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
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 our Archives and History Center on the campus of Drew University in Madison, NJ. Here, a small group of dedicated archivists preserve the history and artifacts that keep us connected to our past – what they call “the ministry of memories.” By preserving historical photographs, sound recordings, published documents in digital formats, as well as treasures such as the Bible used by Francis Asbury or the journals and handwritten notes of John Wesley, scholars of today can be reconnected with our beginnings when we were more of a movement than an institution. Many in the church hope that this Holy Spirit movement can be recovered for a new generation, and those hopes are made possible through the work of our Commission on Archives and History. 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 the General Commission on Archives and History at http://www.gcah.org

April 26, 2015 – Fourth Sunday of Easter
O Lord, you are the good shepherd! Your son Jesus laid down his life for all who belong to you. Thank you for nurturing our life and sustaining our faith. In gratitude, we want to help others to know your love. Open our ears to listen to your voice. Open our eyes to see our brothers and sisters in need as sheep of your flock. May our tithes and offerings give voice to Christ's love for all people, especially those who have gone astray. Amen. (John 10:11-18)

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

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Anointment, Betrayal, Communion, Reflection on Mark 14:1-25

Jesus is living under threat. As he is sitting at supper, a woman approaches him with a jar filled with an expensive ointment. She breaks the jar and anoints his head with the ointment. When Israel had kings, they had been anointed by prophets (See 1 Samuel 16; 1 Kings 19:16). The word we translate as "Messiah" means anointed.

The other dinner guests do not do this scriptural exegesis. They don't think, "She must be a prophet. Ergo, he must be a king." Rather, they focus on what seems to them to be the foolish waste. And the contents of the jar were expensive--almost a year's pay.

Jesus reminds them of what they surely already knew--they are going to have many opportunities to use resources in what seems to be the right way--taking care of the poor. After all, the poor are not going away. Circumstances will continue to foster poverty.

Jesus points out to them that what this woman has done in this place on this day is is to prepare his body for burial. Yes, kings were anointed, but also are those persons who are to be buried.

The irony in Mark's version is that Jesus then says that wherever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what this woman has done will be told in remembrance of her. Yet, Mark doesn't tell us her name.

Later, in a Passover meal with his closest disciples, Jesus tells them that one of them is going to betray him.

Then he takes bread, blesses it, breaks it, and gives it to them, saying "This is my body." He takes a cup, gives thanks, and gives it to them, saying, "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many." We continue to remember this supper as disciples continue to gather.

The incident of the anointment of Jesus by a woman is told in all four gospels--and, with variations among them. In Mark's version, she is not named, nor are the objectors. Try not to worry about harmonizing the details. Rather, use them to help understand what particular message that particular gospel writer is trying to get across to us.

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