Pentecost +17, Proper 21A

Sep. 27

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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 17:1-7 or Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32
Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16 or Psalm 25:1-9

Philippians 2:1-13
Matthew 21:23-32

Suggested Hymns from Chalice Hymnal

91 or 92 All Hail the power of Jesus’ name

715-Now thank we all our God

86- Great is thy faithfulness

127 Creator of the stars of night

390 Lord of our highest love

404-A hymn of joy we sing

406-Beneath the forms of outward rite

431-Go, my children, with my blessing

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 Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32

                             Unto your righteousness,

                             O Lord, you bid us come.

                             And we attend it all

                             in honor, if at all.

                             You bid us live, O Lord,

                             and signify the means

                             to turn your way in truth,

                             in faithfulness always.

                             You seek us that we turn

                             afresh into your joy

                             and brush aside our waste

                             to welcome us in faith.

                             You seek our increase fair

                             and lure us evermore

                             yet hold us to the best

                             as we would sure adore.      Suggested tune: Quam Dilecta

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:  Psalm  25: 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 25)

L: To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.

P: O my God, in you I trust; do not let me be put to shame.

L: Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths.

P: Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation.

L: Good and upright is the LORD, who instructs sinners in the way.

P: The Lord leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble God’s way.


L: God who comes to us in Word and Spirit, calls us to a table set for all who hunger.

P:  We hunger for grace and forgiveness; we hunger for justice and peace.

L: God knows and meets our deepest hungers with bread which always satisfies.

P:  Thanks be to God who blesses and feeds all human yearnings, and who does this through our feeble, simple human hands.

OR  from

L: Come, let us worship God who provides for us.

P: Even though we whine and complain, God hears our cries.

L: Lift your voices in praise, for God has come to comfort you.

P: Thanks be to God who forgives and heals our wounded souls.

L: Come, celebrate God’s steadfast love.

P: Open our hearts, O Lord, and let us truly listen to your words.

OR  from

L: This week has been filled with joys and sorrows.

P: We have come here this day with burdens on our hearts.

L: God, who hears your cries, will offer you healing love.

P: Thanks be to God for such generous compassion.

L: Open your hearts to God’s infinite mercy.

P: We open our spirits to receive God’s love for us.

OR  from

L: Jesus has called us here this day.
P: We are here, although for some of us it was not an easy choice.
L: Often what we say and do are very different.
P: Help us follow God’s will, not with lip service, but with true humility.
L: Come, now is the time to worship.
P: Now is the time of healing, restoration, and hope. 

OR  from

(Philippians 2)

L: Come, let us bow before the holy One.
P: Come, let us confess God’s might.
L: Come, let us feel God’s mercy.
P: Come, let us live in God’s light.
L: As God’s people, we lift our voices in praise.
P: Glory to you, gracious and loving God!

Invocation or Prayer of Approach  

We who have come to know your love, O Lord, are here to worship you. We ask your blessing upon us in this offering of our praise, and we ask your presence in every act of our lives, that we…your Church…may be confirmed in our faith, and give glory to your son Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray (even as he taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)


You who have created us and sustain us: we come with thanksgiving for these moments when we can ease the pace of our lives and listen for your voice. Create a spirit within us that truly draws us toward you and toward our brother and sisters; a spirit deep, perceptive, gentle and bold. Clear our minds, open our hearts and touch us with your presence and your power. We offer this prayer in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)


God whose very nature is wholeness and life, we give you thanks that in this holy assembly today you have called together people from different places, of many gifts, and with a multitude of ways of serving and loving. Make us one, Lord, even as you and your Christ are one, as we hear his clarion call to gather in the one body to feast on the word and receive from your hand the blessed gifts of bread and cup. Make us ready, Lord – ready to listen, ready to hear, ready to go and do your will, that we all may be one in essence, in intent, and in constitution, so that the world may know you in and among us. This we pray in the strong name of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)


Your love and grace are all sufficient, O God, for all the world’s deep needs.  Open our minds and hearts this day to receive with gratitude the gifts you have given – gratitude enough to be compelled to live as your witnesses, your instruments for grace and forgiveness, for justice and peace in our world.  This we pray through our Lord Jesus Christ  (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

OR from

Gracious Lord, how shall we do your will today? Will it be in acts of praise, in gifts shared, in prayers lifted? Who will you lead us to serve? Help us trust you. Help us listen. Bless this community as we come together in worship. Encourage us, comfort us, unite us, make our joy complete.  This we pray through our Lord Jesus Christ  (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

Pastoral Prayer – Prayers of the People – Intercessions

God of mercy and of love, you have called us to live in communion with all of your created world.  Give us a new appreciation for the diversity of creation, and for the people of our world whom you love with an everlasting love.  Help us to serve the needs of all who are suffering, sick, lonely, and broken by the struggles of life with the compassion and joy of true servants of Christ.

