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 World Service Fund, your church supports a network of dedicated, faithful missionaries. Working with the support of our General Board of Global Ministries, servants like Clara Biswas do ministry in our name. Clara’s work with the children of Cambodia, who live in deepest poverty, has changed lives. In partnership with UM Women, her work has led to the building of a school near the garbage dump where these children scavenge to help their families. 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 our General Board of Global Ministries Missionaries at:www.umcmission.org/Explore-Our-Work/Missionaries-in-Service/Missionary-Landing

October 5, 2014 -- Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost/in Kingdomtide

God of law and God of grace: Our minds are on the commandments you gave through Moses on Mount Sinai, and we hang our heads. You’ve asked little, and we fall so short. We have put other gods before you: money, work, pleasure, and prestige. As we bring our gifts to the altar today, we come with the deepest gratitude for your love that does not let us go, even when we fail. We pray that we may be found by you, far from perfect, but standing on your amazing grace! We ask this in the holy name of Jesus, the Christ. Amen. (Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20)

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

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Voice of the Lord, a Reflection on Psalm 29

Isaiah spoke of experiencing the presence of God--whose voice would shake the doorposts. The psalm chosen for response also speaks of how we are struck by God's presence in our lives by using the metaphor of a thunderstorm

"Abscribe to the Lord..." the NRSV begins. I'm told by Robert Alter's Book of Psalms, that this verb means "to give" or "to grant." The Psalm begins by speaking to the heavenly court (a group that modern day Christians don't talk about much) telling them to grant praise to the Lord, and ends with the prayer that the Lord will give us strength and wellbeing.

We cannot see the invisible God but we can see the impact that God has on earth and within our community. Last week, in the reading from Acts 2, we remembered how this presence was described by the witnesses at Pentecost.

Daily Prayer, Thursday, May 31, 2012

Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.

Morning
Invitatory Psalm 150
Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty firmament!
Praise him for his mighty deeds;
praise him according to his surpassing greatness!
Praise him with trumpet sound;
praise him with lute and harp!
Praise him with tambourine and dance;
praise him with strings and pipe!
Praise him with clanging cymbals;
praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
Let everything that breathes praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!


Psalm 39
I said, “I will guard my ways
   that I may not sin with my tongue;
I will keep a muzzle on my mouth
   as long as the wicked are in my presence.”
I was silent and still;
I held my peace to no avail;
my distress grew worse,
my heart became hot within me.
While I mused, the fire burned;
then I spoke with my tongue:
Lord, let me know my end,
  and what is the measure of my days;
let me know how fleeting my life is.

You have made my days a few handbreadths,
   and my lifetime is as nothing in your sight.
Surely everyone stands as a mere breath. Selah
Surely everyone goes about like a shadow.
Surely for nothing they are in turmoil;
they heap up, and do not know who will gather.

“And now, O Lord, what do I wait for?
My hope is in you.
Deliver me from all my transgressions.
Do not make me the scorn of the fool.
I am silent;
I do not open my mouth,
   for it is you who have done it.

Remove your stroke from me;
I am worn down by the blows of your hand.
“You chastise mortals in punishment for sin,
   consuming like a moth what is dear to them;
surely everyone is a mere breath. Selah

“Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry;
do not hold your peace at my tears.
For I am your passing guest, an alien, like all my forebears.
Turn your gaze away from me,
  that I may smile again, before I depart and am no more.”

Psalm 40
I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the desolate pit,
   out of the miry bog,
   and set my feet upon a rock,
   making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
   a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.
Happy are those who make the Lord their trust,
   who do not turn to the proud,
   to those who go astray after false gods.
You have multiplied, O Lord my God,
   your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
none can compare with you.
Were I to proclaim and tell of them,
   they would be more than can be counted.
Sacrifice and offering you do not desire,
   but you have given me an open ear.
Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required.

Then I said, “Here I am;
in the scroll of the book it is written of me.
I delight to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart.”
I have told the glad news of deliverance
   in the great congregation;
see, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O Lord.
I have not hidden your saving help within my heart,
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love
   and your faithfulness from the great congregation.
Do not, O Lord, withhold your mercy from me;
let your steadfast love and your faithfulness
   keep me safe forever.
For evils have encompassed me without number;
my iniquities have overtaken me, until I cannot see;
they are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails me.
Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me;
O Lord, make haste to help me.
….
But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation
   say continually, “Great is the Lord!”
As for me, I am poor and needy,
   but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
do not delay, O my God.

