July 9, 2023

Worship Resources for
the Center for Faith and Giving

Pentecost+6, Proper 9A

Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67 

Psalm 45:10-17 

 Romans 7:15-25a

Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

Call to Worship  (inspired by Mt. 11:28-30)One:  Today is the day to hear this invitation:
           “Come to me all who are weary and carry heavy burdens”
Many:  We’ve come, some of us bowed down by our burdens,
             and some of us SO weary.
One:  Hear this promise:  “Come…and I will give you rest.”
Many:  May we all breathe in the peace of God, in which we can find rest.
One:  Today may we learn from the One who is gentle;
Many:  may this time of worship help us take on an easy yoke.

Opening Prayer 
(copied from https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2014/06/prayer-matthew-11-28-30.html)

In times of weakness and hour of need,
yours is the strength by which we carry on,
the shoulder we rest our head upon.
When our load is heavy and too much to bear,
yours are the arms stretched out to help us
the grace that we depend on.
In times of weakness and hour of need,
your voice is heard,
‘Come… find rest.’
This is grace divine, the path we tread to wholeness of body and spirit,
the path that leads to you,
and for which we offer our offering of praise.  AMEN  (written by John Birch)

Moment for Stewardship 

In Romans 7, Paul writes in language so many of us recognize as self-descriptive!  He describes the constant push-pull between what our body (our flesh) yearns for, and what our inmost self desires.

This reality shows up in many ways – including when it comes to deciding how to use our time, our talent and our treasure.

There is a part of our own psyche which desires to act on the model of Jesus:  sharing generously.  And there is a part of each of us which instinctively seeks to hoard, hold on to, and/or hide.

How grateful I am for the weekly call in worship for us to be cheerful givers, regularly providing our “first fruits” as an act of love.  Do we know this truth?  God provides ALL we have, and we respond to God’s love with a portion of what we’ve received!

So today, I challenge you to step into the image of God (imago Dei) in which you were created.  Lean into the best part of your identity, even as you turn away from the hoarding/holding on/hiding desires. 

With glad and generous hearts, let us offer our gifts to the God who has created us, redeemed us, and sustains us in every moment.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

With gratitude, God, we offer these gifts as signs and symbols of our desire to live as children formed in your image. 

Receive our gifts.  Inspire us not only to share gladly, but also to put these gifts to good use.   Help us practice the teachings of Jesus, reaching out to share your love with those caught in doing the very things they hate.  AMEN

Invitation to Communion 

Paul uses clear language in his letter to the Romans, sharing his understanding of the inner battle known to many of us.  Caught in the struggle, he writes, “who will rescue me from this body of death?”

Week by week, as we gather at the Lord’s Table, we see the answer in the form of bread and juice.  Out of death, God brought life!  Out of despair, we can find redemption! 

All are invited to participate in this simple meal.  It will not fill your belly.   But it will bring rest to your spirit, and provide energy for you to turn toward the Light and Life we know in Jesus, the Christ.

For in the brokenness, Jesus binds us together in one body.

In the cup, we receive a transfusion, building us up for the ministries to which we are all called. 

Find here the power to take on the yoke,
and turn once more to follow Jesus in heart, mind and spirit.