For Sunday February 26, 2017
Eighth Sunday after the Epiphany :: Green ::
Note: Technically Epiphany 1 should have been celebrated on January 8. Since the Sunday closest to Epiphany (Jan 8) is also “Baptism of the Lord” Sunday, many will celebrate “Baptism Sunday” one week late, others may have chosen to celebrate it on the 8th.. We are including Epiphany 5 and 6 this week, and will keep up the “double cycle” until Lent. If you celebrated Epiphany on January 8, you will need to choose one reading cycle to omit during the season after Epiphany.
Call to Worship
L: The LORD is great in Zion, let the people praise God’s great and awesome name;
P: Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD.
L: Mighty God, lover of justice;
P: You have executed justice and righteousness.
L: Extol the LORD our God, worship at God’s footstool;
P: Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD.
L: Extol and worship the LORD our God;
P: For the LORD our God is holy.
Everlasting, Eternal, God of all creation: We have arrived at another Sunday and found a calling from you to come and worship. We acknowledge, O God, that you have called us here. No one is here by accident. We thank you for bringing us together and we praise your holy name. Help us draw nearer to you in worship and instruction. Expand the depth of meaning in your word. Guide us in your precepts. Glory, Honor, and Praise be yours, in the name of Jesus Christ.
When Moses ascended the mountain with Joshua, to seek the word of God, no one knew how long he would be there. The account in Exodus puts Moses’ time away from the Israelites at 47 days. Moses waited six days, on the seventh he was called onto the mountain, and then he was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights. On Wednesday we begin Lent, a season of forty days and forty nights, plus six Sundays, which will culminate in Easter. The same amount of time Moses was on the mountain receiving the commandments. During Moses’ season of preparation, we know the Israelites strayed from God, gave away their treasures, and built an idol.
What if we used Lent to intentionally give of our treasures to glorify God? What if Lent became the season we all strove to become tithers? What if this coming season of Lent afforded us the chance, as we gave up something, to take the cost of whatever we gave up, and added to our offerings? What then would this outpost of the Church of Jesus Christ be able to do for others? What then could our outreach efforts be?
Today as you bring your tithes and offerings, contemplate the season of Lent which is coming. Contemplate how the Israelites gave during the same amount of time. Contemplate how we as church might do it better.
Blessed are you, O God of Israel, who gave us the commandments, and led us out of the wilderness. We come before you bringing our gifts, filled with imagination of the good which might come of these gifts. Bless these offerings, O God, to the work of your hand. Use them in glory and majesty we pray.
On the mountain, God said “This is my Son, the Beloved; with Him I am well pleased; listen to Him.” Advice worth taking. Jesus said many things after this moment, including his admonition to keep this secret until after He was raised. Jesus has been raised and it is okay to tell the story. It is also okay to really listen to and obey the words Jesus said regarding this table: “Do this in remembrance of me.”
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Year A, Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany
Call to Worship (Responsive)
Adapted from Psalm 119
L: Teach us, O LORD, the way of your statutes;
P: And we will observe them to the end.
L: Give us understanding;
P: That we may keep your law and observe it with our whole hearts.
L: Lead us in the paths of your commandments;
P: For we delight in them.
L: We have longed for your precepts;
P: In your righteousness give us life.
Gracious, loving, giving God; we are gathered in your sanctuary prepared to praise your name. We come not out of habit or obligation, but out of love. Teach us to live the kind of lives you would wish for us. Guide us as we walk your light. Help us to represent the true meaning of what it is to be your disciples. We come offering ourselves in worship of You and your everlasting love. Accept our offering and make of us a blessed sacrament. We come in the name, by the grace, and for the sake of Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Stewardship Moment: (from Week of Compassion Materials)
Every week, dozens of children gather in a sparse room in Kampong Thom Province. They gather with their parents, grandparents, siblings, and friends to share a meal, to feed and be fed. This is not just any meal. In their bowls, children receive one of the most common foods of southeast Asia–rice porridge, but this version is nutrient-rich. In an effort
to address malnutrition and prevent stunting among the children of the province, Week of Compassion helps sponsor these meals.
In rural areas of Cambodia like this village, 41% of children do not receive adequate nutrition. This leads to chronic health problems, delayed development, and educational challenges.
By supplementing the diets of children, while also partnering with the community to develop sustainable agriculture, clean water, and relational resilience, Week of Compassion accompanies communities as they create a better future.
In this room filled with the aroma of rice and vegetables, you are here. As a grandmother spoons life-giving food into the eager mouth of her grandchild, you are here. Where people feed and are fed, you are here.
We will now receive our tithes and offerings, as well as special gifts to support Week of Compassion.
O God of majesty and grace, when we become aware of need, we wish we could be there. We wish we could physically be there to help, to hold, to care for others. We confess our life circumstances prevents that. So we give thanks to you for ministries like Week of Compassion, and offer these gifts before you. Use them to provide for those who can go, we pray in Christ’s Holy name. Amen.
In Matthew 5 Jesus gives a hard teaching: turn your cheek; give your coat and shirt; walk the second mile. On the surface these are hard things to accept in the name of Christ. . . .perhaps. When you put Jesus’ teachings in the shadow of the cross, everything changes. When the one who gave his life tells you to turn the other cheek, you turn the other cheek. When the one who with whip marks on his back tells you to give up your shirt, you give your shirt. When the one who carried his own cross asks you to walk a mile, you walk. We come to the table to remember the one who gave all . . . for you.
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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. Check out all of the awesome resources there at http://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu