October 4, 2020
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Call to Worship (based on Psalm 19)
Leader: The heavens are telling the glory of God!
People: The firmament proclaims God’s handiwork!
Leader: The day and the night pour forth speech.
People: They have no voice, and yet they tell of God’s glory.
Leader: God’s laws are perfect and right.
People: God’s commands are true and clear.
Leader: May the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts…
People: …be acceptable to you, O Lord, our rock and redeemer.
Holy God, you have shown us what is good and true and called us to follow. Even when we go astray, you welcome us back into your presence to receive your grace. During this worship, may our words and actions represent the depth of our gratitude and the resolve of our hearts to renew our faith in you this day and every day. Amen.
Moment for Stewardship
The Ten Commandments have a bad reputation in our culture for being a laundry list of “thou shalt not.” And, to be fair, most of them say that. But God’s purpose in giving the law to us was not to restrict us from doing the things we want to do, but to free us for following and serving God faithfully.
The same is true with the command to give back to God. God doesn’t place that on us as a requirement. Instead, God offers it as an invitation to join in God’s work in this world. We have been blessed in abundance by God, so the only faithful response is to give back to God for the accomplishing of God’s work in this world.
Giving can sometimes feel like an obligation or a duty, something done begrudgingly or with trepidation, But God doesn’t say, Give or else.” We’re free to do what we want with our money. But when we consider all that God has done for us, how can we do anything but respond by sharing in God’s work? Let us now receive our tithes and offerings.
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Loving God, you created us and called us to be your people. Even when we don’t answer that call, you stay faithful to us. We pray that the gifts we offer today serve as one of the ways we honor our baptism and the call you have given us to be your light in this world. Use them and use to make your will known. Amen.
Invitation to Communion
The first Sunday of October is always World Communion Sunday, a day to reflect upon the ways that Christ’s sacrificial love binds us together as believers across cultures, time zones, and worship styles. Regardless of the table we use or the elements we partake, we are all a part of the one body of Christ in this world.
We need to remember this today more than ever. As our world continues to be torn apart by political and racial divisions, the message that Christ came for each of us and for all of us takes on a new urgency. Christ continues to offer a message of grace and reconciliation, and yet like the tenants in Matthew’s parable, we have murdered that message with our own greed and selfishness.
And so, we come to the table again to be reminded that we are so much more than individual believers seeking to work out our faith with fear and trembling. Instead, we are each a small part of a much larger spiritual organism, called to each do our part to embody Christ’s love in this world. This bread and this cup binds us together as brothers and sisters in Christ, a movement for wholeness in this fragmented world. Let’s share in communion together.