September 6, 2015
Year B, Fifteenth Sunday After Pentecost
Fifteenth 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 and Communion to Gospel and Epistle with little concern for overarching theme.
Call to Worship (Responsive)
Adapted from Psalm 146
L: Praise the LORD!
P: Praise the LORD, O my soul!
L: I will praise the LORD as long as I live;
P: I will sing praises to my God all my life long.
L: Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
P: Happy are those whose hope is in the LORD.
L: The LORD will reign forever.
P: Praise the LORD!
We sing your mighty power, O God, which makes the mountains rise. We honor and praise you because we know the power and might of your love and works for your people. We come as fearful people, seeking to hear your word: “Be strong, do not fear!” We come as blind ones, who cannot see our own folly, hoping for sight. We come as deaf ones, unable to hear our own transgressions, hoping to be unstopped. We come as lame ones, unable to move for your reign, hoping to leap like the deer. We come as the speechless, hoping to sing for joy. Break through us with your Holy Spirit, like streams in the desert. Make us aware of your presence, and quench our thirst for you. Guide us in this time of worship, to hear your word, and to be your people, ready to spring forth in action for your name.
James teaches us in the second Chapter of his letter that “If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them ‘Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,’ and yet do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.” One of the ways we reflect our faith as a church is by the way we give. It is why we give to organizations and people and places who give food, shelter and clothing. As we pass these offering plates today, we bring an opportunity to show our faith, through the work of giving.
Loving and gracious God, who heals the sick, sets the captive free, and encourages our gifts and works. We come before you offering these gifts, and praying they will be used to further your reign on earth. Bless these gifts, O God, and make of them a mighty work. We pray in the name and by the Grace of Christ our Lord. Amen.
As Jesus journeys through the Gospel of Mark, healing the sick, he sternly orders them to tell no one. Mark 7:36 says “but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it.” We come to this table to be healed and forgiven from our sin. We come at the invitation of Jesus to eat, drink, remember and receive forgiveness. So, in the spirit of the Gospel of Mark, when you leave here today, feeling renewed and revitalized for the week ahead: DON’T TELL ANYONE why you are smiling and hopeful.
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