Every little bit helps

The Celebration of the Gospel

November 12, 2017 —23rd Sunday after Pentecost

To one the owner gave five talents,
to another two, and to another one.
—Matthew 25.15

________We Gather as the Body of Christ______

PRELUDE 8:15: Day By Day    Oscar Ahnfelt, arr: Cindy Berry
10:30: All Things Bright and Beautiful  Arr.: Sondra Tucker (Bells of St. Matthew’s)

[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.

Leader: Loving God, you create us in your image and claim us as your children.
All: We give you our lives in thanksgiving and praise!
You give us gifts, each different, and bless us with your grace.
We give you our lives in thanksgiving and praise!
Fill us with your Spirit, that we may serve you with love and joy.
We give you our lives in thanksgiving and praise! Alleluia!

* SONG The Lone, Wild Bird Black hymnal #2052


_________ We Attend to the Word___________

Let Us Talents and Tongues Employ Arr.: Michael Helman (Bells of St. Matthew’s)

Pastor: The grace of God is with you.
Congregation: And also with you.
Trusting in God’s tender mercy, we open ourselves in honesty to God.
God of love, help us to see ourselves with the eyes of love,
to see what is in us that is loving,
and what is not loving.

God of mercy, in Christ you have shown us your grace.
Forgive us, heal us, and perfect your love in us.
God, we recall when we have been in harmony with you, or with life, and we give thanks.
[silent prayer…]
We recall when we have been out of harmony, and we seek your grace.
[silent prayer…]

RESPONSE  In the Lord I’ll Be Ever Thankful  Black hymnal #2195

God of love, you have planted the seed of your grace in our hearts. Water it with your Word, so that we might bear the fruits of your Spirit, in the love of Christ. We open our hearts; pour yourself into us. Amen.

NEW TESTAMENT Romans 12.1-8
[Paul calls us to “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed” by a new way of thinking, and giving our whole lives to God. Paul describes the church as a body, each part of which has different gifts.]

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: if your gift is prophecy, prophesy in proportion to your faith; if it is ministry, then minister; if you are a teacher, then teach. The exhorter should exhort; the giver, give generously; the leader, be diligent; the compassionate, be cheerful.

PSALTER Psalm 1 Blue hymnal, page 738:2
[Those who contemplate and follow God’s ways are like trees growing near water, bearing fruit and never failing.]

Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread,
or sit in the seat of scoffers;
but their delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on God’s law they meditate day and night.
They are like trees planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,
and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.

The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Holy One watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

GOSPEL Matthew 25.14-30
[Jesus tells of a merchant who puts all their resources in the hands of three servants, in measures of one, two and five talents. (A talent is equal to 15 year’s wages!) Two servants invest the owner’s life work, but one does not. Those who invest the merchant’s resources are rewarded.]

A merchant, going on a journey, summoned their slaves and entrusted their property to them; giving to one five million dollars, to another two million, to another one million, to each according to their ability. Then the merchant went away. The one who had received the five million went off at once and traded with them, and made five million more. In the same way, the one who had received two million dollars made two million more. But the one who had received one million dollars went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid the merchant’s money.

After a long time the merchant came and settled accounts with them. Then the one who had received the five million dollars came forward, bringing five million more, saying, “You handed over to me five million dollars; see, I have made five million more.” The merchant replied, “Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into my joy!.” And the one with the two million dollars also came forward, saying, “You handed over to me two million; see, I have made two million more.” The merchant said to, “Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into my joy.”

Then the one who had received the one million also came forward, saying, “I knew you were ruthless, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.” But the merchant replied, “You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. So take the money from this one, and give it to the one with ten million. For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. Now then, throw worthless slave into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”


SONG Take My Life, and Let It Be Blue hymnal # 399

[Anyone who wishes may share a prayer concern at the microphone.]
RESPONSE: This is my prayer. All: This is our prayer.
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.


_____ We Are Sent in Ministry to the World____


* OFFERING SONG Bless Thou the Gifts Blue hymnal #587

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. You have given us each gifts with which to live your gospel and share your grace. Send us, each with our own way of blessing, and together as the Body of Christ, for the sake of the healing of the world, in the name of Christ and the power of your Spirit. Amen.


* SONG Breathe On Me, Breath of God Blue hymnal #420

RESPONSE 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 On “LANCASHIRE” Henry Smart, arr: Jason D. Payne
[During the postlude there are people ready to pray with you at the candles in the corners.]

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