July 15, 2018
Call to Worship (adapted from Psalm 24, NRSV)
One: The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it.
Many: Created by God, we come to offer our praise!
One: All who come to this holy place will receive blessing from the Lord!
Many: We seek God’s face, even as we pray and sing.
One: The Lord of hosts is in this very place,
Many: so let us worship God!
(adapted from Psalm 24, The Message)
One: Wake up, you sleepyhead city! Wake up, you sleepyhead people!
One: King-Glory is ready to enter.
Many: God claims the World and all who live on it.
One: God is at our side; with God’s help we will make it.
Many: This is what happens to God-seekers!
In the beauty of this day, we gather to worship you, Creator God.
With thanksgiving, we offer our praise and celebrate God-with-us.
In these moments, encourage us to rejoice in the blessings you give us:
the riches of your grace, the seal of your Spirit.
Wide-awake, we come to worship You!
Call to Stewardship
In the introductory words of Ephesians, we’re reminded Christians are adopted by God. In many places, adoption leads to taking on a new name (or perhaps new names…both given names and family names).
Here, we’re known as “Christians” – followers of Christ! And, legally, when someone is adopted, that person becomes an equal inheritor with others in the family.
Now in America, many people know of, or have lived out, horror stories
*of those who waste their inheritance,
*those who get scammed by “investors” who bilk them of their money,
*those who are destroyed by inheriting resources they cannot handle.
But this is great! This inheritance is one in which we’re encouraged to live
to praise Christ. Our lives are no longer simply about US (about “me”). Now, we’re part of a larger community: we’re joint heirs, with Jesus. (If your congregation sings Bill Gaither’s “Family of God”, this would be a good Sunday to use it)
One way we make sure we don’t waste our inheritance in Christ, is to use the financial gifts we have (whether from our own work, or through inheritance) to invest in the life of the church – Christ’s hands and feet at work.
Today, we invite you to respond with generosity, bringing your tithes, gifts and offerings, knowing all things come from God and have been given to us to “steward”, or care for them.
What can you give back? What will you direct to the on-going life of Christ’s body, the Church?
Prayer of Thanksgiving
With gratitude, God, we return to you a portion of what you have given us. Thank you for adopting us as beloved daughters and sons, equal inheritors with Christ!
Please receive these gifts, and strengthen our intention to use all you’ve given us to praise Christ in our individual lives and through the life of the church. AMEN
We don’t often use the word “redeemed” any more. In long-ago days, we might have spoken about “redeeming our green stamps” (remember those stamps your Mom or Grandmom used to collect?), or “redeeming our soda bottles” (an early form of re-cycling!).
In Ephesians, we hear the affirmation “we have redemption through his blood (and) the forgiveness of our trespasses.”
Those may seem like confusing or complicated words, but their meaning is lived out at this table. In this meal of bread and cup, we’re given symbols of Jesus body and blood. When we eat this bread and drink this cup, scripture teaches “we proclaim Christ’s death until he comes again.”
In addition, these symbols demonstrate redemption and forgiveness in tangible form.
So come, not because we all can speak in profound theological language, but because we all are invited to receive these gifts as signs of the wholeness we are given in Jesus Christ.
May your life be a river.
May you flow with the purpose
of the One who created
and called you,
who directs your course
and turns you ever
May your way shimmer
with the light of Christ
who goes with you
who bears you up
who calls you by name.
May you move
with the grace of the Spirit
who brooded over
the face of the waters
at the beginning
and who will gather you in
at the end.
Found at http://paintedprayerbook.com/2012/07/08/the-river-of-john/
Copyright Jan Richardson