Pentecost +16, Proper 20A

Sep. 20

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Scripture  (from the Revised Common Lectionary, with links provided by – a source for thoughtful worship and preaching throughout the year):

Exodus 16:2-15 or Jonah 3:10 – 4:11
Psalm 105:1-6, 37-45 or Psalm 145:1-8
Philippians 1:21-30
Matthew 20:1-16

Suggested Hymns from Chalice Hymnal

546 Amazing Grace

284-Gather us in

709 Glorious things of thee are spoken

622 Guide me, O thou great Jehovah

538 Hope of the world

527 More love to thee, O Christ

384-Here at thy table, Lord

406-Beneath the forms of outward rite

399 O God, unseen yet ever near

More hymn suggestions, as well as helpful references for use of the arts in worship, are available from the United Church of Christ website.   

Hymn of the Day  from Rev. William Flewelling (© 2020, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)

On Matthew 20:1-16

               You offer freely at the gate

               reward in kingdom fare.

               And so we entertain your day

               with not a thought of care.

               Come lately are these other hands

               who labor shorter hours.

               At last we think about the hours

               and tarry not the day.

               Reward is singular, O Lord,

               and owns your graciousness.

               You give the fullness to us all

               and open well your heart.

               Yet in the moment of design

               we flourish on a whim;

               and you provide your kingdom’s care

               to each who come to bear.

CM     Suggested tune: St. Hugh

Dealing with the Psalm of the Day:

Since Chalice Hymnal does not provide a complete Psalter, there will be occasions when suggestions may be made for alternate Psalm use (or hymn equivalent).  A metrical version of the Psalter, for those Psalms not provided in Chalice Hymnal, is being prepared by Rev. David Chafin.  Where practical, these may be offered here as well.  You may also want to visit   

This week:  See Call to Worship

Concerning the Following Items: Except where otherwise noted, items are created or adapted by the editor.  If you are aware of source notations which are missing, please bring them to his attention.  No copyright infringement is intended, but is sure to happen.

Call to Worship   

(adapted from Psalm 105)

L: O give thanks to the LORD, call on God’s name, make known God’s deeds among the peoples.

P: Sing to God, sing praises to God; tell of all his wonderful works.

L: Glory in God’s holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.

P: Seek the LORD and his strength; seek God’s presence continually.

L: Remember the wonderful works God has done, the miracles, and the judgments God uttered,

P: Remember, O offspring of his servant, his chosen ones.

OR (adapted from the UCC)

L: We are summoned here by our holy God, who calls us each by name, and gathers us together in the unity of Jesus Christ.

P: From classroom and kitchen and carpool, we are called into God’s presence. Young and old and middle-aged, individuals and families, softspoken and outspoken, we hear our names being called to join in worship.

L: This house of worship is a place to pursue God’s vision for all people: unity and joy and faith, expressed through different gifts.

P: Praise the Lord!


L: My friends, we are called to lives of prayerful awareness of ourselves, of our community, and of the world.

P: We gather to praise the living God, who hears and answers the outpouring of our prayers.

L:  May we be awakened to the voice of Christ who calls us to faithfulness.

P: May our faith be seen in using God’s resources and resourcefulness in serving the world.

OR from

L: Give thanks to the Lord!
P: Call upon the name of the Lord!
L: God’s love and mercy are given daily for each of us.
P: God’s forgiveness and tenderness are poured out for us.
L: Praise be to God who deals so kindly with us.
P: Lord, help us offer the same compassion to others. 

OR from

L: Come near to the Lord.
P: Lord, be with us this day.
L: Lift your sorrows and joys to the Lord.
P: Lord, hear the cries of our hearts.
L: Come, rest in the love and mercy of God.
P: Bless us, O Lord, that we may be blessings for others in your name. 

