For Sunday January 26, 2014
Year A, Third Sunday after the Epiphany
Third Sunday after the Epiphany :: Green :: Isaiah 9:1-4 :: Psalm 27:1, 4-9 ::1 Corinthians 1:10-18 :: Matthew 4:12-23
Call to Worship (Responsive)
Adapted from Psalm 27
L: The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
P: The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
L: Hear, O LORD, when we cry aloud;
P: Be gracious to us, and answer when we call.
L: My heart says, “Come, and seek God’s face.”
P: We come seeking to behold your Holy Presence.
L: Do not hide your face from us, or turn away in anger,
P: For you alone are the God of our salvation.
Even in the days of Winter, when the days are short and the weather cold, we come, O God. We come because we want to draw nearer to you. We come to be in joyous fellowship with one another. We come to celebrate. We come to mourn. We come to catch a glimpseof your new day dawning, of your reign coming on earth. Again, we have come. Fill our spirits, enlighten our minds, use the words and actions of our servant leaders to break more fully into our lives. For we come in the name of your Son, Jesus the Christ.
Imagine with me that we are about to have a meeting. The topic: how should we divide this week’s offerings. Do you think there would be a disagreement? Would there be discord? Would every idea be embraced? Obviously we do not do that. Why? Because thereceiving and redistribution of money is not what the offering is about. Offering is about our opportunity to return to God some thanks for our blessings. Offering is about showing our allegiance to the overall mission of God and our love for God. We bringofferings because it is hard to set aside money to give, but it is even harder not to give to something you love. Because the cause of Christ IS something we love; because the Great Commission IS something we believe in; we will now receive our tithes andofferings.
We bring before you, O God, these tithes and offerings. We give them out of love for you and passion for the Gospel. We pray that you will use them, O God, to increase your reign on earth, as it is in heaven.
Matthew 4:17 tells us that after John the Baptist had been arrested Jesus began to preach “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near”; and began to call together the Disciples. The launching point of Jesus’ ministry was born out loss – the loss of hiscousin, John. The ministry of this table was also born out of loss – the sacrifice of the life of Christ. Yet in our case, there is a happy ending. We know now that this table is not only born in death, but in its defeat of death. Come to this table knowingthat it is indeed a sign that the kingdom of heaven has come near.
All material copyright 2014, The Jubilee Fund, Inc., and appear on this site via a partnership agreement with the Center for Faith and Giving. Permission granted to reproduce and use any of the above for Churches and Congregations to the glory of God without requirement of compensation or notification.