November 19, 2017

Sunday November 19, 2017

Year A, Twenty-Fourth Sunday After Pentecost 

Thanksgiving Sunday (US)

Reconciliation Special Offering (Canada)

Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Pentecost :: Green :: Judges 4:1-7 :: Psalm 123 ::1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 :: Matthew 25:14-30

Call to Worship (Responsive)    

Adapted from Psalm 123

L: To you, O LORD, we lift up our eyes, you who are enthroned in the heavens.

P: Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us.

L: As the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master,

P: Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us.

L: So our eyes look to the LORD,

P: Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us.


Loving God, have mercy upon us.  As we come into the church this day, we humbly ask an awareness of your presence.  Let us know that where you call us to go, you journey with us.  Assure us of your plans for victory in your name.  Guide us in this time of worship, and we will be careful to give you all the honor, glory and praise.

Stewardship Moment: – NOTE The Moment below will be best delivered if you edit to draw awareness to your local context. Selecting and inserting The College/University/Seminary settings with which your congregation most closely identifies will strengthen this Stewardship Moment.

 * Canadian Churches, see Stewardship Moment for Reconciliation below

How do you get ready for life? Not just your morning coffee, tea, or energy drink, shower and preparation for the day, but the bigger issue of getting ready for “all the world throws at us” over time.  Paul tells the Thessalonians to “put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation . . .  encourage one another and build up each other.”  Today we turn our attention to the Thanksgiving Special Day offering for Disciples  related Colleges, Universities, and Seminaries.  From Chapman to Bethany, from Jarvis to Midway [insert local affinity as needed here], from the Disciples Seminary Foundation, to Christian Theological Seminary, to Brite Divinity School our schools do just what Paul suggested to prepare our students for life.  Under the protection of faith, hope and love our students are challenged and nurtured.   We are called to exercise the role of encouraging and building up.  Please consider along with your tithes to this body of faith, making an offering to build up these students who are preparing to take on the world with our help.

Offertory Prayer:

Oh God of Mercy and hope.  We come today to bring our gifts before you, offering them with the sincere hope they will be used to build up the body of Christ.  Take these gifts and use them to multiply your reign on earth, as it is in heaven.  Bless each who brings them, we pray, to work to do the same, in Christ’s name, by His grace, and for His sake. Amen.

*Stewardship Moment for Reconciliation (Canada Emphasis)

Philippians 2:3 and 4 say: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves.  Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. (NRSV) Today is the beginning of our Disciples emphasis on Reconciliation:  A time when we look to the inequalities of our past, and seek to heal our superiority complexes in the now and into the future.  Too often those of us from privileged backgrounds forget that even if we personally have never abused or disrespected another, our society of privilege is built on the backs of those who might have.  It is time for healing to commence.  Today let us bring not only our tithes for this church and its ministries, but also an offering.  An offering built out of each one’s humility and desire to look to the interests of others. Let us receive the tithes and offerings which sow seeds of hope.

Offertory Prayer:

God of all people.  We come this day to bring our tithes and offerings before you.  We give them with the prayer that these gifts will truly bless others.  We bring them not looking out for our own interests, but for others.  Multiply and use these gifts that all your children may know the confidence and peace which comes through your abiding love.  Amen.

Communion Meditation:

The parable of the talents speaks of faithful servants who take risks to multiply that which the master gives them.  Risk, by definition involves a chance of failure, a chance of falling short of the mark.  We come to this table as ones who have risked trying to live our lives in a manner worthy of the one who offers this feast.  Most of us have failed at some point.  Fortunately we serve a God who is not the harsh master of the parable, but the loving giver of grace through Jesus Christ.  Come to the table, enter into the joy of the Master with the knowledge that risking faith pleases the one we remember here.


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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