August 12, 2018

August 12, 2018

Pentecost 12

2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33   Psalm 130

Ephesians 4:30 – 5:2  John 6:35, 41-51


Call to Worship (adapted from Psalm 130)

One:  In the face of all we bring with us this morning,
Many:  we join the Psalmist, saying “Hope in the Lord!”
One:  Together with the Psalmist, we declare,
Many:  “with the Lord there is steadfast love and power to redeem!”
One:  So let’s bring our hearts and minds to focus on the Lord.
Many:  Grateful for the forgiveness God offers, let us pray:

Opening Prayer
 We come to honor you, O God, and give you our thanks
for your presence in this place,
for your steadfast love,
for your never-ending willingness to forgive and redeem.
As we tune our hearts to be in perfect harmony with you,
accept our willingness to wait actively.
Like waiters in a 5 star restaurant, may we wait on you!  AMEN

Stewardship Moment     (inspired by Ephesians 4:30-5:2)

Do you remember a time when you tried on the shoes of your Dad or Mom?  When you wrapped your Dad’s tie around your neck, or put on your Mom’s best sweater? If you don’t remember doing that yourself, can you remember a child stepping into your shoes, or trying on your clothes?

So often, we learn by imitating the people around us.

What a challenge, then, to be instructed in Ephesians 5:1,
                “be imitators of God, as beloved children.”

Of course, we can no more BE God than we could be our Dad or Mom.  But we can strive to act like God, as a beloved child wants to act like a parent.

When we come to a time of sharing our gifts, the challenge remains:
how can we imitate God?
How can we GIVE like God?
Remember this familiar passage in scripture: “for God so loved the world, God GAVE…” ?

The reality is, we cannot out-give God.  But today, we’re invited
to give in love,
to live in love.
The English Standard Version says to “walk in love”
as Christ loved us and gave himself.

In many congregations, worshipers are invited to walk their offering to the communion table/altar, encouraging each person to act out “giving”  (consider asking your congregation to do this).  In the very act of walking forward, we demonstrate our intention to offer something of ourselves.

Whether the congregation actually walks or not, switch your routine and invite folks to sing “Siyahamba/Caminando/We are Walking”  (Chalice #442) as the offering is being collected.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Great, giving God,
Thank you for the abundant gifts you provide for your beloved children.
We want to be like you.
So help us imitate you, not only in the gifts we’ve brought and shared today,
but in our daily lives this week.
Encourage us to be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving as we step into each day,
so our actions will translate into building up your Realm on earth.

Invitation to Communion

Every time we come to the table of the Lord, we hear again Jesus’ words,
“do this in remembrance of me”.
This is our weekly opportunity to imitate what Jesus did in an upper room long ago.

What is it Jesus did?
Often we think of his four-fold action: take the bread, bless it, break it, give it.

These four actions come together at millions of tables around the world
to demonstrate Jesus’ love, poured out for those who seek to follow him.

As the grain is ripening in fields across the land, you’re invited to come,
participate  in this feast and in this hymn,
(Una Espiga/Sheaves of Summer, Chalice #396)
“we’re sharing the same communion meal,
we are wheat by the same great Sower sown.

One same hope we will sing together as we walk along,
Brothers, sisters, in life, in love, we’ll be.”