November 12, 2023

Worship Resources for
the Center for Faith and Giving

Pentecost +24

Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25

Psalm 78:1-7

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Matthew 25:1-13

Call to Worship 
(inspired by Psalm 78)

Leader:  Today we come to worship God!People:  Yes, to worship, and to claim our willingness to share the story
               of our faith with the next generation.
Leader:  Faith continues only when it’s passed along
People:  from each of us to those who have not yet heard.
Leader:  Today, we’re telling of God’s wonder, God’s commandments,
              God’s love.
People:  Today, we set our hope in God,
               and remember our faith story must still be told.

Opening Prayer

Holy God,
Thank you for your presence in us and with us.  Thank you for the gift of Jesus, your Beloved, who walked on earth and inspired disciples to become followers on the Way of Love.  Encourage each of us in this hour to tell our own faith story to the next generations, that faith will continue, age to age.

Moment for Stewardship (in response to 1 Thessalonians)      

In many congregations we label parts of worship, including ______
(whatever word you use for the Offering, or Moment of Stewardship).

Paul, in 1 Thessalonians, labels a distinct part of this new faith, as “why we hope”.  In stark terms, he reminds the new believers what God will do for those who die, and for those who are still alive when Christ returns. 

Though we don’t often connect these two, today, let’s do just that.  A part of why we give financially is to help share the Good News of Jesus Christ with those deep in grief and despair over the death of a loved one.  We do that (if you have a specific program or staff person who focuses on response to those grieving, highlight it here.  If not, remind folks of the willingness of the pastor to counsel with those who are grieving, and the offering as one way the pastor can do this work)

Your regular giving supports a variety of ways we share our faith. 
Today, let’s stand with Paul, reminding one another:
 “encourage one another with these words.”

Prayer of Thanksgiving

God of all good gifts,

Thank you for this opportunity to share our resources and build up the Realm of God on earth.  Please accept these gifts, inspire us to use them wisely, and allow us, through them, to show your steadfast love to our weary world.  AMEN

Invitation to Communion

In many places, November brings a true transition into fall.
In others, this month is the harbinger of winter just around the corner.
Across most of the United States there are signs of movement from harvest
to a fallow time, which may bring on a sense of melancholy.

There may have been some sense of melancholy in the Upper Room that night so long ago.  Jesus had set his face toward Jerusalem, despite the recognition there were religious and military folk who saw Jesus as a threat.  Did Judas indicate to any of the others he was planning to turn Jesus over to the authorities?  Was there some challenge brewing between Peter and the others?  Was John seen as too vigorously insinuating himself as Jesus’ favorite?

We cannot know the spirit of those disciples gathered for a meal, any more than we can know the spirit of those gathered here, today.  Yet we CAN be assured this meal is one to be shared by all who have come, in remembrance of Jesus.

Bread, made from many kernels of wheat into one loaf;
juice, made from many grapes, crushed into one cup.

These simple elements, shared with all who are present, become for us
not a melancholy funeral meal, but a feast which binds both the past and the future as we bring together the Jesus who lived, the Rabbi who was crucified, and the Christ who was raised to Abundant Life.

Come!  You are welcome.  The table is spread. 
Abundant and full life for all who are followers of Jesus Christ!