March 13, 2022

Worship Resources for
the Center for Faith and Giving

Lent 2C

Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18  

Psalm 27

Philippians 3:17 – 4:1

Luke 13:31-35 

During all six weeks of Lent, the call to worship in these resources will be designed for one or two voices.  The opening prayer will be framed in a more penitential voice, as we seek to draw closer to the Holy One.

Call to Worship
(from Psalm 27)

Voice 1: Come!  Let us wait for the Lord.
Voice 2:  As we wait, we see the Lord as our light.
              In our waiting, we seek God’s favor,
                 and share our confidence that we will see God’s goodness.
              We stand sure the Holy One will be our refuge.

Voice 1: With hearts and voices singing our faith, let us actively
              wait for the Lord, like waiters at the best restaurant in town!

Opening Prayer 
(2 options)

(have someone sing or speak this verse of CH #566 “Be Still, My Soul”)

Be still, my soul, for God will undertake
 to guide the future surely as the past.
Your hope, your confidence let nothing shake;
all now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul:  the waves and winds still know
  the voice that calmed them in this world below.


Eternal God, we come to you with hungry hearts,
  waiting to be filled: 
  waiting to be filled with a sense of your presence;
  waiting to be filled with the touch of your spirit;
  waiting to be filled with new energy for service.
Come to us as we wait, we pray.
Be with us.  Touch us. 
Empower us as your people that we might worship you here
   and act in the world for Jesus’ sake.  AMEN 
(pp. 529 Book of Worship United Church of Christ, written by Sally Stevens Smith)

Moment for Stewardship  (from Philippians 3:17)

In the letter Paul wrote to the Philippians, he charges them to “join in imitating me”. 

What does he mean by that?  Paul recognizes how new Christians need more mature faith leaders to help guide them.  After years of criss-crossing the countryside, Paul wants others to become as engaged as he is in living as a Christ-follower, so challenges them to imitate his own life.

As we come to this time of sharing our finances, who was (or is) the model for you?  Who would be the best for you to imitate as a generous steward of financial resources?  (share your specific example of the givers you imitate or tell the story below)

I heard someone describe a young boy as the epitome of one to imitate. 
Bill was twelve when he was baptized one December.  Shortly after that, Bill heard a visiting Overseas Ministries missionary speak about his life in Nepal.  Listening closely, Bill heard this man describe how he worked with eightdifferent congregations, but could only preach in two each Sunday, as he must walk between towns.  His dream was, somehow, to purchase a horse, which would allow the missionary to ride, visiting four churches each Sunday.

Bill came home, eagerly announcing he wanted to buy a horse for the man to ride.  He declared he would take his lunch to school every day if his folks would still give him lunch money.  They agreed, asking him to tell the congregation about his plan.

Every day for the rest of the school year, Bill packed his lunch.  Each week, he set aside $7.50 ($1.50 for each day).  Each month, he reported to the church how much he had saved.  To his delight, others joined Bill’s effort.
When the congregation brought their over-and-above gifts together at the end of May, Bill had $135 … but the congregation added over $1000 to that!
Enough to buy the horse in Nepal!

Our text says “join in imitating me”. 

Will you do that?  Imitate Paul, whose life beyond that road to Damascus was totally dedicated to proclaiming Jesus as the Christ, and totally committed to sharing his time, talent and treasure in faithful service to Christ.

Or, imitate Bill, who willingly changed his life to provide a life-changing gift so the Gospel would be proclaimed twice as much in the mountains of Nepal.  Not only that, but so a small congregation might be inspired to live out their faith in new and marvelous ways!

Let us receive our morning tithes, gifts and offerings.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Generous God, what abundance you share with us! 
Receive now these gifts, portions of what you’ve first given to us. 
Thank you for the privilege we have of giving. 
Inspire us to use these gifts to share Good News in a hurting world. 
Help us seek each day to imitate people of faith who model both generosity and gratitude.

Invitation to Communion   

Paul writes in Philippians “our citizenship is in heaven”.  What a statement!  He recognized the dilemma of many who were Roman citizens, and would be expected to swear allegiance to Caesar. 

When we come to this table, we’re reminded it is preparation for a time when we will all be transformed.  Until that time, we remember and give thanks for Jesus each time we eat this bread and drink from this cup. 
Until that time, we live in anticipation.
Until that time, we celebrate being named and claimed as sisters and brothers of Christ.

All who are baptized into Christ’s body, let us renew our citizenship in God’s Realm as we share in the gifts before us. 
All who yearn to be conformed to Christ, come!