November 7, 2021
Ruth 3. 1-5; 4.13-17 continues the story of Ruth, who is a foreigner in Israel. Through a series of deviations and deviousness, she is married by Boaz. Although she is an alien, and married only by the wildest of circumstances, it turns out that she will be no less than the great grandmother of the great King David himself.
Psalm 127 reminds us that it is not our effort but God who assures our security, and not worldly power but love that makes our lives worthwhile. (Alternate: Psalm 42 cries out in hunger for God, lamenting life’s difficulties but hoping in God in the midst of them. This Psalm celebrates the gift of faith in the form of assurance, but it also recognizes that our aching thirst for God is also faith.)
Hebrews 9. 24-28 compares Christ’s sacrifice for us to the temple sacrifices of animals: Christ’s was in heaven, not on an altar that is a copy of heaven; and it was once and forever, not having to be repeated, and therefore taking away sin forever. So the next time Christ appears, it will not be for judgment, since that has already happened. It will be to “save those who are eagerly waiting for him.”
In Mark 12.38- 13.2 Jesus criticizes the temple rulers for keeping for themselves the gifts that are for the care of widows. Despite such abuse, a widow gives all she has to this fund, doing what she can for others. Jesus prophesies that the temple—not just the building, but the system that scorns justice— is doomed.
Call to Worship
Leader: Eternal God, you who are more vast than the universe,
we come with our tiny words of praise,
All: and you receive them with love and delight.
Loving Jesus, we give to you our small and broken lives,
and you receive them with love and delight.
Holy Spirit, we bear the gifts you have given us out into the world, each in our own way,
and you receive them with love and delight.
We worship you, and give thanks for your grace. Alleluia!
Leader: God of abundance, you provide every need.
All: We give you thanks.
Generous Love, you shower us with grace.
We worship you.
Spirit of giving, you move in us.
We offer you our lives. Alleluia!
Leader: God of love, you are present.
All: We are present for you.
You give us the gift of Creation,
the gift of life, the gift of your Spirit.
We come with rejoicing,
to offer you the gifts you have given us.
You shower us with love.
We return your love in worship and praise.
Alleluia! All glory and honor is yours. Alleluia!
Leader: Creator God, we praise you!
All: Risen Christ, we greet you!
Holy Spirit, we are one body by your grace.
You alone are holy, and we worship you.
Glory be to you, O God of all Creation.
Thanks be to you, O Christ, for our salvation.
For all that you have given us, we thank you.
All that is in our hands and our hearts is yours, and we offer it to you.
Fill us with your Spirit and strengthen us,
that we may live with gratitude, courage and generosity all our days.
Alleluia! Come, Holy Spirit, and transform us by your grace. Alleluia!
Collect / Prayer of the Day
God, a poor widow offered two tiny coins to you. We come to offer ourselves to you. Set us free from judging ourselves or our gifts, and enable us freely to give, in the spirit of Christ. Amen.
Generous God, you give us all of Creation; you give us the gift of life; you give us the gift of your mercy and the mystery of eternal life. In Christ you give yourself to us. Our thanks is but small; yet we open our hearts to you now, that as we hear your Word we may receive the love you give us and our gratitude and generosity may increase. Amen.
Faithful God, in fear we cling to our lives. But your steadfast love saves us and sets us free. So we listen now to hear your Word, to receive your love, to be set free, and to become generous with your love, by the power of your Spirit, in the name of your Christ. Amen.
Eternal God, a poor widow put her copper coins in the treasury, and it has blessed us for generations. Bless us now, that this moment may be for us such an offering: as your scriptures are read and your good news proclaimed, may the gift of your Word, given from your very heart, enrich us; and may we give to you ourselves, poor in spirit but rich in your grace. Amen.
Prayer of Confession
The grace of God be with you.
And also with you.
Trusting in God’s tender mercy, let us confess our sin to God with one another.
Gentle God, we thank you for all you have given us,
and we confess that we have held onto it in fear.
We have belittled your grace,
forgotten the needy,
and cut ourselves off from you and from our sisters and brothers.
In the name of Christ, who embodies your mercy,
forgive us for our grasping;
heal us of our fear;
and lead us into lives of trust, gratitude and generosity
for your sake, and the sake of your Realm of mercy and justice. Amen.
SILENT PRAYER… THE WORD OF GRACE
God, trusting in your mercy, we confess that at times
we judge the gifts of others,
withhold our own gifts,
or belittle the value of our God-given gifts.
Forgive our clinging,
heal our fear,
and deepen our faith in the generosity of your Spirit,
that we ourselves may be your gift for the world,
in the name and Spirit of Christ
Response / Creed / Affirmation
We trust in God, Creator of all, who gives us every good thing.
