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 90
L: Teach us to count our days,
P: That we may gain a wise heart.
L: Have compassion on your servants, O LORD.
P: Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love.
L: Let your work be manifest to us,
P: And your glorious power known to our children.
L: Let the favor of the LORD be upon us,
P: And prosper the work of our hands.
As we come into awareness of your presence, O Holy and Mighty One, lead us to awareness of our lives. Help us to count our transgressions and be aware of our sin. Help us, O God to seek good and not evil. Help us to establish justice, and be gracious to us. We come as your people, failed and broken, yet eternally hopeful. Guide us in this time of worship and into the world. That all may come to know the blessings of you our God, through us, your people.
Stewardship Moment (US Congregations):
Here it is stewardship moment and I find myself staring at the story of the rich young man who is told to sell everything and give the money to the poor. Suddenly we all are a little nervous. Good news, I’m not going to chastise you in that way . . . .completely. Digging a bit deeper, we see that Jesus is talking about the fact that the young man loves possessions and wealth more than he loves God: so Jesus challenges him. It could just as easily been the young golfer, told to stop the game and give his time to the needy; or the young musician, told to stop playing for pay and give talent to the church. This teaching is about what you love most, and how you give of it. As we bring our tithes and offerings today, I pray they truly reflect our love for God and what God is calling us to do and be as a church.
Stewardship Moment (Canadian Congregations):
As Disciples, we celebrate Thanksgiving with a special offering to support Higher Education Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). This includes the Colleges and Universities of the Christian Church, Our Seminary partners, and in the case of the Canadian Church, the College of Churches of Christ, which supports our students in Theological Education with direct grants. As we gather together our tithes and offerings which express another year of Thanksgiving to God, let us not forget to also support those who will serve and lead the church in years to come.
Eternal and loving God, we bring before you these our gifts: our tithes and offerings. We ask that you bless them and the givers to your service. Let each be a reflection and measure of our love for you and your church. Bless these O God, that your reign on earth may grow. Amen.
The writer of Hebrews tells us in Chapter 4 that “since we have a great high priest in Jesus, let us hold fast to our confession”. . . . and “approach the throne of grace with boldness.” Yes, we are sinful people. Yet when we confess Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God, and accept Him as LORD and Savior, this is no longer a table of fear. It is a table of grace; a table of love. Come at Christ’s invitation. Remember your confession and feel God’s love, grace, and forgiveness.
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