March 27, 2022

Worship Resources for
the Center for Faith and Giving

Lent 4C

Joshua 5:9-12

Psalm 32

 2 Corinthians 5:16-21

Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32

Call to Worship  (inspired by Psalm 32)

Voice 1: Deep within us, we know God yearns for us to be
                whole and healthy, yet we all have broken places in us. 
             When we try to smother them, we do not fool God.
Voice 2:  When we acknowledge our brokenness, and ask God to
                re-make us, God forgives!
Voice 1:  So we’re preserved, surrounded by God’s love, and delivered
                from our sin (or brokenness)
Voice 2:  Be glad in the Lord! 
              Shout for joy, for God is able to make all whole!

Opening Prayer 

Loving God, thank you for the many ways you pull us up from the valleys.  Thank you for over and over offering us your forgiveness, redeeming us like a potter remaking a broken bowl.  Thank you for the ways your love surrounds us today and every day.  Receive our joy in this time of worship,

Moment for Stewardship  (inspired by Luke 15:11-32)

Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son seems so familiar, we find it easy to gloss over.  However, what happens if we title this text “The story of a father and his two sons”?

When we put the focus on the father, we see:  he is a GIVER
He gives his younger son his portion of what will be his when the father dies  (by tradition, the younger son receives less than the older). 
The father mourns when the younger son disappears, but he gives thanks when the son returns.  No matter that the son wasted his inheritance. The father celebrates, killing the calf and he gives a party for the son, who “was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.”

When the elder son angrily objects, the father gives assurance; “all that is mine is yours”.  The whole of what remains will go to this son! 

When we breathe in this parable, does it inspire you to be givers? 
Because we have been loved, and given so many gifts (you might name some of them, i.e. life, air, food, water, relationships, communion, the church, salvation…), our instinctive response to this abundance is generosity  (because I’ve received, now let ME give!).

Today, let’s joyfully share our resources, knowing we, too, could be known as GIVERS.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Good and gracious God,
Receive these gifts, offered from the abundance we’ve received from you.  Help us recognize the needs around us and then respond in faith.
Encourage us to grow in our desire to give, even as we rejoice in the father’s generous giving to both his sons!

Invitation to Communion 

The younger son in the parable in Luke 15 is reduced to yearning for pig’s pods to assuage his deep hunger.  When he realizes his father’s servants eat better than that, he screws up his courage and returns to his father, ready to take his place among the workers.

However, his father sees him from a distance and, throwing aside all custom and tradition, runs to greet his returning son!  Without giving his son a chance to ask for admittance to the servants’ status, the father dresses him as a son – robe, a ring, sandals.  Then, the father directs the servants to prepare a feast.

We may not come to this communion table with the physical hunger of this younger son.  But many of us come, knowing we’ve not lived up to what we’ve promised God. 

We have not loved one another. 
We have not demonstrated peace, patience, kindness or self-control. 
We have not put God first in our lives. 
Pig’s pods seem likely to be our portion as we measure our worth.

And yet!  Here is the table, spread before us. 
Here we remember Jesus showing his love for his disciples (including impetuous Peter and betrayer Judas).
Here we call into the present this Jesus,
breaking the bread and offering the cup.

Come, share in this feast.