Order of Worship

Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost


September 27,  2020                                             10:00 a.m.


Organ Prelude


Call to Worship    

One: When we are hungry for a sustaining faith, we ask,

All: Are you among us, O God?

One: When we are thirsty for justice and peace, we ask,

All: Are you among us, O God?

One: As wandering people who long for mercy, we ask,

All: Are you among us, O God?

One: Secure in the freedom of your love, we ask,

All: Are you among us, O God?


Opening Prayer

God of desert days and wilderness nights, we rest in the comfort of your presence and trust in the sustaining power of your love. Provide us with all that we need to live abundantly and serve with abandon. Amen.


Storytelling –  “Surprise”


Message in Music        


Reading of Scripture                                     Exodus 17:1-7


Message      “God’s Sustaining Presence”       Rev. Laura McLeod


Stewardship Moment


Dedication of Offering

Use these our gifts, O God,

to lead your people from death to life

and from fear to hope.


May our giving strengthen our trust in your power

and loosen our tongues and feet

to celebrate your glory in our lives.



Preparation for Prayer

Silent Prayer

Pastoral Prayer and Lord’s Prayer

And teach us, again, to be your people, as we pray as Jesus taught us saying, Our Father…Amen.




You have watered our desert souls.

We cried out in our longings, and you answered.

You drew near to us, bringing comfort and peace.

We leave now with the assurance of your presence

always with us, in and around us,

the sturdy rock upon which we stand.




Scripture Reading                                  Exodus 17:1-7 NRSV

From the wilderness of Sin the whole congregation of the Israelites journeyed by stages, as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. The people quarreled with Moses, and said, “Give us water to drink.” Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” But the people thirsted there for water; and the people complained against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?” So Moses cried out to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” The Lord said to Moses, “Go on ahead of the people, and take some of the elders of Israel with you; take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will be standing there in front of you on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so that the people may drink.” Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. He called the place Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarreled and tested the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”


Storytelling – “Surprise”

 Based on Exodus 17:1–7

Place a slab cake pan where all the children can see it. Inside the pan, place a piece of tan fabric representing the desert sand to cover the bottom. Have ready a rock, a small stick, and a generous cup of water.

After God had persuaded Pharaoh to let Moses and the people of Israel leave Egypt, and after God had shown Moses and the people a surprising way to cross the water into freedom, and after God had given Moses and the people some surprising meals, there was still a long, long way to travel on the journey away from Egypt and into freedom. Every day began to feel the same. The sun was hot during the day. The wind was cold at night. There was sand as far as the eye could see. And there was nothing to do but to keep walking. It felt like such a long journey. One day, the people found that they had run out of water. Their water skins were empty. All morning, they walked looking for a spring or a pool or even a puddle of water to drink, but they found nothing. All afternoon, they walked and watched the sky, looking for rain clouds, but they saw nothing. By nightfall, when they put up their tents for sleep, the people were very, very thirsty. They were afraid they would die of thirst. They were also very angry with Moses. “We’re so thirsty! Give us water now!” they yelled. “It’s your fault that we have nothing to drink.” “Why are you angry with me?” Moses replied, “Don’t you trust God? You know God was with us when we were slaves in Egypt, and God was with us when we crossed the water, and God was with us when we found the quail and manna to eat. God is with us still, and God will give us what we need.” But the people continued to complain. “We’re so thirsty,” they yelled again. “Why did you drag us out into the wilderness to die of thirst? At least in Egypt we had water to drink. Has God forgotten us? Is God really with us?” Moses didn’t know what to do, so Moses asked God. “God, what am I going to do with these people?” he prayed. “They are very angry and are ready to kill me.” God knew the people had to have water, and God gave the people what they needed in a very surprising way. God told Moses to go out ahead of everyone and find a special rock. When he found it, he should strike it with his stick. Moses did just as God asked. Moses went out ahead of everyone, found the special rock (place the rock on the sand), and struck the rock with his stick (strike the rock with the stick). The rock split open and water came out (drip a few drops onto the rock) – not just a few little drops, but a great big pool (pour all the water from the cup onto the rock). There was enough for everyone to drink. Then Moses said to the people, “Look at what God has done for us. God is always with us, even in difficult times. Never forget that. God gives us everything we need.” The people were very happy and relieved. “God has not forgotten us,” they shouted. “God is with us.” Eventually, the people of Israel did reach their new home. It was a very long journey, one that took them 40 years to complete. God always gave the people everything they needed for the journey, sometimes in very surprising ways. But those are stories for another day

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