Sunday May 27, 2018
Year B, Isaiah 6:1-8, Psalm 29, Romans 8:12-17, John 3:1-17
(check Textweek.com for direct access to a variety of translations)
First Sunday after Pentecost :: Green ::
(for those using liturgical colors, we’re in green from now until Advent 1!)
We welcome our new writer for these resources, the Rev. Linda McKiernan Allen, who currently serves as the pastor of the West Street Christian Church in Tipton, IN.
Call to Worship (Responsive) Adapted from Psalm 29
L: We’ve come to worship the Lord,
P: to ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
L: Listen for the voice of the Lord!
P: That voice flashes forth, shaking all who stand before it.
L: May the Lord give strength to God’s own people,
P: May the Lord bless us all with peace!
Or: Call to Worship (sung)
Use the Chautauqua refrain of “Holy, Holy, Holy” found in chalice Hymnal #51.
God, we come before you today, eager to recognize this is more than habit. Help us take this time to focus on you. Pull us beyond our mundane and ordinary routines. Allow us to step into your presence! With the angels Isaiah saw, let us sing: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of your glory!” Renew in us the confidence that our guilt is departed and our sin is blotted out, so we might eagerly declare, “Here am I: send me!” AMEN
In the United States, this is Memorial Day weekend. Although many people mark this as the beginning of summer, the first three day weekend of warm weather, or the Indianapolis 500 race weekend, it was begun as a day to remember and give thanks for those who died in the American Civil War. After WWI, the emphasis changed to be a time to honor all military men and women who gave their lives in the quest for freedom.
As Christians, when we come to this time of “offering”, we often consider this is about money. However, its deeper meaning is our recognition that we are stewards of the gifts God has given us. On this Memorial Day Sunday, I encourage each one of us to
not only offer the cash or checks we came prepared to give, but to offer the gift of your whole life to the One who creates, redeems and sustains life.
We give, in grateful recognition of Jesus offering his whole life. Let us offer symbols of our whole life in our tithes and gifts.
(consider having someone with a solo voice sing this, from Chalice Hymnal #380)
All things come of thee, O Lord; and of thine own have we given thee!
(OR: God, everything we have and all that we are has come from you. So receive these gifts, multiply them by your Spirit, and allow them to be used to give you glory! AMEN)
In many places, today is a great day for a picnic! Families and friends may come together, pull out the grill, crank up the ice cream freezer and delight in this time. For many, this day feels a little suspended from the ordinary push of Sunday chores, homework, and preparing for a return to work on Monday.
I wonder if Jesus’ disciples had some of that feel when they gathered in the Upper Room with Jesus? The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all set this meal at the Passover. What a celebratory meal! In joy, people would gather to remember how God brought them out of Egypt with a mighty hand.
We often take this time as a solemn, quiet and introspective time, but today, I encourage you to consider this as a picnic meal with friends. We don’t have Frisbees or baseballs, but we do have people connected by Jesus, who is our host at this table. It was Jesus who took the simple elements of bread and wine, and used them to imprint his message on his disciples: giving thanks to God, sharing with each one (even Judas), and inviting them to remember this as a new covenant in Jesus’ own blood.
Grateful for Jesus’ life, for his death and resurrection, and for the gift of the Spirit who continues with us at this picnic feast, let us come to the Table.