September 23, 2018

September 23, 2018                Pentecost 18

Proverbs 31:10-31   Psalm 1

James 3:13 – 4:3, 7-8a  Mark 9:30-37


Call to Worship

One:  Happy are those whose delight is in the law of the Lord!
Many:  We come to focus on God’s law and God’s love.
One:  Today, we’re like trees planted by streams of water,
Many:  yielding our fruit in season, with leaves which will not wither.
One:  In all true believers do, they prosper!
Many:  So we come to worship God.

Opening Prayer  

We sing your praise, God, because you watch over the way of the righteous.
Today, we gather to give you thanks for your steadfast love which holds us,
and your congregation which surrounds us.
As we worship you, may we be nourished and strengthened, like trees planted by the water.  AMEN

Stewardship Moment  

Jesus regularly turned expectations on their head.

When his disciples were arguing about which one was the greatest, Jesus taught “the first must be last” and demonstrated this by bringing a powerless child into the midst of the fussing adults.

In an Indiana congregation, years ago, an appeal was made by visiting mission partners from Nepal. The congregation heard the request and began to talk about how they might squeeze a little something out of their meager “missions” budget to send as a small sign of encouragement.

Meanwhile, a young boy in that congregation heard the story of a Nepalese minister yearning for a horse to provide faster transportation to move between his multiple congregations in the mountains of Nepal.  The boy declared “I will take my lunch to school for the rest of this year so I can give my lunch money to buy a horse!”

Embarrassed by their small vision, the adults decided this was an opportunity to be servants of Christ, offering sacrificial gifts along with that of the young boy in their midst.

What began as a routine conversation became a conversion moment for the boy and for others in the congregation. Their offering put others first so the Gospel could be proclaimed across the mountains of Nepal and in the flatlands of Indiana.

How can we, today, show with our offering our desire to live as “great” disciples of Jesus?


Prayer of Thanksgiving

For the gift of children who help adults know the joy of giving,
for the opportunity to become “first” by stepping to the back of the line,
for these gifts of our heart,

we give you thanks, God who first of all loved us.

Invitation to Communion   

The Gospels are full of stories about Jesus’ disciples disagreeing and arguing with one another.  When Jesus called them on their argument , according to Mark 9, they were silent, after arguing about who was the greatest.

Followers of Jesus have argued about many things over the centuries since that time.  But when we come to the Lord’s Table, many disagreements dissolve as we acknowledge it is not OUR table, but it is the table where Jesus is the host, and all are welcome.

JC Hoekendijk, a Dutch minister, is quoted in a book about communion
(G. Wainwright’s Eucharist and Eschatology, 1982, p. 131), declaring;

“For every celebration of the Lord’s supper is a sign erected of the great coming banquet, and God wishes His house to be full.

The offer of communion is as open and free as the offer of the gospel:
Whosoever will may come!”

Come today, not because you must, but because you are as welcome as the child Jesus set among the first disciples.

There’s room at the table for everyone.

(if you can, use part or all of Carrie Newcomer’s video, Room at the Table,