September 10, 2023

Worship Resources for
the Center for Faith and Giving

Pentecost +15

Exodus 12:1-14 

 Psalm 149 

Romans 13:8-14

Matthew 18:15-20

Call to Worship  (inspired by Ps. 149)
One:  Praise the Lord!  Let’s join our voices to sing our praise!
Cantor or choir:  CH#34    Gloria, Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
                                       Gloria, Gloria, alleluia, alleluia!
Many:  Sing together what the cantor/choir just sang
One:  Let our glad voices fill this room, for the Lord delights in our song. 
Many:  We sing for joy!  With voices, with instruments, with our movement,
One: together we rejoice as God’s own people!
Many: Alleluia!  Praise the Lord!

Opening Prayer 

Holy God, even when challenges surround us and difficulties threaten to overwhelm, we turn to praise you with glad hearts and joyful voices. 
Thank you for the light of your presence shining in this space          
      and in each of our hearts.
Raise us up from our anxieties. 
Renew in us an awareness of your desire for us to know abundance. 
Assure us that you will not leave us comfortless, even as we rejoice in you. 

Moment for Stewardship  (reflecting on Matthew 18:15-20)

The Gospels refer over and over to the close relationship of those who are followers of Jesus.  Matthew uses kinship language to describe how we are bound together – always recognizing “where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among (you).”

At our best, we treat one another with love and compassion, conscious of Jesus in our midst.  When we act against that covenantal relationship, others are instructed to come directly to us, speak truthfully, and attempt to set us back in good relationship.  

It takes strong love to give someone the opportunity to acknowledge our faults and be restored to relationship in the church.  It may take professional expertise.  It may mean there is not only an emotional/spiritual cost, but a financial one, as well, to find a workable route back from brokenness to relationship.

Our offering this morning is one way you can help provide the capital to allow restoration services to be available when they’re needed.  This congregation takes seriously the teachings we hear in the Gospels.  Your financial gifts help make our training, our resources and our practice of building up this community possible.

Let us lovingly share our tithes, our gifts and our offerings.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

With gratitude, God, we share these financial resources as signs of our desire to build up this community of faith.  Help us grow in our capacity to love one another, be honest with one another, and hold each other accountable to be true disciples of Jesus, the Christ, in whose name we pray,

Invitation to Communion 

As we step into September, many Americans will head out to watch (or to play) football.  In countless small towns as well as huge stadiums, people gather to support their hometown team.

One of the long-standing practices in many places is “tail-gating”; gathering with friends and/or family to anticipate the game, sharing food, playing games, laughing and looking ahead to four qto tell,uarters of hard-fought football.
Perhaps you’re regularly part of that kind of an event – or, perhaps you’ve never participated.

Yet we all know something of the emotional connection which comes as we eat together – whether that’s in our family’s dining room, our nursing home or our school cafeteria, or here, in this sanctuary.  Almost anywhere we break bread, we’ll find others there with us.

Like some tail-gating gatherings, we may not know the names of every person who comes.  We may not know all the relationships, or all the challenges for each one present.  But we do know, all who come to this table are welcomed by our host, Jesus.

Our hymn reminds us:  “Jesus calls us in, sends us out
                                    bearing fruit in a world of doubt,
                                    gives us love to tell, bread to share
                                    God (Immanuel) everywhere!

Let’s sing as we prepare to tail-gate for the Jesus team!

(CH#422, Let us Talents and Tongues Employ)