Sunday, November 6, 2016
Year C, Twenty-Fifth Sunday After Pentecost
ALL SAINTS DAY RESOURCES (Non-All Saints observance liturgy below)
Call to Worship (Responsive)
Adapted from Psalm 149
L: Praise the LORD! Sing to the LORD a new song.
P: We rejoice in the LORD!
L: Praise the LORD with dancing, with the tambourine and the lyre.
P: Take pleasure in us, your people.
L: Let the faithful exult in glory.
P: Let the high praises of God be in our throats.
L: This is glory for all the faithful ones of the LORD:
P: Praise the LORD!
O God of all the Saints, clothed in glory and righteousness, we come together in your presence and marvel in your wisdom and power. As we seek to worship you, guide our hearts. Give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation as we seek to come to know you. Open the eyes of our hearts, and let us know the hope to which you call us forth. Put your power to work in us today, O God, that we may faithfully represent the love of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Near the beginning of the book of Isaiah, we encounter the voice of God saying “Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean, remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.” What a difficult list to fulfill! Right? Together, we do those things. Our gifts, our tithes, our offerings collectively do good, seek justice, rescue the oppressed and defend the orphans and widows. Through our shared ministries, you do these things. Let us now receive the tithes and offerings which make caring ministries like these possible.
We bring our gifts, O God, acknowledging that we cannot fulfill all of your deepest desires for the best in humanity by ourselves. Take these collective gifts, O God, and help us to use them to fulfill your will. Guide our hands and our hearts as we seek to be your people. We offer it all in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
We come around the table of the Lord each time we gather. This time, as we recall the saints who have gone before, and surround us as a “great cloud of witnesses,” we give a special prayer of thanksgiving. Without those saints, we would not know the love and grace of this table. Without the saints who have gone before, our faith might be lost. So as we come to this table, let us do so with a spirit of thanksgiving in our hearts for all who brought us to this time of remembrance.
NORMAL SUNDAY LITURGY
Call to Worship (Responsive)
Adapted from Psalm 98
L: Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth;
P: break forth into joyous song and sing praises.
L: Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre and the sound of melody.
P: With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the LORD.
L: Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
P: The world and those who live in it.
L: Let the floods and hills clap their hands and sing for joy
P: Let us praise the LORD!
Loving and giving God, who meets us where we are and greets us where we are going, together we have come to this place. As we seek to worship you and praise your holy name, guide and clothe our worship with your Spirit. Fill us with your love and grace. Assure us of the salvation which is to come. Inspire us in the work you lay before us. Receive our gifts with grace. Lead us ever onward in the name of your Son, Jesus the Christ.
The prophet Haggai speaks to the remnant of Israel these words of encouragement from God: “my spirit abides among you, do not fear.” The people were discouraged, their numbers were down, their hope was low. God goes on to remind the people that all the silver and gold of the world belong to God. God can rebuild in mighty and wonderful ways. Yet God expects us to give. Why? Because where our treasure is, there also is our heart. As we bring back a portion of the gifts God has given us, let’s do so knowing that we give not out of God’s need to receive, but out of our need to show our heart before God.
We ask your blessings on these gifts, O God. They represent our first fruits out of our love for you. Bless and use these gifts to spread the good news with which you have already blessed each of us. We offer them in the name of Jesus Christ, Our Lord.
Paul reminds the church at Thessalonica that “God chose [them] as the first fruits for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth.” That reminder lives on for all who believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We join around this table to remember and celebrate the blessing of God for us: who are sanctified by the Spirit and believe in the truth. God has chosen you. Come to the table, remember, and give thanks.
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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