February 17, 2019

February 17, 2019

Worship Resources from
the Center for Faith and Giving

Epiphany 6C

Jeremiah 17:5-10

Psalm 1

1 Corinthians 15:12-20

Luke 6:17-26

 Call to Worship  (from Psalm 1)

One:  Here we are to worship!  We’re happy and we’re blessed.
Many:  We’re gathered to share our delight in God’s way of life.
One:  Like trees planted by streams of water,
Many:  we trust we will be fruitful followers.
One:  Like trees planted by streams of water,
Many: we come to rejoice, meditate and worship God!

The righteous take in God’s words as trees planted near streams take in water,

causing them to flourish

Opening Prayer

God, you are watching over the way of all who are righteous, living in right relationship with you.  Thank you for your presence in this congregation, and in our daily lives. As we focus on you today, we give thanks we do not
“sit in the seat of scoffers”, but instead we delight in you.
So continue to build us up, and help us grow to be more fruitful and whole,
so we’re fully prepared to share your Good News with all we encounter.  AMEN

Moment for Stewardship  (from Luke 6:17-38)

Jesus, the master teacher, stood in the midst of his disciples and a huge crowd, sharing a lesson for the day.  In classic form, he started with a stark and balanced menu of “blessings” and “woes”.

When we look clearly at this list, most of us want to be blessed.
We want to stand on the side of those “rejoicing/happy/blessed”.
We want to laugh, be filled, receive God’s realm.
We want to leap for joy, knowing we’ll have a great reward.

Jesus’ teaching encourages us (in verses 27-38) to understand what it takes to find ourselves ready to do a “happy dance”. It’s not easy!  It’s tough!  Among the challenges:  we’re pushed to share our financial resources, even lending to those from whom we can expect nothing in return.

How fortunate we are today, to have an opportunity to practice moving toward the “blessing” side, and away from the “woes”.  Today, each of us can make the decision “to love our enemies, do good, and lend”.  Today, our giving can help us demonstrate our desire to rejoice and leap for joy, knowing our reward will be great.

So let us share our tithes, offerings and gifts, in response to Jesus and his teaching.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

God of all good gifts, thank you for Jesus.  Thank you for his clear teaching, even when it’s tough, that points us to a way of life Jesus identifies as “blessed”.  Help us eagerly step into this teaching not only for today, but as we seek to live our lives as faithful followers of Jesus. AMEN

Invitation to Communion

 In these ten verses from Luke’s Gospel, we get a quick four “blessings”, followed by four “woes”.
This “sermon on the plain”, seems almost like “Cliff Notes” compared to three chapters of Matthew’s “sermon on the mount”.   But I want to point us back ahead of the blessings, when Luke sets the stage, describing why the crowd had come together.

People came to receive what it was Jesus was able to give. “They came to hear Jesus and to be healed”, including those who needing to be cured from the unclean spirits.

What about you?  Why have you come today?

I believe if we would ask that question each time we gather for worship, we might find more power in our faith lives.

This is more than “habit”.  It’s different than “the doors are open, so I show up”.  Deep down, at our best, we come to rejoice in God’s love and to receive what Jesus gives!

We come, week by week, to this table.  Here we hone in, and focus deeply as we receive tiny bits of bread and thimble-sized sips of juice.  In taking this bread and drinking this cup, we proclaim Jesus’ life, death and resurrection…the power of God at work, offering new life to each and to all.

For when we receive what’s presented as the trays are passed (or “when people come to break bread and dip it in the cup”), we’re declaring our thanksgiving for what Jesus gives us.  Jesus, our host, offers symbols of his life and love.

Thanks be to God, for this amazing gift of love so amazing, so divine!