For Sunday February 19, 2012
Year B, Seventh Sunday after Epiphany
BEGIN WEEK OF COMPASSION
Sixth Sunday after Epiphany :: Green :: 2 Kings 2:1-12 :: Psalm 50:1-6 :: 2 Corinthians 4:3-6 :: Mark 9:2-9
Call to Worship (Responsive)
Adapted from Psalm 50
L: The Mighty one, God the LORD, speaks and summons the earth;
P: Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth.
L: God calls to the heavens above and to the earth;
P: “Gather to me my faithful ones, who made a covenant with me.”
L: The heavens declare God’s righteousness,
P: for God alone is judge.
Invocation (from 2 Kings):
We Gather in your presence, O Mighty one, seeking to remain near to you. As you live, O God, and as each of us does also, we vow we shall not leave your side. You call us to land and water, make impossible crossings safe and dry, you nourish our souls. Touch us this day, O God, and let each of us receive, not just a portion of your spirit, but a double portion. Feed us with the presence we crave, and guide us in lives of righteous obedience. We come seeking your presence, so lay your mantle upon us, we pray, and grant us your peace.
Today marks the beginning of the “Week of Compassion”, in which we support and honor our ministry of response and care. In Paul’s second letter to the church at Corinth, he reminds us that “it is the God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” Paul also reminds us that this extraordinary power to let the light of Christ shine through us comes from God. The theme for the Week of Compassion Special Offerings this year is “Giving brings Joy to others.” When we give in response to the reality that there are others who will need to see the light of Christ, for whatever reason of tragedy: flood, famine, war or strife, we “Let light shine out of darkness.” As we receive not only our tithes, but special offerings for the Week of Compassion, let us give knowing that these gifts will bring joy (and the light of Christ) to others.
O God of all people and places, who created all the earth and called it good. We come bringing our gifts with the earnest prayer that you will bless them. Take these gifts, we ask you, and multiply them, so that the world may know the light of Christ in the midst of darkness.
The last Sunday before Lent begins is traditionally “Transfiguration Sunday” when we remember Jesus on the mountain with Moses and Elijah. You recall in that story that Jesus, Peter, James, and John climbed that mountain and then Jesus’ clothes become “dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them.” I have no doubt that the four mountain climbers were filthy when they arrived on that peak. That’s one of the things which makes the story about Jesus’ clothes noteworthy.
We come to this table with filthy souls. But we come to meet Christ, who can wash them to dazzlingly clean. He does it with three things: This Bread, This Cup, and a willing spirit. Two of the three are definitely here, will you bring the third?
All material copyright 2011-2012 The Jubilee Fund, Inc. and appears here through a partnership agreement with the Center for Faith and Giving. Permission granted to reproduce and use any of the above for Churches and Congregations to the glory of God without requirement of compensation or notification.