Sunday November 12, 2017
Year A, Twenty-Third Sunday After Pentecost
Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost :: Green ::
Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25 :: Psalm 78:1-7 :: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 :: Matthew 25:1-13
Call to Worship (Responsive)
Adapted from Psalm 78
L: Give ear, O people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
P: We will tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD.
L: The LORD established a decree in Jacob and appointed a low in Israel,
P: We will heed the command to teach this to our children, so that they should set their hope in God.
L: Do not forget the works of God, but keep God’s commandments,
P: and we shall celebrate the wonders God has done.
Almighty and loving God, you brought us and our ancestors up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and did great signs in our sight. You protected us all along the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed. Therefore, we will serve you, for you are God. We come this day to remember and to give thanks. Enjoin our worship now, we pray.
In Matthew’s Gospel, we recall Jesus’ teaching about the ten bridesmaids and their lamps. To say this is a troubling parable is an understatement. But from it, perhaps we could glean a new message. What do you suppose our “oil” is today? I suspect it is our spiritual lives. If we were living as though Christ is coming at any moment, how much time would we give in service to others? If we were living as though Christ is coming at any moment, how would we act toward others, especially our adversaries? If we were living as though Christ is coming at any moment, what would our giving be like? Christ IS coming at any moment. Let us begin to live as though we truly believe it as we receive our tithes and offerings.
Oh God of love and mercy, we confess that we do not always give our best. We confess that we do not always show our readiness for your return. We bring these offerings with humility, and ask your blessing. Teach us to be ready as the five wise bridesmaids. And use these gifts to prepare us for your arrival.
This table is not only a table of remembrance. While it surely is here to help us remember Christ, that is not all we do here. Here we feed our spirits. Here we nurture our souls. Here we prepare for Christ’s return: for as often as we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim our Lord until he comes again.
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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