Offertory Prayer

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 the Episcopal Fund, your church not only supports the Bishop who serves your conference, but the global work of our United Methodist episcopal leaders. Your giving makes possible their witness for the whole church in many areas including evangelism, justice ministries, global health and working with the world’s poor. This ministry happens thanks to the generous support of United Methodists like you. I invite you once again to give generously as we worship God through the sharing of our gifts, tithes and offerings.

August 31, 2014 -- Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost/in Kingdomtide

Learn more about the work of the Council of Bishops of the UMC at: http://www.umc.org/who-we-are/council-of-bishops

Holy God, we bring our gifts to your altar this morning, remembering that Jesus told us that if we were truly to be his disciples we would need to “deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow.” It’s tempting to try to follow, without taking the cross; or to try to follow, without denying ourselves. More often, we seek to simply take the name of “Christian” without the denying, the taking of the cross, or the following. Guide us, Lord, on this journey of discipleship. Use these gifts, and use us. In our Savior’s holy name, we pray. Amen. (Matthew 16:21-28)

"Prayers by Ken Sloan. Copyright General Board of Discipleship. www.GBOD.org Used by permission."

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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