For the Week ending October 15, 2017

15 OCT Nineteenth Sunday After Pentecost

Habits of Hospitality: OFFERING PEACE

Laity Sunday

This week’s non-lectionary-based service for Laity Sunday launches a three-week miniseries, “Habits of Hospitality,” in which the succeeding two services are based on the Epistle readings from the Revised Common Lectionary.

REFERENCES:

  • Exodus 32:1-14
  • Psalm 106:1-6, 19-23 (UMH 829)
  • Philippians 4:1-9
  • Matthew 22:1-14

 

For the Week ending October 8, 2017

08 OCT Eighteenth Sunday After Pentecost

Children’s Sabbath

The purpose of the Children’s Sabbath observance is social advocacy for the needs of children throughout this nation. This year’s theme is “Moving Forward with Hope: Love and Justice for Every Child.” Children’s Sabbath–a weekend-long observance, primarily in the community–should not be confused with Children’s Sunday, a Sunday worship observance that focuses primarily on drawing attention to the children in our own congregations. For this reason, it is not recommended that today’s worship service be given over to “children’s programming” as such, although it is always recommended that children be given as many opportunities to lead and participate in worship as possible.

REFERENCES:

  • Exodus 20:1-4
  • Psalm 19 (UMH 750)
  • Philippians 3:4b-14
  • Matthew 21:33-46

Prayer

Almighty God, your wondrous creation testifies to your wisdom. We are in awe of you as we witness an eclipse or a glorious sunset. When a hurricane causes destruction, we ponder your power and feel vulnerable. We would be lost without your life-giving word! Thank you for befriending us in Christ, your word made flesh. May your Spirit give us a loving, childlike heart to reflect your kindness each day. Receive our offerings in Jesus’ name. Amen. (Psalm 19)

For the Week ending October 1, 2017

01 OCT Seventeenth Sunday After Pentecost

World Communion Sunday

REFERENCES:

  • Exodus 17:1-7
  • Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16
  • Philippians 2:1-13
  • Matthew 21:23-32

Prayer

Most Gracious God, you hold each person’s life as more precious than we can imagine. When we turn aside from following your way, you urgently call us back to your way. Send your Spirit to give us a new heart to live as faithful people who show forgiveness to others. We dedicate our lives and our money to help share your good news with our neighbors. We pray through Christ your Son, who gave his life for the sake of the world. Amen. (Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32)

 

For the Week Ending September 10th

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.

REFERENCES:

  • Exodus 12:1-14
  • Psalm 149
  • Psalm 119:33-40
  • Romans 13:8-14
  • Matthew 18:15-20

Prayer

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)

 

For the Week Ending September 3rd

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.

REFERENCES:

  • Exodus 3:1-15
  • Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45b
  • Romans 12:9-21
  • Matthew 16:21-28

Prayer

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)

 

For the Week Ending August 27th

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.

REFERENCES:

  • Exodus 1:8-2:10
  • Psalm 124
  • Romans 12:1-8
  • Matthew 16:13-20

Prayer

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)

 

For the Week Ending August 20th

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.

REFERENCES:

  • Genesis 45:1-15
  • Psalm 133
  • Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32
  • Matthew 15:(10-20), 21-28

Prayer

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)

 

For the Week Ending August 13th

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?

REFERENCES:

  • Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28
  • Psalm 105:1-6, 16-22, 45b
  • Romans 10:5-15
  • Matthew 14:22-33

Prayer

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)

 

For the Week Ending August 6th

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.

REFERENCES:

  • Genesis 32:22-31
  • Psalm 17:1-7, 15
  • Romans 9:1-5
  • Matthew 14:13-21

Prayer

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)

 

For the Week ending July 30

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.

REFERENCES:

  • Genesis 29:15-28
  • Psalm 105:1-11, 45b
  • Romans 8:26-39
  • Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

Prayer

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)

 

 

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