February 16, 2020

February 16, 2020

Worship Resources for
the Center for Faith and Giving

6th Sunday after Epiphany

Deuteronomy 30:15-20 

Psalm 119:1-8

1 Corinthians 3:1-9

Matthew 5:21-37

Consider opening worship with a rousing chorus of “If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands”, including a verse of “live God’s way”

Call to Worship  (inspired by Psalm 119)
One:  Happy are those who live God’s way!
Many:  We come together to seek God with our whole heart.
One:  We praise God and focus on God’s commandments.
Many:  God’s word helps us be steadfast!
One: Praise God!
Many:  Praise God!

Opening Prayer 

Good morning, God.  We’ve gathered this morning from our varied spaces:  home, work, school, the local restaurant…
Together, we’re eager to praise you with upright hearts.
Thank you for your commandments which help us find not only happiness, but also joy.  Open our minds, hearts and spirits that we might grow in our capacity to keep the greatest commandments:  to love you and love our neighbors as we love ourselves!  AMEN

Moment for Stewardship 

We don’t often like to hear the tough teachings of Jesus.  He took the Jewish laws (which were demanding!) and expanded them in some radical ways!  Not only “do not murder” but “do not abuse a brother or sister”.
Not only “do not commit adultery” but “if you look with lust, you’ve already committed adultery”.

In Jewish life, a tithe (giving 10% of what was yours) was standard teaching.  Jesus expanded from that, teaching that ALL we have is God’s, and we show our love of God and neighbor by our generosity.  Abundant sharing is one way of acknowledging our gratitude for all God has given.

One seminary professor taught his students to begin with a tithe and move UP as God continued to prosper them.  At the end of his life, the retired professor was using 50% of his income to live modestly, and giving 50% away!

What is your faith attitude as we come to receive our morning offering?  Could you hand your gift (or QuickPay it) directly to Jesus with a happy heart?

Will you join me, offering not only your financial gifts, but your lives, to God this morning?

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Gracious God, thank you for this opportunity to return to you a portion of what you’ve given us. Help us continue to grow in our capacity to see all of our lives, and all of our resources, as gifts you’ve provided to us,
that we might mature into faith-full stewards.  AMEN

Invitation to Communion  (inspired by Deuteronomy 30)

Covenant agreements are part of the Bible, all the way from Genesis through the holy history of the Hebrew people.  (Remember,
a covenant is a promise made between two sides, often sealed in blood.)

In Deuteronomy, we hear God’s covenant with the Hebrew people, voiced by Moses, saying;

“I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.
Choose life … loving the Lord your God,
obeying and holding fast, for that means life to you!”

Today we use the word “covenant” to describe the cup we offer in this communion time; “this cup is the new covenant in my blood”.  It’s the agreement Jesus was making with his disciples.  We might describe it:
Take this bread and drink from this cup,
and you will find forgiveness, peace,
and eternal life as you remember me.

You are invited to be part of this covenant of love.  The table is prepared and you are welcome to share in this feast!