For Sunday May 22, 2016
Year C, First Sunday After Pentecost
First Sunday After Pentecost :: Green ::
Call to Worship (Responsive)
Adapted from Psalm 8`
L: O LORD, our LORD, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
P: You have set your glory above the heavens.
L: When we look to the heavens and the works of your hands,
P: Who are mere mortals that you are mindful of us?
L: Yet you have made us a little lower than you, O God,
P: You have given us dominion over the work of your hands.
L: O LORD, Our LORD:
P: How majestic is your name in all the earth!
Almighty and Everlasting God, who was, and is, and is to come; we come into your sanctuary to sing your praises and offer our prayers. We come seeking wisdom: the wisdom created at the beginning of your works. We come seeking the love of your Son, whom you sent to redeem us. We come hoping to be representative of the human race in which you delight. Guide our worship and our work so that we might become reminders to others of the creative love and wisdom you have put to work in the world through us. We offer these prayers in the name of God, the faithfulness of the Holy Spirit, and the love of Christ.
Rebecca and Luke Sumner wanted to do a new thing, to start a ministry where everyone is invited to feast with Jesus. They planted Our Common Table in North Everett, Washington, a ministry where all are welcomed and no one is excluded.
According to Rebecca during the first year the couple hosted many events in the neighborhood, met with people, volunteered at various places, served on boards and did what they could to get to know the people in the area, while listening and searching for God’s direction as they continued to serve.
Luke and Rebecca are entering the second year of ministry and Our Common Table (formerly Everett Christian Church), has established itself as a Christian community focused on welcome and justice. With many partners, including the Northwest Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and Everett United Church of Christ, Our Common Table has launched evening worship in combination with a community meal, an open hospitality space with special attention to welcoming neighbors who are experiencing houselessness or poverty, and other initiatives.
Each year the Pentecost Offering, a special offering of the Christian Church, raises funds for the new church ministry movement. One half of the offering is designated to the Region or Area in which the offering is taken, while the other half is used by Hope Partnership to support the recruitment, assessment, training and coaching of new church leaders. We will now receive our tithes, offerings, and our special Pentecost Offerings which help make these new ministries possible.
O God who makes all things possible, we come to you bearing our gifts. We bring them out of our sense of what else is possible through your Spirit. Pour out your Holy Spirit again, and bless these gifts. Use these gifts to spread your Good News, so that others may come to know the everlasting joy of life in the Spirit, which comes through belief in Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Did you ever notice the first word in Romans chapter five is “Therefore”? When I read that, it makes me wonder what that word is there for. In this case, it is there to remind us that we are “justified” in coming to this table because God has made us that way when we confessed our faith in the death, resurrection, and Lordship of Jesus. The whole passage reads: “Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand.” (Rom. 5:1-2b) Come to the table. Stand in the presence of grace, and know that you are justified in doing so.
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Scripture Quotations from the New Revised Standard Version. Online Scripture links a service of the Jean and Alexander Heard Divinity Library, of Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN