Sunday October 29, 2017
Year A, Twenty-first Sunday After Pentecost
Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost :: Green ::
Call to Worship (Responsive) See also Psalter 746 Chalice Hymnal
Adapted from Psalm 90
L: LORD, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.
P: From everlasting to everlasting you are God.
L: Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
P: So that we may rejoice and be glad all of our days.
L: Let the favor of the LORD our God be upon us,
P: O Prosper the work of our hands!
Everlasting God, we come before you on this day seeking once again to intimately know your presence. Seeking to see a glimpse of the future you are calling forth for your people. We pray for a future which honors you and shares love for neighbor. Grant us a head start today in living out these commandments, as we seek to be your people. Guide our worship in the name of Jesus the Christ.
In Matthew’s Gospel, the Pharisees challenge Jesus by asking him which commandment is the greatest. Jesus answers with the Shema, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” Then adds, “The second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” As Disciples, I think we understand this fully, since these are the same principles which guide our church relationships. The idea that congregations could exist to love God, even with different dogma, and love each other comes right from Christ. We support expressions of church which allow us to be exactly who God is calling us to be, while at the same time making room for our brothers and sisters who do not interpret the scriptures in exactly the same way as we do. It is a challenging task. Yet ultimately protects all of our freedom. That, my friends, is Heritage worth celebrating.
Our tithes and offerings help to support the structures which protect and encourage these freedoms we enjoy as a congregation. We will now receive the gifts which make ministries like this possible.
Almighty and Everlasting God. You have called us together around a big table: a table which is large enough to include all who believe in you. We are thankful for the visionaries which allowed for a church as diverse as the Christian Church. We are thankful for their vision of freedom. Use these gifts, we pray to continue to grow your reign; that more may come to know the blessings of Christian Freedom.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonians: “Though we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. . . we were gentle among you, like a nurse tenderly caring for her own children.” I think this table reflects that spirit. Jesus makes demands of us. Yet Jesus makes those demands gently, offering at the same time the Grace and Forgiveness of this table. Christ knew from having lived life that we would not be perfect, and so offered himself that we could at least be forgiven. Come, let us celebrate the one who loved us so deeply at His table.
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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