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."

Saturday, June 30, 2012

What I am waiting for, a Reflection on Psalm 130

This psalm helps give us voice to our laments, for those times when we are lost in situations of despair, times when we are not in control of the outcome. It is a reminder, an affirmation, that what we are waiting for is for the Lord to take control.

We are turning to the Lord even with the admission that we don't deserve help. God forgives. God loves. God redeems.

Daily Prayer, Saturday, June 30, 2012

Sing praises to the Lord, O you his faithful ones,
   and give thanks to his holy name (Psalm 130:4).

Morning
Invitatory Psalm 67
May God be gracious to us and bless us
   and make his face to shine upon us, Selah
that your way may be known upon earth,
your saving power among all nations.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.
Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
   for you judge the peoples with equity
   and guide the nations upon earth. Selah
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.

The earth has yielded its increase;
God, our God, has blessed us.
May God continue to bless us;
let all the ends of the earth revere him.


Psalm 50
The mighty one, God the Lord, 

speaks and summons the earth
   from the rising of the sun to its setting.
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, 

God shines forth.

Our God comes and does not keep silence,
   before him is a devouring fire,
   and a mighty tempest all around him.
He calls to the heavens above and to the earth,
   that he may judge his people:
“Gather to me my faithful ones,
   who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!”
The heavens declare his righteousness,
   for God himself is judge. Selah

“Hear, O my people, and I will speak,
   O Israel, I will testify against you.
   I am God, your God.

Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you;
   your burnt offerings are continually before me.
I will not accept a bull from your house,
   or goats from your folds.
For every wild animal of the forest is mine,
   the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know all the birds of the air,
   and all that moves in the field is mine.
“If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
   for the world and all that is in it is mine.

Do I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?
Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
   and pay your vows to the Most High.
Call on me in the day of trouble;
   I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”

But to the wicked God says:
   “What right have you to recite my statutes,
   or take my covenant on your lips?

For you hate discipline,
   and you cast my words behind you.
You make friends with a thief when you see one,
   and you keep company with adulterers.
“You give your mouth free rein for evil,
   and your tongue frames deceit.
You sit and speak against your kin;
you slander your own mother’s child.
These things you have done and I have been silent;
   you thought that I was one just like yourself.
But now I rebuke you, and lay the charge before you.

“Mark this, then, you who forget God,
   or I will tear you apart,
   and there will be no one to deliver.
Those who bring thanksgiving as their sacrifice honor me;
   to those who go the right way I will show the salvation of God.”

Psalm 51
Have mercy on me, O God,
   according to your steadfast love;
   according to your abundant mercy
   blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
   and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
   and my sin is ever before me.

Against you, you alone, have I sinned,
   and done what is evil in your sight,
   so that you are justified in your sentence
   and blameless when you pass judgment.
Indeed, I was born guilty,
   a sinner when my mother conceived me.

You desire truth in the inward being;
   therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
   wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
   let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
   and put a new and right spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence,
   and do not take your holy spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
   and sustain in me a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
   and sinners will return to you.

Deliver me from bloodshed, O God,
   O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.

O Lord, open my lips,
   and my mouth will declare your praise.
For you have no delight in sacrifice;
   if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased.
The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit;
   a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;
rebuild the walls of Jerusalem,
   then you will delight in right sacrifices,
   in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
   then bulls will be offered on your altar.

Daily Lectionary Reading, Psalm 130


 I cry out to you from the depths, LORD —
2 my Lord, listen to my voice!
Let your ears pay close attention to my request for mercy!
3 If you kept track of sins, LORD —
my Lord, who would stand a chance?
4 But forgiveness is with you—
that’s why you are honored.
5 I hope, LORD.
My whole beingr hopes,
and I wait for God’s promise.
6 My whole being waits for my Lord—
more than the night watch waits for morning;
yes, more than the night watch waits for morning!
7 Israel, wait for the LORD!
Because faithful love is with the LORD;
because great redemption is with our God!
8 He is the one who will redeem Israel
from all its sin. [Common English Bible]


Prayer for Today: Choose one of the prayers from Joan Stott's Timeless Psalms.

Evening
Psalm 75
We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks;
your name is near.
People tell of your wondrous deeds.
At the set time that I appoint I will judge with equity.
When the earth totters, with all its inhabitants,
   it is I who keep its pillars steady. Selah

I say to the boastful, “Do not boast,”
   and to the wicked, “Do not lift up your horn;
   do not lift up your horn on high,
   or speak with insolent neck.”

For not from the east or from the west
   and not from the wilderness comes lifting up;
but it is God who executes judgment,
   putting down one and lifting up another.

For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup
   with foaming wine, well mixed;
he will pour a draught from it,
   and all the wicked of the earth
       shall drain it down to the dregs.

But I will rejoice forever;
I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.
All the horns of the wicked I will cut off,
   but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted.

