August 23, 2020


From the Center for Faith and Giving

August 23, 2020 

Lectionary Readings

Exodus 1:8-2:10

Psalm 124

Romans 12:1-8

Matthew 16:13-20


Call to Worship (based on Ps. 124)

Leader: Let us remember, when the world turns against us…

People: The Lord is on our side.

Leader: When isolation and grief threaten to swallow us…

People: The Lord is on our side.

Leader: When fear grips our hearts and darkens our souls…

People: The Lord is on our side.

Leader: Yes, God is with us, now and always!

People: Let us worship the Lord our God!


Opening Prayer

Loving God, we proclaim today that, because you are with us, nothing can be against us. So just as you are with us, we are with you, ready to give you our praise and thanksgiving for your abiding presence with us. Receive this worship as our expression of gratitude. Amen.

Moment for Stewardship

“Do not be conformed to this world,” Paul tells the Romans. But the world is so cool! It’s got all the gadgets and technology and attractions and bright colors and things that release our dopamine and make us feel good. And we like to feel good. So what’s wrong with conforming to the world?

If we conform, we can’t be transformed. Paul calls us to be living sacrifices, a concept that goes squarely against what the world calls us to be. If we follow the world, we are supposed to consumers, not sacrifices. We are supposed to take, not give. We are supposed to conform, not be transformed.


But the gifts God has given us are not meant to be used for ourselves, but for the building up of the body of Christ. We are called to sacrifice some of what we have in order to be transformed from people of this world to children of God. Each and every day we give in order to be transformed. Let us collect our tithes and offerings.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Gracious God, you have given us so much and called us to share it with others. May we use our gifts, including our resources, to transform ourselves and this world to look more like your kingdom. May this sacrifice be pleasing to you, O God. May it be good and acceptable and perfect in your sight. Amen.

Invitation to Communion

Jesus is hard to pin down. Sometimes he welcomes little children into his presence, but other times he turns over tables. At times he touches lepers and casts out demons, but at other times he scolds the disciples for their lack of faith or turns away his own family. He comforts sinners yet curses religious leaders. Who is this Jesus, anyway?


Who do you say Jesus is? When we come to this table, we are making a bold claim about Jesus’ identity for us. Along with Peter, we are saying Jesus is the Messiah, the son of God, and we are accepting the gift he offers us at this table. While others push and pull to claim they know who Jesus really is, we simply humble ourselves at this table, not seeking to take anything, but to receive. It’s not our responsibility to know Jesus as it is to let ourselves be known by him.


When we take these elements, we are opening ourselves us to the presence of Christ within us. We are not just claiming who Christ is, we are letting ourselves be claimed by the One who died so that we may know new life. Come to this table, making the bold statement that Christ is not just the Messiah, but that Christ is YOUR Messiah. Let us share in communion together.