September 8, 2019

September 8, 2019

Proper 18

Worship Resources for
the Center for Faith and Giving

Jeremiah 18:1-11 

Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18 

Philemon 1-21

 Luke 14:25-33


Call to Worship (from Jeremiah 18)

One: Come!  Let’s unite our hearts and voices to praise God!
Many: For God is able to deal with us as a potter working clay.
One: The creator of heaven and earth can bring beauty for those
who turn away from evil.
Many: The One who forms us yearns to make our world something
Like a potter at the wheel, so God seeks to create good.
So we turn our hearts and our lives to honor the Lord,
offering our words of prayer in thanksgiving to the Artist.

Opening Prayer  (from Jeremiah and Philemon)

God, created by you as people of beauty and purpose, we thank you for the love you offer us and all people of faith.  We’re grateful we can gather freely to express our faith in Jesus as Lord of life. Encourage us to share our faith, knowing all the good we may do, providing joy and encouragement, refreshing others.  AMEN

Moment for Stewardship 

We don’t often talk out loud in this congregation about the cost of discipleship.  We presume folks know there is some cost to belonging to a church.  Most of us accept there is a time in worship when the deacons pass an offering tray, recognizing we’re free to make a contribution or simply pass the tray to the person sitting next to us.

Jesus, however, teaches the crowds traveling with him about the high cost of being a disciple.

Hate your family.
Carry a cross (the hated tool of Roman punishment and death).
Give up all your possessions.

Hard words!  This business of being a disciple is not for sissies!

Today, as we receive our morning offering, I invite you to measure what you are giving (are you giving anything?) against the challenge Jesus offered the crowds.

Then, when you’ve measured the difference, perhaps when you’re alone, face yourself in a mirror and ask:  What am I truly willing to give?
What am I willing to DO, to show myself and the world I am one of Jesus’ disciples?

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Great Potter of creation, thank you for moments you challenge us to be fully aware of you. Thank you for the reality-check which comes through scripture.  Thank you for this opportunity to measure what we are, and what we offer, against the high bar set by Jesus.  Thank you, most of all, for the gift of time, that we might take one step today and another one tomorrow, toward becoming true disciples.   AMEN

Invitation to Communion 

What a gift it is to come to this table, week by week.  As we’ve faced into Jesus’ teaching about the cost of discipleship, we need what is offered here.  For Jesus recognized the human need for forgiveness.

We are not the people God designed us to be.

We hear the words, and then, by default or deliberately, we decide “I will not put that teaching into action.”

We picture the image of God as the Potter, smashing the clay and re-forming it.  We hear Jesus teaching about the cost of discipleship and turn our backs; the cost is too high.

And yet…
Still we have bread and juice provided.
Still we know this truth:  Judas and Peter, Andrew and Thomas, Matthew and all the others were welcome.
Still Jesus offered them, and offers us, grace.

And so we sing our faith:   (either use this as your communion hymn or quote the words)

We gather here, in Jesus’ name.
His love is burning in our hearts like living flame.
For thru the loving Son, the Father makes us one.

Come take the bread, Come drink the wine, Come share the Lord.

No one is a stranger here, everyone belongs.
Finding our forgiveness here, we in turn forgive all wrongs.

He joins us here, he breaks the bread.
The Lord who pours the cup is risen from the dead.

The one we love the most is now our gracious host
Come take the bread, Come drink the cup, Come share the Lord.

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