March 24, 2019

March 24, 2019

Worship Resources for
the Center for Faith and Giving

Third Sunday of Lent

Isaiah 55:1-9

Psalm 63:1-8

1 Corinthians 10:1-13

Luke 13:1-9

 We are pleased to offer these resources for the church, and we appreciate your decision to contribute to making them available.  Make your gift here: Thank you!

Call to Worship 

One:   We’re invited to a party!
Many:  It’s God’s party, and God invites everyone,
One:   so come, incline your ears.  Listen!
Many:  God’s love draws all to abundant life.
One:   We’re bound by God’s everlasting covenant,
Many:   and witnesses for the world, so let us worship the Lord our God!

Opening Prayer 

Holy God, we don’t often think of Lent as a time for partying, but today we give you thanks for your generous invitation to delight ourselves in your presence.  Like the reprieve offered a non-productive fig tree, help us bear fruit as your beloved sons and daughters.  Strengthen us in this hour of worship so we might produce fruit befitting your Realm,
in Jesus’ name, AMEN

Moment for Stewardship 

(bring with you a nearly dead houseplant and a flourishing houseplant)

Jesus tells parables throughout the Gospels.  The parable of the fig tree, in Luke, gives us a picture for this stewardship moment.

It’s as though the man who planted the fig tree realized it wasn’t doing well, and was not bearing fruit; a bit like this houseplant. (show the nearly dead plant)

Imagine this plant – and the fig tree — as symbols of church members who come to worship, but never give financially, share their talents, or offer time to engage in outreach or do basic work around the building.

Any wonder the owner is ready to toss out the plant?
Any wonder if we imagine God ready to toss out those who never give of themselves or their resources?

As we come to our time of receiving all we are prepared to give, let’s hear the appeal of the gardener: “let me work with it for a year, and then decide”.

For those who have ears…and eyes…see the beauty of a robust and healthy plant.  (show the healthy plant)

With your gifts today, may your life shine like the cared-for plant!

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Merciful God,
we give you thanks for Jesus and his parables.
We give you thanks for our ability and willingness to share from our lives.
So receive these gifts, and receive our lives, that we might become more and more like a productive fig tree.  AMEN

Invitation to Communion  (from Luke 13)

(plan to use “These I Lay Down” from Chalice Hymnal #391 as a solo, your communion hymn, or simply quote from John Bell’s words)

In this Lenten season, we’re invited to look inside and recognize “the sorry things within”.  No matter what face we put on, or how we try to present ourselves to others, each one of us knows we have fallen short of the life to which we’re called as followers of Jesus.

Are others worse than I am?  Jesus rightly sets his disciples straight, saying, “unless you repent, you will all perish”.

Today, as we prepare to come to this table, take your time and step into an inner place.  Face the reality of what you see.

Consider your own life, as we hear/sing “These I Lay Down”.