September 2, 2018 Pentecost 15
Call to Worship (adapted from James 1)
One: Gathered in this holy moment, we come, eager to listen and act.
Many: Here in this safe space, we are slow to speak and slow to anger.
One: As God’s own beloved ones, we welcome God’s Word,
Many: planted in our lives, pushing to grow in us.
One: So let us worship the Giver of Life.
Many: Offering our best gifts to honor the One who gives us life,
One: let us turn expectant hearts to hear and act on Good News!
God, as we come together to worship you, inspire us to become DOERS of the word. Through all of this hour: stories, singing, praying, giving — strengthen us. Prepare us to persevere with acts of love for you and for our neighbors. AMEN
In the short book of James, we hear “Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above…”. Take a moment to think back.
What is the most generous gift you’ve ever received?
What is the most generous gift you’ve ever given?
(Take a moment to let people think.)
(If you’re willing, share a quick description of your own answers, ask someone to share their answers, or invite folks to share their answers with someone seated close to them.)
Did awareness of your received gift help you decide to give a generous gift?
(here is an example from one minister; use this or your own specific one) This congregation has been the recipient of generous gifts over the years. One unusual one came from someone who moved away 50 years ago, but still was attached by memory and conviction. Out of the blue, we received a check for $5000, with the request that it go to renovations currently underway! This woman had read of our need and responded with generosity, writing “this congregation nurtured me and cared for me as a teenager and young adult. Now I am able to help create a space so that kind of care will continue for generations yet to come.”
Today, may our own gift-giving be a generous response to the gifts we first received from God and from the church.
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Thank you, God, for the ways you inspire us and generously model for us this act of giving.
You fill us up!
Our natural response? To share from our resources.
So receive these gifts, today. Recognize them as symbols of our very lives. Help us use them to partner with you, eagerly working to create a world of sufficiency, satisfaction and true shalom.
Invitation to Communion
Ralph Waldo Emerson said
“what you do speaks so loudly, I cannot hear what you are saying.”
Jung declared “You are what you do, not what you say you will do”
Jane Austen, in Sense and Sensibility, wrote
“It isn’t what we say or think that defines us, but what we do.”
These re-state James; “be doers of the word and not merely hearers”.
At this table, we’re grateful Jesus did not simply teach the disciples or the crowds with his words, but in an Upper Room, he acted.
Today, we, too, act. Like Jesus did, we take bread and bless it. We break it and then share it with each person who has come to share this meal. All are welcome here as we do this, remembering Jesus.
As the bread and cup come to you, offer them to the person seated next to you. What you do shows your understanding; we are servants of one another.