September 3, 2023

Worship Resources for
the Center for Faith and Giving

Pentecost +14  Proper 17A

Exodus 3:1-15 

Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c 

Romans 12:9-21

Matthew 16:21-28

Call to Worship
One:  Tune up your voices, friends!  We’re here to give thanks to the Lord!
Many:  Like singing to our beloved, we come to sing praise to God.  
One:  Remember all God has done! 
Many:  We remember the wonders of creation, the gift of Jesus,
                and miracles of new life out of death.
One: So with one voice, let’s praise God!
All: (if possible, sing the chorus of “Alabare’”, CH#29,
            or the responsive “Sing Hallelujah”, CH#32)
OR  All:  Hallelujah!  Praise the name of the Lord!

Opening Prayer 

Mighty God, we do praise your name! 
From the rising of the sun to the end of this day, may we find ways to focus our hearts and minds on your presence among us.  In the challenges and the joys of each day, may we look for ways to glory in your name. 
Help us remember and call to this present moment the wonders of all you do to draw us closer to you and to your Realm of Love.        AMEN

Moment for Stewardship 

So often Jesus’ words in the Gospels are upside down from what we would expect to hear.  In Matthew 16, Jesus teaches his disciples “if you want to become my followers, take up your cross…”, and “if you want to save your life, you’ll lose it.”

Such an upside-down world continues when we find our greatest delight in GIVING, rather than in receiving. 

A woman, traveling alone in the mountains, found a precious stone in a stream.

The next day she met another traveler who was hungry.  The woman opened her bag to share her food.

The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation.

The traveler left, rejoicing in his great fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime.

But a few days later he came back to return the stone to the woman.

He declared, “I know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone.”

The woman smiled, “The joy of giving!”

Prayer  of Thanksgiving

Ever-giving God, because we are your beloved creatures, we know you’ve first given us such abundance:  air, water, land, love, life.  In gratitude, we now offer you a portion of what you’ve given to us. 

Accept our gifts, Holy One, as signs of our love for you and our desire to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Help us use these resources to share your Good News with those who struggle to live.  AMEN 

Invitation to Communion 

In the US, this is the Sunday of Labor Day weekend.  Despite the origins of Labor Day, for many, it is the last weekend of the summer, and offers one more 3 day weekend before the push of school, fall, and a long stretch of routine and rush.

Many folks make this a picnic weekend, a last trip for camping, getting to the lake, or going to see Grandparents.  Wherever you find yourself, let us also take this as a time for giving thanks, remembering, and sharing together around the table to which Jesus invites his followers. 

For we gather, in person or on line, in gratitude for the work Jesus has done for us.  In thanksgiving, we share in a simple feast of bread and juice, signs and symbols of the life, death and resurrection of the one we claim as Lord.

So as we participate in communion, we give thanks for the work of Jesus:  healing, teaching, loving and pointing us to God.  May we recognize our place in the communion of saints, and commit ourselves once more to life as disciples (followers) of Jesus.

The Table is spread, and all are welcome to share the feast.