September 18, 2022

Worship Resources for 
the Center for Faith and Giving

Proper 20C

Jeremiah 8:18 – 9:1 

Psalm 79:1-9 

 1 Timothy 2:1-7

Luke 16:1-13

Call to Worship  (inspired by Jeremiah 8:22a)One:  With our joys and our sorrows, we come to worship God.
Many:  We look for peace, but cannot always see a time of healing.
One:  We lift our cares, and seek God’s loving kindness.
Many:  Let the yearning of our hearts and the deep desire of our minds
                 lead us to awareness of the Lord our God.
One:  May this time of worship help open our hearts and lives 
                           to the Living God. 
Many:  Come, Holy Healer!  Be our balm, our solace, our peace.

(consider using CH#501 “There is a Balm in Gilead” for a choral response to the call to worship, or use as a music video response)

Opening Prayer  

In moments when we despair, when we see hurt all around,
when we wonder where to find your compassionate care, O God,
we come, ready to turn to you, confident you will not leave us comfortless.
In this hour, lift us up.  
Restore your joy in us, that our lives might reflect your glory. 
Help us return to you and rejoice in your love for us —
not only in this place, but in every office, school room, home and restaurant.
not only in this morning, but in every waking moment of our week,
for we long to live as your beloved children in each place and all times.  AMEN

Moment for Stewardship  

Jesus’ teaching in Luke 16 acknowledges the shrewd action of a manager who tried to grease the wheels of care, knowing he was being fired from his job.  We’re not being encouraged to act dishonestly, or to take from the rich to give to those who have less.  Rather, Jesus stacks admonitions about faithfulness at the end of Luke 16:1-13.

The teaching?  “I cannot serve God and wealth.”  

That’s one reason we include space and time in each time of worship for an offering.  We can talk all we want, pray with eloquent words, sing with vigor, and have terrific sermons, but receiving an offering demands action from each person present in the sanctuary.  When we give, and especially when we give to the point it makes a difference in how we live the rest of our week, we’re declaring God is more important than keeping all my wealth.

If money is our Lord, we pour our time and energy into producing and protecting wealth.

If God is Lord, we pour our time, energy and financial giving into ways which serve God.

Who, or what, is Lord of your life?

Let your answer be made clear in what you give as we receive our morning offering.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

O God, we’ve offered our gifts, returning a portion of what you’ve provided for us.  May our giving strengthen us to become a more open people—
open-minded in hearing your word and wisdom, 
open-hearted in healing a broken world, 
open-handed in heeding your call to charity and enacted love.  
We pray, Creator, for you to accept this offering as a symbol of our whole lives, gratefully focused on you.  Amen.
(adapted from https://. lifeinliturgy

Invitation to Communion  

Athletes who are college students often have their own table in the school cafeteria.  There, these individuals are encouraged to eat healthy portions, and adequate calories to develop maximum capacity as athletes.

We, who are followers of Jesus, the Christ, have our own table in this sanctuary.  Here, we’re encouraged week by week to participate in a simple meal which nourishes us and nurtures us in our identity as Christians.

Just as a college athlete’s ability can be diminished by missing a meal, so our identity as Christians can be diminished if we’re not present at this table.  
In this time of communion, we’re welcomed by the resurrected Christ.  
Here, we remember Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.
In these emblems, we receive power for proclaiming (with our words and our actions) the love of God made known in Jesus.

So come!  There’s a place for you here.  
The table is spread and you are welcome to share this feast.