August 14, 2022

Worship Resources for 
the Center for Faith and Giving

Proper 15C

Isaiah 5:1-7 

Psalm 80:1-2, 8-19 

Hebrews 11:29 – 12:2

Luke 12:49-56

Call to Worship (from Psalm 80) 

One: With voices united, we call out;
Many: may God’s hand be upon us, bringing us strength.
One: With voices united, we ask;
Many: give us LIFE, and we will call on God’s name!
One: With voices united, we plead;
Many: may God’s face shine on us and save us! 

Opening Prayer  

Holy, Restoring God, we gather this morning to praise your name.  
Eagerly we tell of your mighty actions, building up your people. 
You’ve made us strong, and we offer our thanks, Giver of Life. 
In this hour, receive our prayers, our songs, our declaration of you as our God.  Let your face shine on us and through us.  Let the love we’ve been given in Jesus, the Christ, shine through us so others may be drawn to Jesus, whom we claim as Messiah, and in whose name we pray.  AMEN

Moment for Stewardship  

Scripture often uses images of athletes to encourage people in their faith journey.  In Hebrews, we’re given the image of runners, surrounded by “so great a cloud of witnesses”, seeking to run with perseverance, looking to Jesus to lead the way.

Life as a disciple of Christ (a follower/learner) demands regular training and repetitive action. We cannot be legitimate followers if our connection to Christ was only in the fifth grade, when we decided to be baptized.  Rather, it’s a daily opportunity to grow in faith, to love more clearly, to model our life on the self-giving life of Jesus.

Perhaps that’s part of the blessing of regularly participating in worship with a community of others seeking to be disciples/followers/learners.  
Here we engage our minds, use our ears, sing out our praise.  
Here we physically present our offering, deliberately sharing financial resources which represent the work of our hands.

Imagine a board game, where each time it’s your turn, you have specific directions:  “move ahead 2 spaces”, or “take a short cut”, or “lose a turn”.
It takes perseverance to continue, and a willingness to keep participating.

So it is in our lives as Christians.  Gratefully, we’re surrounded by others who provide encouragement and support, AND we have Jesus who goes before us.

Surrounded, and led, let us act out our faith this morning as we share our gifts, our tithes and our offering.  

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Creator God, you have formed the earth and each of us, and called your creation “very good”. Thank you for all you provide for us.  Thank you especially for the great cloud of witnesses who surround us (perhaps name some well-remembered, specific folks from the congregation who have died but whose lives witnessed to their faith), and for Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.  
Receive these gifts, and bless us as we continue to persevere in this race.

Invitation to Communion  

In Hebrews 11, we hear references to so many Biblical figures whose faith was the assurance of things for which they hoped; faith described as conviction, adequate to overcome the challenges which surrounded them.

How grateful I am that Jesus not only taught his followers, but also provided actions to reinforce what he was teaching.  Sometimes, especially when we hit tough times in life, it’s not so much the words as it is the ACTIONS that communicate.

Coming to this Table, week by week, gives us opportunity for action.  We use words, yes.  But even without the words, Jesus’ teaching is communicated in the actions:  (demonstrate with your actions as you speak these words) take…bless…break…give.

Today, I invite you to use your hands to act out these words, that you might create a muscle memory which can be recalled when you face challenges. 
(demonstrate with your hands; invite others to follow or create their own)





May this bread, and this juice, strengthen your own faith, encouraging you to act out that faith in the days ahead.