May 1 2022

Worship Resources for
the Center for Faith and Giving

Easter III

Acts 9:1-20

 Psalm 30

 Revelation 5:11-14

John 21:1-19

Call to Worship (adapted from Psalm 30)
One:  Sing praises to the Lord!
Many:  We’re here to give thanks to the Holy One.
One:  Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
Many:  Celebrate!  God turns our mourning into dancing,
One:  so we come to praise God; we will not remain silent.
Many:  Let our joy resound! 

Opening Prayer 

God of abundant life, this morning we come to sing our praise, 
giving you our thanks for the ways you raise us up to full life.
You clothe us with joy even in the face of challenge and fear.
So hear us as we offer you our gratitude!
In this hour, bring us to a good and hope-filled place,
  then send us from worship to testify to your healing grace.  AMEN

Consider using CH #452, “Here I Am, Lord” as an offering hymn, or a choral piece as the offering is being received, with a reference to Acts 9:10.

Moment for Stewardship  (inspired by Acts 9:1-20)

When we hear the story of Saul, persecutor of the first Christians, we hear of a man on a mission.  God, however, had a completely different story-line for this man. 

Saul had power, position, and people who were ready to help him “take care” of any Christians who crossed his path.  We first met Saul in Acts 7, at the stoning of Stephen, and can only imagine him yearning to end the lives of other believers in just such a horrendous way.

Yet chapter 9 tells the story of a disciple named Ananias, who came to touch Saul, bringing sight back to his eyes and insight to his heart. 

Ananias gave what he had, in response to a vision from God. 
Total transformation was Saul’s response to Ananias’ presence.

As we come to our offering, I want to challenge each of us. 
What vision is God giving us? 
What can we give in response to that vision?

Our financial support for this congregation is one response.  As a congregation, we’re able to reach out to help transform lives, beginning
with __________ right here in our own community (name a specific way doorsteps to the ends of the earth as we share financial support with our region and the general church, including ______.  (name one specific way this happens)

Friends, we, too, are instruments to be used by God.  Let us receive our morning offering, and continue to find new ways to respond to God’s call on our lives as individuals and as a congregation.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Merciful God, even as you worked to transform Saul’s life, filling him with your Spirit and opening doors for him to share the Good News of Jesus, the Christ, so we give you thanks for the ways you work to transform our lives!
Thank you for each one here today (both those here in person and those on-line). Thank you for all these gifts, now offered, that they may open doors to transformed lives here and around the world.    AMEN

Invitation to Communion 

The disciple named Ananias, in Damascus, hesitated to respond when he had a vision about the man named Saul, from Tarsus, saying, “I’ve heard…how much evil he’s done…”

How grateful I am to know that when we come to this Table, there is a place for every person, no matter what others may have heard, for this is the Lord’s Table. 

Here we remember how Jesus shared bread and cup with all the disciples in that Upper Room, long ago.  In memory, we are in the company of Peter, who denied even knowing Jesus.  Just down the table we recognize James and John, who tried to negotiate sitting at Jesus’ right and left hands, in glory.  And there!  There is Judas, who had already taken 30 pieces of silver as payment for agreeing to betray Jesus to the authorities.

And Saul…not at that Last Supper table, but baptized just after his sight was restored, and proclaiming Jesus as the Son of God.  Even this Saul, who had persecuted Christians, becomes a part of the faith community.

And so do you!  Each one is welcome at this Table, where Christ is our host.  There’s room at the Table for everyone! 

(a wonderful visual of this thought is found with Carrie Newcomer’s song,
“Room at the Table”,