Daily Lectionary Reading, Psalm 29

  •  You, divine beings! Give to the LORD 
  • give to the LORD glory and power!
  • 2 Give to the LORD the glory due his name!
  • Bow down to the LORD in holy splendor!
  • 3 The LORD ’s voice is over the waters;
  • the glorious God thunders;
  • the LORD is over the mighty waters.
  • 4 The LORD ’s voice is strong;
  • the LORD ’s voice is majestic.
  • 5 The LORD ’s voice breaks cedar trees—
  • yes, the LORD shatters the cedars of Lebanon.
  • 6 He makes Lebanon jump around like a young bull,
  • makes Sirion jump around like a young wild ox.
  • 7 The LORD ’s voice unleashes fiery flames;
  • 8 the LORD ’s voice shakes the wilderness—
  • yes, the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
  • 9 The LORD ’s voice convulses the oaks,
  • strips the forests bare,
  • but in his temple everyone shouts, “ Glory! ”
  • 10 The LORD sits enthroned over the floodwaters;
  • the LORD sits enthroned—king forever!
  • 11 Let the LORD give strength to his people!
  • Let the LORD bless his people with peace!


Prayer for Today: Choose a prayer from Timeless Psalms


Midday Psalm 119:68-77
You are good and do good; teach me your statutes.
The arrogant smear me with lies,
   but with my whole heart I keep your precepts.
Their hearts are fat and gross,
   but I delight in your law.
It is good for me that I was humbled,
   so that I might learn your statutes.
The law of your mouth is better to me
   than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
Your hands have made and fashioned me;
give me understanding
   that I may learn your commandments.
Those who fear you shall see me and rejoice,
   because I have hoped in your word.

I know, O Lord, that your judgments are right,
   and that in faithfulness you have humbled me.
Let your steadfast love become my comfort
   according to your promise to your servant.
Let your mercy come to me, that I may live;
   for your law is my delight.

Evening
Psalm 69
Save me, O God,
   for the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold;
I have come into deep waters,
   and the flood sweeps over me.
I am weary with my crying;
my throat is parched.
My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God.
….
O God, you know my folly;
the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you.
Do not let those who hope in you be put to shame
   because of me, O Lord God of hosts;
do not let those who seek you be dishonored
   because of me, O God of Israel.
….
At an acceptable time, O God,
   in the abundance of your steadfast love,
   answer me. With your faithful help
rescue me from sinking in the mire;
let me be delivered from my enemies a
   nd from the deep waters.
Do not let the flood sweep over me,
   or the deep swallow me up,
   or the Pit close its mouth over me.

Answer me, O Lord, for your steadfast love is good;
according to your abundant mercy, turn to me.
Do not hide your face from your servant,
   for I am in distress—make haste to answer me.
Draw near to me, redeem me,
   set me free because of my enemies.
….
lO God, protect me.
I will praise the name of God with a song;
I will magnify him with thanksgiving.
This will please the Lord more than
   an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs.

Let the oppressed see it and be glad;
you who seek God, let your hearts revive.
For the Lord hears the needy,
   and does not despise his own that are in bonds.
Let heaven and earth praise him,
   the seas and everything that moves in them.
For God will save Zion and rebuild the cities of Judah;
and his servants shall live there and possess it;
the children of his servants shall inherit it,
and those who love his name shall live in it.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

An unclean prophet, a Reflection on Isaiah 6:1-8

Verses 1-4 describe an overwhelming sense of God's glory and the appropriate response to it. On a throne. A high and lofty throne. So large that just the hem of his robe fills the temple. Heavenly beings attend him. They sing, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts."

Verses 5, in contrast, describes the great contrast with this glory with the human condition. Isaiah realizes that he is unworthy.

Verses 6-7 give us reassurance. Since we are not worthy, God has a way of redeeming us, of overcoming our sin. Isaiah's guilt was removed.

