10 SEP Fourteenth Sunday After Pentecost
Season of Creation: DEATH
As Christians we have a paradoxical relationship with death. On the one hand, we, with our brother Paul, see death as an enemy whose destruction is already declared in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (I Corinthians 15:26). On the other hand, also with our brother Paul, we affirm that we are baptized into the death of Jesus, and only through experiencing a death like his in baptism are we promised the hope of a resurrection like his (Romans 6:4-8). So already, within some of the most famous passages from one early Christian writer’s most famous work we encounter death as at once enemy and portal to life.
- Exodus 12:1-14
- Psalm 149
- Psalm 119:33-40
- Romans 13:8-14
- Matthew 18:15-20
Holy God, we praise you for the life you give to each person you dearly love. As we face the mysteries of sin and tragedy, give us wisdom to view them in the light of the cross. We praise you for your redeeming love for the world. Help us to wear the armor of Christ and turn aside from wasteful things, so that we may live according to your way. We dedicate these offerings and ourselves to your service. We pray in the name of Christ, through whose self-giving love you have conquered death forever. Amen. (Psalm 119:33-40, Romans 13:8-14)
03 SEP Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost
Season of Creation: FIRE
Season of Creation invites us into a time of pause and reflection. With Moses we are given opportunity to “turn aside to see” how God calls to us and empowers us in and through the whole creation God is out to save.
- Exodus 3:1-15
- Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45b
- Romans 12:9-21
- Matthew 16:21-28
Living God, you miraculously used the burning bush to attract the attention of Moses. Just as the bush was on fire but not destroyed, so you sustain those you call to fulfill your purposes. Thank you for responding to the needs of your people and nurturing new leaders. By your Holy Spirit, help us to trust you completely as we seek to spend our lives following Jesus, your Son. Let us be bold witnesses of your amazing power and love. We offer you these monetary gifts for the work of your church here and around the world, through Jesus Christ. Amen. (Exodus 3:1-15)
27 AUG Twelfth Sunday After Pentecost
#Three Steps In a Christian’s Walk: Step Forth…In Your Spiritual Gifts
We step out into our own identity in Christ. We step toward others in our extended family in Abraham. And we step forth, both within the community of the church and toward the wider world, in the power of the spiritual gifts we have been given, whatever these may be. And we step forth not to assert ourselves, our superiority, or our gifts. We step forth, letting the life-giving power of the Spirit flow through us and these gifts within the community of the church and into the world God is out to save.
- Exodus 1:8-2:10
- Psalm 124
- Romans 12:1-8
- Matthew 16:13-20
August 27, 2017 – Twelfth Sunday After Pentecost
Living God, we are grateful for your faithful care of all that you have created. We are so glad to rely on your steadfast love. Today, we lift up those who are vulnerable, in physical danger, or caught in addiction. Set them free, like a bird released from a trap. Strengthen our church’s caring ministries through our gifts and offerings. May we assist others to embrace the new life that you provide through Christ our risen Lord. Amen. (Psalm 124)
20 AUG Eleventh Sunday After Pentecost.
#Three Steps In a Christian’s Walk: Step Toward…Your Siblings in Abraham
“For the gifts and callings of God are irrevocable” (Romans 11:2a, NRSV). Often this text is used (and not entirely improperly) to support doctrine about the permanent nature of spiritual gifts, baptism, and ordination. Once the Spirit has acted, what the Spirit has done cannot be undone, we say. But in context in Romans 11, in the wider context of the whole letter, and, as N.T. Wright argues in his book, Justification, in the context of God’s plan to save the whole world through the promises begun with Abraham and his descendents, something much bigger is at stake. And it calls us, as Christians, to step toward rather than away from persons of other religious who are also Abraham’s descendants.
- Genesis 45:1-15
- Psalm 133
- Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32
- Matthew 15:(10-20), 21-28
August 20, 2017 – Eleventh Sunday After Pentecost
God of blessing, your mercy knows no bounds! You have expanded your everlasting covenant with your people Israel to include people of every nation, to all whom you love. We were like dogs who were glad for the crumbs under the table, who now delight in feasting as sons and daughters with Christ. Send your Spirit to guide us to bring all you call to rejoice in the midst of your congregation. We dedicate these tithes and offerings in Jesus’ name. Amen. (Matthew 15:10-28)
13 AUG Tenth Sunday After Pentecost
#ThreeSteps In a Christian’s Walk: Step Out…Into Faith
Inigo Montoya’s most repeated and memed line from The Princess Bride is “”You keep using that word…. I don’t think it means what you think it means.” What did Paul mean by “faith?” And what does faith, as Paul meant it, both require of us and empower us to do?
- Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28
- Psalm 105:1-6, 16-22, 45b
- Romans 10:5-15
- Matthew 14:22-33
August 13, 2017 – Tenth Sunday After Pentecost
God of peace, you are kind and generous to all who seek you. You are the Good Shepherd of a vast flock. But we can be like stubborn sheep, showing favoritism like Jacob or struggling with jealousy like Joseph’s brothers. Help us to turn away from the competition for more. Incline our hearts to compassion for our neighbors so that we will give freely from what we have received. We pray this through Christ our Lord, who loves each sheep and seeks each one that is lost. Amen. (Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28)
06 AUG Ninth Sunday After Pentecost
The Apostle’s Tale: PROMISE
Today is about that solid ground of God’s promises for us, especially when we may not see them fulfilled even in our lifetimes. Just as God has formed a covenant with the people of Israel for their salvation and mission in the world, God has just as surely covenanted with all people, Jewish and Gentile alike, who turn to Christ as Savior and commit their way to him as Lord. As dystopian and toxic as this world may seem or be, the promise of complete salvation for us and renewal of all things in creation abides.
- Genesis 32:22-31
- Psalm 17:1-7, 15
- Romans 9:1-5
- Matthew 14:13-21
O Lord, our God, your wisdom is beyond our understanding. You are the source of all goodness. Yet we chase after things of this world that do not satisfy. We spend our money foolishly and wonder why we still hunger in spirit. Thank you for patiently calling us to trust you with our whole heart. Refresh us by your Holy Spirit so that we may lead others to you. Amen. (Isaiah 55:1-5)
30 JUL Eighth Sunday After Pentecost
The Apostle’s Tale: Intercession
On this third week of our series, Paul reminds us that even though we sin and fall short of the glory of God, and even though God calls us to join in the groaning of creation and to enter fully into the suffering of the world on behalf of others, God does not abandon us in this work. The good news of Jesus Christ is that God is with us every step of the way.
- Genesis 29:15-28
- Psalm 105:1-11, 45b
- Romans 8:26-39
- Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52
Majestic God, we are amazed that you count us among your children. You have adopted us as brothers and sisters of Christ your Son. Open our eyes to see every human being as your beloved child. Send your Spirit to guide us to live as citizens of your heavenly kingdom. Let our church embody a generous way of giving to others in this world, which will one day be conformed to your reign. We ask this for the sake of Jesus, our risen Savior. Amen. (Matthew 13)
23 JUL Seventh Sunday After Pentecost
The Apostle’s Tale: Groaning
As we come into the second week of our series, we move from the freedom we have found in Christ to confront our differences head-on, and God’s call to welcome all of God’s children, to dealing with the way things are: the sufferings of the present time.
- Genesis 28:10-19a
- Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24
- Romans 8:12-25
- Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
Most Gracious God, you have rescued us from despair and death by the glorious resurrection of Christ your Son. Now you remain with us, empowering us by your Spirit. Turn our hearts in compassion for people who struggle in darkness and danger. We renew our commitment to serve you through our church’s mission outreach. Use our tithes and gifts to kindle the light of the risen Christ in our community and throughout the world. We pray in his name. Amen. (Psalm 86)
16 JUL Sixth Sunday After Pentecost
The Apostle’s Tale: Freedom
The flow of this series, as the flow of these scriptures, does not go “up” as much as it goes “deep.” This series is more like a dive from the heights than a climb up the mountain or a journey from point A to point B. As you move into today in particular, picture freedom as the diver on the board or at cliff’s edge, poised to jump.
- Genesis 25:19-34
- Psalm 119:105-112 or Psalm 25
- Romans 8:1011
- Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
O God of our salvation, your Word brings joy to our hearts. We find contentment in your presence as we pray and worship you. Enable us to focus on your Holy Spirit who brings life and peace. Inspire our congregation to reach out in creative ways to draw our neighbors into a closer relationship with you. Receive our gifts and offerings for the sake of Christ our Savior. Amen. (Romans 8)
09 JUL Fifth Sunday After Pentecost
From Chaos to Community: Legacy
Like all human families, the first families of our faith tradition were not perfect. They had their share of failure and struggles, just like everyone else. But throughout it all they knew the abiding presence of the Lord God was with them—perhaps most clearly known during moments of difficult decision, rites of passage, and periods of painful transition.
- Genesis 24:34-38
- Psalm 45:10-17 or Psalm 72
- Romans 7:15-25a
- Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
Generous God, we praise you for life itself and the spiritual renewal that you so freely give. Thank you for sending Jesus, who demonstrates what it means to be gentle and humble in heart. Gather our congregation in opportunities to respond to people’s needs with tangible assistance. Fill us with your Spirit so that we are eager to help others, like Rebekah who gave water to a stranger and did not expect a reward. May our offerings be acceptable in your sight. We pray through Christ our Lord. Amen. (Genesis 24)