October 15, 2023

Worship Resources for
the Center for Faith and Giving

Pentecost +20

Exodus 32:1-14 

Psalm 106:1-6, 19-23 

Philippians 4:1-9

Matthew 22:1-14

Call to Worship 
(inspired by Psalm 106)

Leader:  People of God, come!  Let’s tell of God’s mighty works.
People:  We’ve come to give thanks to the Lord whose steadfast love
                 endures forever!
Leader:  We know everyone has sinned; we’ve turned away from God’s Way.
People:  We’ve forgotten God in the midst of busy lives,
             yet we still yearn for God to remember us and care for us.
Leader:  So let us remember Moses, and lift up our love for Jesus,
People:  remembering they have stood in the breach,
              and helped set us back on God’s Way.
All:        Thanks be to God!                     

Opening Prayer 

Mighty God, you’ve created the cosmos, and called us into life.
You’ve shown us your love, especially in the life, death and resurrection
  of Jesus, your beloved.
In this hour, help us focus on you.
Stir up in us a deep desire to live in your Way,
for we believe your design for each one of us is to stand in your Shalom.  AMEN

Moment for Stewardship (inspired by Philippians 4)

(use your own experience to share in this moment, or utilize this more generic statement)

Many people participating in church life began learning about stewardship as children.  Part of learning about money and sharing our money came from parents (and others), teaching about tithing, or about regularly setting aside “first fruits” to contribute to the weekly offering.

Paul, writing to the believers in Phillipi, urged them to “keep on doing the things you have learned and received and heard and seen…” 

We might encourage the same for each one here, today.  You may have learned as a child, or it may have been when you began your life in the church.  When, and from whom, did you learn about sharing financially?  Who urged you to keep on doing the things you learned?

Paul reminds the early Christians when they keep on doing what they’ve learned, “the God of peace will be with you.” 

And I’ll second that!  When I regularly do what I have learned about giving generously to the life of this congregation, I delight in my awareness of the God of peace giving me a sense of inner peace. 

Let me encourage you to try it!  Here’s your opportunity, as we receive our morning gifts, tithes and offerings.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Gift-giving God, thank you for the abundance you share with your beloved sons and daughters!  We ask you now to receive what has been offered here – a portion of what you have first given us. 
Accept our gifts. Help us put them to their best use. 
And encourage us to grow in our capacity to be more like you, so each of us might regularly offer the best we have to help build up your Realm here and now.  AMEN

Invitation to Communion

Often we come to this time of communion with a solemn sense of remembering the way Jesus was betrayed, condemned and crucified.

Today, I want to pick up Paul’s counsel to the Philippians: 
“Rejoice in the Lord always!” 

We often celebrate major accomplishments by inviting relatives and friends to gather around a table, share a feast, and rejoice!  Perhaps you can call to mind sharing a festive meal with one who has graduated, received an honor, been given a raise, or rejoiced in medical recovery.  You may have thrown a party because of some positive situation in your own life.

Today, let’s rejoice as we come to Christ’s table!  (name here some reasons for celebrating in your own congregation…a successful finance campaign, new members, baptisms, a wedding…) 

With joyful hearts, let us give thanks for the ways in which Jesus Christ continues to open a way when it might have seemed there was NO way.
Come rejoice in the Lord as we share these gifts of bread and cup.