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.

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

August 24, 2014 -- Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost/in Kingdomtide
Almighty and merciful God, as we give our tithes and offerings this morning, we are reminded that it is here that the relationships of our hearts and our connection to the material world intersect. You have called us into the world, into its need, its suffering, its injustice, and its pain; not to be claimed by the world, but as those claimed by you to be agents of change and transformation and healing in the world. So use not only these gifts, these dollars we offer, but use us. Use our hands, use our feet, use our voices, and use our hearts to shape the world for which you long. We pray in the blessed name of Jesus, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen. (Romans 12:1-8)
(Genesis 45:1-15)

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

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

From Despair to Joy, a Reflection on Baruch 5:1-9

First, history: Baruch, a scribe who had been taken to Babylon with the first exiles, has learned of the destruction of the Temple.

Baruch attempts to console and to instruct.

Israel saw the exile as a justifiable punishment for its sin, for its failure to do what the Lord had instructed to, to live in the ways that the Lord had intended for them to live. Yet, despite their guilt, God   will show them mercy. (Source: Abingdon: NISB)

Baruch addresses Jerusalem (the left-behinds, the witnesses to the destruction), "Arise, O Jerusalem, stand upon the height; look toward the east, and see your children gathered from west and east at the word of the Holy One.... For God will lead Israel with joy, in the light of his glory, with the mercy and righteousness that come from him."

Now, the present: We have sinned or lived among people that sinned or both. We have seen the consequences of those sins. And we can sometimes admit that we did deserve those consequences. But, Advent is not a time to dwell on what-might-have beens.

Baruch's words of comfort for an ancient people, scattered, hurt, suffering from losses of status and property can still speak to us. God still comes with mercy and righteousness.

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