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."

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Dwelling Place of the Lord, a Reflection on Psalm 132

Psalm 132 begins by asking the Lord to remember David favorably--in this case, for wanting to build an appropriate place for the Lord to dwell and also appropriate for the people to come to worship.

We can read this reminder as referring specifically to David's establishment of Jerusalem as the capital and the worship center for all the tribes. And we can also read it metaphorically--Israel welcomed being chosen by the Lord and responded in a way that we could call hospitable and respectful.

This psalm then asks the Lord to remember the promise of the covenant with the house of David. Note that the Bible has several references to the covenant's being eternal, here it is described in more conditional terms--"If your sons keep my covenant and my decrees ... their sons also, forevermore, shall sit on your throne."

We are reading this psalm this week as we prepare for Christ the King Sunday; therefore, of course, we read it as applying to our lives and our worship. We who are Christians can remember the promises made to David and we can appropriate many of them for ourselves.

We also can appropriate many of the pledges that David made. We do desire to find a place for the Lord in our lives, a place that may be for us a physical church building, but it is also that place within the hearts of all of us in community.

And we certainly can appropriate the verses praying that our clerics be clothed in righteousness and all of us faithful, clergy and lay, be joyful in the presence of the Lord.

The place that the Lord has chosen to dwell is a place that will receive many blessings.

The first is to feed the poor.

Others include granting salvation to the priests, providing prosperity for David's decendants, and heaping disgrace on his enemies.

Back to the first--feeding the poor.

If we were to assess whether our congregation is providing an appropriate dwelling place for the Lord, should we use as a criteria whether we are feeding the poor?

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