For Sunday August 31, 2014
Year A, Twelfth Sunday After Pentecost (Green)
Call to Worship (Responsive)
Adapted from Psalm 105
L: O Give thanks to the LORD, call on the name of the LORD,
P: Make the deeds of the LORD known among the peoples.
L: Sing to the LORD, sing wonderful praises,
P: Tell of all the wonderful works of the LORD.
L: Seek the LORD, and all of the strength of the LORD,
P: and seek the presence of the LORD continually.
L: Remember the wonderful works the LORD has done, and
P: PRAISE THE LORD!
God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob. You have called us together and claimed us this day. You have sent us a servant to proclaim your word, to lead us in singing of your praises, and to guide us in the offering of our prayers. Draw near to us, O LORD, that we may truly know your presence. Guide our comings and goings, our thoughts and our reflections, our very being in this hour; that we may come to recognize you, O Great I AM, and be prepared to say “Here Am I.”
Romans 12:9-13 says “Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.” When we give out of love for God and love for neighbor, we fulfill this call. We show affection and honor and truly serve the Lord. When we give generously of tithes and offerings we as a church are able to extend hospitality to strangers and contribute to the needs of the saints. As you bring your offering before God, do it motivated by love. May God richly bless us as we seek to give the tithes and offerings which make ministries of love, compassion and hospitality possible.
God of love, God of all that is good. We come today bringing our gifts, trusting that you will use them to show affection, honor and hospitality. Multiply and use these gifts we pray, that your reign will come on earth, as it is in heaven. Amen.
In Matthew, we read the statement from Jesus, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves, take up their cross and follow me.” Arguably, this is one of the most misused and misquoted statements of Jesus. We choose to forget that Jesus was in the process of rebuking Peter, essentially for being too human and not spiritually focused enough. Let us first recognize that Jesus both knew and was teaching his disciples that he must suffer die and be raised. Peter was trying to deny that possibility.
Instead, at least for today, let us consider that Jesus is challenging us to deny our human sides enough to accept the grace God has laid out for us. The grace he knew would come through this table; this meal of remembrance. Christ offers this meal to all who would deny their human side, and allow their spirit to raise up and follow him into the blessings of God’s eternal grace and forgiveness.
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