July 30, 2023

Worship Resources for
the Center for Faith and Giving

Pentecost +9       Proper 11A

Genesis 29:15-28 

Psalm 105:1-11, 45b 

Romans 8:26-39

Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

Call to Worship  (inspired by Psalm 105)
One:  Remembering all the actions of the Lord, we’ve come to give thanks!
Many:  We’ll lift our voices in song, we’ll remember what God has done.
One:  The Lord promised good, confirmed that promise, and made an
               ever-lasting covenant with the beloved Israel.
Many:  We join people of many generations, saying “praise the Lord!”
One:  So we tell again what wonderful things the Lord is doing;
Many:  Together, we seek the Lord and rejoice in God’s promises!

Opening Prayer 

Holy God, Giver of all good gifts, we come together today
to offer you our praise in song and prayer,
to grow in faith as we pay careful attention to your teachings, and
to be nourished as we share bread and cup at the invitation of Jesus Christ. 
So remind us of your covenant to be our God,
   and accept our heart-felt gratitude
   as we declare our connection to you and to one another.  AMEN

Moment for Stewardship  (in response to Matthew 13)

Jesus taught his disciples in parables, using familiar objects or situations to highlight a particular understanding about God’s Realm. 

This week, as we come to offer our gifts, I invite you to remember Jesus’ parable of the treasure hidden in a field. When someone discovers that hidden treasure, the person buys the field, even if it takes all that person’s available resources! 

It reminds me of a contemporary song written by Dennis Jernigan which you may recognize:   (you could read these 6 lines, or use the first 42 seconds of
the song found here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPqu8lD8LB0)

You are my strength when I am weak
You are the treasure that I seek
You are my all in all

Seeking You as a precious jewel
Lord to give up I’d be a fool
You are my all in all

We’re invited, week by week, to offer our gifts because the Realm of God to which Jesus pointed, is what we seek.  Jesus teaches us, as one part of the Body of Christ, to build connections with God’s Realm (“on earth as it is in heaven”) even if it takes all the resources we have!

So with glad and generous hearts, let us not be fools, but let us present our morning offering. 

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Gracious God, you offer us connection to your Realm through the life, teaching, death and resurrection of Jesus.  We ask you to accept our tithes, offerings and gifts as signs and symbols of our desire to live more fully in your Realm.  Help us use all that has been offered this day to claim the treasure, grateful for the life you desire for each of us and for all of us.  AMEN

Invitation to Communion 

In an earlier parable in Matthew 13 Jesus teaches about the contrast between small beginnings and great endings.  The tiny mustard seed can grow into a very large shrub!

So, too, can these tiny gifts of bread and juice be transformed into a faith feast.  What is less than a full bite serves each of us, like a vitamin, providing increased health and capacity for life!

Come, then, to this table. 

Come, not because you are famished and need to fill your stomach, but because you are hungry in spirit.  Understand these elements connect us to the disciples in an upper room long ago and to the God who is at work in all times and in all places, drawing each of us closer to God’s fully-realized Realm.

All are invited to share in this feast!