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 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 8, 2015 – Third Sunday in Lent
Holy God, Creator and Redeemer, you have commanded us to put no other gods before you. Often, our lives have demonstrated that we have done the opposite. We worship “gods” of power, wealth, beauty, popularity and self-gratification, to name only a few. As we give our gifts to you, we proclaim you as the one and only God of love, deserving of our dedication and praise. In your holy name, we pray. Amen.(Exodus 20:1-17)

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

Monday, March 19, 2012

Where is Jesus? Reflection on John 12:20-26

Where we are in the story: Lazarus died and then was raised. In response, many believed. Frightened by this belief, some reported Jesus to religious authorities. After all, their religious practices were being allowed by a government that did not tolerate actions that were considered disrespectful or disruptive. These Jesus-people could stir up the crowds thus precipitating retaliation by the Romans.

In the week before Passover, Jesus enter triumphantly into Jerusalem.

We wish to see Jesus:
 Among those coming to worship were some Greeks, a term that usually meant Gentiles. Yet, since they have come to Passover, we may assume that they are, although Greek, also Jews--like Paul, for example. They approach Andrew and Philip, two of the disciples with Greek names.

As we modern Christians struggle with who should be allowed to be part of us, we can remember that our group has been a diverse one from very early days.

The meaning of his death: Jesus responds to them by a series of teaching about his soon-to-happen death. Yet, as he often is, he is cryptic. He talks about wheat. He uses a paradox about love and hate and loss and gain. Then, he speaks more clearly: "Whoever serves me must follow me. Where I am, there will my servant be also."

Read Jesus' pronouncement again, "Where I am, there will my servant be also." Does that mean that if Jesus' servant is not somewhere then Jesus is not? Or, does it mean if we are not carrying out our mission to do the work that Jesus showed us that no matter what we call ourselves, we are not really his servants?

I remember when Bishop Carder would visit Mississippi churches during his service in Mississippi. Before he went to the church building, he would wander about its neighborhood. He would ask passers-by about the church, if they knew anything about it, what impact it was having. Some of the respondents would not even know that such and such a Methodist church was their neighbor. Others would have seen the building, but knew nothing else other than there was that physical structure on the block. And some knew a lot about the impact of the congregation's ministry.

Try it in your neighborhood.

"Where I am, there will my servant be also."

Lectio divina: John 12:24-26

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