September 4, 2022

Worship Resources for 
the Center for Faith and Giving

Proper 18C

Jeremiah 18:1-11 

Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18 

Philemon 1-21

Luke 14:25-33

(if you can, consider using this 2:38 minute video as you begin worship:  

Call to Worship  (inspired by Jeremiah 18)One:  Welcome to worship, in God’s pottery barn!
Many:  We are the clay.
One:  God is the potter, creating beauty in and thru’ each one of us.
Many:  We can be shaped and formed by God’s action, and in God’s love.
One:   May we, our congregation, and our Church, turn to God, 
                amending our ways and our action, 
                because God yearns to create us once again in God’s own image!
Choral response (solo, choir or congregation):  
             verse 1, “Have Thine Own Way, Lord!”, CH 588
   use this video:
                      from :48 to 1:28.                   

Opening Prayer  

Potter God, you are the artist of all life!
Thank you for your creation.
Thank you for the ways you continue to work in the world,
     encouraging, supporting, renewing and guiding.
Still our squirrelly minds, help us settle into this time, focused and eager.
As we worship you, create in each of us and in our congregation, 
      a willingness to be molded by you.
Form us once more into true followers of Jesus, the Christ,
   in whose name we pray, AMEN

Moment for Stewardship  

Rarely do we focus on Jesus’ hard teachings.  
Today, I invite you to hear part of his teaching from Luke 14, recorded as his response to the large crowds traveling with him.
“Whoever does not … hate life itself, cannot be my disciple.”
“Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
“…therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.”

Wow!  Truly “hard teaching!”  So what are WE to do?

Friends, we recognize none of us (nor any of the original disciples!) meets all the scriptural requirements to be a disciple.  Not one!  

Yet the teaching stands in the Gospels of Luke, Mark and Matthew.

So as we come to a time of making our offering, I invite you to take a deep dive into your own identity as a Christian. Let’s consider these questions:

Am I growing in my ability to carry my cross?  
Am I regularly stretching my financial giving, 
 to sustain the ministries of this congregation,
          to lift up the “least among us”, to visit those who are in despair
          to feed the hungry and provide water to those without? 
If my giving would be seen by God, who knows me inside and out, 
would I make this same offering?  

Hard?  Yes.  Challeging?  Absolutely.  
Life-changing?  Only you can answer that.

Let us receive our morning offering.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Loving God, we give you thanks for the challenge of hard teachings.  Help us continue to grow in our faith, and in our understanding, that we might be ever-growing disciples of Jesus Christ.

Thank you, too, for this opportunity to share our gifts.  Inspire us to look realistically at the abundance we have, and the needs of the world, so we might take daily steps to move more in line with the reality of standing out from the crowd and standing up as true disciples – followers of Jesus Christ.

Invitation to Communion  

Our scripture from Luke 14 is sometimes called “count the cost”.  Jesus, speaking to the crowd, invites each one to count the cost of following Jesus.

Today, as we focus on this Table, I invite you to “count the cost” for Jesus.  How would you measure the cost of Jesus’ life coming to an end far sooner than any of his chosen followers would have imagined?

Jesus invited those with him to remember him each time they broke bread and drank from the cup.  He clearly identified his own body in the bread; his own blood in the cup.  Body and blood, given for YOU — given for me.

Jesus’ words and actions at the table are recorded later in Luke (22:14-20).

Each time we participate in this meal, let us REMEMBER Jesus, and count what the cost is for him to invite us to eat and drink.

What wondrous love is this?  

The Table is prepared, and there is a place for you.  Come!