Give us grace to work with passion for the unity of your Church throughout the world, and to take our place among its people without expectation of reward, beyond the smile of your approval.  May our ministries be anchored in your love of justice and peace, and may all who serve be encouraged by the promise of Christ’s presence with us.  Make of us a more obedient people, gladly giving what we have received from your faithful hand.

Hear our prayers, O Lord, for those whose lives are closely linked with our own: (names), whose needs we entrust to you along with our own needs. (silence)

Grant, O Lord, that we might grow in grace and in love for you as we commend ourselves to your care and guidance.  Take us by the hand, O God, and by your Holy Spirit lead us to fulfill your calling in our lives through Jesus Christ our Lord.

OR from

Lord of hope and healing, you have heard the cries of our hearts. You know that we do want to serve you, and yet when things get tough, we buckle and cave in. We lack the courage and strength to work for you. You have reminded us that you will be continually with us and we need to place our trust in that fact. Your love will sustain and heal us. Your mercy and grace will give us courage and strength, joy and peace. As we have come before you this day, offering our prayers for those near and dear to us, let us remember that you constantly lift and carry us in your love. Bring us to the knowledge of your mercy and powerful love that will never leave us. Prepare us for ministry in areas of need and desolation. For we ask these things in Jesus’ Name.

Prayers from Common Worship*


O Lord, we beseech you mercifully to hear the prayers

   of your people who call upon you;

and grant that they may both perceive and know

   what things they ought to do,

and also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfil them;

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

Almighty God,

you have taught us through your Son

that love is the fulfilling of the law:

grant that we may love you with our whole heart

and our neighbours as ourselves;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Additional Collect

Lord of creation,

whose glory is around and within us:

open our eyes to your wonders,

that we may serve you with reverence

and know your peace at our lives’ end,

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

O God, you declare your almighty power chiefly in showing

mercy and pity: Grant us the fullness of your grace, that we,

running to obtain your promises, may become partakers of

your heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who

lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for

ever and ever.  Amen.

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

Matthew 21:23-32

            Now, all the time, O God,

                        we pass our time in sly attempts

                                    to form our quandary in questions

                                                of due authority.

                        Yet here we dally over instances

                                    wherein we shy from judgment

                                    until we must admit upon the face

                                                thy due authority of love.

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

All who hunger for God have been welcomed by Christ at a table spread with the fruits of mercy and peace.  Here we find the Bread that satisfies; here we drink to never thirst again.  As we prepare to receive the gifts of God, let us open our hearts to hear God’s promise of life eternal, open up our lives to give of ourselves as Christ has given sacrificially himself to us, and then come with grateful hearts to the Gospel Feast.

Offertory Prayer

We thank you, God for this opportunity to express our love to you through the gifts we bring to support and encourage your work in near and distant places. Make our hearts glad that we can share in extending the gospel and helping to heal humanity’s pain, for we bring them to you with grateful hearts.


Receive our lives, O God, which we offer in token to you through the offering of these gifts.  May we, and may they, be used for the purposes to which you have called them, and to which you call your whole church, in the works of love and healing and justice shown in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Invitation to the Table

The Table of Christ is before us, his invitation still ringing in our ears: Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-burdened, and you will find rest. Ours is a unique opportunity to celebrate all good things which we have received at the hand of God the creator.


All who hunger for God have been welcomed by Christ at a table spread with the fruits of mercy and peace.  Here we find the Bread that satisfies; here we drink to never thirst again.  As we prepare to receive the gifts of God, let us open our hearts to hear God’s promise of life eternal, open up our lives to give of ourselves as Christ has given sacrificially himself to us, and then come with grateful hearts to the Gospel Feast.

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, who calls for us to go at the bidding of your word, and to do the work to which you have called us, we gather at your table as a people yearning to receive your loving, gracious word of forgiveness. Receive us as we break the bread which Christ has offered to be for us his body. And receive us as we drink the cup which he has blessed to be his blood. May all who come at your bidding be fed, renewed, and empowered to serve as you would have us to serve, through the grace of Christ our Lord.


God who gives us bread for the journey, you have come to walk among us in the person of your Son Jesus Christ. The bread that we break as we gather at your table is for us his body, and the cup his blood. Pour out your spirit upon us gathered here out of love for you, and upon these gifts of bread and wine. May we who receive them be transformed by your power at work within and among us, that all your world may have bread enough and more.


  1. God our Provider, we hunger for the bread which satisfies. All other sources have failed us, but you are ever faithful.  As we bless your name and break this bread, may it be for us the body of Christ, that we might be his body in the world, confident of your gracious provision for living faithfully and serving freely all of your children.
  1. Send down your Holy Spirit, we pray, upon these gifts of bread and wine, mighty God. Be known in our midst as we receive from your hand, that as witnesses of your grace and mercy we might live graciously and mercifully as your children, in the spirit of Christ our Lord.

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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