For Sunday September 7, 2014
Year A, Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost
Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost :: Green
Call to Worship (Responsive)
Adapted from Psalm 149
L: Praise the LORD!
P: Sing to the LORD a new song!
L: Praise the LORD in the assembly of the faithful.
P: Let us be glad in the presence of the maker.
L: For the LORD takes pleasure in the people;
P: and adorns the humble.
L: let the faithful exult in glory, and
P: PRAISE THE LORD!
O LORD God, we are a harried people. We come into the Sanctuary with a thousand things on our minds. We come with sandals strapped and minds ready to conquer the day and week ahead. Calm us in this hour. Remind us of your excellent works. Let us revel in your power, vision, and purpose for each us. Help us to focus on you, and your presence. Give us ears to hear, eyes to see, lips to praise, and minds to understand the wonderful work of your spirit. Help us O God, to be fully present to you and delight in your presence, as you have promised to be for each of us.
The apostle Paul, in Romans 13, tells us to “owe no one anything except to love one another. As believers in Christ, who taught that his commandment was to love one another, it is the one debt we owe for all God has done for us through Jesus Christ. How do we show that love? We show it by living in harmony, by resolving our differences in faithful ways, by letting go of past wrongs, and by giving to the work of the Lord. Our human situation is one where we know that all of us will fail one another; and each of us will struggle. When we support the work of the church, we are giving opportunities to create reconciliation – between each other, and for all the world. We will now receive the tithes and offerings which make our ministries of reconciliation possible.
Almighty God, who weeps at the loss of children, we come painfully aware of the human situation and all of our challenges. Help us, O God, to not only remain aware, but to remain compassionate. Bless these gifts to your service that all may know your reconciling presence. In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.
A reading from Exodus 12 reminds us of the beginnings of the Passover meal. We read of preparations made quickly, with the Israelites ready to leave Egypt as soon as the Passover has ended. The story goes on to instruct Israel how to celebrate the memory in each year to come, with celebration and sharing. The meal we commemorate at this table grew from the Passover. I think there is something to be learned from that first Passover, when the leaders of Israel were instructed to come to the table ready for action. Today we are celebrating something very different from the moments of the first Passover meal. Today we come to the table in celebration and hope, not fear and trembling. Even so, how would our world be changed if we also came ready for action? What if we came ready to be nourished by this meal in order to go out and share the good news that Jesus first offered us in the breaking of the bread and sharing of the cup?
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