Sunday August 20, 2017
Year A, Tenth Sunday After Pentecost
Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost :: Green ::
Call to Worship (Responsive)
Adapted from Psalm 67
L: May God be gracious to us and bless us,
P: and may God’s face shine upon us,
L: that God’s way may be known upon earth,
P: and God’s saving power among all nations.
L: Let all the people praise you, O God!
P: Let all the people praise you!
O God of love and mercy. We have come together to worship you. We come confessing that we are unworthy of this privilege; yet count as blessing your mercy to receive us. Fill our hearts with awareness of your presence. Shower us with your grace and mercy. Free us from the bonds of sin and guilt, that we may become your emissaries, to the ends of the earth.
In the 45th Chapter of Genesis, we hear the story of Joseph reuniting with his brothers, who had sold him into slavery. In verse 5, Joseph says “do not be distressed or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve your life.” How amazing is it that God can take a malicious act like that and not only turn it to good, but allow Joseph to have a heart of reconciliation around it? How much more can God do when our actions are motivated by the positive? When we bring our tithes and offerings, we say to God, “here is a part of the blessings you have given to me, returned to become blessing to others.” I am convinced that God uses those gifts to preserve life.
We now gratefully receive the tithes and offerings which make life preserving ministries of this church possible.
We give you thanks and praise, O God, for these gifts which we have received and all who have given them. May you bless and multiply them so that life can be preserved and your richest blessings known. Amen.
In the Gospel of Matthew we are told the story of a quick witted Canaanite woman who asks Jesus for the crumbs which fall from the Master’s table. We come to this table not as dogs looking for crumbs, but as Children of the Master. Loved, welcomed, and freely expecting to receive. There may be some among us who feel more like undeserving dogs, simply seeking crumbs. Today we assure you that at Christ’s table, all who confess their sin and seek God’s forgiveness will receive the full measure of Grace which can only come from God. Come. Eat. Drink. Receive the gifts of God as a beloved child of God.
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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. Check out all of the awesome resources there at http://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu