Sunday October 12, 2014
Year A, Eighteenth Sunday After Pentecost
Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost Green
Call to Worship (Responsive)
Adapted from Psalm 106
L: O give thanks to the LORD, for God is good;
P: God’s steadfast love endures forever.
L: We confess that both we and our ancestors have sinned;
P: We have committed iniquity, have done wickedly.
L: Happy are those who observe justice and do righteousness at all times.
P: Remember us, O LORD when you show favor to your people.
Almighty God, who sits on the judgment seat, who controls our heavenly acceptance. We come before you today as ones who know we are inept to be judged. We confess that our hope lies only in your Son. Guide us during this time of worship and draw near to us. Help us to know your will and follow your precepts. Lead us into your righteousness, and dress us in a manner to be worthy participants in this, your feast of joy. Guide us as we worship. Amen.
Near the end of his letter to the church at Philippi, the Apostle Paul writes “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think on these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard . . . .” The bringing of tithes and offerings before God is definitely something the Philippians have learned, received and heard. They knew that showing recognition before God that all we have and all we are is because of God, and returning the tithe and making offerings was honorable and commendable. I wonder: Do we truly remember that? As we prepare to bring our gifts before God, I hope you, like the Philippians, will truly think on these things.
God of grace and love. We have come before you offering our gifts, which we humbly present here at your altar. We ask your blessing on these gifts, that they might be used for the glory of your kingdom. Guide our hearts and minds as we consider the reality of whether or not we have honored all you have given us in that which we return to you. Help us as we think on these things. Amen.
In Matthew’s Gospel, we receive the parable of a king who throws a wedding banquet for his son. As Matthew recounts the story we learn the primary guests not only choose not to attend, but are cruel to the king’s servants. The king invites everyone from the streets to fill the hall, but then there is a disturbing twist: one comes who is not suitably attired and is cast into the outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. We speak frequently of this table as a table of grace. This is a table which welcomes all. As we approach this table today, I want to caution you that we not speak of this table as one without standards. This is a table of grace and forgiveness, and this is a table which is open to all who confess Jesus as Lord and Savior. It is still up to each of us to dress ourselves in the cloak of true repentance as we come to the feast.
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