August 11, 2019
Worship Resources for
the Center for Faith and Giving
Call to Worship (from Ps. 50)
One: The mightyone, God the Lord,calls us!
Many: We are God’s people.
One: Today, we gather, eager not to forget God!
Many: Today, we bring our gratitude.
One: Thanksgiving is our offering,
Many: and so we pray, remembering we are held together by covenant.
God, you have brought us together and offered to be our covenant partner,
binding us to you and to one another in your love. Forgive us when we “play act”. Shake us up when we come to worship as if we’re coming to an empty exercise or a boring burden. Remind us in this hour that you are our God, Judge of all the earth, and show us your salvation once more! AMEN
Moment for Stewardship
Often when we come to this time in our worship, we move almost by rote. People who regularly come to church know it takes generous giving from many to keep the congregation “in the black”. We invite individuals and families to participate in the offering, encouraging one another to be “good stewards of the gifts God has given you”.
But in Jesus’ teaching in Luke 12, the faithful (called “little flock” as a diminutive word of affection) are directed to “sell your possessions, and give alms”.
The word “alms” is different than regular stewardship. It comes from a Greek word for “compassion” or “mercy”. Alms are a response of compassion in the face of the poor.
Our offering time today gives us opportunity to share as stewards – regular giving for the support of this congregation – but also as people of compassion, giving “alms”. It’s our opportunity to put our treasure where we want our heart to be! (for “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”)
(If possible, use the loose offering today for a specific person or place. Lift that by name, and invite the congregation to go beyond their “normal” giving to respond to the particular need. In Disciple congregations, that might be a special offering for Week of Compassion. In many congregations, you might receive this unexpected collection to pay for school lunches for children unable to afford lunch, or specific needs for a local shelter, family, or community project. Encourage folks to “dig deep”, or to come next week having sold something and bringing the proceeds as an almsgiving.)
Prayer of Thanksgiving
God of mercy, you have made us in your image. Thank you for this opportunity to respond with compassion, in imago dei, giving alms, beyond our regular, weekly giving.
Invitation to Communion
Jesus often helped the disciples and others recognize more about God. Often the teaching was about God’s generosity and God’s desire to provide for believers. When we come to moment in worship, we see tangible evidence of God’s intention to “give (us) the kingdom”.
This table holds gifts of bread and juice, true signs of God’s nurturing care. In one loaf, we, who are many, are connected, just as we are part of the one body of Jesus the Christ.
In one cup, we are united, like many grapes come together to be made into juice.
As we eat and drink, we have a glimpse of what God intends: enough for everyone, shared with all who come. No one is turned away, no one is forbidden. All are welcome at this table of the Lord. That, surely, is a sign of God’s Realm “in this very place”.