Invocation or Prayer of Approach  

O God, light of all hearts that seek you, life of all souls that love you and strength of the thoughts that reach to you, we praise you. To turn from you is to fall, but to be turned to you is to rise. To live in you is to stand firm forever. We rejoice at the thought of your nearness. You are here in our midst, at our side, in our hearts, knowing, understanding, caring and helping. And so we life our hearts to glorify you in praise and adoration. (praying as our Savior taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)


We are here, Lord. We come to be with your people, to join them in your praise, and to learn to live with them and with your world in peace. Give us your blessing, we pray, that as we seek to know your will for us, we may live lives worthy to be called “Christian”. Through your son Jesus, the Christ (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)


Gather us, O God, into the household of grace, the fold of your love.  We recognize your holy presence, and are turned to toward a new day by the rising of the light of Christ.  Help us to face this day, and all of our days, with the hope and promise made full for us in the person of Jesus Christ, as we unite ourselves with him once more and receive his heavenly food; for these and all of our prayers we lift to you in his name (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

OR from

Lord, who lifts us up, reside in our hearts today. Help us to listen closely for your word to us. Remind us that you are always with us, throughout all of our lives. Give us confidence in your presence, so that we may go into your world ready to witness to your love through our works and our deeds, for we pray these things in Jesus’ name (as he taught us to pray, saying, “Our Father…”)

Pastoral Prayer – Prayers of the People – Intercessions

Gracious and loving God, we come to you with hearts that need to be opened to your word and your love. There is so much around us that tears at us and causes us to tremble. Keep us ever mindful of your presence and the hope that you have given us in your Son Jesus Christ.

Guide us, we pray, as your church, struggling to spread the good news. Keep us focused on the mission and ministry to which you have called us and lead us forward. We know, Lord, that there will often be bumps and holes in the road along the way. Save us from dwelling on them and make us secure in the goals you have placed before us.

Hear our prayers for all who need your tender touch of healing in their lives—those we name before you each day, and those who are known only to you in the depths of our hearts. Be with those who mourn. May we all remember the love and grace that your faithful people have brought to our world.

We pray for all your creation, always at odds with one another. Guide our leaders and those of other nations that this world might truly be as you created it to be—a world of peace, hope and love.

These are our prayers, together with those that lie on the hearts of all your faithful people, which we offer to you in the spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ who said “not my will, but thine be done.” Amen.

OR from

God of grace and mercy, whether we are lifelong laborers, or new arrivals in your vineyard, we know you value us just as we are.  Hear now the prayers of thanks and concern that we now speak aloud or raise silently from our hearts.

(Petitions may be offered.) 

God of the last, God of the first, God of all those in between, hear these concerns as we seek your presence in our lives and in a world in need. Amen.

OR from

Lord, your blessings abound in our lives and we lift our voices in gratitude for these lovely gifts from you. We also lift our voices as our hearts cry out our concerns for those who are ill, who mourn, who feel lost. We offer to your both our joys and concerns, so often intermingled in our lives. Be with each of us and for those whom we name with our voices and in our hearts.

[Sharing of joys and concerns; then a brief period of silence.]

Lord, you have heard our cries and our shouts of joy. Make your presence known to us again through the love and forgiveness of others as we have loved and forgiven them. In Jesus’ name, we pray.

Prayers from Common Worship*


God, who in generous mercy sent the Holy Spirit

   upon your Church in the burning fire of your love:

grant that your people may be fervent

   in the fellowship of the gospel

that, always abiding in you,

they may be found steadfast in faith and active in service;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

Post Communion

Keep, O Lord, your Church, with your perpetual mercy;

and, because without you our human frailty cannot but fall,

keep us ever by your help from all things hurtful,

and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Additional Collect

Lord God,

defend your Church from all false teaching

and give to your people knowledge of your truth,

that we may enjoy eternal life

in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Collect of the Day (from Book of Common Prayer, 1979**)

Grant us, Lord, not to be anxious about earthly things, but to

love things heavenly; and even now, while we are placed among

things that are passing away, to hold fast to those that shall

endure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. 

Collect of the Day  from Rev. William Flewelling (© 2020, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)

Matthew 20:1-16

            In our imagining, O God,

                        the weight of grievance festers well.

                        And all our measurement of worth,

                                    of due reward, of recompence

                                                rebel to find your touch

                                                of generosity relieves too much.

                        Yet in your grace that fills our hours, our days,

                                    we celebrate your gift and our delight

                                                in full sufficiency of joy.

Service of Table  

While all of our congregations navigate the Sacred Board in a different way, it seems, there are common elements in most, which are provided here.  We would love to hear if your congregation has variations to these elements which we might address in the future. 

Offertory / Invitation to Give

We would not steal for ourselves what God has entrusted to us for the benefit of our world neighbors. We would not claim as our own what God has loaned to us for our management in this lifetime. Therefore, we bring our offerings in joyful trust and service.