We follow Jesus Christ, the Loving One, who showed us God’s abundant love, and God’s unfolding plan to create the world anew in justice and peace. Jesus gave of his heart and his being, giving even his life. Though he was crucified by our fear and our clinging, yet God raised him from the dead, and he lives among us still, calling us to lives of gracious love.
We live by the power of the Holy Spirit, who enables us to live lives of justice, forgiveness and generosity, sharing God’s grace with all Creation. The Spirit gives us each gifts that are worthy. We pray that always the Spirit of God’s love may lead us, give us courage, and enable us to be the Body of Christ for the world. Amen.
We live by the grace of God, who creates all things, who provides all things, who orders all things, and who is creating a new heaven and earth, a realm of mercy and justice.
We live by the love of Jesus, God’s Christ, who embodied God’s love in teaching and healing, in providing for the hungry and in offering hospitality to the outcast. He was crucified, but though he died alone and rejected, he was raised in power and glory, and is present with us still, to guide and encourage, to bless and to sanctify us and our work for mercy and justice.
We live by the power of the Holy Spirit, God within and among us, energizing us to give freely, to serve humbly, to act boldly, to trust deeply, and to love gently, for the sake of God’s Reign of mercy and justice. We are One, the Body of Christ, and together with the communion of saints we trust in the power of forgiveness, the reality of resurrection, and the mystery of eternal life. By God’s grace, we devote ourselves to lives of love and courage in the name and spirit of Christ. Amen.
Prayer of Dedication / Sending
Gracious God, we give you these gifts as symbols of our lives. Receive them with love, bless them with grace and use them according to your will. You who have given us everything, we give ourselves to you, that you may give us to the world. We give of our hearts and our will, our time and attention, our passions and possessions, in your Holy Spirit of generosity, for the sake of the healing of the world, in the name of Christ. Amen.
(Click on titles to view songs on the Music page.)
All of the Gifts I Have [Tune: Fairest Lord Jesus]
All of the gifts I have, all that is within me,
you give to me, O God, with care;
all of my prayers and skills, passions and energies
you grant to me to freely share.
Here are my hopes and dreams, attitudes and deepest loves,
all of the treasure to which I cling.
I will not hold them in, stilling my ardent song,
but serving you I’ll freely sing.
In all I keep or give, may I do my very best
in everything I say and do,
in harmony with you, only to love and bless,
with joy, to serve and honor you.
Giving Heart (Tune: Water is Wide- Gift of Love)
O God of grace, you set us free
and feed us all abundantly,
so help me trust the gifts you give,
with giving heart and hands to live.
Come, Spirit, come, and set me free
from all I cling to fearfully.
Come heal my heart, my fears relieve,
so I may give as I receive.
Your Bread of Life transforms us, Lord,
so we become your living Word.
Our lives no more are ours to hold,
but yours to share with all the world.
The Giving Song [Tune: DOVE OF PEACE (I Come with Joy)]
God, send me out into the world to share all I possess.
My generosity shall be the faith that I confess,
the faith that I confess
For you have given me such gifts, grace infinite and deep,
that I can only share them all. There’s nothing I will keep,
there’s nothing I will keep..
And let my giving change me, Lord, to make me more like you:
to let your blessing flow through me, creating me anew,
creating me anew.
My life will not be known by what I have, but how I share,
courageously, with trust in you, with love and joy and care,
with love and joy and care.
Giving thanks [Original Song]
We are a grateful people giving thanks to you.
We are a blessed people singing praise to you.
We are a gifted people spreading love for you.
We are a thankful people spreading love for you
Harvest of your grace [Original Song; dialogue between soloist & congregation]
God scatters abroad, and gives to the poor, and fills the hungry with good things
Alleluia! O God,we rejoice in the harvest of your grace.
How blessed the poor, and all those that mourn. “You do to me as to them.”
Alleluia! We offer our gifts for the harvest of your grace.
Now come to the Feast. Our cups overflow. With grateful hearts we remember.
Alleluia! We come now to work in the harvest of your grace.
God’s grace will abound, in seed and in bread. In joy then sow as you reap.
Alleluia! God, gather from us the harvest of your grace.
You will receive, so that you can give, and yield a harvest of good hearts.
Alleluia! God send us to share the harvest of your grace.
I Belong to You [Tune: Water is Wide / Gift of Love]
Beloved, I belong to you.
You give me birth; you make me new,
your image formed, by Spirit stirred.
You are the Song; I am your Word.
Whatever pains I may endure,
I still belong. Your love is sure.
Since I am yours, your will I do.
I trust and give myself to you.
I am your coin to richly spend,
so spend me, God, as you intend.
You bless my end; you hold my worth;
send me to love throughout the earth.
Beloved, I belong to you.
Do with me what your love will do.
Bear me, and I, through ease or strife
will find in you eternal life.