Sunday July 23, 2017
Year A, Seventh Sunday After Pentecost
Seventh Sunday after Pentecost :: Green ::
Genesis 28:10-19a :: Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24 :: Romans 8:12-25 :: Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
Call to Worship (Responsive)
Adapted from Psalm 139
L: O LORD, you have searched me and known me.
P: You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
L: You discern our thoughts from far away.
P: Even before a word is on our tongues, you know it completely.
L: Where can we go from your spirit?
P: Where can we flee from your presence?
L: If we take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
P: Even there your hand shall lead us.
Gather us in, O God of Holiness and Wonder. Join us together as a community of your faithful, called together by your word, and joined at your table. We come as infants and children, women and men, young and old. We come because we are your people, and you are God. Make of this Sanctuary a holy place. Anoint it with our awareness of your presence, and help us to leave this place knowing how awesome it has been, and sure that it is the very gate of heaven. We offer ourselves in worship in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Occasionally I find myself wrestling with the temptation not to give to the church. I suspect if we were honest, we all hit that from time to time. The gifts I bring here could buy a lot of things. That temptation, of course, does not come from God, but from the world in which we have been planted. I know God wants me to bring my tithes and offerings to care for others and share the good news of Jesus Christ. Yet we live in a society which tugs at our hearts to do other things with our resources. Today, as I bring my offering before the Lord, I choose God. I pray each of you will do the same.
We will now receive the gifts of tithes and offerings for the work of our Lord and Savior, to spread the word of God, and to care for others in Christ’s Name.
We bring our gifts before you, O God, as a sign of our love for you. We pray that you will bless them, and use them for goodness and love to prevail. We offer our gifts and ourselves again, O God, in Christ’s holy name.
Welcome to YOUR table. Did that shock you? Did you have a moment just then, recognizing that we always talk about CHRIST’S table? The Apostle Paul writes in Romans chapter 8 “. . . [we are] heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ”. Because we have been adopted as children of God, we own this legacy. So, yes, this is most definitely CHRIST’S table, but as ones joined with Christ, it really is YOURS too. Come to the table, and celebrate the gift of your inheritance through Christ our Lord.
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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