Invitation to the OfferingThe 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 hear the good news of love and redemption. People here in our cities and communities who are immigrants trying to navigate their way to working status and citizenship find help through ministries such as Justice for Our Neighbors (JFON), which is a network of monthly clinics, hosted by more than 30 local United Methodist churches across the U.S. They provide professional legal services to immigrants for free, helping to reunite their families, secure immigration status, and enjoy the right to work. It also encourages churches to extend radical hospitality by providing places for community gathering and table fellowship. Coordinated by our General Board of Global Ministries, it is supported through our church’s giving to the World Service Fund. I invite you once again to give generously as we worship God through the sharing of our gifts, tithes and offerings.
May 19, 2013 – Day of PentecostAlmighty God who comes to us in wind and fire, may the doors of our hearts be open to let your Holy Spirit blow in and your love and grace flow out! As we offer up these gifts to you this morning, may they empower mission and ministries that spread across all your creation like wildfire. May our giving help your church to be born anew, not as bricks and mortar, but as hearts on fire to serve others and make disciples for Jesus Christ. In his holy name, we pray. Amen. (Acts 2:1-21)
GBOD continues to deliver the full text of each month's offertory prayers via email. You may also find the Offertory Prayers online at www.GBOD.org
Written by Ken Sloane, Director of Stewardship for GBOD.
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
From Despair to Joy, a Reflection on Baruch 5:1-9
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.