RESPONDING TO THE TEXT
The text this week from Matthew illustrates the continued confrontation between Jesus and Jerusalem’s religious authorities. This text provides an opportunity for discussion about Christian stewardship and the relationship between Christian communities and systems of power. This text asks us to consider: What does it mean to call Jesus Lord? What about Caesar’s authority? What is made in God’s image?
See the prompt page from Trinity United Methodist Church at TrinityofRahway.com: What is God’s?
CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader: Beloved people: Our hearts were made for the glory of God! Let us render our hearts to God!
People: We were made in the image of God. In God’s likeness we have been called to live.
Leader: Lift up your hearts; let us walk together.
People: With lifted hearts and lifted hands we have come!
All: Come, let us rejoice!
God of grace and God of glory, transform our hearts by the power of your love. We come here together to rejoice, to worship, to love and to serve. Help us live our lives as a response to your love, knowing that all good things come from your hands. Empower us to love you with all our hearts, with all our souls and with all our strength. Help us be a light of love to the world around us and live as your children, created in your image, so that the world will know you live. In Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
God of unending love, in our selfishness and greed we have failed to be an obedient church. We have heard your word, and yet failed to answer the cry of the needy. We know your commandments, and yet we have failed to love. We have lived in the world as if it is ours, and we have forgotten that everything we have, we have because of the grace you poured out on us. Forgive us we pray. Free us for joyful obedience. Come live in us, in those whom you have created. In Jesus’ name we pray.
WORDS OF ASSURANCE
Leader: Hear the good news: God did not send the Son into the world to condemn us, but that the world might be saved through him. As God so loved the world, and in spite of our failings, God has also loved us. In Jesus Christ, therefore, you are forgiven.
People: In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven
All: Thanks be to God!
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
Your love, Oh God, is active, engaged, and involved. You have made us in your image. You have shown us mercy and kindness. You have given us grace and peace. Open your word to us this morning. Teach us love as you have loved us. Teach us to love in mercy and kindness. Teach us to share in grace and peace. Through Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.