Enter the Gates

Our Hymn of Grateful Praise

Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A

Three weeks before the end of the liturgical year, and we turn to gratitude as the guiding theme for worship. What does a life of gratitude look like? Or perhaps more importantly, what does it feel like?

A somewhat troublesome parable, but it all depends on what approach you take. If this is to be a celebration of our talents and giving our all to God, then find ways to feature a variety of talented individuals in the congregation. This could be displays, or testimonies, or even letting gifts be a part of worship. Visual arts, performing arts like drama and music are easily incorporated. But what about other talents? Cooking? Have a shared meal together afterward, or let some bakers/chefs prepare something in the church kitchen to let the aromas permeate. Child raising or grandparenting: perhaps, let someone different take the children’s time during worship. There are a host of ways to let people talk about how their talents help them serve Christ in the world every day.

On the other hand, if you intend to take the minority interpretation, then the issue becomes one of preservation or shifting cultural values away from an abundance of stuff and toward what the world overlooks, perhaps a nod to next week’s “least of these.” How do we as followers of Jesus Christ stand apart from our culture? Or should we?

Call to Worship #1

L: Come! Share the joy of the Lord!
P: Delight in God’s goodness!
L: Praise God who gives each person a special gift to be nurtured and shared.
P: Lord, we thank you for these gifts!
L: Come, let us worship God who entrusts us with so much.
P: Lord, make us worthy of your love and trust in us. Amen!

By Nancy C. Townley, https://www.ministrymatters.com/all/entry/8508/new-worship-connection-november-19-2017

Opening Prayer

Let us pray that we may respond
to God's trust in us.


God, our kind and loving Father,
you no longer call us servants but friends.
There is so much you have entrusted to us,
even the future of your kingdom of justice and love.
Give us the grace to work out with you
the growth of mercy and goodness in this world,
to be united with all Christians
and with all who seek you with a sincere heart
in bringing reconciliation and joy to everyone.
Let us go together the way to you,
our living and loving God,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.


—from Liturgies Alive, Models of Celebration.
Posted https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2011/10/opening-prayer-matthew-25-14-30.html

Opening Prayer

(based on Matthew 25: 31-46)

May we share in the Lord's kingship
by serving him in the poor and the humble


God, Father of the poor,
your Son Jesus was born among us
poor, humble and dependent.
Open our eyes and our hearts and our hands
to honor him now as our Lord and King
by welcoming him in those who are hungry and thirsty,
in all who are abandoned and lonely,
in refugees, in the poor and the sick.
Let our love become free and spontaneous,
like the tenderness you have shown us in your Son.
Welcome us in the everlasting Kingdom
prepared for us through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

—from Liturgies Alive, Models of Celebration.
Reposted https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2011/11/opening-prayer-matthew-25-31-46.html


For our slowness to recognize your gifts in other people and their calling to be children of God: Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
For our reluctance to accept your free gifts and your gracious call to play our part in your ministry: Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
For any cause of division in your body for which we are responsible: Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.


The good news is that all who trust in Christ will have their sins forgiven and receive eternal life. As you hold this faith, I declare that you are set free from all your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Thanks be to God.


Prayer of Confession

Lord of mercy and justice, you have given us so many talents and gifts to be used in your world. You have given us these gifts because you trust us to use them well — and you will be with us in all our work. But we disappoint you when we denigrate the value of the talents or become so fearful of failure that we don’t believe that we are capable of helping in this world. Lord, forgive us. Help us to trust in the gifts you have given to us and to trust in your guidance in using them. Forgive us when we are fearful, stubborn, apathetic, indifferent to the needs around us. Give us hearts for serving you all our days. In Jesus’ name we pray. AMEN.

By Nancy C. Townley, https://www.ministrymatters.com/all/entry/8508/new-worship-connection-november-19-2017


In peace, we pray to you, Lord God.
For all people in their daily life and work;
for our families, friends and neighbors, and for those who are alone.
For this community, our country, and the world;
for all who work for justice, freedom and peace.
For the just and proper use of your creation;
for the victims of hunger, fear, injustice and oppression.
For all who are in danger, sorrow, or any kind of trouble;
for those who minister to the sick, the friendless and the needy.
For the peace and unity of the Church of God;
for all who proclaim the gospel, and for all seek the truth.
For the leaders in the church universal
And for leaders in our United Methodist Church,
And for pastors and for all who hold office in this congregation;
for all who serve God in the church.
For our own needs, and for others for whom you have called us to pray.
Hear us, Lord
for your mercy is great.
We thank you, Lord, for all the blessings of life.
We exalt you, O God our king;
and praise your name for ever and ever.
We give thanks for all those who have died in the peace of Christ, and for the promise of your eternal kingdom.
In Christ you have called us to eternal glory;
to you be praise for ever and ever. Amen.

Adapted from http://www.beswick.info/rclresources/33A96OS.htm


(based on Matthew 25: 14-30)

Go in peace; love and care for one another in Christ's name,
and may God bless you with every gift needful for His work,
may the Spirit grant you the willingness to risk yourself
completely for the sake of the gospel,
and may the love and the compassion and the hope and the faith
of Jesus dwell richly within you till the time of his coming.
both now and forevermore. Amen

— copyright © Rev. Richard J. Fairchild, and posted on his Kir-Shalom website. Visit his site for other good lectionary-based worship resources and sermons. Reposted: https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2011/10/benediction-matthew-25-14-30.html

In This Series...

Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Reign of Christ/Thanksgiving Sunday, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes