May 24, 2020

May 24, 2020

Worship Resources for
the Center for Faith and Giving

Easter 7A

Acts 1:6-14

Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35

1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11

John 17:1-11

Call to Worship  
(inspired by Psalm 68)

One:  Sing praises to God!
Many:  Let’s lift up a song to the One whose name is the Lord.
One:  We’ve gathered to declare how awesome God is!
Many:  With voices from both near and far,
One:  in the sanctuary and from our homes,
Many: let us praise God, who gives power and strength to God’s own people.

Opening Prayer

Jubilant in our joy, God, we focus our energy on you and your saving grace!
As we offer you our praise this morning, renew in us the confidence that
you are in our midst, working in us through your Holy Spirit.  Thank you
for waking us up this morning, opening our eyes to see you and our hearts
to love you and love our sisters and brothers.  Blessed are you, Holy One!

Moment for Stewardship  (Acts 1:6-14)

In a time which surely was even more dis-orienting to the disciples than our current COVID-19 is confusing to us, the resurrected Jesus continued to appear to his disciples for 40 days!

His promise, as we hear in Acts 1:8, is that the disciples will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon them/us – leading them/us to become witnesses “to the ends of the earth”.

When we reach the time in worship when we’re invited to offer our gifts, this text names our reality.  We’re given POWER, as a gift from the Holy Spirit.  That is, first we’re GIVEN power as the free gift of the Spirit.
Then, we’re directed to be witnesses of Jesus, not just in our own homes, our own congregation or our own community, but to the ends of the earth!
(you could use the name of your county, state, region, the USA and the ends of the earth!)

What actions will you take today to live out your identity as a Christ-witness?

Let’s recognize we point the way to our actions with the offering we make.  May our gifts be the sign of our intention to live as truth-telling witnesses with what we say and what we do.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Holy God, with our whole hearts we offer these gifts as signals of our intention to live as to Jesus the Christ.  Free us from selfishness, greed and fear, so we might take on ever-greater roles as your beloved daughters and sons, telling the truth to a world dying to be resurrected. AMEN

 Invitation to Communion  (from Acts 1:13-14)

The book of Acts, in all probability written as the second volume to Luke’s Gospel, re-introduces the disciples just after Jesus ascends into heaven.  This group had traveled with Jesus, seen him crucified, and experienced the resurrected Christ over the weeks since that first Easter.  Now, the eleven (for the betrayer Jesus had died) were in an upper room back in Jerusalem, along with others.

Together, this group shared in life, “devoting themselves to prayer”, and becoming witnesses whose testimony would reach the ends of the earth.

They are our models, today, for the communion we know is possible.  Even when we’re separated in body because of the Corona virus/pandemic, we are ONE body in Jesus Christ.  No better way to demonstrate our connection than to share in remembrance of Jesus.

Long ago, Jesus took what was there at the dinner table, re-investing the matzo and wine with new meaning.  Today, we use whatever elements are available to us…and remember Jesus in our eating and drinking.

So take your bread/cracker/cookie/bar.  In breaking this, remember Jesus, broken on the cross.

And take your juice/wine/milk-and-honey.  As you drink, remember Jesus, who poured out his life that we might know eternal life.

Let these elements be at work in your body and in your life, that you may speak truth as witnesses of the Life we know in Jesus, the Christ.   AMEN