November 3, 2019 Proper 26 & All Saints

November 3, 2019

Worship Resources for
the Center for Faith and Giving

Here are 2 sets of worship resources for Nov. 3. 
The first is for those following the lectionary for the day.
The second is for those marking this as All Saints Sunday

 Proper 26

Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4 

Psalm 119:137-144 

2 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12

 Luke 19:1-10

Call to Worship (adapted from Habakkuk 2:1-4)

One:  Gather in, beloved of God!
Many:  We’re here, keeping watch, eager for what God will do.
One:  In faith, let’s write the vision God is giving us.
Many:  For the righteous live by faith!
One:  Today, we offer our praise to God.
Many:  This day, we actively wait, confident the
plain vision of God will be made known!

Opening Prayer

God, we eagerly seek to live by faith.
Even when it’s tough, we want to trust in the ways we are led by your Spirit.  So tune our ears, sharpen our minds and open our hearts to recognize how we might best serve you.  Let your presence fill us in this time of worship.

Moment for Stewardship  (from Luke 19:1-10)

For those who grew up in the church, the story of Zacchaeus is so familiar!
Do you remember the song?  (you could sing it, or have someone from the choir, or the children, sing:  Zacchaeus was a wee little man,
and a wee little man was he.
He climbed up in a sycamore tree,
for the Lord he wanted to see.
And as the Savior passed that way,
he looked up in the tree,
and he said, “Zacchaeus, you come down!
For I’m going to your house today!
For I’m going to your house today!”)

Wouldn’t it be GREAT if we all were impacted by recognizing Jesus, as Zacchaeus was?  Our stewardship concerns would be completely gone, for Zacchaeus offered to give ½ his possessions to the poor, and return four times what he had defrauded back to those who had lost money to this chief tax collector!

Today, you may not be prepared to make such a free-wheeling response,
but I invite you to respond with grateful hearts, because you’re reminded how Jesus cared for the poor and invited his followers to serve one another in love.

For, like Zacchaeus, each of us yearns to know, deep-down
1)  we belong to Jesus’ faith family, and
2)  the Son of Man came to seek out and save the lost

Let’s let our offering do the talking this morning!

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Merciful God,

Just a few days after we saw all the “trick or treat” costumes (and perhaps wore one, ourselves), we hear the story of Zacchaeus, and recognize how many of us are twins to that character!  We may not be “wee, little” people, but in our lives, many of us have turned our backs on the poor and found ways to cheat others out of some that belongs to them.

So accept our gifts this day, and challenge us to face up to our Zacchaeus nature, that we might respond with gratitude not only today, but in the days ahead, knowing you yearn to seek and save the lost!


Invitation to Communion 

Have you ever had the experience of someone inviting themselves to dinner at your place?

The story of Zacchaeus turns on Jesus’ recognition of the tax collector, and the way Jesus announced “I’m going to your house today.”

In some sense, each time we come to the Table, it is as tho’ Jesus is inviting himself to a meal right here in our church.  After all, someone among us prepared the cups and trays (if someone baked the bread, make note of this).  Several folks made this space ready, someone made sure the doors were unlocked.

But it’s Jesus who is the true host!  This is a feast created “in remembrance” of Jesus.  And the table is not limited just to those who somehow believe they are more worthy (those who would grumble if they thought the “riff-raff” were equal participants in this meal).

Today, before you take the bread or drink the cup, let’s sing John Bell’s provocative communion hymn, “These I Lay Down”, CH #391 (or have your choir sing it, or a soloist, if this is new and too difficult to sing without preparation).

This could well have been Zacchaeus, willing to lay down what would keep him separated from “Lord Jesus Christ, companion at this feast”.


All Saints Sunday

Daniel 7:1-3, 15-18

Psalm 149

Ephesians 1:11-23

Luke 6:20-31

 Call to Worship (from Ephesians 1:17-20)

One: Today we come together to worship the God of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Many:  We unite, eager to know what is the hope to which God is calling us.
One:  In this place, we look for God’s power at work,
Many:  not only in raising Jesus from the dead,
One:  but in declaring Jesus head over all things in the church!
Many:  So let us worship God,
giving thanks to the One whose power binds us together.

Opening Prayer

We lift our voices to pray, God, as we sing “Give Thanks for Life”, CH #649

Moment for Stewardship (from Luke 6:30-31)

Jesus’ teaching on the Plain was addressed not only to his disciples, but to the great multitude of people from all around.

This is not a pleading for people to come and follow Jesus.  It’s a difficult set of teachings, demonstrating the demand of discipleship:  “Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again.  Do to others as you would have them do to you.”

As we remember the saints who have gone before us, I call to mind ______
(name someone from your congregation, or someone well-known to the people gathered, telling of this person’s generous giving…)

[I might lift up P.E. MacAllister, who just died at 101.  He is reknowned for his generous support of his own congregation, of his community, and of the opera world].

Today, you are invited to join the great cloud of witnesses, sharing in a way you would love to see others share with you.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

God of all life, we do give your our thanks for the life of _________ (whose story we heard), and for every life we remember today.

Thank you for the generosity demonstrated by those who have gone before us, and for the opportunity we have to show our love in the gifts we’ve given.  Use them, and use us, to share Good News with a world filled with need.  AMEN

Invitation to Communion  (adapted from Joseph R. Jeter, Re-Membering, p. 142)

Time, someone said, is simply a way to keep everything from happening at once.  And that is a good thing.  If life had no orderly sequence of events, it would not be possible.  But there are exceptions to this rule, occasions when time fades before us.  Naturalist John Muir spoke of “those great thousand-year days” he experienced in the high Sierra (in John of the Mountains, Boston:  Houghton Mifflin, 1938 p. 213)

At the end of the film Places in the Heart, this is vividly demonstrated.  The scene is set in a little country church.  As communion is served, we see that all the characters, living and dead, are present to receive the sacrament.  Everyone is present at the table.  And everyone always is.

Friends, today, on this All Saints Sunday, we become ever-so aware, in the midst of our own thousand-year moment.  Everyone is already at the table.  We wait only…for you.