Verse 8 reminds us why we need this redemption. We have a task. Isaiah accepted his call.

(much of this from or inspired by Isaiah 1-39, by Walter Brueggeman)

How much of this is repeated in a typical church service? Do we recognize an overwhelming divine presence? Do we recognize our own sinfulness? Can we receive redemption? If so, what are we prepared to do with it?

Daily Prayer, Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.

Morning
Invitatory Psalm 100
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come into his presence with singing.

Know that the Lord is God.
It is he that made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
   and his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him, bless his name.
For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
   and his faithfulness to all generations.

Psalm 37
Do not fret because of the wicked;
do not be envious of wrongdoers,
for they will soon fade like the grass,
   and wither like the green herb.

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
so you will live in the land, and enjoy security.
Take delight in the Lord,
   and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.
He will make your vindication shine like the light,
   and the justice of your cause like the noonday.

Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him;
do not fret over those who prosper in their way,
   over those who carry out evil devices.
Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath.
Do not fret—it leads only to evil.
For the wicked shall be cut off,
   but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.
Yet a little while, and the wicked will be no more;
though you look diligently for their place,
they will not be there.

But the meek shall inherit the land,
   and delight themselves in abundant prosperity.
The wicked plot against the righteous,
   and gnash their teeth at them;
but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
   for he sees that their day is coming.
The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows
   to bring down the poor and needy,
   to kill those who walk uprightly;
their sword shall enter their own heart,
   and their bows shall be broken.

Better is a little that the righteous person has
   than the abundance of many wicked.
For the arms of the wicked shall be broken,
but the Lord upholds the righteous.
The Lord knows the days of the blameless,
   and their heritage will abide forever;
they are not put to shame in evil times,
   in the days of famine they have abundance.

But the wicked perish, and the enemies of the Lord
   are like the glory of the pastures;
they vanish—like smoke they vanish away.
The wicked borrow, and do not pay back,
   but the righteous are generous and keep giving;
for those blessed by the Lord shall inherit the land,
   but those cursed by him shall be cut off.

Our steps are made firm by the Lord,
   when he delights in our way;
though we stumble, we shall not fall headlong, f
   or the Lord holds us by the hand.
I have been young, and now am old,
yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
   or their children begging bread.
They are ever giving liberally and lending,
  and their children become a blessing.
Depart from evil, and do good;
  so you shall abide forever.
For the Lord loves justice;
he will not forsake his faithful ones.
The righteous shall be kept safe forever,
   but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.
The righteous shall inherit the land, and live in it forever.
The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom,
   and their tongues speak justice.
The law of their God is in their hearts;
their steps do not slip.
The wicked watch for the righteous,
   and seek to kill them.
The Lord will not abandon them to their power,
 or let them be condemned when they are brought to trial.
Wait for the Lord, and keep to his way,
   and he will exalt you to inherit the land;
you will look on the destruction of the wicked.
I have seen the wicked oppressing,
   and towering like a cedar of Lebanon.
Again I passed by, and they were no more;
though I sought them, they could not be found.
Mark the blameless, and behold the upright,
for there is posterity for the peaceable.
But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed;
the posterity of the wicked shall be cut off.
The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord;
he is their refuge in the time of trouble.
The Lord helps them and rescues them;
he rescues them from the wicked, and saves them,
   because they take refuge in him.

Daily Lectionary Reading, Isaiah 6:1-8
In the year of King Uzziah’s death, I saw the Lord sitting on a high and exalted throne, the edges of his robe filling the temple. 2 Winged creatures were stationed around him. Each had six wings: with two they veiled their faces, with two their feet, and with two they flew about. 3 They shouted to each other, saying: 

“ Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of heavenly forces! All the earth is filled with God’s glory! ” 
4 The doorframe shook at the sound of their shouting, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 I said, “ Mourn for me; I’m ruined! I’m a man with unclean lips, and I live among a people with unclean lips. Yet I’ve seen the king, the LORD of heavenly forces! ” 6 Then one of the winged creatures flew to me, holding a glowing coal that he had taken from the altar with tongs. 7 He touched my mouth and said, “ See, this has touched your lips. Your guilt has departed, and your sin is removed. ” 


8 Then I heard the Lord’s voice saying, “ Whom should I send, and who will go for us? ” I said, “ I’m here; send me. ” [Common English Bible]


Prayer for Today: Holy, holy Lord. All the earth is filled with your glory. You come to us, weak and undeserving as we are. You come to us even though we do not deserve your presence, even though we have been sinful. You come to us and call us to do work that needs to be done. Wake us. Rouse us. Strengthen us so that we can answer your call. Amen.

Midday Psalm 119:57-67
The Lord is my portion;
I promise to keep your words.
I implore your favor with all my heart;
be gracious to me according to your promise.
When I think of your ways,
   I turn my feet to your decrees;
I hurry and do not delay to keep your commandments.
Though the cords of the wicked ensnare me,
I do not forget your law.
At midnight I rise to praise you,
   because of your righteous ordinances.
I am a companion of all who fear you,
   of those who keep your precepts.
The earth, O Lord, is full of your steadfast love;
teach me your statutes.
You have dealt well with your servant,
   O Lord, according to your word.
Teach me good judgment and knowledge,
   for I believe in your commandments.
Before I was humbled I went astray,
   but now I keep your word.

Evening

Psalm 63
O God, you are my God, I seek you,
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land
   where there is no water.

So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
   beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
   my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
I will lift up my hands and call on your name.

My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast,
and my mouth praises you with joyful lips
   when I think of you on my bed,
   and meditate on you in the watches of the night;

for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.
….

Psalm 68
Let God rise up,
let his enemies be scattered;
let those who hate him flee before him.
As smoke is driven away,
   so drive them away;
as wax melts before the fire,
let the wicked perish before God.
But let the righteous be joyful;
let them exult before God;
let them be jubilant with joy.

Sing to God, sing praises to his name;
lift up a song to him who rides upon the clouds
   —his name is the Lord— be exultant before him.

Father of orphans and protector of widows
   is God in his holy habitation.
God gives the desolate a home to live in;
he leads out the prisoners to prosperity,
   but the rebellious live in a parched land.

O God, when you went out before your people,
when you marched through the wilderness, Selah

the earth quaked, the heavens poured down rain
   at the presence of God, the God of Sinai,
   at the presence of God, the God of Israel.

Rain in abundance, O God, you showered abroad;
you restored your heritage when it languished;
your flock found a dwelling in it;
in your goodness, O God, you provided for the needy.

The Lord gives the command;
great is the company of those who bore the tidings:
“The kings of the armies, they flee, they flee!”
The women at home divide the spoil,
though they stay among the sheepfolds
   — the wings of a dove covered with silver,
   its pinions with green gold.
When the Almighty scattered kings there,
   snow fell on Zalmon.
O mighty mountain, mountain of Bashan;
O many-peaked mountain, mountain of Bashan!
Why do you look with envy, O many-peaked mountain,
   at the mount that God desired for his abode,
   where the Lord will reside forever?
….
Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up;
God is our salvation. Selah
Our God is a God of salvation,
   and to God, the Lord, belongs escape from death.
….

Your solemn processions are seen, O God,
   the processions of my God, my King, into the sanctuary—
   the singers in front, the musicians last,
   between them girls playing tambourines:

“Bless God in the great congregation, the Lord,
   O you who are of Israel’s fountain!”
There is Benjamin, the least of them, in the lead,
the princes of Judah in a body,
the princes of Zebulun, the princes of Naphtali.

Summon your might, O God;
show your strength, O God,
   as you have done for us before.

Because of your temple at Jerusalem kings bear gifts to you.
Rebuke the wild animals that live among the reeds,
   the herd of bulls with the calves of the peoples.
Trample under foot those who lust after tribute;
scatter the peoples who delight in war.
Let bronze be brought from Egypt;
let Ethiopia hasten to stretch out its hands to God.

Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth;

sing praises to the Lord, Selah
O rider in the heavens, the ancient heavens;
listen, he sends out his voice, his mighty voice.
Ascribe power to God, whose majesty is over Israel;
   and whose power is in the skies.
Awesome is God in his sanctuary, the God of Israel;
he gives power and strength to his people.

Blessed be God!