July 22, 2018
Call to Worship (adapted from Mark 6)
One: When we’ve worked hard, Jesus says “Come and rest a while”
Many: We’ve gathered on the Lord’s Day,
stepping aside from our work-a-day world.
One: Jesus offers compassion,
Many: for we are like sheep without a shepherd.
One: So we come to learn, as followers of the One who offers peace.
Many: We come to praise God, and rejoice in the care of our Christ.
God of all creation, you made the earth and all that is in it.
You sent Jesus to show us your Way of Love,
and continue to pour out your Spirit on us.
Thank you for Jesus’ invitation for followers to step aside and rest.
Renew us in this hour of worship,
that we might be refreshed and ready to rise up,
eager to return to the work to which you call us. AMEN
Call to Stewardship
We know something about walls: the great wall of China has stood for thousands of years, monument to the effort to wall out intruders. Hadrian’s Wall tried to separate the Brits from the Scots.
In Ephesians, we hear about a dividing wall which separates Gentiles and Jews. Such hostility! As though two different species existed.
Jesus came to break down the wall and bring peace.
In Jesus Christ, dividing walls are overcome!
Here’s good news: we no longer must be separated. In Christ, we are members of one household, with Jesus as the cornerstone.
Irish people may now say “the Troubles have ended”. Christians can proclaim “we are one people!” (if you have a particular way your congregation is breaking down dividing walls, describe that here).
In gratitude for the new community made possible in Jesus Christ, today we receive a “thanks” offering! Today, let’s see our gifts as signs of joy, as we continue to break down divisions based on hostility.
Prayer of Thanksgiving
God, we give you thanks for the ways you help build us together, overcoming walls and barriers which would separate us from others of your beloved daughters and sons.
So receive these tithes, gifts and offerings as symbols of our desire to live in peace with all creation. Use them and use us as witnesses to the over-coming power of Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray, AMEN
Invitation to Communion
Consider building a “wall” either on the communion table, between the table and the congregational seating area, or down the aisle of the sanctuary.
Invite the congregation to think of walls which separate; person from person, group from group, even church from church or within one congregation.
Describe how walls separate people from one another, and how hostile groups sometimes believe a wall can divide people effectively. Then read Ephesians 2:13-14: “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace; in his flesh he has … broken down the dividing wall…” and bring DOWN the wall!
Invite the congregation to serve one another the cup – each one holding the tray or the chalice for the next person.
Conclude the invitation with a proclamation: “peace to you who were far off and peace to those who are near!”