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, November 26, 2012

Between the Clinging and the Yearning, a reflection on Luke 21:25-28

We're a month away from Christmas. But, according to the church calendar, we are entering Advent. The gospel reading this week is apocalyptic, not sentimental.

Jesus first spoke to people who had the memory of the loss of Jerusalem before and their return to exile, to people, who now were in a kind of exile--they lived in the land but were ruled by an occupying power.

By the time that Luke wrote his gospel, these hearers would have experienced the downfall of the temple. We are reading these words today of uproar in nature--signs in the sun, moon, and stars, roaring seas, shaken heavens, and recognize that Advent in the church is not Christmas in the department store.

Luke is speaking to people living in a tough time. He's says that everything is going to change, that the Son of Man is coming, and that their redemption is drawing near.

In the November 12, 2009, issue of Christian Century , Leonard Beechy quotes Walter Brueggemann, "Jesus' ministry takes place between the clinging and the yearning." He then adds:
That's also where we find ourselves in Advent, in the time between the times when the veil between worlds grows thin and the holy calls to us from the world to come. It is both an evening time and a morning time, when we learn what we must relinquish and to what we must open our hands, what is dying, and what is being born.
Lectio DivinaNow when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise our heads, because your redemption is drawing near (Luke 21:28).

Lectio DivinaTo you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in you I trust; do not let me be put to shame; do not let my enemies exult over me
 (Luke 21:1-2).
For all of us who are weighed down by problems caused by oppressors or by our own foolishness, we can look forward to an overturning of the way things are, look forward to Christ's changing everything.

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