(If you use music videos, consider using Matt Redman’s 10,000 Reasons as intro music)
Call to Worship
(inspired by Psalm 104)
One: Bless the Lord, O my soul!
Many: We come to worship the Lord our God, who is great!
One: Praise God, who creates the earth, the heavens and the winds.
Many: Praise God, who continues to work, filling the earth with life.
One: The whole earth is filled with God’s handiwork,
Many: so let us bless the Lord our God!
With delight we come to give thanks for 10,000 ways you set before us
the wonder of your creative power.
For the beauty of this earth,
the glory of the seas,
the wonder of birds singing
and the abundance of fields golden ripe and ready for harvest:
we raise our voices in gratitude.
Thank you for your wisdom, poured out across time and space,
and for the gifts of your creation which inspire us to sing our praise.
Buoy us up in this hour with soul-deep thanksgiving,
spilling over to bless you
with our words, our deeds and our filled-up hearts. AMEN
Moment for Stewardship
(inspired by Mark 10:45)
So often in the Gospels, the disciples end up bickering with each other. Sometimes, it seems these twelve followers are like brothers who’ve spent too much time cooped up in the same room!
In Mark’s Gospel ten disciples gang up on James and John, pretty angry that these two “thunder clouds” are trying to grab places of honor on either side of Jesus when he’s sitting in his glory. Jesus steps in like a teacher with a room full of squabbling teens, and sets a larger context for his words.
“The Son of Man came…to serve, and give his life a ransom for many.”
What did Jesus give? Jesus gave his life as a ransom (that is, as payment or compensation). Jesus paid the price to release “many”.
Today, I invite you to consider what this means to you;
Jesus, centuries ago, set you and me free
from all that keeps us prisoners.
Jesus, centuries ago, invited disciples to follow him as servants.
What will you give, today, as you consider how you live your servant life,
becoming great as a disciple of Jesus?
Consider how your offering today is a symbol of the identity you have as a ransomed follower of Jesus Christ!
(If you have a choir, ensemble or soloist, use “Sister, Let Me Be Your Servant” (CH #490) as offertory)
Prayer of Thanksgiving
We continue to live in the world to which we’ve been called as followers of Jesus Christ. Help us now gratefully offer back our ransomed lives, through our gifts of time, talent and treasure. Accept what we’ve given today, and inspire us to offer you the best of who we are, in thanksgiving for the transformed lives we’ve received through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Help us be loving servants, even as Jesus taught and lived, AMEN
Invitation to Communion
Sometimes when we come to this Table, we’re caught by the radical intensity of what it means to share a cup with Jesus, the Christ.
When James and John asked Jesus to be seated at his right and left hands when Jesus came into this glory, Jesus responded with a question put into musical form nearly 100 years ago.
Earl Marlatt wrote this hymn for 1926 Boston University School of Religious Education graduates, which many dreamers have sung since that time: “Are Ye Able,” Said the Master. As we sing (or hear) it today, let this be the question you ask yourself: are you able to follow Jesus even through this meal and the challenges of living as his follower in the week to come?
All are welcome at this table, even though the meal comes at a cost.
May the guiding radiance of Jesus continue to draw you to God, today and in the days to come.
(use “Are Ye Able,” Said the Master (CH #621) as your communion hymn)