Offertory Prayer


Offertory Prayers and Invitation for February 2015

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
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 our connectional giving, we support ministry with students of all ages, including those who have had the door to education opened to them through our eleven Historically Black Colleges. Through your generosity in support of the Black College Fund, students are empowered to learn, to succeed, and to change the world. For many of these students, your support is “a life-changer.” This ministry happens thanks to the way the people of The United Methodist Church live and give connectionally. I invite you once again to give generously as we worship God through the sharing of our gifts, tithes, and offerings.

Learn more about our Historically Black Colleges at: www.umcgiving.org/pastors/resources?category=2753

February 1, 2015 -- Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany
Holy God, Architect of all we know and all we do not know, bless the gifts we offer up to you this day. As we are reminded this morning of the authority you have given your precious son, so we remember how, in turn, he passed it on to us. Help us to see that the authority we have is not to wield power over one another, but to stir the power of compassion, hope, and love in one another. We pray this in the name of Jesus, the source of compassion, mercy and healing. Amen. (Mark 1:21-28)

February Offertory Prayers were written by the Rev. Dr. Ken Sloane, Director of Stewardship & Connectional Ministries 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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