Psalm 77
I cry aloud to God, aloud to God,
   that he may hear me.
In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord;
in the night my hand is stretched out
   without wearying;
my soul refuses to be comforted.
I think of God, and I moan;
I meditate, and my spirit faints. Selah

You keep my eyelids from closing;
I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
I consider the days of old,
   and remember the years of long ago.
I commune with my heart in the night;
I meditate and search my spirit:
“Will the Lord spurn forever,
   and never again be favorable?
Has his steadfast love ceased forever?
Are his promises at an end for all time?
Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has he in anger shut up his compassion?” Selah

And I say, “It is my grief that
   the right hand of the Most High has changed.”
I will call to mind the deeds of the Lord;
I will remember your wonders of old.
I will meditate on all your work,
   and muse on your mighty deeds.

Your way, O God, is holy.
What god is so great as our God?
You are the God who works wonders;
you have displayed your might among the peoples.
With your strong arm you redeemed your people,
   the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. Selah

When the waters saw you, O God,
   when the waters saw you, they were afraid;
       the very deep trembled.
The clouds poured out water;
the skies thundered;
your arrows flashed on every side.
The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind;
your lightnings lit up the world;
the earth trembled and shook.
Your way was through the sea,
   your path, through the mighty waters;
   yet your footprints were unseen.
You led your people like a flock
   by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Reflection on Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24

In case you don't have the Apocryphal books in your Bible, here's the reading for today:
God did not make death,
and he does not delight in the death of the living.
For he created all things so that they might exist;
the generative forces of the world are wholesome,
and there is no destructive poison in them,
and the dominion of Hades is not on earth.
For righteousness is immortal.

God created us for incorruption,
and made us in the image of his own eternity,
but through the devil's envy death entered the world
and those who belong to his company experience it.
Commentators tell us that this book was written to Jews living under Hellenistic rule--thus, under the influence of its philosophy. It is in response to an old question that is still new: How do we retain our identity if the important people have different traditions and practices?

Part of the answer is in today's lesson: Remember what is really important to God. God intends for us and for everything to be good. We don't always do what God intends. And when we don't we--or someone--will suffer the consequences.

This text is an interesting companion to this week's gospel lesson about the two healings. Surely, the compilers of the lectionary didn't want us to think that either the daughter or the hemorrhaging woman deserved her situation. I would rather conclude that we are supposed to focus on the call to faithfulness--that shown by the woman willing to approach Jesus and Jairus, the father of the dying girl.

Daily Prayer, Friday, June 29, 2012

I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn my up (Psalm 30:1a).

Morning
Invitatory Psalm 118
O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
   his steadfast love endures forever!
….
Let those who fear the Lord say,
    “His steadfast love endures forever.”

Out of my distress I called on the Lord;
the Lord answered me
   and set me in a broad place.
With the Lord on my side I do not fear.
What can mortals do to me?
The Lord is on my side to help me;
I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
   than to put confidence in mortals.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
   than to put confidence in princes.
...
The Lord is my strength and my might;
he has become my salvation.
There are glad songs of victory
  in the tents of the righteous:
“The right hand of the Lord does valiantly;
the right hand of the Lord is exalted;
the right hand of the Lord does valiantly.”
I shall not die, but I shall live,
   and recount the deeds of the Lord.
...
The stone that the builders rejected
   has become the chief cornerstone.
This is the Lord’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Save us, we beseech you, O Lord!
O Lord, we beseech you, give us success!

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
We bless you from the house of the Lord.
The Lord is God, and he has given us light.
Bind the festal procession with branches,
   up to the horns of the altar.
You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
you are my God, I will extol you.
O give thanks to the Lord,
   for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.

Psalm 41
Happy are those who consider the poor;
the Lord delivers them in the day of trouble.
The Lord protects them and keeps them alive;
   they are called happy in the land.
You do not give them up to the will of their enemies.

The Lord sustains them on their sickbed;
   in their illness you heal all their infirmities.
As for me, I said, “O Lord, be gracious to me;
   heal me, for I have sinned against you.”
My enemies wonder in malice when I will die,
   and my name perish.
And when they come to see me, they utter empty words,
   while their hearts gather mischief;
   when they go out, they tell it abroad.

All who hate me whisper together about me;
they imagine the worst for me.
They think that a deadly thing has fastened on me,
  that I will not rise again from where I lie.
Even my bosom friend in whom I trusted,
  who ate of my bread, has lifted the heel against me.

But you, O Lord, be gracious to me,
  and raise me up, that I may repay them.
By this I know that you are pleased with me;
   because my enemy has not triumphed over me.
But you have upheld me because of my integrity,
   and set me in your presence forever.

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
   from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and Amen.

Psalm 42
As a deer longs for flowing streams, 

so my soul longs for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. 

When shall I come and behold the face of God?
My tears have been my food day and night,
   while people say to me continually, “Where is your God?”