God is at work in the world, renewing, remaking, resurrecting, bringing hope through the faith, the gifts, and the work of the church.  We trust in God, and together we work for peace and justice through God’s Spirit as we offer our tithes and gifts.  Let us rejoice in our God-given opportunity to share in God’s work.

OR from

Whatever our struggles, whatever our miracles, whatever our burdens, whatever our fruitful labor, we are thankful for the blessings from God and from God’s good creation.  As signs of that gratitude, let us offer now our tithes and gifts.

Offertory Prayer

Generous God, our lives are renewed as we remember your goodness. You have made us in your image and placed in our hearts the memory of your love made flesh in Jesus Christ. That memory calls us to give and to embrace your world as we offer these gifts. May our lives invested through these offerings create a new reality and extend your grace in remembrance of Jesus, in whose name we pray.


O God, through the offering of these gifts, we become a more open people—open-minded in hearing your word and wisdom, open-hearted in healing a broken world, open-handed in heeding your call to charity and enacted love.  With thanks for all good gifts, we present a portion of our substance and the whole of ourselves.  Amen.

Invitation to the Table

Christ invites to this Table all who desire to draw close to God and to live at peace with God and their neighbors.  Here, all of God’s promises are fulfilled; here, all hope is renewed.

Prayer of Thanksgiving (Prayers for Bread and Cup)

(The following may be offered as one prayer, or broken between two Elders, if that is the tradition to be followed)

O God, your grace exceeds our highest expectations, hopes, or dreams! You have given bread for not only those who love and follow you, but indeed enough for all the world. As we break this bread, may we receive it as the body of Christ who gives himself that we might know your abundant presence in our lives. As we bless this cup, may all who receive it as his blood know the forgiveness of sin, and the renewal to life everlasting, far greater than we could ever ask or imagine. May we all be bound as one with you through the love and self-giving of Jesus the Christ.


  1. Receive our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, O God, which we offer to you in union with Christ’s sacrifice for us.  Send down the power of your Spirit upon us, gathered here out of love for you, and upon this bread.  May it be for us the body of Christ, that as we receive your gifts in communion with all your saints, we may be nourished to walk in your strength toward the brightness of your day which has no dawning and no sunset.
  1. Pour out your Spirit, O God, upon this cup of our salvation.  May this wine be for us the blood of Christ, that as people cleansed by his blood we may serve you with joy and renewed confidence by serving your thirsting world.  May all of your children be united by your love, live in your truth, and show forth your grace in this day, and each new day which dawns upon our horizon.

Conclusion:  Through him, with him, and in him, in the power of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor be to you, O God, now and forever. Amen.

If not previously offered: “And now with the confidence of your children, we offer the prayer our Savior taught us, ‘Our Father…’


Resources from the Jubilee Fund: This stewardship ministry serving the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) offers weekly emails for each Sunday’s service.  Visit to learn more.

Rev. Tim Graves offers Liturgy Bits with valuable, culturally sensitive and creatively contemplative works, well worth your time.

You may also want to visit Worship Connection at, which offers numerous helps, including electronic versions of print resources for worship and preaching planning.

Intercessions and other helpful planning materials geared to the Lectionary (using Roman Catholic version, but normally quite useful for all traditions) for preaching and worship are supplied for several weeks in advance at The Sunday Website of St. Louis University. 

Common Worship Almanac and Lectionary for the year beginning Advent Sunday 2019.  Calendar for 2020

Sun 1 Dec 2019. CW* Almanac and Lectionary 2019-20. Common Worship Almanac and Lectionary. for the year beginning Advent Sunday 2019. Compiled by Simon Kershaw August 2019 from the Common Worship Calendar and Lectionaries

using Almanac Maker. compilation © Simon Kershaw 2019 Almanac Maker © Simon Kershaw 2010-2019.

Book of Common Prayer (1979), Public domain.

NOTE:  We hope you return to this posting often (and are subscribed to the feed by email, on Facebook or your favorite reader), since the content of each week’s posting may change several times before Sunday.  We’d also like to include your content, even after the fact, since everything will roll around again in 3 years, and your contributions may find new life in the great cycle of the lectionary.  Send your comments or content here.

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