Offertory Prayer

Each month's Offertory Prayers includes an "Invitation to the Offering" (see below) along with a digital image for those who might want to use it. We hope you will find this a helpful way to remind the people in your pews that their offering travels to many places to make a powerful difference in the lives of people they may never meet. You can find great stories of the difference our giving makes at http://umcgiving.org.

Invitation to the Offering

Your offering 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, such as the support we give to maintaining a connection with 100 United Methodist-related Colleges and 13 United Methodist Seminaries. Some of these colleges are large, well know institutions such as Duke, Boston University, Southern Methodist University (SMU), Syracuse University, American University in Washington DC and Emory University in Atlanta. Others, while not as large, are highly respected and have long lists of distinguished alumnae. Whether large or small, they all bear the Methodist DNA to this day, living out United Methodist compassion. We saw this last year when it was Emory University that became the center for Ebola treatment in the U.S. working to save those infected and finding new ways to stop the spread of this devastating disease. These kind of cooperative efforts across our connection, 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 the colleges, universities and theological schools of the UMC: http://www.umc.org/directory/schools-seminaries

July 5, 2015 – Sixth Sunday after Pentecost / in Kingdomtide
O Lord our God, our talents and gifts are so insufficient to our challenges. We rejoice that your grace is sufficient for us and for the body of Christ, the church. You reveal that power is made perfect in weakness. Help us to receive this truth. When we face hardships, persecution and difficulties for your sake, may we trust that you are at work to help us and the world. Use these offerings to strengthen our witness as disciples of Jesus Christ, for we pray in his name. Amen. (2 Cor 12:2-10)

July Offertory Prayers were written by the Rev.Rosanna Anderson, Associate Director of Stewardship at Discipleship Ministries, The United Methodist Church.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Cost of Discipleship, a reflection on Luke 14:25-33

Those of us who are used to thinking of the term "Family Values" to be synonymous with Christian Values may have struggled with this particular passage. Is Jesus really telling us that we have to hate our families and to leave them behind if we want to join the church? Not a message I see being lived out by the churches I am familiar with.

Just about as troubling is the requirement to halt needed work like foundation building or to begin projects without considering what resources are necessary.

So, once again I am grateful to Ronald Allen & Clark Williamson who wrote a lectionary commentary called Preaching the Gospel without Blaming the Jews.

Early Christians would have found these commands difficult as well since rabbinic Judaism has no instructions to hate family. To help us to interpret what Jesus is saying to us, Allen & Williamson suggest we need to put the passage in context. Jesus had just told a parable about a man who invited a lot of people to dinner and they were too busy with their own lives to show up.
The banquet is the kingdom. The excuses represent the kinds of ties that people have--to real estate, to work, and to family--ties that keep us from giving our ultimate commitment to the work of God in the world. .... Jesus' teaching about hating our loved ones is not recommending that we feel hatred for them....It is about choices, decisions.

More from Allen & Williamson:
The language is hyperbolic. We are to have a relative love for the relative and an ultimate love ... for God and God's kingdom.... We are to assess critically whether we can finish what we start, whether we can stay the course of discipleship. Can we make the commitment to peace, justice, economic sufficiency for all, and respect for the well-being of the stranger that commitment to the kingdom and following Jesus entail?

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