November 11, 2018
Call to Worship (adapted from Ps. 127, The Message)
One: We come to give thanks to God!
Many: As God’s people, we know if God doesn’t build the house,
One: the builders only build shacks.
Many: If God doesn’t guard the city,
One: the night security guard might as well nap.
Many: Together, we offer our praise, knowing
One: it’s useless to rise early and go to bed late,
and work our worried fingers to the bone.
Many: But with God, we can build beauty, know security,
One: and receive the rest God gives to those he loves!
All: So let us worship God!
Loving God, we’ve come together because we want to live in your midst,
to honor you with our offerings,
to praise you with our actions.
We gratefully acknowledge you as the Giver of Life.
So accept our gratitude.
Empower us to live fully in your presence,
not only in this hour of worship,
but in every moment of our days.
Receive our praise, our tithes and our holy desires,
as those who worship you in Spirit and in truth, AMEN
Jesus was forever turning things upside down. Mark tells how Jesus watched the crowd at the treasury, putting money in. We would expect Jesus to celebrate those making large contributions. “Well done, good and faithful steward”, we eagerly anticipate hearing Jesus say.
Instead, Jesus points out the gift of a poor widow. She offered two copper coins; together valued at a penny. Some scholars say this was equivalent to the wage for 10 minutes of a laborer’s day.
Yet Jesus commends the woman, who “put in everything she had”.
We are so far removed from this experience! It’s a rare thing to see what anyone is putting in the offering plate. In fact, most congregations seem almost embarrassed to speak about an offering. Some of us pride ourselves on how private we make the whole money side of church.
Today, let’s take a moment to re-write the “norm”. Imagine Jesus riding on a drone, just overhead, so he can see clearly what each one of us is contributing. Let’s also provide him with eyesight sufficient to read the amount on our checks, and the denomination of the cash in our wallet.
Now, what offering will you make? A large sum, because we are part of the rich? Or contributing all you have, even in your poverty?
Let us, under the watchful eye of Jesus, receive our morning offering.
Prayer of Thanksgiving
God we don’t like being uncomfortable when we come to worship.
Yet many of us squirm when we hear of the gift of the poor widow.
Please stand close. Renew in us a sense of confidence in your love for each of us, even as we imagine Jesus’ delight or dismay if Jesus knew exactly what we’ve shared today.
What we’ve given is a sign of our identity – whether we know ourselves to be rich or poor — as followers of Jesus. Thank you for our ability and our willingness to give of our financial resources to continue building up this congregation and this community, that your Realm of justice and love may be made known in our midst. AMEN
Invitation to Communion
In worship today we’ve been reminded of the poor widow, who offered all she had;
“her whole life”.
We can barely imagine that, and yet when we come to this Table, we once more stand before Jesus, who put everything he had on the line.
When he could have diverted, and gone the other direction, he “set his face toward Jerusalem”.
When he could have walked out of the Garden and left, he stayed to be identified by the kiss of his betrayer.
When he could have rallied the disciples to fight for his life, he walked alone to Calvary.
And we remember. We remember the last supper,
and his invitation to “take and eat”.
We remember the cross,
and his words, “Father, forgive them.”
We remember the empty tomb,
and the promise, “I am going before you”.
Jesus’ whole life, offered that we might have eternal and abundant life.
Come, for the table is set, and you’re invited to remember!
This Sunday is also marked as Veteran’s Day in the USA. It is the 100thanniversary of the end of the first World War (WWI). For some, it will be important to recognize 11/11/11, 11:00 AM on the 11thday of the 11thmonth.
You might find help for a moment of remembrance from these resources: http://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/53174/11_
And a review of the history of this day includes this information:
Armistice Day became Veterans’ Day by an act of Congress in 1954, changing its purpose and scope. President Eisenhower called on the nation to remember the sacrifices of those who fought in all our nation’s wars, to celebrate the contributions of all veterans of military service, and to rededicate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace. It is Eisenhower’s call that remains the three-fold purpose of Veterans’ Day: remembering those who fought and died, celebrating all veterans, and promoting an enduring peace. 1