For Sunday, November 20, 2016
Year C, Twenty-Seventh Sunday After Pentecost
REIGN OF CHRIST SUNDAY
Twenty-Seventh Sunday After Pentecost :: Green ::
Call to Worship (Responsive)
Adapted from Psalm 46
L: The LORD of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge.
P: God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
L: Therefore, we will not fear,
P: Though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
L: Though its waters roar and foam;
P: God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved.
L: God will help it when the morning dawns.
P: The LORD of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge.
We come together, O God, in awe and wonder at the power and majesty of your name. We come as the remnant of your flock, gathered by your holy hand. We acknowledge and give thanks O God that you have called us together this day. We know that none of us are here by accident. O Holy and Righteous Shepherd, you have called us here to hear your word, to sing praises, to offer prayers, and to celebrate around your table of remembrance. Help us know your presence and your pleasure in our worship, O God. Guide our words and deeds. Be with us now and forever we pray in the name of your Son, Jesus the Christ.
Today is known in churchy language as Reign of Christ Sunday. It is the last Sunday of ordinary time before Advent begins. In the traditions of the church, we use Reign of Christ Sunday to carefully remember Christ Crucified and Risen before we launch into anticipation of the Baby. Today is a time when we “set the table” to look back and forth. One of the ways we set the communion table is by bringing our gifts. In the ancient church, Communion happened because someone in the church brought bread, and perhaps someone else brought the cup. It may have been planned or dare I say orchestrated, but the gifts came. When the offerings were brought before God, the leaders recognized the gifts and used them for communion. Today we do that differently. Yet, we don’t. The tithes and offerings we bring supply the bread and the cup; as well as so many other ministries of our church. As a leader, I recognize and give thanks to God, for the gifts we bring, which will allow us to celebrate a feast of remembrance. We will now receive the tithes and offerings which help make this regular celebration around our Lord’s Table possible.
Wondrous and Loving God who gives so much more than we could ever deserve, we come before you offering our gifts. We pray that you will bless them and use them to increase the Reign of Christ. We remember and confess O God, that they are a small portion of the many blessings which you have poured out upon us. We give you thanks, and honor and praise to try to make up the difference. Make us ever thankful as we strive to be this day.
If you watch television at all in the United States this week, you might be confused. Is thanksgiving actually happening? Or are we already leaping headfirst into Christmas? Here, at this table, it is Thanksgiving every week. Here we give thanks to God for the gift of Jesus, and the promise of forgiveness. Let us pause to remember our thanks to God for God’s many blessings.
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Scripture Quotations from the New Revised Standard Version. Online Scripture links a service of the Jean and Alexander Heard Divinity Library, of Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN