October 30, 2023

Worship Resources for 
the Center for Faith and Giving

Proper 26C

Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4 

Psalm 119:137-144 

2 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12
Luke 19:1-10

Call to Worship  

Leader:  Long-time believers and all who are curious,
              all are welcome to participate in this time of worship.
People:  We want to see Jesus!
Leader:  All who are looking with open hearts and eager minds,
              come to engage in this hour.
People:  We want to know God’s transforming love, shown long ago in Jesus.
Leader:  Like Zacchaeus, we know our lives will change when we commit
               to following Jesus, the Teacher.
People:  Like Zacchaeus, may our encounter today, with Jesus, push us 
               to action.  
All:        Let us worship the One who sent Jesus to show the Way.

Opening Prayer  

Gracious God, thank you for the scriptures, and for other believers, who entice us into relationship with Jesus.  Open our eyes, our minds and our hearts in this hour, that we might find new ways to see our Savior and new strength to follow him.  AMEN

Moment for Stewardship  

Many of us know the story of Zacchaeus.  You may even know the song (you could sing it, or a few lines of it, if you have time).

But I’m not looking at this story in Luke’s Gospel because of the children’s song.  I’m looking at it because of the astonishing change in Zacchaeus when he came eye-to-eye with Jesus.

Without prompting, when Zacchaeus heard Jesus was coming to his house, Zacchaeus responding to his dinner guest with an astonishing declaration:
“Half my possessions I will give to the poor.”

For this rich man, that was quite a bold and astonishing promise.

Although few of us might consider ourselves “rich”, by the world’s standards, many of us would be included in that category.  Even by the standards of our own community, if we’re honest, many of us would acknowledge we have much more than many.

I want to challenge each of us today to consider, and come to an answer to this question:  what would it take for you – and for me – to give ten percent (let alone 50%!) to the poor?

Our congregation seeks to respond to the poor by ________________ (identify one or more ways your congregation does this).  That, and so much more, all happens because we give financially, we give of our time, we give of our talents.

Channeling our inner Zacchaeus, let us share our gifts, our tithes and our offerings.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

God of all good gifts, today we thank you for the actions of Zacchaeus in response to Jesus.  Startle us with such an encounter!  
Even before that, we’ve offered our financial support.  We pray you will accept these gifts, and help us use them wisely.  
Do not let us go, however, until you put an earworm in each of us, that we might be inspired to act like Zacchaeus in generous giving, responding to the call of Jesus on OUR lives.  AMEN

Invitation to Communion 

Can you imagine the delight, the astonishment, the anxiety, of Zacchaeus, when Jesus announced “I must stay at your house today”?

One of his first concerns may well have been “what will I feed Jesus?”

Coming into this house of worship, we know Jesus has announced his presence “where two or three are gathered”, and always, there is a table. 

There may not be heaps of food piled high, 
     but there are simple gifts of bread and juice.

There may not be seats enough for all of us,
     but our host welcomes us and a whole world more.

There may not be golden goblets and table coverings of finest cloth,
     but rich and poor alike are invited.

So come to this feast, knowing this meal provides strength for our journey.