August 5, 2018

August 5, 2018

Pentecost 11

2 Samuel 11:26 – 12:13a  Psalm 51:1-12 

Ephesians 4:1-16  John 6:24-35

Call to Worship    (from Psalm 51)

One:  Gathered here, we seek God’s mercy on us.
Many:  We come to receive clean hearts from God;
One:   to have new and right spirits put within us.
Many:  We’re eager to be restored with the joy of holy salvation!
One:  As God’s beloved ones, let us pray.

Consider playing or having someone sing Thom Schuyler’s “Lead Me to the Rock”

Opening Prayer

God of mercy, for generations your people have prayed “wash me”.
We come today with life’s muck and mud clinging to us,
knowing you’re eager to help us move through the Spirit Wash.
Help us be ready not only to sitin this place,
but to open the doors so you can work both inside and out,
as we sing and pray, hear your voice in scripture and sermon,
and share around the Table of Jesus.    AMEN

Stewardship Moment  (from Ephesians 4:7, 11,12)

“each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
The gifts (given) were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ”

Do you ever wonder if some paragraphs just didn’t quite make it into the letters which were sent out to the churches?

Like in the book of Ephesians, where there’s a list of the gifts Christ gave people.
The list only has five gifts: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers.
All of which are great.

But there are so many gifts left out of this list.

Consider how many gifts are needed to equip the saints for the work of ministry.  Cooks and bakers, librarians and doctors, scientists and engineers… comedians! (name as many professions as you can of those represented in the congregation)

Surely somewhere, added even to thatlist is the word “givers.”  People who do whatever they do, who also deeply understand the importance of sharing their gift and their money.

Because that’s one way WE fit into the big picture. We are recipients of grace, and our gifts help equip the saints and build up the body of Christ.

Joyfully, let’s bring our gifts!

Prayer of Thanksgiving

God, thank you for calling us to life.
Thank you for the gifts we continue to receive by the Spirit.
And thank you for this opportunity to share our financial resources.
Use them and use us to build up the body of Christ on earth.  AMEN

Invitation to Communion

In Ephesians 4, we hear a clear distinction between children (those blown about by every wind of doctrine and by people’s trickery) and maturity (“the measure of the full stature of Christ”).

This reminds me of a child, eager to measure her height to that of her Mom.  Standing back to back, the child stretches as tall as possible, to make it appear they are the same size.  Then, if the measurement isn’t equal, the child may stand up on tip-toe, to trick her way into equal height.

But Ephesians goes on to say “speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into the one who is the head, into Christ”.

When we come to this Table, we’re not asking to measure ourselves to see if we’re EQUAL to Christ.  There is not one person here who is equal to Jesus if we measure by accomplishment, by capacity to love, or by profound connection to God in prayer.

Today, I invite you to take a moment to look around. So many are here, eager to grow more Christ-like.  As we come share in the feast prepared for us, find here the nourishment which helps build up not only our own body, but this whole “body”.
You are welcome here, where we’re building up into Christ, in love.