For Sunday, July 12, 2015
Seventh Sunday after Pentecost :: Green ::
Editor’s Note: We are in the midst of about 25 weeks of texts which are less connected by one theme than to each other week to week. The lectionary follows somewhat sequential readings in the Hebrew Scriptures and the Psalms which supplement them. The New Testament Readings are also sequential week to week, but do not necessarily fit a theme. Given this, I will be attempting to tie Call to Worship and Invocation to Hebrew Scriptures, Stewardship to Epistle, and Communion to Gospel with little concern for overarching theme.
Call to Worship (Responsive)
Adapted from Psalm 24
L:Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD?
P: And who shall stand in the holy place?
L: Those who have clean hands and pure hearts,
P: Those who do not lift up their souls to what is false.
L: Lift up your heads, your gates, your ancient doors!
P: That the King of glory may come in.
L: Who is this King of glory?
P: The LORD of hosts is the King of glory.
Almighty God, LORD of Hosts, King of Glory, we come before you in the Sanctuary. Our hearts are filled with joy at being in your presence, our souls dance in celebration. Who could despise such glory and celebration? O God of blessing, as we offer ourselves and our gifts before you in worship, join with our spirits. Lead us in the dance which is pleasing to you. Guide us in ways of worship which heal and bring hope. We come in honor and praise.
And now a phrase you thought you would never hear during the stewardship moment: Even an offering can be abused. In the Gospels we hear the story of Herodius and how her dance so pleased Herod that he promised her anything she asked. Herodius asked the offering be the head of John the Baptist. Even an offering can be abused. Perhaps that is why God, who gives us everything and has the power to ask for anything doesn’t do so. Instead, God asks only for our heart. Our gifts, our tithes and offerings simply flow from that. Thanks be to God.
Almighty God, there is so much you could demand, and yet so little you request. We are humbled by your wisdom and grace. We offer these gifts as a sign of our hearts which belong to you. Use these gifts to further your reign, and to teach us to never abuse the power you provide or the love you give.
Have you ever had the chance to have dinner with a powerful person? Were you intimidated? Were you excited? Were you worried you might not have perfect Emily Post etiquette? Paul reminds us at the very beginning of his letter to the church at Ephesus that “in Christ we have obtained an inheritance.”That inheritance allows us to come to the table of the King of the Universe without fear. For here we are heirs to the one who set the table. Come and receive the gifts of our creator.
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