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

Your offering 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 the support we give to maintaining a connection with 100 United Methodist-related Colleges and 13 United Methodist Seminaries. Some of these colleges are large, well know institutions such as Duke, Boston University, Southern Methodist University (SMU), Syracuse University, American University in Washington DC and Emory University in Atlanta. Others, while not as large, are highly respected and have long lists of distinguished alumnae. Whether large or small, they all bear the Methodist DNA to this day, living out United Methodist compassion. We saw this last year when it was Emory University that became the center for Ebola treatment in the U.S. working to save those infected and finding new ways to stop the spread of this devastating disease. These kind of cooperative efforts across our connection, 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 colleges, universities and theological schools of the UMC: http://www.umc.org/directory/schools-seminaries

July 5, 2015 – Sixth Sunday after Pentecost / in Kingdomtide
O Lord our God, our talents and gifts are so insufficient to our challenges. We rejoice that your grace is sufficient for us and for the body of Christ, the church. You reveal that power is made perfect in weakness. Help us to receive this truth. When we face hardships, persecution and difficulties for your sake, may we trust that you are at work to help us and the world. Use these offerings to strengthen our witness as disciples of Jesus Christ, for we pray in his name. Amen. (2 Cor 12:2-10)

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

Friday, April 6, 2012

Lesson learned, reflection on Good Friday

Readings for Good Friday: Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Psalm 22; Hebrews 10:16-25; John 18:1-19:42

In an essay about Good Friday, Virginia Stem Owens talks about how beautiful the spring trees are in her native Texas. But, one year, she found herself offended by them:
...I was driving to work in College Station on Good Friday through a miasma of dogwood and redbud and not feeling good about it at all. It was a sparkling, resplendent day. Thickets of wild plum thew up their dark arms in dreamy clouds of white. Primroses, tenderly pink and gold, filled up the ditches along the road.
I was not pleased. This was not a penitential landscape. Good Friday is not the time for beauty.
....
I drove along, vaguely offended by the fields of flowers in full cry and the hillsides spangled with Easter white. This is the week, I thought, that the Savior of the world dies. This is the day when all that is good and true goes down to suffer death at the hands of the arrogant, those swollen with the pride of power. And what is the world doing? What is the earth, its own life threatened by those same enemies doing? Did it care? Was it grieving? No. It was shouldering aside the clouds and the husks of its dead self in order to break into life....
....
All week I had been reading the penitential Psalms and examining my sins. .... But now it was Good Friday. What did you do after you'd confessed all your sins and cleaned out all your closets? I took one last look around the bare cell of my heart for some forgotten fault, at the same time being careful to avoid the danger of manufacturing contrition for its own sake....
But what else was there to do on Good Friday? Already, on this spring morning, as I was descending the hills toward the river, Jesus was beginning his climb to Golgotha. What else was there to do? For the women who followed him, "Looking on afar off" (Mark 15:40 KJV), for those standing beneath the cross, what was there left to do?
Nothing. Quite obviously just nothing....Because Good Friday is the day when you can do nothing. Bewailing and lamenting your manifold sins does not in itself make up for them. Scouring your soul in a frenzy of spring cleaning only sterilizes it; it does not give it life. On Good Friday, finally, we are all mourners and mockers alike.....Good Friday is the day when we can do nothing at all.
....
Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness. His blood and his righteousness.
I passed the intersection at Carlos with its one blinking, yellow light and crossed the bridge over the pipeling that carries the coal slurry to the plant a few miles further on. From there the road bent northward to cross the river.
As I broke out of the ines and into the fertile bottomand, the spring again assaulted me. The land below, emerging from the tendrils of morning fog, was a tangle of luxuriant fertility.
Clouds of pink and white, effulgent enough to inebriate the soberest soul, lured one's live of vision into the darkest trees. Acres of bluebonnets streaked up the red clay banks of the river. The earth, on this Good Friday, cast forth its life, heedless of the sacrifice that sustained it. Its callous, regardless life, sucked from the source it can never repay, never replenish. Continually drawing on the death of its Savior to live. Just like me.

Read the entire essay and many others in Epiphanies, edited by Eugene Peterson and Emilie Griffin, published by Baker Books.

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