Abundance of Blessings: Seeds of #Prayer for #Lent March 6th #AshWeds

March 6th: Matthew 18:1-9

Psalm 146:7c-10 or 51:1-3

Abundance of Blessings

"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me." Psalm 51:10 (Scripture doodle of encouragement)

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/425027283575522346/Call to Worship

Our God is an awesome God!

He made heaven and earth and the sea and all that is in it.

God reigns from heaven above with wisdom, power and love

For our God is the one who executes justice for the oppressed, the one who gives food to the hungry.

Who cannot praise our God, Our God is an awesome God!

Our God is an awesome God, let us praise God together. 

Call to Worship

God, you are the God of the hungry, the blind and the oppressed.

We praise you for opening the eyes of the blind, for lifting up those who are bowed down, for upholding the orphan and the widow

Prayer of Confession: Lord we think that blessings are like pie. We confess we want to be the closest to God, because we think those closer to God will get the most blessings. Remind us that blessings are not pie. Remind us that your blessings are enough. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.

Prayer of Confession: Lord, we admit that we sometimes cause stumbling blocks. We put things in other’s paths so they cannot succeed. Sometimes we even have to get out of our own way to be able to see you. Forgive us when we build walls, remind us to open any and all paths to Shalom, and help us be creators of those paths we pray.

Prayer of Confession: Lord I now my transgressions, my sin is before me and it is against you alone God, I have sinned. I have done what is evil in your sight. I was born imperfect. Remind me that you desire truth in my

Assurance of Pardon: Jesus promises us, that we are forgiven, loved and enough.

Assurance of Pardon: Our God is the God of healing, wholeness and peace. Our God gives us Shalom! Let us share the good news: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven. Amen

Assurance of Pardon: God promises to always execute justice, know that God’s justice includes mercy, hear the good news: In Jesus Christ you are forgiven.

Assurance of Pardon: The Lord will have mercy according to God’s steadfast love, blotting out all trangressions. Know we are loved and forgiven by God.

Prayer of Dedication/Prayer of the Day: God, you are the God of Hope precisely because you are the God of justice. When we forget who you are: open our eyes when we are blind, teach us again to feed the hungry, show to us how uphold the orphan so that we can remember who you are, Lord who will reign forever. Amen.

Hymns:

Savior Like a Shepherd Lead Us

Create In Me  Clean Heart

Jesus Thy Boundless Love to Me

 

A Short Order of Worship

Call to Worship: Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,

whose hope is in the Lord their God, 

who made heaven and earth,

 the sea, and all that is in them;

who keeps faith for ever; 

who executes justice for the oppressed;

   who gives food to the hungry. 

The Lord sets the prisoners free; 

the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.

The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;

the Lord loves the righteous. —Psalm 146:5-8

Communion

Oral Story: Matthew 18:1-9 Who is the Greatest? 

Burning of Our Sins: The Lord says, if there’s a piece of you that causes you stumble, cut it off. What do you need to cut off or let go of ? Or what do you need to hang onto and grow so that you can be more joyful and curious like a child? (ceremonially burn our sins written on paper)

Imposition of the Ashes

Closing Prayer: 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.—Psalm 51:1-3

 

Full List of Lenten Resources (Of course some prayers may be appropriate for other weeks)

 

 

 

#Forgiveness and #Debt

Matthew 18:21-35

Genesis 50: 15-21

It would happen that the week I’m preaching on forgiveness (thank you God & lectionary), a bully from Jr. High would ask to friend me. (He used to tell me to shut up whenever I spoke…for like a whole entire year)

Any other week I’d say yes or no and move on

But am I a holy person or not (the answer is no, no holier than anyone else…in fact when someone comes to tell me I’m a holy person, usually its to complain about me, so I def. do not lay claim to that title)

When I posted about it on FB, the discussion turned into a “Should I friend them” discussion..harkening on the very Jr. High School Experiences I didn’t like to begin with…and were actually off point.

Here’s the deal, I’m generally not bitter about Jr. High (anymore) I went to my pastoral psych eval and realized that even though I was “over it” I was still bitter so I worked hard to reframe my bitterness (Didn’t I marry someone I met in Jr. High, so it wasn’t all bad, besides my experiences laid the groundwork for my empathy and ministry that I do today). Is that my moment to say: “Do not fear. Am I not in the place of God”

But…I wanted–something more…

Debts…I feel like this person…owed me something. The listening that is last week’s lectionary…or acknowledgement of who I am, or best yet a real and sincere apology.

What happened to the whole “all we owe each other is love” thing that I so felt and preached on last week..

Debts…

Forgiveness is about feeling a debt, which really I DON’T want to be a debtholder….I owe so many debts to so many people which I have no clue whether  I will ever pay them off…and ….I hate them…(the debts that is, not the people)

I love that my children will never starve, but I never want people to feel the horrible crushing thing that is debt in my life…I don’t want people to feel like they are less of a person because they have to think about what they owe on a regular basis…

the forgiveness of debts…the debts part of forgiveness is clearer now than ever

so…forgiveness it is….

What is #Church anyway?

Matthew 18:15-20

Romans 13:8-14

What is church? I asked the kids…They said “Where people come together to talk about God” “a place to pray” “where there are nummy snacks””yeah like communion” ….I feel like that’s it in a nutshell!

Church is a gathering… 

   think about that, it is people coming together in Christ’s name, we all know that church is going to look radically different in 20yrs from today–we can all feel the change on the horizon and

…(feel the fear tingle up and down your spine) No one yet knows what its changing to! Ask 20 people and they will give you 20 different answers about where “mainline” church is going…

However Lectionary clues us into some things today

1. Church is a gathering….any gather, anywhere, anytime, anyhow in Christ’s name. It is so NOT about the numbers. It is about getting together

2. Church is owing Love: AND NOTHING ELSE. So many people are worried about what church owes them and what people owe church “well they SHOULD be going to church” …”well if they come they should give money” “if they come they should be willing to work” so many debts are put mistakenly put on each other, when in truth that is another human way of reckoning, another way of keeping track of numbers, another way of keeping debts. We do NOT owe each other anything, except love!

3. Church is Listening: truly hearing and understanding each other is a direct act of the Holy Spirit. Note that what we need to do if someone does something wrong, is to get them to “hear” what they’ve done. (No apologies, payback are apparently necessary, altho they may follow). Just listening. And if they can’t hear what you have, gather some others to witness (I think in a loving way where multiple people state their worry, as opposed to a mob castigating someone for their crime) to help the message to be heard…

4. Witnessing: Then there are the witnesses to the Word–those talking together and starting to build that agreement–Presbyterians have a phrase “the Holy Spirit works through consensus”–this consensus is built by true listening….and when we hear each other and can build together.

That’s it, church, a gathering where we witness, listen and love one another without reckoning, numbering or indebtedness……….

Those are the elements that stay the same, even as the structure of church changes….