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.

nvitation 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, such as Camp and Retreat Ministries that not only touch and shape the lives of children and youth, but adults of all ages as well. While these ministries happen within the boundaries of our annual conferences, resources and training come through a variety of networks, coordinated through the office of Camp and Retreat Ministries at Discipleship Ministries. This office is working to make leaders better prepared and helping those committed to these ministries see the challenges the future might hold. 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.

May 24, 2015 – Day of Pentecost
Living God, you are the Lord of all! Only you can send your Spirit to bring us new life. You graciously speak your word of hope in times of struggle and uncertainty and in times of joy and peace. We are grateful that you are continually at work in our lives and the world to fulfill your promises. May our giving today show our trust in you. We pray through Christ our Lord. Amen. (Ezekiel 37:1-14)

Learn more about the Camping and Retreat Ministries at: www.umcdiscipleship.org/leadership-resources/camp-retreat-ministries.

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

Monday, March 14, 2011

Even Scholars Don't Always Get It Right Away, a Reflection on John 3:1-9

Repeat from earlier year:
Jesus has been upsetting the insiders. One of them, Nicodemus, comes by night. I am told by Bible commentators that "night" implies more "not understanding" than a time. I had always taken "night" as literal and read that Nicodemus was hoping not to be seen by anyone important when he approached this trouble maker. After thinking about it for a moment, I've decided to keep both meanings.

Nicodemus asserts that the miracles they have seen Jesus perform have been persuasive. Yet apparently not completely so. It's night after all.

After being asked about how anybody can have a second birth, Jesus answers him by asserting the necessity of the Spirit.

"What is born of the Spirit is spirit....The wind blows where it chooses..." Remember that the Greek word translated as wind also means breath or spirit. God breathes on us; a force moves us like the wind moves us and that force is as invisible as the wind as it is as potent as the wind.

"So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." Who is this "everyone"? Who has been born of the Spirit? Am I reassured? insulted? puzzled? grateful?
.... "

2 comments:

Unlikely said...

John 3 is really a great story when taken either as a whole or even as parts. Reading your post I think you've been hooked by the story (This is a very good thing). The story of Nicodemus and Jesus is easy to pass by because John 3:16 seems so important. But the questions you ask and that Nicodemus asked are important. We live with people who haven't heard the full promise of God's love for the world. We live with people who have questions like Nicodemus about new birth that humans can't easily answer but that the Holy Spirit can answer.

RobynHerself said...

"The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” If we are born of the Spirit, people might consider us unpredictable because they'll never understand where we are "coming from" or "where we are going," because, we will be led, not by tradition or popular opinion, but by the Spirit!