Children's Message
THE WORD OF GOD FOR CROPS
Old Testament Readings: Genesis 1:11-12; Amos 4:7-9;
Isaiah 35:1-2; 41:17-20
New Testament Readings: 1 Corinthians 15:37-38;
Hebrews 6:7-8; Romans 11:33-36
Meditation on Crops
Prayer for Crops:
Lord, you make a pink flower from a gray seed, an ear from a kernel, a carrot from a seed the size of a pinhead, an oak tree from an acorn. You have programmed your soil to provide food for your plants, wooden trees to make apples, feathered hens to lay eggs, grass-eating cows to give milk. And you, grand Creator, you have us take care of your grand creation.
In mercy, Lord, send rain to water our crops and gardens. Let your sun shine on our fields so that seeds will produce abundantly, so that vines and stalks and trees will hang heavy with fruit and grain. And Lord, let your grace be rich to our cattle as it is to us; let it keep our hogs free of disease, our hens laying eggs, and our cows giving milk. May our animals be fertile; may our lambs and calves and pigs frolic in your green pastures so that even in their play we may see your grace.
Help us to live on your good earth even as Adam and Eve in Eden—preserving and caring for the life and soil you bless, ever thankful that for our good, you gave your laws of nature and your law of love. Help us for our good and your glory to see those laws as you see them and as the psalmist saw them—as good and perfect, pleasant to think about.
And Lord, teach us to share the abundance you have given us, never gloating in our excess, but always giving our first bushels to feed the hungry in your name. Enlighten our hearts, Lord, so that our thank yous ever rise in a crescendo to your throne. See and hear us through the blood of your Son, Jesus. Amen.
Hymn: "We Plow the Fields and Scatter" (HB 524, PH 456, RL 17, TH614)
THE WORD OF GOD FOR INDUSTRY
Old Testament Readings: Genesis 11:1-8; 14:21-24; Exodus 1:6-14; 5:1-6:1; Proverbs 6:6-11; 26:13-16; Ecclesiastes 3:9-14
New Testament Readings: Matthew 4:1-11; Acts 19:23-41
Meditation on Industry
Prayer for Industry:
Lord, you saw the wheel in your mind before we saw it roll on your good earth. You put iron in the bowels of your earth and imagined the great girders that would hold up bridges over land and sea. You heard the motor in your mind before we revved it up on our roads. You saw the computer chip before we harnessed it in our offices and the laser before we discovered how to use it for blasting mines or for performing delicate surgery.
Now bless our hands as we manipulate the machines we have made. Teach us how to use them wisely so that we will not be used by them. Bless our grinding and polishing, our honing and our hammering. Let our demands for precise and careful work be as rigorous as yours so that we may rest as safely in our cars and planes as in your arms.
Help us in all this, Lord, with joy and thanks, to see your upholding hand, great Creator of metal and mountain, master artist of the sunset and rainbow. May we not sit on foam rubber without feeling your grace or read by a light bulb without feeling a current of thankfulness for your marvelous creation running through our veins.
Hear our prayer for your Son's sake. Amen.
Hymn: "Earth and All Stars" (PH 433, RL 37)
THE WORD OF GOD FOR LIFE
Old Testament Reading: Ecclesiastes 5:10-12,18-20
New Testament Readings: John 4:7-38; 12:23-26; Luke 12:22-34 or Matthew 6:25-34; Hebrews 11:26-27
Prayer: (Pray that we may live and work to serve God and obey him in everything.)
Hymn: "Seek Ye First the Kingdom" (PH 209, RL 263)
Parting Hymn: "This Is My Father's World" (HB 101, PH 436, RL 14, TH 109)
The hymns in this service appear in one or more of the following hymnals: The Hymnbook (HB), Psalter Hymnal (PH), Rejoice in the Lord (RL), Trinity Hymnal(TH).