August 16, 2020


August 16, 2020

Lectionary Readings

Genesis 45:1-15

Psalm 133

Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32

Matthew 15:(10-20), 21-28


Call to Worship (inspired by Psalm 133)

Leader: When our world is torn apart by partisan politics, we remember…

People: How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!

Leader: When skin color because a point of judgment rather than a sign of diversity, we remember…

People: How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!

Leader: When our own fears and stereotypes cover over the image of God in each other, we remember…

People: How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!

Leader: We are called to be the one body of Christ in this broken world.

People: Let us worship the Lord our God!


Opening Prayer

Creator God, you have called us together from many places to this one place. As we spend this time in worship, knit us together through your grace, reminding us that we are reflections of your imagination and generosity. May this worship honor your creativity and call to love each other as ourselves. Amen.


Moment for Stewardship

Jesus was not a law-abiding citizen, at least not to the Pharisees’ liking. He continually turned the law on its head, negating the letter of the law in order to emphasize the spirit. In today’s reading, he says that it’s not what goes into the mouth that defiles, but what comes out of it that defiles.


The same could be said for the pocketbook. What goes into it is neutral: pieces of paper and scraps of metal. But when those things are put to use, that is where the trouble potentially starts. As Jesus says, “Wherever your treasure is, that’s where your heart is, too.” Jesus knows that we can defile ourselves by how we use our resources.


This is an opportunity for cleansing, to use what you have been given to further the work of God in this church, this community, and this world. This is a chance to show God that you control what comes out of your pocketbook rather than it controlling you. This is an invitation to participate in the renewing work of God. What comes from us can either defile or transform. Let us now receive our tithes and offerings.


Prayer of Thanksgiving

Loving God, you have given us so much, including the free will to choose how we use our gifts. We have chosen to give them back to you, trusting that you know the best way to use them in this world. May our gifts symbolize our gratitude and our heartfelt desire to be faithful to you and the calling you have placed upon us. Here we are, Lord. Use us and our gifts. Amen.


Invitation to Communion

In his letter to the Romans, Paul is trying to help the Gentile Christians understand the role and place of Jews in God’s plan. Paul reminds the Romans that God is, at heart, a merciful God. When it feels like God is far away, when we feel like we are being punished, when we feel like life is more than we can handle, we remember Paul’s words: “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”


At this table are the gifts. The cup representing Jesus’ blood, the bread representing Jesus’ body. These gifts have been offered once and for all, never to be rescinded because we are not worthy of them. Worth is not a criteria for receiving them. God only asks that we come humbly, hungry, ready to receive what’s been sacrificially given.


But this table also holds a call that is as irrevocable as the gifts. The call is to take what we receive here – the grace and mercy of God – and share it with others so that they may also know how close God is to them, even if God feels far away. When you take the bread and cup, you not only are receiving the gifts, you are answering the call. Let us share in communion together.

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