May 7, 2023

Worship Resources for 
the Center for Faith and Giving

Fifth Sunday of Easter 

Acts 7:55-60

Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16

1 Peter 2:2-10

John 14:1-14

Call to Worship  
(inspired by Psalm 31)One:  May the face of the Lord shine on us and on all creation.
Many: We gather to give thanks for God’s steadfast love.
One:  With one voice, we offer our gratitude for God’s leading hand.
Many:  With open hands we reach for the deliverance the Lord offers
                  all who call upon the Strong One.
One:  Standing in confidence, 
Many: we turn to prayer.

Opening Prayer  

Rock and Refuge, even in the face of challenging times, we rejoice as we turn to you in this hour of worship.  
We find security in your presence. 
We celebrate, for you save us in your steadfast love.
Thank you for time to focus on you and all you provide
   as we seek to live as disciples of your beloved Son, the Resurrected Christ,
   in whose name we pray,  AMEN

Moment for Stewardship  (inspired by I Peter 2:9-10)

Followers of Jesus were given a variety of titles and names in the first century AD.  In I Peter, titles mined from the early prophets tumble together to encourage believers to claim their own new identity:

                  A chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
                                       God’s own people
               Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people
         once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Because we, too, call ourselves followers of Jesus, the Christ, we may step into these names and titles.  However, these are not simply honorifics.  These words describe our identity, and put a claim on our lives.  As “God’s people” who continue to receive mercy, our response is to share God’s abundance, both here and with those living near “the ends of the earth”.

Do you know this congregation ________________ (tell something which is true for your congregation’s financial giving beyond itself, or continue with the following.)

Do you know this congregation is part of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) which helps support 15 colleges and universities around the US?

Did you know some of our giving each year links us to helping refugees, those affected by weather disasters, and those suffering after disasters, through our Week of Compassion?

Your financial offering today will help us here, but also with God’s people from here all the way around the globe!  

Let us joyfully share our gifts, as we remember we are one part of God’s own people!

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Living God, may you both bless and multiply the gifts provided today, that they may be one means by which we share Good News in a hurting world.

Invitation to Communion  

John 14 gives us an amazing sense of what we’ve been given, as followers of Jesus Christ.  “I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do…and greater works!”

How can we possibly imagine we can do all that Jesus did?

Remember!  We are all invited to participate in the meal which Jesus first shared with his disciples on the night he would be arrested.  Over 2000 years, followers have continue as Jesus did that night
Each week, around a table in the midst of the gathered people, we “take, bless, break and give” the bread.  It does not fill our bodies as a birthday bash might do, but it fills our spirits as we remember Jesus.

This little piece of bread/cracker is to our spirit like a super vitamin or an energizer bar is to a famished body.  As we eat, we bring to our present awareness the love of God made known in Jesus.  We call to mind, in this place, and in this time, the blessing of Jesus as we’re seated among believers.  

And through these gifts of bread, cup, and the Spirit, we’re empowered to go out to live by God’s grace, speaking God’s peace, and acting with God’s love.

So come to the feast, all who would do the works of Jesus!