November 18, 2018

Pentecost 26

November 18, 2018

1 Samuel 1:4-20 

Psalm 16

Hebrews 10:11-14 (15-18), 19-25

Mark 13:1-8

Call to Worship
(from Psalm 16)

One:  In God’s presence there is full joy!
Many:  Gathered here, our hearts are glad, and our souls rejoice!
One:  As we come to worship, we’re drawn to a holy path for life.
Many:  So let us bless the Lord!


Opening Prayer  

We stand before you to bless you, ever-present Lord.
With gratitude, we rejoice because you are here with us.
Welcome us as we take refuge in you in this hour.
Dwell in us as we celebrate the good you offer all your beloved children.
Accept our praise, our highest offering, as we worship you, God in whom we trust.

Stewardship Moment

In Mark’s “little apocalypse” there’s much talk of challenges which are to come.  Mark 13 speaks of wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes and famines – all as indicators of what is ahead.

Later in the chapter, Jesus reminds his disciples “about that day or hour no one knows… therefore, keep awake!”

Nearly 2000 years later, there are times we can’t seem to help focusing on the uproar around us.  Challenges continue to emerge from political leaders, from natural disasters, from news we hear on a 24 hour cycle.

And yet…until the time comes that God breaks into this world, our job is to stay awake and respond to what is right before us.

We may not be able to stop a war, turn a storm, or slide past the disasters which fill the morning news, but we can offer financial resources to support this congregation and to reach beyond this place. We can focus our eyes and put our hands to use, offering our time and talents.  We can keep awake and stay alert to make the most of the time which is ours.

What will you offer?  Your gifts today are your response to birth pangs anticipating the coming of a new world.


Prayer of Thanksgiving

God of new life, we may not have a full picture of what is yet to come,
but our desire is to be a faithful part of your Realm which is already coming.
So receive these gifts as signs and symbols of our desire.  Put them to use.
Then bring us along, that together we might be part of all that will be revealed
in the fullness of time.    AMEN

Invitation to Communion

In Mark’s Gospel, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked Jesus about what was coming.  Jesus tried to provide some clues, but the disciples did not understand.

So often, even 2000 years later, we disciples don’t get it.  We’d like to know what is coming, and how the Big Picture will actually play out, especially when there are troubling realities all around us.

Yet we recognize we’re still in an interim time. We stand between the time Jesus talked face-to-face with his disciples and the time we’re living now.  No Big Picture is evident.

So we turn to the reality of this table, where we remember Jesus.

Here we claim the connection which binds us to the Christ, even though the Big Picture is still a mystery.  Here we taste the bread of life, and drink the cup of forgiveness.

And it is enough.

So come, be nurtured and nourished here for the work which is before us.
Come, find in these symbols our direct link to One who still goes before us.
Come, for the table is spread and you are welcome to rest a while before returning
to face the birth pangs of what is not yet born.

November 18 is also Thanksgiving Sunday in the US.  If your worship is focused on Thanksgiving, here are alternate worship resources, with alternate lectionary texts.

Thanksgiving Sunday texts

Joel 2:21-27

Psalm 126

1 Timothy 2:1-7

Matthew 6:25-33

Call to Worship
   (for those with Chalice Hymnal, consider using #716 as a combined call to worship and opening prayer.  Try using verse 1 of “Now Thank We All Our God”, phrase by phrase, in place of the redundant first line only.  Split the last line into two sections; “with countless gifts of love” ahead of the 4thspoken part and “and still is ours today” ahead of the last phrases)

If you have a soloist or choir available, another option is to use verse 1 of #717, “Let All Things Now Living” as a choral call to worship.

Opening Prayer  

God our Creator, we do rejoice in a song of thanksgiving!
We celebrate the harvest which is all about us,
the guidance you provide for us,
this time of sharing our glad adoration.
Hear us in this hour as we offer you our high praise for the good gifts you provide.
You are the Lord of Life, and we rejoice as we acknowledge the bounty of our lives.
Hear our prayers and our “hallelujahs”, in Jesus’ name, AMEN


Stewardship Moment

In this season of abundance, we remind ourselves of all that comes from God.
Our Creator provides every drop of rain, every ray of sunshine, every breath of air:
all that gives life.

For many of us, we recognize the generosity of God,
translating into this season:
autumn’s grain safely out of the fields and summer’s fruit canned or frozen.
The changing season evident as temperatures drop
and newly tuned furnaces click on.
We give thanks to God as we anticipate family gatherings –
including mellowed memories of loved ones around a table in years gone by.

We eagerly anticipate the ways God can fill us with a spirit of generosity
so we may become people of the harvest:
preparing us to share with open hands and open hearts what we have.

Our offering today will support _______________ (specifically name one or more ministries which will benefit from the offering, and note any special Thanksgiving offering – including the Christian Church (Disciples) offering in support of higher education institutions).

Let us bring our tithes and offerings.


Prayer of Thanksgiving

How can we thank you enough for all you have given us, Lord?
We have so much, more than enough to supply all our needs.
As we present these tithes and offerings, make us mindful of the people,
especially the children,
whose earthly needs you call us to supply.
In deepest gratitude, we offer what’s before us in the plates,
and ourselves,
for your service and your will.
In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

(adapted from

Invitation to Communion

The word “eucharist” is sometimes used to name this meal.  That comes from Greek words which means “thanksgiving”  (“eu” meaning “well” and “charis” meaning grace, or gracious)

So every time we gather around this table, it’s a Thanksgiving table!  No signs of turkey or cranberry, but in these signs of bread and cup, we recognize and remember Jesus.

Alexander Campbell wrote “you, my beloved, once an alien, are now a citizen of heaven; once a stranger, are now brought home to the family of God.”  (quoted in CH #401).  David Edwards, contemporary Disciple poet, put this thought into his communion hymn, “When You Do This, Remember Me” (CH#400).

So come; you’re no longer strangers, but are invited to share in this Thanksgiving meal.