Offertory Prayer


Invitation to the Offering
The offering you made last week empowered ministry within our congregation and in response to the needs of our community. It also helped support the work of ministries beyond the local church that reach people who are in desperate need to feel the touch of love and reconciliation. Through churches that receive the “One Great Hour of Sharing” offering this year, we will support the disaster-response arm of the church, the United Methodist Committee on Relief or UMCOR. UMCOR is ready to respond on our behalf within minutes of a disaster occurring, and their specialty is long-term recovery. UMCOR is not always the first organization on the scene, but they are often the last ones to leave. This ministry happens, thanks to the way the people of The United Methodist Church live and give connectionally. I invite you to give generously as we worship God through sharing our gifts, tithes, and offerings.

Learn more about UMCOR at www.umcor.org. Find resources for the One Great Hour of Sharing Offering at www.umcgiving.org.

March 1, 2015 – Second Sunday in Lent
God of infinite patience and compassion, we pray that today we will offer not only our gifts of money, but also our gifts of ourselves. We think of ourselves as followers of Christ, but we realize in this holy season that, too rarely, we deny ourselves in living out our discipleship. We have risked little and sacrificed even less for you. Our prayer today is that we might find the faith and courage to love you more than life itself. In Christ, we pray. Amen. (Mark 8:31-38)

March Offertory Prayers were written by the Rev. Dr. Ken Sloane, Director of Stewardship & Connectional Ministries at Discipleship Ministries, The United Methodist Church.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Remembering Your Faith, Hope, and Love, Reflection on 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

Scholars believe that this letter is the oldest one that we have that was written by Paul. As such, it is the oldest piece of Christian literature that we have. For example, evidence indicates that it is dated at about 50 CE, twenty years before the Gospel of Mark would have been written.

His audience lived a long way away from Jerusalem--not only in miles. They were Greek and they were Gentile. Paul begins his letter, as was the practice of the time, with a greeting. But, he changes the greeting from what they would have been accustomed to.

The Graeco-Roman practice of the time was to begin letters with the Greek word, chairein, which meant "Greetings." Paul instead used the Greek word, charis, which sounds similar but mean "peace." This term would thus echo the term customarily used as greeting by the Jews, shalom, which meant "peace."

Thus, in his greeting, Paul has combined the traditonal Graeco-Roman form of greeting with the religious one. He's speaking to people who have accepted the faith and have been incorporated into God's family.

In verse 3, Paul expresses thanks to God for the way that the Thessalonians are living their lives. They have faith--not just an attitude, but the God-given power to do Christian work. They have love--not just an emotion, but the means by which they carry out this work. They have hope--not just optimism, but a confident expectation that God will triumph.

Hear the echo, in verses 9-10, as Paul describes the Christian experience. Because of your faith, you turned to God. Because of your love, you served God. Because of your hope, you are waiting for his Son, our rescuer.

(Note: my source for this explanation comes from The People's New Testament Commentary, by Boring and Craddock. I hope you have access to a copy yourself.)

Lectio Divina: 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3.

3 comments:

JMS said...

I'm curious about the *evidence* of 1Thes being written in 50CE, and being the oldest Christian Literature.

1Thes mentions Timothy, and Luke mentions Timothy joining Paul, during Paul's 2nd Missionary Journey - 52CE. This would also synch with Luke's account of Paul starting the Church in Thessolonika. AFAIK, Galatians is believed to have been written probably between the 1st and 2nd Journeys, based on Acts 15. Galatians would have been written in 49CE.

Una Malachica said...

According to Frank J. Matera, in the New Interpreter's Study Bible, the letter to the Galatians could have been written as early as 49 to 50 CE. However, most scholars think that Paul wrote to the Galatians from Ephesus or Macedonia about 55 CE.

Barbara Reid, also in NISB, points out that Luke was not an eyewitness for all the events he narrates. Scholars believe that Luke used several different sources for his compilation of Acts, the companion to the Gospel of Luke.

JMS said...

Thanks.

Most writings/references I've read lean towards the early date, and I can't reconcile the later date, but that is an argument beyond this post. I understand the arguments.

I do believe/agree Luke was not an eyewitness to everything, as evidenced by his use of they vs we, specifically in Troas / Acts 16:8-10.

Thank you for your time.

I stumbled on your blog, as I was looking to find if there had been any corrolated analysis between Paul's use of Faith, Hope & Love in: 1Thes 1:3, and 1Cor 13:13.

I do like this post.

- Thanks.