April 14, 2024

Worship Resources for 
the Center for Faith and Giving

Easter III B

Acts 3:12-19

Psalm 4

1 John 3:1-7

Luke 24:36b-48

Call to Worship  

One: Peace be with you!
Many: Jesus greeted his disciples on the first Resurrection Day,
             and greets us here, today.  
One:  Peace be with you!
Many:  With me?  With US?  We’re eager to receive that peace.
One:  Peace be with you!
Many:  Peace be with you!  Let’s celebrate the presence of the Risen Christ
           and give our thanks to God, creator of all the cosmos!

Opening Prayer  

Holy Maker of heaven and earth, thank you for bringing us together this morning to worship you.  We’re grateful for the ability to tune in, whether on-line or here in this sanctuary.  
Like the first disciples, we’re filled with joy, believing your Spirit continues to grant peace to all who work to follow the risen Christ.  May the prayers of your people, the songs of our hearts, and the Good News shared in scripture, sermon and communion work together to help each of us live fully as  disciples of Jesus, the Christ, in whose name we pray, AMEN

Moment for Stewardship  

For many people, today is a day to quit procrastinating and finally sit down to fill out our income tax forms!

I don’t want to embarrass you, or myself, so I’m not going to ask who is still hoping those forms will somehow get filled in and show we will be getting a large tax refund. 

Whether your taxes were filed months ago or you have materials stacked and waiting, OR you’re operating under the “I’m waiting until tomorrow because I do best when I’m under pressure” mantra, we all know April 15 is the day we give the US government our account of the financial realities of our life.

It’s altogether different when we think about the financial side of our life and the church.  No one stands at the offering plate with a check-list to make sure you’ve made a contribution.  No one checks to see what percentage of your income is freely offered.

And yet, week by week we have the opportunity to share our financial resources, our time and our talent to help build God’s Realm on earth.  Each week we remember how Jesus called his disciples, expecting them to walk away from their former lives in order to follow him in his ministry of teaching, healing and sharing Good News of God’s love.

What will you offer this day?  Remember this scripture: 
“Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (II Cor. 9:6-8)

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Receive these gifts, Loving God, as signs and symbols of our love for you and for the beloved children you have created.  Thank you for all who have freely offered these gifts.  Help us use each contribution as a rung on the ladder which reaches ever higher, allowing us to stretch to do your will both here and around the world.  AMEN

Invitation to Communion (in response to Luke 24)

Can you remember a favorite meal which provided you with comfort in your childhood?  Can you name some food which helps you, even today, realize there is more to life than the tough times in which you find yourself?
Often when we’re confused, upset or grieving, we turn to “comfort food” to help get us through difficult day/s and night/s. And we’re not alone in this.  When the resurrected Jesus appeared to his disciples that Sunday evening, 
throwing them into utter confusion, he asked for something to eat, and they gave him fish!
When we gather for worship, there may be many times when we’re confused, dismayed, or disappointed, yearning for comfort food.  
We find comfort in small pieces of bread and simple sips of juice. 
Not surprisingly, we are also empowered and equipped for the rich and full times of ministry and mission through a meal. We gather around Christ’s table for that same comfort food that has no need of “super-sizing”.  We know a taste of bread and a simple sip of juice, shared in community, are core ingredients of the discipleship diet

Believe me! Communion is a mysterious combination of spiritual health food and comfort food; low in fat, high in grace and mercy.

Come to Christ’s table. Come hungry, come helpless, come hopeful. 
Eat and live to go and tell. 
Whether bold or fearful, let’s come to share these elements in order to be full and faithful in our going, telling, and inviting. 
Come! There’s  plenty of comfort food to share.

Adapted from https://www.stewardshipoflife.org/2012/04/potlucks-comfort-food-and-faith/