This series concludes the liturgical year, and it ends the long season after Pentecost that took us through the months from May to November. This season is Christ in the church, and we celebrate the call to be the sign of Christ’s presence in the world. What better way to sum up this season than by considering a life that matters?
While not designed to be all-inclusive, these three weeks use the gospel texts assigned to examine certain elements of this life we are called to live. We begin with generosity. The text from Mark sets up a contrast between the woman who gives “her whole living” and the scribes looking for recognition of their power and authority.
Our worship can include calls to humility through songs and prayers of confession, reminders that we don’t gather to worship ourselves, our way of life. How can we examine our hearts and our lives to see where we have put our desires before those of the one we call Lord of life? How can we spend time reflecting and confessing that we are on a journey to being true, wholehearted disciples of Jesus Christ?
There is an element of a stewardship message in this text but listen deeper for a higher call than simply whether and how much we give to the budget. Certainly, there is room for that invitation. We cannot, however, be assured we have been obedient to this call if we increase our giving a little bit. More is asked of us than that.
Call to Worship
Come and worship the one who wants your all.
We come to worship the one who offers all.
Come and worship with all your heart and soul and mind and strength.
We come and offer all that we have and all that we are in worship and in service.
Come and be blessed and you pour yourself out in worship.
We will worship wholeheartedly and with joy.
Rev. Dr. Derek C. Weber, Director of Preaching Ministries, Discipleship Ministries of the United Methodist Church, June 2021.
A General Prayer for the Day
Almighty and merciful God, our souls thirst for you both day and night. You are the author of our salvation, and you give us everything we need for fruitful living. Now we come into this house of thanksgiving to offer praise to your holy Name and to sing our songs of thanksgiving.
By the grace of baptism, you have adopted us as your children. You have made us heirs to eternal life and incorporated us into your family which we call the Church. But we become a forgetful people and do not honor you. We take great delight in showing off our works of mercy to gain the approval of others and forget that our privilege is to do works in your Name and for your glory alone. Forgive our selfish ways and make our works live.
We know the good news of how Christ offered himself to bear the sins of the world, and you have entrusted us with the mission to spread the word throughout the world. Send us out in the power of your Holy Spirit to accomplish our task with joy to the end that all may come to worship you.
We lift up before you those whose bread is comprised of tears because of their suffering. We know of people who feel their souls cast down for want of peace in their hearts and minds. Some are poured out from the hard work of dying. Speak your gracious word of comfort and grant them release.
Answer us, O merciful God, for our prayers are joined with the One who stands before you in heaven, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
And Also With You: Worship Resources Based on the Revised Common Lectionary, Year B, (OSL Publications, 1993), 145.
(Inspired by Mark 12:38ff)
Sometimes we feel like we have nothing to give. Sometimes we feel like this world just takes. It drains us dry, Lord. We sometimes feel like we just don’t have enough to go on. Not enough money, not enough energy, not enough hope.
But we know better. We might not have cars and fame and bling; we might not have titles and positions; we might not have a home to call our own; we might not have a lot of free time. But we have you, and you give.
Lord, you give us so much. You give us shelter and daily bread. You give us families and friends. You give us hope, love, and faith. You give us yourself. You meet us where we are. It might be in prison. It might be in the boardroom. It might be in the ditch. It might be in courtroom. It might be in a judge’s chamber. It might be on the streets. It might be in our homes. It might be in a homeless shelter. It might be in a cathedral. It might be a storefront. You meet us and you give.
So, what we have, we give to you. Like the widow who gave all she had, we know we can’t beat your giving. We have enough, and we give to you in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Tony Peterson, Africana Worship Book for Year B, Valerie Bridgeman Davis and Safiyah Fosua, eds., (Discipleship Resources, 2007), 183.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Divine Provider, we confess that we sometimes doubt your provision for us. When we start scraping the bottom of the barrel, we cut back our sharing with others who have already run out and are hungry or in need. Forgive selfishness and independence that prevents interdependence and working together to solve distribution problems in the use of the resources of your good earth, through your compassionate Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Declaration of Pardon
Pastor: Friends, hear the good news! Christ has entered into heaven.
People: Christ now appears in the presence of God on our behalf.
Pastor: Friends, believe the good news!
People: In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.
Just as it is appointed for us to die once and after that comes the judgment, so Christ having been offered once to bear the sins of many will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. Encourage one another as you see the day drawing near.
B. David Hostetter, Prayers for the Seasons of God’s People, Worship Aids for the Revised Common Lectionary Year B,( Abingdon, 1999), 210-211.
Prayer of Intercession: Proper 27 B
Merciful God of compassion and justice,
have mercy on us as we confess our sin.
We are not the stewards Christ calls us to be.
Riches possess us while others go hungry.
We mismanage creation with our pollution and strife
to obtain ever more than we already have.
We abuse your provision for us by our selfish desires.
Help us hear again Christ's call to be faithful,
and through him forgive us as we repent of our sin and turn from it...
Lord, hear our prayer...
the widow of Zarephath, with a handful of flour and a drop of oil,
fed the prophet Elijah before her child and herself.
God, teach us the joy of hospitality
which welcomes friend and stranger, neighbor and enemy,
and so finds You feasting among us…
Lord, hear our prayer…
God of Abundance,
the widow of Jerusalem, with two small coins,
offered to you her love, her worship and all she had.
Teach us the joy of giving freely,
which counts nothing as ours by right,
but willingly shares and so finds you sharing with us…
Lord, hear our prayer...
God of Resurrection,
Christ Jesus, with his whole being,
sacrificed himself for the sake of your love for us.
Teach us the joy of giving ourselves to you,
so that we yearn for your presence,
long for your salvation,
and so find you living in us…
Lord, hear our prayer…
God of Mercy,
it is ever your will that we love and work and pray
for those who are in need of bread and of shelter,
of healing and of wholeness.
Hear the prayers we make for those of our world—
those of our community, and those of our family who are in need.
We lift before you now in the silence of our hearts
and with the words of our lips…
...Lord, hear our prayer...
Bless we pray, O God, your church throughout the world
and help it to fulfil the purpose you have given it.
Especially we pray for our own congregation…
Guide us each day
and help us to give as completely as we have received.
We ask it in the name of Christ Jesus, our Lord and our Saviour,
our brother and our friend. Amen
Written by John Maynard and posted on Rev. Richard J. Fairchild’s Kir-shalom website, http://spirit-net.ca. Reposted: https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2012/11/prayers-of-people-proper-27-b.html.