August 29, 2021

Worship Resources

Pentecost XV

Call to Worship 

(from Mark 7:6-7)

One:  I invite you to take a moment to open your heart to the living God!
Many:  So many distractions around us, so much noise within us.
One:  Let’s center our spirits, so we can honor God with our whole hearts.
Many:  Let the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts
                lead us to truly worship our Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer.
One:  Turning our backs to the hubbub and chaos,
                 our minds and hearts now center on the Lord our God,
Many:  and so we pray.

Opening Prayer 

(unison, if you are worshiping in person; prayed by 1 voice if you are virtual)

God of all life,
    many of us are bored, apathetic or caught by our own “to do” lists.
Surprise and challenge us today with Good News!
Fill us with the compelling Word-made-flesh – Jesus.
Help all of what comes from within our lives not defile our world,
   but be rich and engaging love for neighbor and for you.  AMEN

Moment for Stewardship 

Mark’s Gospel text today tells of the Pharisees and some of the scribes who question Jesus about his disciples’ action (eating without first washing hands).  “Why do your disciples not (live/walk) according to the tradition … but eat with defiled hands?”

We’ve all been living in a culture in which we’ve been urged (vigorously!) to wash our hands multiple times a day – a particular action which makes sense, especially in this COVID pandemic.  We’ll continue to exercise caution, and perhaps sing our ABC’s, as we scrub hands each day.

But the Pharisees’ question is more than hand-washing.  It urges us to question ourselves:  “how do I (how do WE) live/walk?

In our worship, we take time to demonstrate our desire to live/walk in step with Jesus, with glad and generous actions.  This time of offering our gifts opens the door for us to actively show we’re not caught up in the evil things which come from within (“fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice…envy, slander, pride, folly”) but we’re caught by the good which dwells in us!

So how will you live/walk in this moment? 
Let us each, let us all, act out our faith, as we share our tithes, offerings and gifts.

(If you have someone who can sing Chris Falson’s “I Walk By Faith”, or can show the music video
it fits here as offering music.) 

Chris Falson

I walk by faith    Each step by faith   To live by faith   I put my trust in You
I walk by faith    Each step by faith   To live by faith   I put my trust in You

Prayer of Thanksgiving

With our faith in you, Generous God, we offer you these gifts. 
Receive them as signs of our desire to walk in the Way of Jesus.  Use this financial support, and use each of us, to help smooth the path and broaden the appeal of those seeking to live beyond the expectations of society.  AMEN

Invitation to Communion 

A long-ago television ad for a liquid antacid showed a picture of a stomach, with the antacid coating the lining, smoothing the way and preventing the uncomfortable pain of heartburn.

When we come to this Table, fresh from hearing Jesus’ description of what goes in the stomach and out into the sewer (Mark 7:19), and his indelicate listing of all the evil intentions which come from within, what a gift it is to receive these communion elements!  It’s as though this bread and this cup serve as an antidote against what defiles.

In the gifts of bread and juice, we remember!  We call to mind, and focus our hearts, on these symbols of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. 

There’s little room for distraction, little space for heartburn, little opportunity for evil intentions when communion comes into us like the pictures on that ad.  As we touch, taste and swallow, we’re in communion with our brother, savior, and lord.

So come!  The table is set, you are welcome, and the feast awaits.