Sunday September 17, 2017
Year A, Fifteenth Sunday After Pentecost
Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost :: Green ::
Call to Worship (Responsive)
Adapted from Psalm 103
L: The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love
P: The LORD will not accuse, nor keep anger forever.
L: The LORD does not deal with us according to our sins,
P: The LORD does not repay us according to our iniquities.
L: For as the heavens are high above the earth:
P: So great is the LORD’s steadfast love!
O LORD God, almighty, we have come before you in your sanctuary, each with our own needs, each preparing to come before you in our own way. We confess that we have not been united in our preparations, yet we are here. We have come to worship you, to sing our praises for your mighty acts. We have come to make our pleas, to ask your blessing and help. We have come to atone for our sins around your holy table. We have come because you welcome us. Guide us in this time of worship, that we will truly be your people, showing Christian love, even for those with whom we may disagree; for that is your call. Draw each of us nearer to you, that we will be nearer to one another in your community of faith. Help us in this time not to judge, but to simply praise, pray, offer, and accept. In Christ’s name, and by his grace we pray.
God prepares for us and our needs. Even in the midst of conflict and strife God is calling us toward a positive and hopeful future. How do I know? How am I so confident? I look at the fiftieth chapter of Genesis, when Joseph assures his brothers that while they meant ill will toward Joseph, God was preparing to save a generation. Today, things aren’t as good as we would like for them to be; the economy is not churning along at a high rate, interest rates on investments are low, and it seems like lean times. Yet, we continue to give to the work of God and the Church, because we believe God is still preparing and calling us toward a positive future. We will now receive the gifts which will help us as a church join God’s positive future plans.
Gracious and loving God, who empowers us with minds to think and hearts to love. We offer these gifts, acknowledging that not all of our agenda for how they will be used are exactly alike. So we offer this prayer: that all of these gifts will be blessed and used in your wisdom, guidance and will. Amen.
Matthew 18 reminds us in the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant that Heaven is like the Master; who DOES forgive the debts of the servant. What do we owe God, the Master? What debts has God forgiven for each of us since last we gathered at Christ’s table? At this table, we celebrate God, who through the gift of his Son, showed the depth of God’s willingness to forgive. Let us come to this table then, not with fear and trembling, but with thankful hearts. Knowing we are blessed by a God who forgives, not just seven times, but seventy times seven times.
All material copyright 2017 The Jubilee Fund, Inc., and appears on this site via a partnership with the Center for the 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.
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