Call to Worship
(from Psalm 1)
One: What delight it is for us, like trees planted by streams of water,
to stand and worship God.
Many: Rejoice! The Lord watches over us.
One: We bring our whole hearts to meditate on God’s teachings.
Many: Together we celebrate in God’s presence.
One: As one body, we prosper as we praise the Lord our God.
Many: So let us lift our minds and spirits to honor the Giver of Life.
Loving God, you offer us such abundance;
you watch over us in each day.
Thank you for this opportunity to worship you,
as we gather with our sisters and brothers in Christ.
Help us focus our minds, still our hearts, and recognize you
in the music, spoken word and Table feast of this hour.
Moment for Stewardship
(from Mark 9)
Ethan was nearly ten years old. His friends were celebrating as one after another received a Game Boy Advance system for their birthdays. Yet when his Mom asked “what would you like for your birthday?”, he responded,
“Mom, remember when we heard Pastor Paula tell us about the kids whose Mom was in a wreck? They were SO scared!
I really want to see if my friends would bring stuffed animals. I could gather a bunch and give them to the firefighters and to the police to keep in their trucks or cars. They’d have something special right with them to give every little kid who’s scared. Could we just ask our family and friends to bring some cool animals to our party?”
Ethan, a child of the church, recognized this as one way to welcome others in Jesus’ name! He “got” it! He was eager to be “servant of all”.
As we prepare to share our morning tithes and offering, how will you demonstrate your desire to act out your faith, in Jesus’ name?
Prayer of Thanksgiving
God of all good gifts, thank you for all that is offered to you this day:
or good intentions, for promised actions, for money, time and talent shared.
Receive these gifts as signs and symbols of the love we have known first in Jesus Christ. Accept them and inspire us to use them to share Good News with a hurting world, AMEN
Invitation to Communion
(from James 4:8)
The letter of James sometimes sounds like a didactic Dad, delivering a difficult message to children unwilling to listen.
Yet in chapter 4, we hear a short sentence of solid counsel:
“Draw near to God, who will draw near to you.”
No place in our faith lives is that truth more clearly illustrated than here, at this simple table. Here, often right in the center of our sanctuary, stands a table with two basic elements; bread, and a simple drink. We’re drawn to this meal by remembrance. Perhaps it was first your own parent, or grand-parent, who prayed here. Perhaps you’re here for the first time, but you call to mind another table in another holy space. Perhaps your mind flashes back to a church camp vesper service, or your own first communion.
These gifts of bread and cup draw us close to God, as we remember Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. This communion links us across time and space to others who have been drawn near.
You are welcome in this space. Leave behind any envy, selfish ambition, disorder and wickedness. Receive here the peaceable wisdom of God as you taste the bread and drink from the cup.
Draw near, trusting God will draw near to you.