July 18, 2021

Worship Resources for Pentecost IX

Call to Worship  (from Ephesians 2)

One:  We gather, eager to worship the God who brings us together.
Many:  We once were strangers to God’s covenant.
One:  Remember: once we had no hope.
Many:  Yet now, in Christ, we’re brought together.
One: Here, there’s no room for rancor or hostility.
Many:  Here, we join with the whole household of God!
All:  Let us worship the Lord, our God!

Opening Prayer 

Holy Giver of Life,

Because we are held together by the cornerstone, Jesus, the Christ,
   we celebrate!  We cannot be strangers to one another.
So now help us rejoice in the peace which you provide
   as you reconcile us into one humanity.
May this worship hour build us ever more truly
   into deep community,
that all may recognize us as your beloved dwelling place.
Through Jesus, who breaks down every dividing wall,  AMEN

Moment for Stewardship 

In countless surveys, we are asked
    “how many people live in your household?”
For most of us, that’s a pretty easy question to answer.
We’d find it difficult, however, to come up with a number if someone asked
    “how many members are in the household of God?”

Yet that’s the way we’re described by the author of Ephesians.  Since Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, all believers are no longer “strangers and aliens”, but are members of God’s household.

And, as such, we have certain privileges and certain responsibilities.  (use this, or tell your own:  While I wouldn’t want this to happen, I’m confident if I were driving out of state and my car broke down, I could call on a minister or elder in that place to ask for a recommendation of a mechanic or repair shop.)

Just as each of us contribute for our home, so we recognize the expectation we will contribute here.  Our morning offering is one place where ALL can participate.  Whether you brought a check, will give on-line, or will dip into your wallet, you live into your identity as part of God’s household when you offer back a portion of your finances.

If your giving were posted on the screen (or in the bulletin) week by week, how would those numbers indicate your identity as a member of God’s household?

Let us receive our morning tithes, gifts and offerings.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Bind us together, Lord, bind us together, with cords that cannot be broken,
for you have brought us all near in Jesus Christ.  Now, receive these gifts as our offering of resources, talents and treasure, to build up your household.  Use them, and use us, to continue breaking down dividing walls of hostility.
In the Spirit, we pray, AMEN

Invitation to Communion 

In most every Christian church, there is a cross somewhere in the sanctuary.  (point to the cross)  often, on the communion table.

This symbol recalls Jesus’ death, when his body was broken and his blood was shed. 

Each time we share communion, we’re reminded that God’s gift of abundant life comes for each and for all in response to the death of Jesus.  Ephesians 2 declares “we who were once far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”

Know you are welcome at this table as you seek to be brought near to Christ.  These gifts are emblems of life, as well as death. 

So come.  Jesus, the Christ, welcomes you.

Come!  Come near to the cross, where we are recognized as
    citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.

(consider using CH #587 “Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross” as your
                   communion hymn or communion music)