_______We Gather as the Body of Christ_____
PRELUDE My Lord! What A Morning Traditional Spiritual, arr: Emma Lou Diemer
[As we listen to the music we quiet our minds and bodies,
listen for our hearts’ deepest desires,
and become present to the Holy One who is lovingly present for us.]
* CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader: God of love, we come with our hearts lit to meet you.
All: We rejoice at your love and faithfulness.
Loving Christ, we come to be part of your celebration.
We want to be part of your community of joy.
Holy Spirit, we want to reflect the radiance of your love.
May the light of your joy and love shine in us, in all we do. Alleluia!
* SONG We Are the Church Blue hymnal # 558
(10:30) CHILDREN’S TIME
___________We Attend to the Word_________
(10:30) THE WORD IN SONG Keep Your Lamps Arr. Victor Johnson
God of faithful love, all of life is your wedding feast, celebrating your Covenant with us. We want to be part of your joy. Proclaim your love to us again, in word and in silence. Declare your faithfulness. We will be present for you, and listen in trust and enter into your joy. Let our whole lives be your praise. Amen.
OLD TESTAMENT from Joshua 24.1-25
[Joshua gathers the people who have recently come into the Promised Land from their wilderness wanderings. He recites their history and invites them to renew their commitment to God.]
Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and summoned the elders, the heads, the judges, and the officers of Israel; and they presented themselves before God. And Joshua said to all the people, “Revere God, and serve Yahweh in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods that your ancestors served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve Yahweh. Now if you are unwilling to serve God, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake Yahweh to serve other gods; for it is Yahweh our God who brought us and our ancestors up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. Therefore we also will serve the Holy One, for Yahweh is our God.”
Joshua said, “Then put away the foreign gods that are among you, and incline your hearts to Yahweh, the God of Israel.” The people said to Joshua, “Yahweh our God we will serve, and God we will obey.” So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and made statutes and ordinances for them at Shechem.
NEW TESTAMENT from 2 Corinthians 8.1-15
[Paul encourages a church that excels in many things to excel in generosity. He seeks “a balance between your abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need”—a community of generosity in which everyone is there for each other.]
I want you to know, brothers and sisters, about the grace of God that has been granted to the churches of Macedonia. During a severe ordeal of affliction, their abundant joy and their extreme poverty overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. I can testify: they voluntarily gave according to their means, and even beyond their means. They begged me earnestly for the privilege of sharing in this ministry to the saints. It was more than I expected! They gave themselves first to Christ and, by the will of God, also to us.
Now as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in our love for you—so we want you to excel also in generosity. For you know the generous act of our Head, Jesus Christ, who though rich, yet for your sakes became poor, so that by Christ’s poverty you might become rich.
If you are eager to give, your gift is acceptable. What matters is what you have, not what you don’t have. I do not mean that your relief for others should cause hardship for you, but it is a question of a fair balance between your present abundance and their need, since their abundance is also for your need. There’s always that balance. As it is written, “The one who had much did not have too much, and the one who had little did not have too little.”
GOSPEL Matthew 25.1-13
[Jesus tells a parable of ten wedding attendants. Five have brought oil for their lamps and five haven’t. So when the party is delayed, some are prepared and some aren’t. ]
The Realm of God will be like this. Ten attendants took their lamps and went to meet the wedding party. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridal party was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept.
But at midnight there was a shout, “Look! Here is the bridal party! Come out to meet them.” Then all the attendants got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, “Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.” But the wise replied, “No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.” And while they went to buy it, the bridal party came, and those who were ready went into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the other attendants came also, saying, “Please, open to us.” But the doorkeeper replied, “Truly I tell you, I do not know you.”
Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
* SONG The Servant Song Black hymnal #2222
THE PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
[Anyone who wishes may share a prayer concern at the microphone.]
THE PRAYER OF JESUS (Ecumenical Version)
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours,
now and forever. Amen.
SHARING THE PEACE OF CHRIST
_____ We Are Sent in Ministry to the World____
AFFIRMATION OF OUR GIFTS
SONG God, We Give You All Our Gifts Steve G-H
God, we give you all our gifts, for they have come by grace from you.
Take them, bless them, use them for the work that you intend to do.
We are grateful for your blessings, grace you give a million ways.
May our gratitude resound through all our lives with joyous praise.
All that you entrust to us is meant for all the world to share;
we are stewards of your grace to scatter wide your loving care.
All our gifts are yours, not ours, and meant for us to humbly bear
to the world, in trust that in our grateful giving you are there.
Take our treasure, all our earnings, all our silver and our gold;
take in grace the things we cling to, those possessions that we hold.
In our giving may we find release from fear and trust in thee,
love for all, not just ourselves, for all the whole community.
Take our prayers, our loving presence; let compassion be our creed;
help us be there for each other and for those in greater need.
Take our many, varied, gifts, our works and service, God, employ;
let our lives bear witness to your grace, with thanks and boundless joy.
OFFERING OUR GIFTS / OFFERING SONG Alleluia
1. Alleluia 2. God is faithful. 3. I will serve God. 4. Alleluia.
Gracious God, we give you our lives, symbolized in these gifts. Receive them with love, bless them with grace and use them according to your will. Light the lamp of your love in us, and guide and sustain us in shining your light in the world, for the sake of the healing of all Creation, in the name of Christ and the power of your Holy Spirit. Amen.
THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH IN THE WORLD
* SONG What Gift Can we Bring? Blue hymnal #87
* THE BLESSING AND SENDING FORTH
We stand and sing to our neighbors:
May the grace and peace of Christ be with you my friends.
Go and share the love of God, love that never ends.
POSTLUDE Thine Be The Glory / Arrival Of The Queen G. F. Handel, arr: Jan Mulder
[During the postlude there are people ready to pray with you at the candles in the corners.]