Call to Worship (from Psalm 111)
One: Praise the Lord!
Many: We’ve come to give full-hearted thanks to the Lord.
One: Great are God’s works,
Many: gracious and merciful is the Lord!
One: The Lord’s name is holy and awesome,
Many: so let’s lift our voices to praise the Lord our God.
Holy God, Creator of all life,
We come before you today, giving you our wholehearted thanks.
Because you show your people the power of your works,
because your righteousness endures forever.
Your deeds are wonderful!
You remember your covenant, made with your own people.
So renew us, filling us with your presence, that we may go from this place eager to honor you in all we think, all we say and all we do. AMEN
Moment for Stewardship (from Ephesians 5:20)
Some of you may remember learning “manners” from Emily Post or Miss Manners (Judith Martin). Both women worked to encourage appropriate behavior in every situation, including this: when you are a guest at another’s home, it’s appropriate to take a “thank you” gift.
I was reminded of that when reading our text for today from Ephesians 5:20. “… giving thanks to God…at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
We have the opportunity to mind our manners when we participate in this morning’s offering. Remembering we’ve come together in God’s temple, grateful for the many gifts God pours out for us day after day,
we respond with our thank you gift!
This is one part of demonstrating our intention to be careful in how we live! We come together to worship God, we feast at the Table, we sing hymns, and we offer back our “thank you” gift in the form of a portion of our finances.
So let’s celebrate this opportunity to act out our faith, and “mind our manners” as we share our morning tithes, offerings and gifts.
Prayer of Thanksgiving
(if your congregation is singing, consider using CH #379, “Accept, O God, the Gifts We Bring” as a sung prayer, or use it as a sung solo prayer) OR
pray the words: Accept, O God, the gifts we bring of spirit and of clay,
transform them into blessings on those we serve today.
Rekindle deep within us all a passion to fulfill
the ministry disciples have, empower’d to do your will.
Invitation to Communion
The writer of Ephesians provides specific descriptions of ways to live the New Life we have as followers of Jesus’ Way. We hear some “don’t do this” instructions, along with assorted “do THIS” notes.
What a gift it is when we can come to the Table, week by week, not to get drunk with wine, but to be filled with the Spirit! This is not a “happy hour” feast. Instead, we receive a tiny sip of juice and a minute taste of bread. This isn’t designed to fill our bellies or cloud our minds, but we take in tantalizing tastes, enough to satisfy our hungry spirits.
All are welcome at this Table! As you take the bread and drink from the cup, may you, too, be filled with God’s Holy Spirit!