For Sunday February 14, 2016
Year C, First Sunday in Lent
First Sunday in Lent :: Purple ::
Call to Worship (Responsive)
Adapted from Psalm 91
L: Those who love the LORD;
P: The LORD will deliver.
L: Those who call to the LORD;
P: The LORD will answer.
L: The LORD will be with you in times of trouble;
P: And will rescue and honor you.
L: The LORD will protect those who know God’s name,
P: And will show them salvation.
We have entered our journey, O God. We are in the midst of our forty day preparation for your resurrection. And while the days still seem short and the journey ahead of us long, we eagerly anticipate all you have in store for us. Make us ever aware of your presence and guide us in your truth. Make us strong in your word, and help us on the way. We have come to worship you and offer ourselves before you. Accept our gifts of prayer and praise as we seek to follow your Son, Jesus the Christ.
As Moses instructs the Hebrew people in the ways and desires of God, he instructs them that the tithe is a pathway to prayer. As we read this, it becomes quickly clear that the tithe is not designed to “pay” for God’s audience, but is designed to prepare the giving for prayer. Moses instructs us to place the “first fruits” of our harvest, place it in a basket, and bring it before God. Moses says “You shall set it down before the LORD your God and bow down before the LORD. . . . Then you shall celebrate with all the bounty that the LORD your God has given to you and to your house.”
The tithe then is not a celebration of the abundance God has given, the tithe helps us recognize the abundance, and then we celebrate! Come, let us recognize and celebrate all God has given us as we bring our tithes and offerings.
Help us, O God, to see the abundance with which you have blessed us. Even the poorest among us is rich by world standards. Let us never forget. Likewise, O God, as we bring these gifts before you, increase our awareness of your multiplying power. Use these gifts to increase your reign. Increase our willingness to share in abundant gratitude. We offer these gifts and our prayers in the Name of Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Romans ten reminds us that “if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” We come to this table to confess, to remember, to proclaim, and to believe.
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