These things I remember, as I pour out my soul:
   how I went with the throng,
   and led them in procession to the house of God,
       with glad shouts and songs of thanksgiving,
   a multitude keeping festival.

Why are you cast down, O my soul, 

and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.
My soul is cast down within me;
   therefore I remember you from the land of Jordan 

and of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.

Deep calls to deep at the thunder of your cataracts;
all your waves and your billows have gone over me.
By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,
and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.

I say to God, my rock, “Why have you forgotten me?
   Why must I walk about mournfully because the enemy oppresses me?”
As with a deadly wound in my body, my adversaries taunt me,
   while they say to me continually, “Where is your God?”

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.

Psalm 43
Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people;
from those who are deceitful and unjust deliver me!
For you are the God in whom I take refuge;
why have you cast me off?
Why must I walk about mournfully because of the oppression of the enemy?
O send out your light and your truth; let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling.

Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy;
and I will praise you with the harp, O God, my God.

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.

Psalm 47
Clap your hands, all you peoples; shout to God with loud songs of joy.
For the Lord, the Most High, is awesome, a great king over all the earth.
He subdued peoples under us, and nations under our feet.
He chose our heritage for us, the pride of Jacob whom he loves. Selah
God has gone up with a shout, the Lord with the sound of a trumpet.
Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises.
For God is the king of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm.
God is king over the nations; God sits on his holy throne.
The princes of the peoples gather as the people of the God of Abraham.
For the shields of the earth belong to God; he is highly exalted.

Daily Lectionary Reading, Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24


13 God didn’t make death. God takes no delight in the ruin of anything that lives. 14 God created everything so that it might exist. The creative forces at work in the cosmos are life-giving. There is no destructive poison in them. The underworld (a) doesn’t rule on earth. 15 Doing what is right means living forever.


2:23 God created humans to live forever. He made them as a perfect representation of his own unique identity. 24 Death entered the universe only through the devil’s envy. Those who belong to the devil’s party experience death. (c)
_________________________________________________
a  Gk Hades
c Or continue to test people [Common English Bible]


Prayer for Today: O God, strengthen our faith in you. Deepen our knowledge of you. Keep us mindful of your intentions for us. Amen.



Midday Psalm 119:78-88
Let the arrogant be put to shame,
   because they have subverted me with guile;
as for me, I will meditate on your precepts.
Let those who fear you turn to me,
   so that they may know your decrees.
May my heart be blameless in your statutes,
   so that I may not be put to shame.
My soul languishes for your salvation;
I hope in your word.
My eyes fail with watching for your promise;
I ask, “When will you comfort me?”
For I have become like a wineskin in the smoke,
yet I have not forgotten your statutes.
How long must your servant endure?
When will you judge those who persecute me?
The arrogant have dug pitfalls for me;
they flout your law.
All your commandments are enduring;
I am persecuted without cause; help me!
They have almost made an end of me on earth;
   but I have not forsaken your precepts.
In your steadfast love spare my life,
   so that I may keep the decrees of your mouth.

Evening
Psalm 74
O God, why do you cast us off forever?
Why does your anger smoke
   against the sheep of your pasture?
Remember your congregation,
   which you acquired long ago,
   which you redeemed to be the tribe of your heritage.
Remember Mount Zion, where you came to dwell.

Direct your steps to the perpetual ruins;
the enemy has destroyed everything in the sanctuary.
Your foes have roared within your holy place;
they set up their emblems there.

At the upper entrance
   they hacked the wooden trellis with axes.
And then, with hatchets and hammers,
   they smashed all its carved work.
They set your sanctuary on fire;
they desecrated the dwelling place of your name,
   bringing it to the ground.

They said to themselves, “We will utterly subdue them”;
they burned all the meeting places of God in the land.

We do not see our emblems;
there is no longer any prophet,
and there is no one among us who knows how long.

How long, O God, is the foe to scoff?
Is the enemy to revile your name forever?
Why do you hold back your hand;
why do you keep your hand in your bosom?

Yet God my King is from of old,
   working salvation in the earth.
You divided the sea by your might;
you broke the heads of the dragons in the waters.
You crushed the heads of Leviathan;
you gave him as food for the creatures of the wilderness.
You cut openings for springs and torrents;
you dried up ever-flowing streams.
Yours is the day, yours also the night;
you established the luminaries and the sun.
You have fixed all the bounds of the earth;
you made summer and winter.

Remember this, O Lord, how the enemy scoffs,
   and an impious people reviles your name.
Do not deliver the soul of your dove to the wild animals;
do not forget the life of your poor forever.
Have regard for your covenant,
     for the dark places of the land are full of the haunts of violence.
Do not let the downtrodden be put to shame;
let the poor and needy praise your name.
Rise up, O God, plead your cause;
remember how the impious scoff at you all day long.
Do not forget the clamor of your foes,
    the uproar of your adversaries that goes up continually.